Category: Academics (page 1 of 4)

MBA London Exchange: Five Lessons Learned

The following was written by Stephanie Hobart, Texas McCombs MBA ’18. 

London is a city known for its chilly, cloudy weather, warm pints of beer, and public transit via the the London Underground. As a city, it’s almost the complete opposite of Austin, where I chose to pursue my full-time MBA degree. So why would I go to London to spend my exchange semester at London Business School?

The Texas McCombs MBA highlights the need to think globally in business today and then provides an opportunity to explore another corner of the globe on an exchange program. I chose London Business School for my exchange program because I wanted the opportunity to not only live in one of the most diverse cities in the world, but also participate in an MBA program that has an almost 90% international student population. Regardless of language or familiarity with a city, moving to a new location can always be a challenge.

Author, Stephanie Hobart and Daniel Katz, McCombs MBA students on exchange at LBS.

Me and Daniel Katz, both McCombs MBA students on exchange at LBS on our last day of class!

Three semesters of business school prepared me for meeting large groups of new people, engaging in classroom and networking conversations, and the change of scenery from Austin to London provided me the chance to learn about life in a European MBA program in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.

Five London Lessons Learned

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Texas MBA Global Connections: Explore. Discover. Lead.

Texas MBAs went global this spring with study tours across six countries — Cuba, India, China, South Africa, Malaysia, and Thailand! These tours are part of the McCombs Global Connections (MGC) program: An eight to ten-day study tour to business powerhouses around the globe.

Image via McCombs Today

During these tours, Texas MBA students explore global opportunities and learn many aspects of conducting business outside the United States. Through guest speakers, company visits, project work, and case studies, MGC provides an incredible opportunity for Texas MBAs to explore the economy, major industries, local businesses, and culture in different nations, enhancing their transferable skills and understanding of different cultures to operate in an international market.

Global Connections 2017 enabled 134 Texas Full-time MBA students to participate in engagement experiences, including cultural immersion, business visits, conferences, and discussions.

India

Texas MBA students visited local Indian communities and businesses such as Intel, Infosys, VMware, IBM and American Embassy in Bangalore and Delhi. Special activities included the Social Impact Day at Mewat Village and the “Our Native Village” cultural tour.

Exploring Indian culture. Photo by Deidra Stephens

Business visit to Infosys in Bangalore. Photo by Deidra Stephens

First Ever Cuba Tour

Texas MBAs had the opportunity to learn about the business operation and economic potentials in Cuba through a series of conferences, including the Conference on US-Cuba Relations, Conference on the Cuban Economy, Currency, Debt and Financial Institutions, and Conference on New and Micro Business Models in Cuba. They also attended local company visits to the Organopónico Vivero Alamar – Cuba’s most successful urban cooperative agricultural project and Autochapt – a non-agricultural cooperative /car repairing micro business.

Texas MBAs rode in nostalgic style in Cuba.

Texas MBAs in the first Global Connection Study Tour in Cuba. Photo by Shannon Moffett

South Africa

Texas MBAs immersed themselves in learning cultural differences and business practices in the “Think Impact Day Series” and business visits to Delheim Winery, Coca-Cola South Africa, and Heart Capital.

Global Connection Study Tour in South Africa. Photo by John Greely

Global Connections Study Tour in South Africa

Global Connections Study Tour in South Africa.

China

With three cities visited — Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing — the China Study Tour offered business visits to successful companies in China such as BYD, InterChina, Emerson, CSUN, CNOOC, and tours to major Chinese landmarks.

Texas MBAs at the Great Wall of China. Photo by Karl Novick

Business visits to China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Photo by Karl Novick

Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Thailand)

Two countries and three cities were visited in Southeast Asia’s Study Tour. Texas MBAs enhanced their cultural competency and global business operation skills with visits to the Malaysia Investment Development Authority, Emerson Process Management, NI Penang, Wong Engineering, and Western Digital.

Texas MBA students in Bantu Caves (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Photo by Joel Obaseki

Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by Torrey Kolesar

Read more about the previous Global Connections Study Tour trips to South Africa, China, and Brazil.

For more info about the Full-time Texas MBA Program, visit our Facebook page or Twitter account, or contact us with any questions.

Hook’em!

Airplanes, Austin, Classes, and People – My Texas MBA Allure

I’ve spent most of my life living in the eastern time zone, so moving to Texas was a wild departure from my past. As I chatted with prospective students who spent their whole lives in the Northeast, or maybe even outside of the US, it made me remember the questions and priorities I had when I was seeking out business schools. Did I find what I was looking for in Texas? (Spoiler: The answer to that question is “yes”)

Here are four main things I was looking for:

1. I want to go work for _______.

Inside, I’m still a small kid, fascinated by the prospect of two giant jet engines propelling a 300+ ton wide-body airplane up into the sky. I always wanted to work for the airline industry – yes, that pressurized metal tube, shoes off, delay-prone industry. Knowing this, I set out to find a school that gave me the best chance at fulfilling my ambitions. It was the active and well-connected alumni network, the well thought-out career support system, and Texas’ historic strength in the industry that made the school so attractive to me. In fact, it was one of the alumni that helped convince me that I would have the connection and resources at McCombs to get where I wanted to be.

Importantly, it’s not just the connection to a dream job or function that mattered. The relationship to my career aspirations, the career management staff and system strength, and diverse experiences of my classmates mattered just as much. I asked my self, “can I develop a connection with the career staff who will have my best interest in mind?” “Is the career support system proactive?” Thinking back, I made absolutely the right call.

(For brevity sake, I left out the next seven paragraphs about airlines. I have been known to talk people’s ear off about it…)

2. The Neat Outdoor-sy City Called Austin

First off, I spent most of my life in the frigid tundra of the Midwest. I loved the snow (and snow days!), and thought it had a bad reputation. When I descended on Texas, freezing weather was somewhat a foreign concept.

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Austin’s Freezing February

Seriously though, Austin’s an outstanding outdoors town. It’s actually a neat town in general. I like to spend a lot of time outdoors – playing tennis, ultimate Frisbee, jogging – and in the ten different cities I’ve lived in my life, Austin’s has by far the best trails, courts, and the weather to enjoy it all. If you’re not familiar with the area, definitely check out Barton Springs Pool the next time you’re here. It’s Austin’s natural river open for swimming nearly all year-round

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Hiking the Barton Creek Trail with Classmates

3. A Customizable Curriculum

By now, you’ve probably heard about our class structure – two years, four semesters, mandatory core classes to start. But it’s the brevity of the required core curriculum that was especially attractive. After all, the Full-Time Texas MBA Program is only two years / four semesters long.

When I was looking at the Texas MBA Program, I was concerned that the small class size meant less options for electives. Many case/discussion-based classes need critical mass to tap into the proverbial “wisdom of a crowd”. That said, I discovered a surprising number of interesting electives for a program that currently averages 270 students per year, because there’s so much time to take electives (nearly three-quarters of the program are reserved for electives).

A great example of a course that shows the diversity of our electives is “Corporate Governance” taught by Professor William Cunningham. To analyze a Board of Director’s important duties and responsibilities, the Professor invites several former and current senior executives from various companies to address the class. I’m taking this course this semester; it’s a rare opportunity to take a course where we can learn from today’s business leaders. And so far, it has been quite a treat.

4. The People

It’s a bit of a clichéd concept, but I believe that people can make the greatest difference. I always tell this anecdote about how I started to see UT as the place for me. Last year, I was making my decision on business schools, and visited Austin to check out the city and the university. Incidentally, it was the Austin Marathon weekend. There was something about the volume of energy and excitement around the city that surprised me, even if it housed a very large public university.

When I visited McCombs, it was much the same. The important thing to ask is – do I see myself with these people as my classmates? Would I enjoy their company, and be able to work with them? After talking to the current students, the faculty from the class I was able to shadow in, and even random people in the atrium, I think I saw myself fitting in just fine.

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Texas vs. Cal from the MBA Student Section! (I believe we were winning at this point…?)

Conquering a Finance Case Challenge

I recently participated in the 2015 Finance Challenge, where I joined a team with three of my classmates in analyzing a business valuation case study and presented our solutions to a panel of judges.

Here are my top five favorite moments of the Finance Challenge:

  1. Forming our dream team

The first step in any case challenge is assembling a team of four classmates who are interested in participating. The best teams are diverse – not just in cultural background, but also in skill set, work experience, and future goals. This is valuable because your team can generate unique ideas, you can learn from others’ experiences, and your presentation will be dynamic. McCombs has a wealth of diversity, so it wasn’t hard to create a solid team. I teamed up with a former investment banker, a former lawyer and banker, and a small business owner – and two of my teammates were even married!

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  1. Preparing to tackle the case… with Home Slice Pizza

One of the key elements in preparing for a case competition is social time. After we received our case materials, we visited an Austin staple – Home Slice Pizza – where we talked about the case’s important issues and our ideas to solve them over two large pizzas and a bottle of Chianti. This dinner set the tone for our whole approach to solving the case challenge – relaxed, yet confident and efficient.

homeslicepizza

  1. Cracking the quants

The inner nerd in me (okay, I’m kind of an “outer” nerd, too) was extremely excited to build the financial valuation model for this case. So naturally, it was one my favorite moments. Our whole team was eager to flesh out every detail necessary to make the perfect model. We utilized topics and frameworks that we learned in our core corporate finance class as well as the “flex-core” valuation class. I suppose my background in financial consulting and my teammates’ banking experiences may have helped, too…

  1. Delivering the presentation

Case competitions are a great way for students to practice their presentation skills. As a former consultant, I did quite a bit of presenting, and I really enjoy public speaking. It was exciting to discuss our analysis with the judges and hear their feedback. For those who are looking to improve their communication skills, McCombs provides an invaluable resource: MBA+ Coaches. The MBA+ communication coaches are all current candidates or graduates of the UT Communication Studies PhD program, and they are available to all full-time MBA students to help with speech anxiety, interviewing, networking, writing, and more.

  1. Networking and celebrating

After the challenge was over, we chatted with the judges and other recruiters who attended the event. We reflected on what we learned from the challenge: how to remain cool under pressure, how to sift through loads of information and data to determine the key issues, and how to work closely with your peers to come up with the most innovative solutions. Then we went to happy hour at Uchi (another Austin favorite) to celebrate our success with our significant others. There’s nothing like a few sushi rolls and a glass of sake to cap off a week of late nights, early mornings, and a successful competition.

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Hook ‘em!

-Tim Carreon, Class of 2017

A Texas MBA Degree = A Head Start to Your Dream Career

That six figure salary; The desire to travel the world; The ambition to make a difference. These are some of the reasons  that bring us to business school and we all hope to fulfill these aspirations through that dream job at the end! At McCombs, the faculty strives to help us to do exactly that through the many resources the business school has to offer.

If you see the class BA181 in the MBA curriculum and wonder what it’s about, I’m sure you are not alone. When I came to business school, I was surprised to find not only core classes in Finance, Accounting, Economics, Marketing and Operations but also one dedicated to Career Management. This unique class is perfectly designed to prevent the ever-busy MBA from losing sight of that end goal: To not just get a job, but the right job. It is led by an extremely talented Career Management team who provide you with a road map to reach your goal. Outside of class, they are always accessible to provide advice on topics ranging from career switching, networking, resume writing, interviewing, or sometimes just providing a shoulder to lean on for advice.

Besides a dedicated Career Management team we also have access to communication coaches who help up build our brand and communication skills through personal coaching sessions. Being an international student still learning the ropes of a new culture, these resources have been extremely useful to me. I am able to walk up to the team with questions that sometimes seem silly to me, but have always gotten the support I need. This has helped me greatly during networking events and career fairs. Learn More.

Our schedules are packed with information sessions and networking events with over 350 companies visiting campus! This can sometimes get stressful with homework, exams,  and networking all happening at once, but it has opened up a world of opportunities.

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           Networking Reception at McCombs Career Fair          

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 Tech Trek visit to Facebook

Career resources come in many forms and one of the most valuable is the UT network. Being part of this big network gives you access so alumni and seniors who are always willing to help the next generation of graduating MBAs. My personal experience reaching out to alumni has always been extremely pleasant. They are always willing to take time out for students from their Alma Mater no matter how busy their schedule. The collaboration that the Texas MBA program fosters stays with you long after you leave school. Alumni and staff are always there to help you succeed.

Finally, the biggest resource offered is the University of Texas and McCombs brand. Every day I learn of the many doors this brand opens up to students. With alumni spread across many industries and companies all around the world, the brand brings with it immense opportunities that I am learning more about every day.

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