Category: Alumni (page 2 of 3)

The MBA Admissions Interview: How to Totally Crush It

From the Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions Committee

You submit your application. You wait and wait and then, TA DA! An interview invitation appears in your inbox.  Your immediate reaction is probably several mental exclamation points (!!!), but I think it’s fair to say that all MBA applicants feel pretty dichotomous when it comes to the interview experience. Something like:

Yay I got invited to interview! But oh my goodness, now I’m totally freaked out and have a million questions; What are they going to ask? Should I be myself or should I open with a joke I read online? Should I bring my resume in strawberry-scented triplicate? What do I wear? Should I interview on-campus, via Skype, or off-campus? Is it better to interview with a current student, admissions officer or alumni? Should I send a follow-up thank you via email, a hand-written card, or none at all?  How do I set up the interview in the first place?! Eeek!

Breathe. Like anything else, your MBA interview invitation is an opportunity. While some applicants may look forward to it, others may not exactly enjoy the anxiety. If you are a member of the latter group, look at it this way: this interview can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to stitch together the rest of your application elements with a genuine, prepared, and poised interview performance.

The interview affords one of the only formal opportunities for official face-to-face interaction during the application process. Seize it.

You are most likely applying and subsequently interviewing with multiple MBA programs. This means managing several different interview processes, a complicated project given the variability among schools. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas MBA Program runs its interview operations.

Instructions are plastered all over the email invitation to interview and the online systems you use to book the interview, so be sure to read all instructions very carefully before scheduling anything. Generally speaking, our interview structure is this:

Interviews are by invitation only and can come at any time during the application round. There are four different interview types: on-campus with a student, via Skype with a student, off-campus in your local city with an alumni interviewer, or at a HUB city location with an admissions officer. For each type (excluding alumni interviews) there is an online calendar from which you can select an interview slot that works with your schedule. We will inform you of the last date your interview needs to be completed. The only exception to this is booking an interview in your local city with an alumni interviewer; that process is slightly different, but we provide the step-by-step instructions in our interview invitation communications if you decide to go that route.

Rest assured all of our current student interviewers, alumni volunteer interviewers and admissions officers are fully trained and capable of conducting an interview that is professional, fair, impartial and helpful. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. All interviews are blind, which means the interviewer does not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. Even so, it’s always a good idea to bring a copy for the interviewer to reference during the conversation (this is required if you are interviewing with an alumni interviewer).

Most interviews follow the general framework of introductions, questions from the interviewer for you to answer, then some time is left at the end for you to ask your questions about the program and/or application process. Once the interview is completed, you are finished! There is nothing further you need to do and your application is considered complete. All that’s left is to wait patiently for our final decision in the weeks that follow.

TIPS & PITFALLS TO AVOID:

Choose Wisely: Decisions, decisions. Interview type selection is like deciding on your coffee order at Starbucks – copious options, but there’s something for everyone. Each type of interview affords individual benefits. If you’re located proximate to Austin, try to come to campus for an interview. If you have never been to campus or met us in person before, we highly recommend interviewing on campus to get a feel for the facility and community culture. You might even be able to book a class visit, information session, or tour and interview all in the same weekend. A special “Lunch & Learn” session will be offered on select interview dates. If you can’t make the trip due to work conflicts or you are internationally-based, you might consider taking advantage of our alumni interviewers in a city near you. We also offer HUB interviews in markets around the world, such as Korea, China, India and Mexico. Or maybe none of that works for you and Skype is the only way to get it done. No problem, that option is always available. We see your interview type selection as entirely logistical and do not hold it against you if you don’t interview with us on campus.

Don’t Be On Time – Be Early: Arriving early is “Interviewing 101,” yet it still manages to falter even the most prepared of candidates.  Arriving early is even more critical if you’ve never been to campus or navigated UT Austin parking before. As for Skype, your instructions ask that you are prepared to begin the Skype video call at the allotted interview start time, but it’s always a good idea to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to work out any inevitable technological hiccups that crop up.

“And that’s why I’m scared of heights and allergic to strawberries…Wait, what was the question again?”:  You’d be surprised how many times at the end of an applicant’s long-winded tangential answer we are asked to repeat the original question. Most often this happens to people who try to cram too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address that well-rehearsed example. Don’t worry, we’ll get to it! Plus, sometimes there is an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything we didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.

Loosen Up: Given our program’s famously friendly culture, our interviews are relatively informal. If you still find yourself nervous, practice your answers in front of a mirror, a friend or a willing stranger and ask them how you did. Did you answer the question? Did you rush through it? Take a moment to outline your answer in your mind first, and then address it calmly and confidently. Don’t get too comfortable, though. While we’re an easy-going bunch, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea. This includes professional language and attire as if you were interviewing for a job (that means you too, Skypers! I’m sure your pajamas are lovely, but we’d much rather see a blazer.).

Know What We’re Looking For: We listen for confidence, clear and concise communication of career goals, concrete examples of teamwork and leadership, in-depth knowledge of our MBA program, and overall genuine enthusiasm. Also, the interview can be a place to showcase secondary skills that are difficult for us to determine solely based on your application: interview skills, self-awareness, communication style, and “hire-ability.” Keep these in mind so we can get a feel for the application intangibles.

Know Your Audience: Remember, the Admissions Committee doesn’t have a preference for which interview type you elect or who you interview with, just as long as you prepare for your audience. Are you interviewing with an admissions officer?  Read about them on our Admissions Committee page. Our alumni interviewer profiles can be found on our website.  If you’re interviewing via Skype or on-campus, be cognizant that not every student has the same background as you!  Steer clear of industry jargon.

Come with questions: A good list of questions for your interviewer can illustrate a few key things about you as a candidate: you’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA, and you can formulate coherent thoughts under pressure. We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones and have a few backups.

While our interviewing style is admittedly less intense than corporate recruiters, don’t let our laid-back Austin attitude fool you. The Admissions Committee uses the interview as a way to add character, depth and spirit to your written application, so keep these tips in mind to ensure a positive outcome.

Good luck and Hook’ Em!

 

Entrepreneurship at McCombs: Austin Startup Week

The McCombs School of Business, ranked #6 for entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report, offers many unique resources in one of America’s most innovative cities to prepare students for new business ventures. Many Texas MBA alumni have gone on to run successful startups not only here in Austin, but across the country. Check out some of the companies our awesome alumni have started as we gear up for Austin Start Up Week on October 3, 2016.

Sock Club: Noah Lee, MBA ’16

Sock Club offers a monthly sock subscription and customizable sock designs, with delivery straight to your door. 

  • Founded: 2012sockclub-847b3fcd4214f607a3f5e426e9e175b4
  • Advice to current students: Half the battle is getting started. You will never know if the idea will succeed unless you try it.
  • Favorite part of current position: Every day brings a new challenge.
  • Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Finding the time to get everything done and finding good help.
  • How did you and your partner Dane come up with the idea for Sock Club? We read a Forbes article on a subscription sock company that shipped black Italian dress socks, we liked the idea of a reoccurring revenue model, and thought it would be better to do it with colorful socks. Away we went.
  • How did McCombs and the Texas MBA Program help you in running your business? Running a new company requires managing your mistakes and opportunities, and is impacted by how effectively you can react to the results of your economic activity. The Texas MBA Program didn’t necessarily teach me how to do things. It taught me how to think about things and make decisions.

Nicely Noted: Perry Nelson, MBA ’10 

A stationery subscription service that delivers a curated collection of letterpress cards and stamps to your mailbox every month.

  • Founded: 2011xnorsrpc
  • Advice to current MBAs: Take risks while you have the safety net of being in school. You have unique access to almost anyone in the business community by approaching them as a student; take advantage of it.
  • Favorite part of current position: Wearing many hats! Every day is different, and the challenges run the gamut from working with developers, training interns, and pitching press for editorial coverage to assembling the monthly mailing, and more.
  • Biggest challenge as a business owner: Prioritizing and keeping the core value proposition at the forefront of all your efforts.

Beatbox Beverages:  Aimy Steadman, Justin Fenchel, Dan Singer, & Jason Schieck, MBA ’13

A ready-to-drink mixed alcohol beverage, prepared in Austin. 

Justin Fenchel says:beatboxlogo_retina

  • Founded: 2011
  • Advice to current MBA students: Take a chance — you have two years to explore what you really want to do. Try not to get caught up in the chaos of who has a job and who doesn’t. Take the time to find out what you really want to do because you’ll never have a better opportunity.
  • Favorite part of current position: Working doesn’t feel like work.
  • Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Stress and fear from starting a business in an industry that we effectively have no experience in.

You’re Invited to McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

Smart People. Big Ideas. New Connections.

What happens when you combine Austin Startup Week with McCombs’ renowned faculty, world class students and alumni, and Austin’s hottest tech startups? McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

Come meet successful McCombs entrepreneurs from the Texas MBA and Texas MSTC programs showcasing their startups. You’ll have the opportunity to network with current students, alumni and local entrepreneurs from the growing Austin Startup scene. Join us for discovery, a great time, and complimentary food & drinks.

Register for McCombs Entrepreneurship Night

Meet Us During the ATX Startup Crawl!

The ATX Startup Crawl is a celebration of technology and entrepreneurship in Austin! The Texas MBA Program will be present during the event to answer answer questions and share with you how an MBA degree from The University of Texas at Austin can help you increase your potential and jump start your career.

RSVP today to grab your spot to network with more than 90+ Austin startups and don’t forget to stop by our booth!

Thursday October 6, 2016 5:00pm – 10:00pm
800 Congress Ave, Austin TX 78701

RSVP HERE

Check out more startups started by McCombs alums: http://www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu/2013/12/mccombs-alumni-product-guide

Alumni Spotlight: Maggie Row, Texas MBA at Houston ’07

maggie rowSince graduating from the Texas MBA at Houston Program in 2007, Maggie Row has been helping to provide high-quality cancer care to patients around the world through her work at MD Anderson. Her MBA education provided her with new insights into the healthcare industry, and not only gave her the skills to become a better leader, but a better healthcare provider as well.

 

We recently caught up with Maggie to see what she’s up to and to learn about her reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

What were you doing before you decided to pursue an MBA?

I was the medical director for the Emergency Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a practicing emergency oncology physician.

Why did you decide to pursue and MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

Upon completion of my residency in 1994, I decided to pursue an MBA. I always enjoyed business, in fact, I did the accounting for my dad’s business while I was in high school and college. At MD Anderson, I’ve been given many different leadership opportunities and I felt that the additional skills I would gain would help me to be a more effective leader.

I chose McCombs because of the excellence of the program and the opportunity to stay in Houston –the program was literally two blocks from my house.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

Time management. My children were in kindergarten and first grade when I started my program at McCombs and I was also working full-time at MD Anderson. I had to be very disciplined, so I was able to be a mom, while at the same time being a wife, a student and a physician leader.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

I think a business background is essential for a well-rounded clinician. The knowledge I learned in business school has been useful in every faucet of my job, even with direct patient care. This expansion of my skill set allows me to see medical issues, both business and clinical, from a different viewpoint. The ability to understand the financial and economic aspects of health care decisions has been a valuable asset.

What is your current position at MD Anderson?

I am currently Vice President of Operations for the MD Anderson Cancer Network. Our network works with hospitals and health systems around the world to help provide high-quality cancer care to patients in the communities where they live. In my role, I’m responsible for making sure that the exceptional care we provide here at our Texas Medical Center campus is integrated into our network member sites.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m helping cancer patients receive better care by extending the knowledge from MD Anderson to oncologists worldwide.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I spend time with my family – Jim, my husband, and children, Catalina (16) and Billy (15). We are either traveling, running, golfing, going to movies or just hanging out at our pool in Houston.

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Enjoy your undergraduate experience and learn as much as possible about life and the opportunities available for your future. I didn’t know what I was going to be doing when I graduated from college. Taking the time to work and obtain additional education helped me gain the tools I need to navigate my career.

Alumni Spotlight: Becky Bui, Texas Evening MBA ’09

Since graduating from the Texas Evening MBA Program back in 2009, Becky Bui has joined the team at Facebook and relocated to Dublin, Ireland to head up their Mobile Gaming team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the pursuit of taking risks to find success, she co-founded FocalPop, an online marketplace, during her time in the MBA program. Now, when she’s not exploring the world with her family, she’s working on developing Facebook’s business with companies such as Social Point, Game Insight and Pretty Simple.

We recently caught up with Becky to see what she’s up to and to learn about her reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

What were you doing before you decided to pursue an MBA?

I had spent most of my career in advertising agencies, consulting brands on their marketing and advertising strategies.

Why did you decide to pursue and MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

My career had been going well but I felt I needed a more well-rounded view of the business world in order to better understand my clients’ businesses and to open up additional opportunities in the future. McCombs was an obvious choice for an outstanding education as well as access to a strong MBA alumni network. The Texas Evening MBA Program was especially appealing, because I wanted to continue working full-time in Austin while pursuing my MBA. I applied to other programs, but halted the process as soon as I received early acceptance to McCombs!

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

The importance of taking risks. I am naturally pretty risk-averse and, in hindsight, I had not grown as quickly in my career because I had always played it safe and avoided failure. At McCombs, I was able to explore the New Venture Creation program and started a company with my classmates, which was an incredible experience. I also watched my classmates regularly take risks with confidence and have pushed myself to do the same ever since.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

As mentioned, the New Venture Creation program and Texas Venture Labs helped me to launch a start-up called FocalPop coming out of school. This was an incredible learning experience and helped me take an entrepreneurial approach to my work, both professionally and personally. Having the McCombs MBA on my resume also helped me to move into a leadership role at Facebook, an incredible opportunity that likely would not have happened without the Texas MBA.

What have you been doing since getting your MBA? What is your current position?

FB-f-Logo__blue_512For the majority of my time since getting my MBA I’ve worked in leadership positions within the Global Marketing Solutions group at Facebook. I spent four years leading retail and eCommerce teams in the U.S. and the last year leading the Mobile Gaming team for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).

What do you love about your job?

There are many things I love about my job, but if I have to narrow it down to a few:

1. I love working for a company that is having an incredible impact on the world. When I started, Facebook had around 700 million monthly active users and now we have nearly 1.7 billion.
2.
I have really enjoyed being on the front-lines of a fundamental shift in marketing, particularly in the mobile space.
3.
In the last year I’ve had the opportunity to live abroad, travel to 20+ countries, and truly learned how to conduct business with a global lens.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy exploring the world with my husband, Ben, and my three-year-old, Berkeley. (And soon a baby boy will join the adventure!) Together, we started the Dublin chapter of Little Helpers, a service organization for families, so we spend time planning service events and volunteering with the kids. I also just launched a podcast in order to highlight stories of successful female leaders. It’s called She’s a Boss Podcast and is available on iTunes and the Stitcher Radio App. Follow the show on Facebook to be informed of new shows or to suggest more amazing women I should feature.

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Make time to invest in relationships with your professors and classmates. Your network will always be important throughout your career and the Texas MBA Program provides a unique opportunity to form relationships with a diverse group of talented people. Take advantage of it and make the effort to stay connected after your graduate.

Catch Up with the Texas MBA on Social Media

Want an easy way to keep up with the Texas MBA Program? Follow us on social media for program news, event information, application updates,  and all the reasons #WhyMcCombs!

 

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See What We’ve Been Up To This Summer

#TXMBA Consortium Class of 2018 #WhyMcCombs Photo by @chelleschenk

A photo posted by Texas MBA (@utexasmba) on

Photo Credit: www.launchandhustle.com

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