Category: Executive MBA (page 3 of 21)

Working Professional & Executive 2015 Women’s Forum Recap

Texas MBA Women's Forum - Welcome sign and table

The Texas MBA recently held its annual Women’s Forums for all Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs in Dallas, Houston, and Austin! Faculty, staff, alumni, and current students from the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas MBA at Houston, Texas Evening MBA, and Texas Executive MBA programs hosted around 60 prospective women MBAs for a day of information sessions and networking receptions.

Women attendees at information session - 2015 women's forum

Texas MBA at Houston Women’s Forum, Career Presentation

These events give prospective women MBAs the opportunity to discover all aspects of the Texas MBA program and how they can unlock their potential and develop as business leaders. Women’s Forum attendees had the opportunity to hear an overview of the Texas MBA program and connect with women in the program to learn about their experiences.

A highlight of the event was a talk from premier professional development coaches, Valerie Savage.
Valerie is a seasoned executive with 30 years of financial, strategic, operational and investor relations experience as an executive and consultant for private and public companies. Her session at the Women’s Forum demonstrated how to identify and articulate unique credentials to help position professionals for a successful career.

Choosing to pursue an MBA presents unique challenges for women, especially working professionals. The Women’s Forums provided realistic insight into the program, life as an MBA, and opportunities for candid discussion with former and current students.

If you were not able to attend the Women’s Forum this year, check out some of the other events happening on campus. We hope to see you soon!

Professional or Executive: Which MBA Is Right For You?

Professional or Executive: Which MBA Is Right For You?Compare the class profiles of our Executive MBA program and professional MBA programs (Evening MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, and MBA at Houston), and the differences can seem quite obvious. But there’s actually a broad grey area, career-wise, where many professionals could plug and play very well in either type of program.

In the end, it’s your call on where to submit your application, but remember it’s a two way street. You decide where you belong, and the admissions committee agrees.

Here is some advice on how to make an informed choice, and what to do if you think you may not “fit” the profile. Continue reading

You’ve Got Application Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Application FAQsWhen all else fails…

You know how this ends. Most likely you’re thinking “How hard can this be?” But trust me, after serving on the admissions committee for a top-ranked MBA program for the past five years, the simple act of reading the directions can provide you with opportunities to have more meaningful interactions with the admissions committee during the application process.

This past year not only did we overhaul our admissions section of the website, we implemented a new application system that includes embedded instructional videos and links to help you get through the process as you work through your application. Even with all that there’s always a special situation that wasn’t addressed, and we’re here to help everyone with questions.

So here are some A’s to your top 5 FAQs, and some tips that go above and beyond what the instructions may provide. Continue reading

Acing It: GRE vs GMAT

Life is all about choices.  Lease or buy?  Diet versus regular? GRE or the GMAT? But when personal preference for aspartame doesn’t immediately establish you firmly in one camp or another, it’s time to stop and think what the choice says about you.  When it comes to choosing between taking the GRE or the GMAT for your MBA application, how do you choose the right test for you?

In this post, I won’t address the logistical implications of each exam (such as the GRE is cheaper and offered at more locations and the GMAT is accepted at more business schools so it’s more bang for your buck.)  Nope, not going to go there.  You can Google yourself silly with all of their basic differences. Instead, I will address choosing the test from an admissions perspective, assuming you’re planning on submitting an application to the Texas MBA Program sometime soon.

Basic case in point:  the Admission Committee doesn’t care which test you take.  Ultimately it’s up to you.  We don’t believe intrinsically the opinion that one test is better at demonstrating your preparedness for b-school than the other because we believe that standardized test scores are not the only thing on your application that illustrate your academic abilities.  If it were used alone, perhaps the more traditional approach of using the GMAT would suffice, but it’s not.  We use many, many other things.  But that’s a whole other post.

Much like other choices you make on your application, if you choose wrong you can put yourself in a position of unnecessary disadvantage.  We realize the tests are different and applicants choose each for varied and valid reasons, therefore we couldn’t have a preference at face value.  However, what we DO prefer is that you think hard about which test you need to take within the context of your overall goals.



The GMAT is required for most Consulting and Investment Banking companies because they use your score as a baseline qualifier for the recruiting process.  If Consulting or I-Banking are in your sights, this means that the GMAT is the best choice because you could take it once and use your score for both your Admissions application as well as your career recruitment profile.

Additionally, some recruiters outside the I-Banking and Consulting space may not have a strong preference either way which test you take, however they may have more experience assessing skill set based on the GMAT.  If you choose to take the GRE you should understand that it is less common and therefore makes it more difficult for recruiters to compare these results against the majority of applicants that take the GMAT.


Sometimes, the GRE is the best choice for those applicants who are pursuing their MBAs in conjunction with another Masters, like in our Dual Degree programs.  Once again, taking only the GRE allows you to apply to both programs separately with one score, a convenience factor that most Dual Degree applicants very much appreciate given how much more paperwork is required to submit applications for two programs.


Don’t qualify as an applicant pursuing Consulting/I-Banking/Dual Degree?  There are still some key differences in the tests that may have some bearing on your decision for which to take.  A little history lesson: MBA programs only started accepting the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT over the last few years.

Alumni and hiring companies are more familiar with the GMAT and its score scale.  With the GRE new on the scene, they may need clarification regarding what the GRE score actually means and how the quantitative and verbal score sections may translate to the GMAT scores they are used to.

MBA Admissions Officers are also new to the GRE setting.  However, many of us have worked with the test and have recruited amazing candidates to our programs since we started accepting it a few years ago and are more comfortable assessing verbal and quantitative skill sets based on those scores.

So ultimately, which test is best?  Our advice is to choose wisely using your academic and career goals and knowledge of each test’s reputation in both the admissions context and the professional world to make the best choice for you.  If none of the above circumstances speak to your situation, then truly you are free to pick the exam you prefer.  Either way, we say “good luck!”

Meet the Graduates | Bill Blackstone, MBA ’14, Executive MBA


Name: Bill Blackstone
Program: Texas Executive MBA
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Undergraduate Institution: Baylor University

What were you doing professionally before coming to McCombs, and what made you decide to pursue your MBA?

As a student in the Executive MBA program, I continued to work full-time at Rackspace while pursuing my MBA. When I started the program, I was a front-line manager, and, through hard work and leveraging what I learned in school, I was promoted three times in the first year of school. Currently, I am the Site Leader and local executive for our Rackspace Austin office consisting of 560 employees. With a background in musical theater and a degree in music, I felt an MBA was an important step to continued success in a business career.

What led you to choose the Texas MBA?

Following the sage advice of the ages, I put all my eggs in one basket. McCombs was the only program I wanted to attend due to its incredible network, world-class professors, and global reputation. Further, living in the best city on the planet – Austin – McCombs was an easy choice since I was able to continue working for Rackspace while attending school just a few minutes south on I-35.

What has been your favorite part of the Texas MBA Program at the McCombs School of Business?

Hands down, the people. You will regularly hear about the faculty being world-class. It’s true. But, so are the students. I will never forget walking into class for the very first time and meeting my fellow classmates: a Navy SEAL, an Air Force Fighter Pilot, a farmer and multiple doctors, lawyers, engineers, and C-level executives. Then, there was me – the Broadway turned Business dude. It was hard not to be intimidated.

Further, over the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of being teamed up with a study group (Team Orion!) consisting of a humorous, type-A doctor; an incredibly polished non-profit consultant; a caring and thoughtful software manager; an Excel genius, bell pepper farmer; and a thought-provoking art gallery owner that we’re convinced is a CIA agent (I really hope the NSA isn’t reading this blog post). Ultimately, the diversity in experience, thought and nationality of the entire class truly created an unparalleled learning environment.

Any particular memories that stand out?

At the beginning of the EMBA program, we have a bit of a “hell week” where all of us “old folks” get re-introduced to school. Towards the middle of the week, our study groups were given a challenge of developing a strategy for a business case and pitching our idea in a competition against the other study groups and the Mexico City EMBA program. Our team made it to the finals. As the first presenter, I was promptly introduced to the brick wall named Professor John Doggett. After successfully standing my ground through the rapid succession of questions, Professor Doggett fired his last shot: “Son, do you KNOW how to answer a question in 17 words or less?!?” I immediately quipped – “Sir, yes I do. However, you haven’t allowed me to speak 10 words without interruption.” A hush of shock fell over the room. Then, Doggett let out a roar of laughter and turned to Dr. John Burrows (EMBA Program Director) and asked, “Is this one of yours?” He immediately replied, “Damn right he’s one of mine.” Thus, my MBA career began.

What about a favorite professor?

This has to be the toughest question. To be fair, I have to mention three professors who have made a profound impact on my career. First, Dr. Rob AdamsNew Venture Creations, Texas Venture Labs Practicum – truly opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship. He showed me that success in entrepreneurship wasn’t just luck but there’s a science behind solving market pain points. Second, Professor Sandy Leeds – Investment Theory – made me write out company valuations by hand. Not only did he help me appreciate Excel more than ever, he taught in such a manner that helped me truly absorb financial concepts which will help me in every aspect of my career. Finally, Dr. Violina Rindova – Strategic Innovation – taught me to look where no one else was looking. Her methods of strategic innovation have permanently altered my decision making process.

Any words of wisdom for incoming students?

Get your tail kicked. This is the only time in your career where you can flesh out new ideas, learn tough subjects and challenge others whilst challenging yourself without fear of career altering consequences. Take every advantage of the opportunities presented during your time in school.

How has your education in the Texas MBA Program influenced your approach to your career?

During the first information session I attended, Dr. Burrows described the ability of the program to change the slope and velocity of your career. Originally thinking this was marketing fluff, I’ve come to realize the truth of this statement. I can say, with confidence, the only area of my career it hasn’t influenced is my coffee consumption.

What’s next for you?

At the moment, I love my career at Rackspace. In my current role, I’m able to utilize all aspects of my MBA from Managerial Accounting to Negotiations to Leadership to Marketing and everything in between. Ultimately, I’m excited about the local and global opportunities that are now within reach because of the Texas MBA program.

Join us in congratulating Bill and all of our Class of 2014 graduates. They have worked incredibly hard and have truly earned the Texas MBA. If you’re interested in connecting with Bill, feel free to get in touch with him online via LinkedIn:  or Twitter: @BillBlackstone

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