Category: MBA Community (page 1 of 20)

eQual MBAs #Pride Stories

As Pride Month comes to an end, Texas McCombs would like to highlight how our Engaged Queer & Ally (eQual) MBAs organization has continued to support the McCombs and Austin communities, share resources and organize exclusively in a digital platform to celebrate Pride this year. Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, McCombs students continue to stay engaged, as world-changing leaders committed to serving our many diverse communities.

Equal MBA team photo

eQual MBA students at Texas McCombs

Who are eQual MBAs?

Engaged Queer & Ally (eQual) MBAs, McCombs’ LGBTQ+ affinity group, is dedicated to promoting diversity & inclusion in the @utexasmba program & community at large. Every year, they’re committed to recruiting more LGBTQ+ prospective students, organizing regular events, connecting to alumni, and building relationships with allies and sponsors. Furthermore, through their efforts, eQual MBAs bring forth educational discussions to McCombs about gender and sexuality, advocate for allyship and inclusion, and connect members to the larger Austin LQBTQ+ community. Overall, the group is divided into three different pillars: allyship, alumni, and service.

Aside from being full-time MBA students, everyone involved in the organization has faced additional challenges throughout their eQual MBA journey. Despite being the smallest affinity group at Texas McCombs, they continue to grow. Currently, they hold 14 LGBTQ+ members — a record high for the club – along with many allies as members. 2020-2021 co-presidents Andie Parazo and Matt Mason look forward to continuing to grow membership and offering support and resources to the LGBTQ+ and ally community at McCombs.

The eQual MBAs organization, to me, means having a community that will always be there to support me. The members of eQual are not only the people that I rely on to help organize events for the advancement of queer and all underrepresented people’s rights, but they are also some of my closest friends in the MBA program.

— Matt Mason, eQqual MBAs Co-President, MBA Class of 2021

Allyship, Intersectionality and the Importance of Showing Up

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The Working Professional and Executive MBA Admissions Team

Every year, our Working Professional and Executive (WPE) MBA Admissions Team hosts hundreds of events, answers your questions, and reviews applications with the goal of putting together an incoming class that showcases the strengths and values of Texas McCombs.

Our WPE Admissions Team team is dedicated to supporting you throughout your application process, really getting to know you and your goals, and helping you find your perfect fit within our programs. Get to know more about them below.

Dave Jackson
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth

Dave Jackson Headshot

Dave Jackson is the Senior Admissions Officer for our MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program and is a proud McCombs MBA alumnus. He has 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, and communication.

Dave graduated from the MBA program in 2010, amidst the Great Recession. He was inspired by a fellow alum to look at the economic situation with a fresh perspective. He recently shared his experience and insights: Considering an MBA in Uncertain Times

“An MBA is an investment that will pay off over a long time horizon, in ways both easy to measure and less tangible but still significant. So if you’re thinking about whether these turbulent times are right for making the MBA investment, it’s worth considering that this might be the best time of all to go for it.”

When considering making an investment in your MBA, Dave says you should look closely at the value an MBA program has to offer and consider whether waiting is worth the opportunity cost of missing out on the benefits you could start receiving sooner.

“A big part of that value comes from the network you build with your classmates and alumni. As a McCombs student, you instantly join a powerful and passionate network of 500,000+ University of Texas at Austin and 100,000+ McCombs alumni who are eager to help their fellow Longhorns.”

Connect with Dave to learn more about the MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth and the application process.

Christie Jenkins
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs Evening MBA

Christie Jenkins HeadshotChristie Jenkins is our Senior Admissions Officer for the Evening MBA. She joined the team in April 2020 and is originally from Vernon, Texas. She studied Public Relations at The University of Oklahoma, and received her MBA from the University of Illinois.

Christie has worked in higher education for nearly a decade and plans to spend the rest of her career in the field. While it is non-traditional that she earned her MBA, given her career goals, she believes education in America is evolving significantly, and looks for candidates that are humble and eager to learn.

“Many of our candidates have impressive careers and academic accomplishments, but I am looking for candidates who recognize there is plenty they have left to learn and are open to being taught. The classroom is safe space to make mistakes and work on your areas of improvement. I like students who are willing to embrace this opportunity and make the most out of their MBA experience.”

Christie was attracted to Texas McCombs for its renowned reputation as the best MBA program in Texas. She joined the admissions team with the goal of increasing the number of women in our working professional programs and diversifying our classes.

I like working with the best and the brightest. Texas McCombs is the best MBA program in Texas, and the Evening MBA program is ranked #7 in the country (U.S. News, 2020). Rankings aren’t everything, but they do encompass many important factors like the quality of our curriculum, faculty, outside-the-classroom opportunities, career services, facilities, and more. I like being around people who are the best at what they do and students who are going to make a positive impact on society.”

“Like all business schools, we have more men than women. Texas McCombs is better than many top programs, but we still need to improve in this area. Diversity in the classroom is so important. It leads to more comprehensive discussions, better outcomes, and creates the next generation of business leaders that the following generation will look up to.”

Christie has advice for those pursuing their MBA degree.

“Go for it. A common refrain I hear from prospective students, and was true for me before I started my MBA, is that they have been considering getting an MBA for a long time. There is never a perfect time to go back to school; life will always be busy. Don’t wait for the ideal conditions or you will never act. Just take the first step. Come to an info session or start the application. You will be surprised at how energized you get by finally acting on your dream.”

Connect with Christie to learn more about the  Evening MBA and the application process.

Elizabeth (Beth) Martinez
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs MBA at Houston

Headshot for Elizabeth MartinezBeth Martinez is our Senior Admissions Officer for the MBA at Houston. She is originally from Chatham, Illinois, and earned her BA in History at the University of Cincinnati and her MBA at Rice University in Houston. Beth wanted to work in corporate finance in oil and gas, so she decided to pursue her MBA to change her career. She now has industry experience in banking, the start-up world, publishing, and oil and gas.

“I have been fortunate enough to be involved in hiring and recruiting for many of the companies for which I have worked and the best people hands down are grads from McCombs. McCombs is clearly doing something right.”

Beth looks for candidates that are enthusiastic, open, and have a track record that highlights focus. She believes candidates should pay close attention to what is happening in the world of business, be curious, authentic, and clear about what they want.

“I want to help grow the Texas McCombs Houston program such that we are full to the max capacity every year, as I believe we have a fantastic opportunity here. Houston is the energy capital of the world and the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world. What’s not to like?”

Connect with Beth to learn more about the MBA at Houston and the application process.

Sharon Barrett
Director, Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs

Sharon Barrett Headshot

Sharon Barrett is the Director for Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs. She is a UT Alumna and double longhorn with both her BBA  in Marketing and MBA from Texas McCombs.

Sharon has a passion for education and has worked at Texas McCombs for over 10 years. She helps MBA candidates find the program that best fits their needs.

“If you are still deciding between leaving your job to attend an MBA full-time, or continuing to work while you earn your degree part-time, rest assured you’re not alone.”

Sharon also shares her insight and expertise on MBA planning, resume building, and decision-making with WPE MBA prospects. Her piece of advice when applying to McCombs is to highlight the quality of your work experience in your resume.

“Remember, your resume is important, but it’s only one data point for you as a candidate. Years of work experience give only one sense of you as a candidate, so use your resume to make the quality of those years really stand out.”

Connect with Sharon to learn more about the Executive MBA and the application process.

Rodrigo Malta
Managing Director, MBA Recruiting and Admissions
Rodrigo Malta Headshot

Rodrigo Malta, also known as Digo, grew up in Brazil and moved to the United States when he was in high school. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Management from Missouri State University and his MBA from Texas McCombs in 2007. Hook ’em!

During his time in the program, he was involved in the McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC) and later used his MBA experience to transition from an internal audit career in the telecommunications industry to a marketing role in the technology industry with Dell. His passion for admissions and recruiting led him back to McCombs where he is the Managing Director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions, which he refers to as his “dream job.”

The diversity of students is “hands-down” his favorite thing about McCombs.

“We bring together students from all corners of the world with unique personal stories and varied professional backgrounds. Add in our award-winning faculty members and this is the perfect recipe for lively class discussions and an amazing learning environment.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events, and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram. We encourage you to meet one of our team members at an event soon.

Student Spotlight: Rafael Flores, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Class of 2021

Rafael Flores Headshot

Rafael Flores, MBA Candidate, Class of 2021

Rafael Flores was 15 years into his career when he decided it was time to go back to school and pursue his MBA.

After graduating in 2005 from the University of Rochester with a degree in Economics, Rafael began his career in the finance and banking sector with Chase Bank and Northwestern Mutual. Eventually, he found his way to Allstate, where he’s worked for almost ten years.

 

“As I continued to develop in my career through various roles, I regretted not diving further in understanding the finance subject matter and strategy discussions from an executive level,” he says. “I found myself with enough work experience to where my MBA coursework can be directly applied to my job, such as challenging myself to take on broader roles and lead a larger scope of employees.”

Despite having a successful career with Allstate, Rafael kept looking back at his undergraduate experience wishing he could’ve done more as a student. Funding was in the way of a lot of his potential endeavors, and so he made it his mission to get his MBA as soon as he finished paying off his student loans.

This past year, he finally did.

Picture of McCombs sign on Rafael's first day with a caption saying "It's official. Day 1 of getting my MBA started. #mba #mccombs

Why McCombs?

While researching graduate business schools to attend, Rafael met with Dave Jackson, Senior Admissions Officer for the Weekend MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program, and was impressed with both the network and recruitment opportunities at McCombs. He also appreciated the flexibility that the Working Professional program offers its students.

“I [chose] McCombs due to its strong network culture, career development resources and credibility as a top business school in the country,” Rafael says. “When I considered those factors alongside the benefits of being able to take advantage of everything as a working professional without having to leave my job or move away from the Dallas-Forth Worth Area, I realized McCombs was going to be my home.”

From Corporate to Campus

Rafael had to learn to navigate being a non-traditional student by deciding to get his MBA after ten years of working at a corporate level. Rafael learned more about time management and organization but says the biggest lesson that helped him overcome challenges was relying on his peers.

“There has to be a time for family, work, and most importantly yourself (not necessarily in that order at times). I still struggle at times to get everything done; however, my UT friends, study group, classmates are all a part of my extended family now, and we make it work,” he says. “I just keep remembering to adapt to changes and continue to move forward.”

Aside from his schoolwork, Rafael considers his position as McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC) Chair Member as amazing to his overall MBA journey.

“My own admission process is what inspired me to get involved. I had a lot of questions and uncertainties about starting my MBA. The admissions process didn’t just walk me through how to showcase my personality and academic ability; it also introduced me to the structure and culture of McCombs, which I fell in love with.”

Group of people posing with Hook Em sign

Rafael and fellow MBA students at a McCombs event

Since the MBA schoolwork relies heavily on collaboration, Rafael says he is balancing out his work and student organization responsibilities a lot smoother. As MAC Chair, Rafael has maintained strong connections with his classmates and  UT friends.

“The experience I hope to gain is already becoming a reality. I wanted to make sure the future incoming candidates experience the culture of McCombs and fall in love with the program. Personally, I wanted to get involved in as many networking opportunities amongst the McCombs family.”

Look for a Boss, Not a Job

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Finding Love at Texas McCombs

This Valentine’s Day, we revisit some of our favorite MBA love stories! Current MBA students and alumni who found love during their time at McCombs share their sweet stories below.

An Impromptu First Date 

Aneesh and Abhisikta on their wedding dayAbhisikta Dasgupta and Aneesh Bansal, current 2nd year MBA students, met at an improv team-building activity during MBA Orientation. Two free tickets to the Hideout Theatre were taped between their seats and thus became their first official date.

“We started going out immediately after orientation and love happened gradually. It’s nice to have a partner who knows what you are going through and is there to support you,” says Abhisikta. “It is definitely more rewarding than challenging. Getting your MBA can be very stressful, so we give each other space when needed.”

Abhisikta and Aneesh got married in January 2020 in Delhi, India.

“We both have Indian parents and Indian weddings can be crazy,” says Abhisikta. “We passed on most of the planning to Aneesh’s parents but still spent many sleepless nights trying to find the right balance of both cultures. Finally, we did manage to collapse a week worth of madness into a single day of events. It was a fun, happy day.”

Abhisikta and Aneesh Wedding Photos

Abhisikta and Aneesh during their wedding celebration.

Abhisikta & Aneesh Wedding

Abhisikta says her best memories with Aneesh include getting lost while hiking and Aneesh’s cooking.

“We got lost while hiking on the Crystal Mountain (near Mount Rainier), roamed around for hours, thought we would be eaten by wild animals (it was getting dark), said our good-byes and love yous, but then spotted a lake and a bunch of tents and found a trail and are still alive to tell the tale!”

“Aneesh loves cooking for me and then he waits eagerly for feedback,” says Abhisikta. “I sometimes forget and he makes a very sad puppy face.”

Abhisikta and Aneesh are both joining Amazon after graduation in Seattle, where they plan to adopt two dogs and take full advantage of Amazon’s dog-friendly office policy.

Interviewing Your Future Husband 

When Caitlin Ellinwood, MBA ’19, was doing research for a start-up while in school, little did she know it would lead to the first conversation with her future husband, Jonathan Powell, MBA ’20.

“I was working for a robotics start-up founded by a McCombs alum and I needed to interview people related to the aerospace industry,” says Caitlin. “Jon had just started at McCombs a few weeks prior and I found out he was previously a helicopter pilot. I ended up interviewing him about his time as a maintenance manager for Apache Helicopters [in the U.S. Army].” 

Caitlyn and Jon wedding photoPhoto by Creatrix Photography.

Caitlin and Jon took a trip together to New Orleans after he completed his first semester of school to celebrate, which became a pivotal point in their relationship. The couple married in February 2020 in a “flash-mob style” wedding at the Mopac bridge alongside 50 of their closest friends and family members. 

“We chose Mopac bridge because Jon LOVES bridges! During our first trip together in New Orleans he dragged me across the entire French Quarter to see a bridge in the middle of the day while we were out with friends,” says Caitlin. “I complained at the time, but it has become one of our fondest memories. We’d visited the Mopac bridge a few times and thought it was a beautiful opportunity to show our guests Austin’s beauty and get to have fun on a bridge!”

Caitlyn and Jon on their wedding day
Photo by Creatrix Photography.

“Before we told people we were dating, we used to fist bump on campus when we saw each other. It has stuck as an inside joke between us and we still do it to this day,” Caitlin said. “It’s definitely a bit awkward at the beginning – it would be like dating a coworker. But once you’re settled in it’s great to have someone you can talk to you about classes, career goals etc.” 

Caitlin and Jon wedding photo.
Photo by Creatrix Photography.

They plan to lay low this Valentine’s Day and catch up on some alone time after the busy holiday season. 

Summer Love Turned Forever

Launa and John Bilal, both MBA ’17s, met at the  Consortium Orientation Program (OP) in 2015. John was much quieter than Launa, and his first impression of her was, “she’s a handful.”

Laura and John at graduation.

In 2016, they both moved to Dallas for their MBA summer internships and decided to live together. During that time, they fell in love.

“Being able to have a partner who is just as ambitious and understands the challenges and pressures of being in business school as well as the subsequent careers that we accept is important,” says Launa. “There is never a need to explain our frustrations, fears, or exhaustion during business school or with our work because we are sharing very similar experiences. In the same vein, we know how important it is to celebrate when either of us had milestones in business school or in our careers because we understand the challenges first-hand.”

launa and john

During their last semester of business school, Launa and John studied abroad in Switzerland and traveled together across Europe.

“One of our favorite places was Barcelona – we took a paella cooking class, marveled at La Sagrada Familia, walked through Casa Batlló, went to an ancient bath spa, and just otherwise enjoyed the culture and beauty of Barcelona,” says Launa. “It was a wonderful few days of being together, enjoying each other, and not thinking about school, work, or anything in between.”

Launa and John on their wedding day.

Launa and John both travel for work, and so this will be the first Valentine’s Day they will be spending together since getting married. They will be celebrating with a night out in Dallas.

“The primary objectives of going to business school should be to elevate yourself, learn about yourself, and explore areas that you otherwise would not have the opportunity to do in your previous careers,” says Launa. If you happen to meet someone who you feel you could also grow with and grow to love, that is a plus! Do what you set out to do – grow and challenge yourself – and the rest will fall in place.

#FultonFloresMerger

Cassie Fulton and David Flores are proud members of the Evening MBA Class of 2016 and even gave a nod to their b-school background at their wedding last year with a creative hashtag: #FultonFloresMerger.

“We met during the first orientation weekend of the program,” says Cassie. “David spotted me walking down the stairs and we ended up walking to dinner at the stadium together. At the end of the weekend, he ended up asking for my number so we could grab lunch — and the rest is history!”

Cassie famously told her brother she was getting her MBA not her “MRS”, but came away with both. Cassie and David tied the knot in February 2019 in Austin, Texas and reserved a whole table just for their “McCombies.”

Cassie & David WeddingCassie and David posing with their McCombies at their wedding.

“We started our relationship by taking the Myers-Briggs [personality assessment] with our classmates — this was VERY helpful,” says Cassie. “Being in class together and trying to navigate being a couple, trying to make friends or network with peers, and also be professional in the class environment was tricky. Being McCombies together, we made great friends in the program and built a great network. We also have similar motivations and language when discussing life and our careers.”

Cassie & David Wedding Photo

After business school, David’s job moved them to Minneapolis, MN and then to Raleigh, NC. They just moved back to Austin and don’t plan to leave again. Cassie is VP of Global Product Marketing at CPA Global and David is a Senior Customer Support & Engagement Manager at Collins Aerospace.

Out of the Friend-Zone 

Kinza Azmat and Nishanth Ramesh graduated from the Weekend MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program in 2018. They first met a pre-MBA happy hour and their story is a little different from the other MBAs.

Kinza Azmat and Nishanth Ramesh

“I know what you’re thinking: boy meets girl, girl meets boy, love at first sight. That’s precisely the opposite,” Kinza says. “We friend-zoned immediately and continued as platonic group mates. Suffice it so say that this friendship extended beyond graduation, especially since we’d seen each other at our highest and lowest points while at McCombs.”

“Our classmates were akin to VC firms, seeing our relationship’s potential much before the original founders,” she says. “Even at the insistence of many friends, we were obstinate to external advice and continued to remain friends.”

A year after graduating from McCombs, Kinza decided to move to Denver. But before moving, she wanted to close all open chapters in Dallas – subtly dropping hints to Nishanth about a potential relationship. The target audience did not receive the intended message; Nishanth invited other McCombs friends to all of Kinza’s attempts at a “real date.” Finally, Kinza point blank asked him out and he enthusiastically agreed.

“Our first date consisted of a Brandi Carlile concert, a cozy sushi spot, and the realization that all of our classmates were right,” says Kinza. “Love was a matter of weeks, a shared home came next at 6 months, an engagement at month 8, and a wedding-to-be in October 2020!”

Nishanth wanted the proposal to be fun and include their friends, at a place special to both of them – the climbing gym. Kinza enjoys competing in bodybuilding and trains to peak for photoshoots, so Nishanth coordinated a faux photoshoot of Kinza climbing at the local gym and she didn’t suspect a thing. But then, Kinza started getting suspicious, especially when Nishanth asked her to take the tape off her fingers before the next route.

“As she was being lowered from her last climb, the rope turned and she saw all of our friends gathered at the bottom, smiling and cheering,” Nishanth says. “The rope was still tied in to both of us, highlighting how she’d been trapped…oops, connected for life when she said ‘yes.'”

Kinza Azmat and Nishanth Ramesh surrounded by their friends after the proposal.

Kinza and Nishanth surrounded by their fellow MBA at DFW classmates after the proposal.

Dave Jackson, Senior MBA Admissions Officer in Dallas, who admitted both of them into the program, was one of the many spectators there to witness the proposal.

“Not only is it great to have two of my favorite people meet in the program and become engaged, but the fact that so many of their classmates were there when Nishanth proposed also testifies to the culture of the program and the relationships you form.” says Dave.

Kinza Azmat and Nishanth Ramesh

This Valentine’s Day, Kinza and Nishanth are staying true to their nature of valuing adventurous experiences and plan to go shoot zombies in a virtual reality arcade, followed by a romantic dinner.

“Our advice would be to keep doing you, make friends, experience new adventures, and let your feelings guide your life,” says Kinza.

An Adventure in Love

Lis Reed and Peter Mamone, MBA ’15s, first met on the McCombs Adventure Program (MAP) tubing trip right before orientation. They became “fast friends” after learning about each other’s military background and officially started dating that spring of their first year at McCombs. They knew they loved each other after spending a summer apart. 

Lis Reed and Peter Mahome

“We did our first year internships in different places: I was in the Bay Area with Apple; Pete was in Dallas with Deloitte. We knew it was love when we really missed each other over the summer,” says Lis. “These days we’re both at Google here in Austin.”

One of their favorite memories at McCombs was traveling to Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines with classmates for a Global Connections MBA Study Tour. 

“It was a once in a lifetime experience and awesome to share it with each other! It was really nice to be with someone who understood how chaotic business school schedules can get and who values their career.” 

Lis Reed and Peter Mahome

This Valentine’s Day weekend the couple will be heading to Nashville to celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary.

Best wishes to all our McCombs couples! ❤️

Student Spotlight: Laura
Gallardo, MBA at Houston
Class of 2021

Laura Gallardo Headshot

Laura Gallardo
MBA at Houston ’21

Laura Gallardo is a first-generation college student that learned to navigate her own way through undergrad to Texas McCombs. From applying for scholarships & aid, to registering for classes for the first time, Laura took the initiative to ensure optimal success in her professional life. She is now taking her attained journalism and public relations skill set into the business world as she works toward her MBA at Houston degree.

In October, Laura Gallardo took over Instagram stories on MBAchic  to show followers what a day in the life of a working professional student is like in our Texas McCombs MBA at Houston program.

Laura’s motivation to pursue her MBA is fueled by the desire to make her family proud. 

“My parents emigrated from Mexico in pursuit of a better life. My father’s work ethic has always resonated with me and motivated me. As a teenager, it’s so easy to be influenced by the wrong crowd, particularly in the area that we grew up. I knew that if I wanted my sister to stay on the right track, I needed to set the right example for her.”

Choosing a Business School

After completing her undergraduate degree, Laura pursued a job in journalism as a local news producer. She worked in the newsroom for six years before transitioning into a traditional public communications role at a law firm. After 11 years as a working professional, Laura realized she had to move outside her comfort zone. An MBA felt like her calling.

In recent years, I found myself making multiple lateral professional moves, when in fact I’d been vying for leadership roles. I took a hard look at my career and determined that in order to shift my professional life in an upward direction, I had to re-invest in my education. A BA in communications has served me well so far, but I am hungry for strong professional growth.

Laura says she had a gut instinct that drew her to attend McCombs. She knew she wanted to ensure that she was pursuing a degree from a school that held weight in the business world, and was drawn to the University of Texas at Austin for its recognizable name and reputation.

I made my decision to apply to McCombs after sitting through an admissions webinar series hosted by our program’s amazing admissions counselor, Jenn Cole. The webinar series was incredibly helpful in walking me through the admissions process from point A to point Z. From my very first interactions with the program, I know it could potentially be a right fit for me. 

That gut instinct was solidified after attending an open house in the spring and sitting through a class. The program’s culture immediately drew me in. Current students were extremely helpful in answering questions about the workload, schedule, and overall culture – in other words, just keeping it real! Their willingness to share was very comforting. Now as a student, I can confirm that is still the case – the class of 2020 has been incredibly welcoming and inclusive.

Work-Life-School Balance

As a mother of twin 4-year-olds, the MBA at Houston program also offered Laura a convenient weekend class schedule that worked for her family. Her husband’s job requires him to travel during the week, so they felt the program’s alternating weekend structure would be the best fit. Laura developed a routine with her husband to make the addition of the program a smoother life transition.

Laura, her husband and her two children.

“The alternating weekend structure allows my family to have our normal routine during the week, and plan ahead for class weekends. On weeknights leading up to class, I excuse myself immediately after dinner to study, but make sure to read my kids their bedtime story and tuck them in to bed.

Fortunately, now at 4-years-old, they understand why mommy is not around some weekends. As a result, we’ve had some endearing conversations as they’ve asked me questions about school based on their own experiences in pre-k, such as if we have ‘circle time’ and if I ‘learn about colors.’ I try to explain to them as much as possible about my weekend absences or having to step away after dinner to ‘do homework.’

Balancing a family, full-time career, and an MBA does have its challenges for Laura. Having limited time means missing a few soccer games and special occasions. Laura credits her friends and family for being understanding and supportive in the process and her parents for being readily available to provide child care.

“Most importantly in this MBA journey, having a support system that I can rely on for emotional and moral support has been so crucial.”

Laura’s Post-MBA Plans

“Ideally, I would like to apply my current skill set (attained from a career of journalism and public relations) to a different industry. I am increasingly interested in an investor relations role where I can use my new knowledge about accounting and finance, gained here at McCombs, and compliment it with my previous experience. If I remain solely in the communications field, I would hope to lead the marketing strategy team for a publicly traded company or a private equity firm. My long-term goal is to lead at a Fortune 100 company.”

Laura and her children posing by the UT tower

Laura’s Advice to You

“If you’ve been even remotely considering pursuing an MBA, go for it! Invest in your career and yourself. Prepare and begin the admissions process early so you’re not cramming to meet the final deadlines: study for the GMAT, request your letter of recommendation, think about how you’ll fund tuition– set the wheels in motion early. Once June rolls around, the enrollment process moves extremely fast,

Don’t let your role as a parent keep you from pursuing graduate school. Like any major life change, having the right support will be crucial when returning to school, and especially if you have a family. Between classes, projects, and studying, the program will inevitably keep you away from your loved ones, so surround yourself with friends and family who have your best interest at heart, understand, and are there to encourage you.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram. Hook ’em!

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