Category: Student Life (page 1 of 8)

Working Professional Student Spotlight: Natalie Tyrrell, MBA Class of 2019

Many Working Professional MBA students, given their average age range and typical experience, may also be contemplating starting (or expanding) a family. Texas McCombs has an official Parental Accommodation Policy in order to support your family choices during your MBA, whether that means a pregnancy (you or a partner), adoption, or other specific family circumstance requiring leave.

We recently chatted with Natalie Tyrrell, Texas McCombs Evening MBA 2019, about her experience becoming a new mom while being in business school. She navigated this transition within our parental accommodation policy and hopes her experience can help future students face this challenge. Natalie is originally from St. Louis, MO and in addition to school and family, she currently works as a Director of Talent Development for a school district. She had her daughter, Edith Marie Tyrrell, in October 2018. Congrats, Natalie!

MBA Student Natalie Tyrrell and her family

The Tyrrell Family

In Natalie’s Own Words

“I am a working professional student who commutes to class from San Antonio twice a week. It would not have been feasible for me to go to class and stay in the program for the first 6 weeks or so after baby if it had not been for the parental leave policy the program offered. I was able to access video recordings of classes and complete some assignments at my own pace (of course while also staying in tight communication with the professors). Once I returned back to class, I leaned on the program office, my study group and other parents in the program to help me orient myself back into the balance of school and work– but now with a baby too. It has definitely been a challenge! I have gotten much better at asking for help and learning how to become better at prioritizing my time. I could not have accomplished this transition without the support of the MBA community.”

The Challenge of Finding Time

“Finding time to study and complete assignments was my biggest challenge. At first, I was trying to work on homework whenever I had a free moment. When I took a step back, I realized that longer stretches of work time actually worked better and caused less anxiety than squeezing things in. This has allowed me to enjoy the time I have at home with my family and be more in the moment. My husband and I have had to figure out our schedules for sharing the primary caregiver role. I could not do it without his support. 

I am 100% happy with my personal decision to continue with the program while becoming a new parent. However, it definitely means making sacrifices and relying heavily on my partner to pick up some of my slack, especially around final exam time.”

Natalie’s Advice to Future MBA Parents

Do not let being a parent and a student (and working professional) deter you from considering following your MBA dreams. Just know what you are signing up for– a few years of hard work, long hours, and some sacrifices. If you go in with your eyes open, I think you are more likely to be successful. Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and a little bit of grace when you need it!”


We encourage you to review our Parental Accommodation Policy for details on the kind of accommodations it can provide. When you enter a working professional MBA program, we understand that family support is a key element.  Please let us know if you have any questions or need further info.

Student Spotlight: Lily Yap, DFW MBA Class of 2020

Lily Yap Headshot

Lily Yap, MBA Class of 2020

Our Dallas/Fort Worth Class of 2020 welcomed its largest class ever, with 88 new students. This is also the most international class the DFW program has ever had and the most diverse in terms of companies/organizations represented.

We recently caught up with Lily Yap, a DFW MBA student originally from San Francisco, California. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Business Management and works on coordinating life-saving programs and operations for animal welfare services in Dallas.

Lily’s “WhyMcCombs?”

Lily was excited to see how passionate the current MBAs in her field are and looked forward to taking leadership classes. She believes classes that refine “soft” skills are extremely beneficial and looks forward to sharing her unique knowledge with other students and organizations.

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Student Spotlight: Guilherme Junqueira, Full-Time MBA Class of 2020

Headshot for Guilherme Junqueira

Guilherme Junqueira, MBA Class of 2020

Our Full-Time Class of 2020 is composed of 284 impressive MBAs from all over the world.  Students from outside the U.S. are a valuable part of the Texas McCombs network, bringing their individual perspective and cultural background to Austin. 24% of our 2020 Full-Time MBAs are international students.

We recently caught up with MBA ’20 Guilherme Junqueira, a student originally from Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Brazil. His journey to Texas McCombs offers insight to future international students wanting to earn their MBA here.

Guilherme’s “Why McCombs?”

Guilherme lived in Sao Paulo for nine years where he attended university to study Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Before coming to Austin for his MBA, Guilherme worked at Oxiteno as a Lead Product Management Analyst.  

When applying to graduate school, Guilherme researched different schools and their admission process online and attended events in Sao Paulo. He expanded his research after taking the GMAT by attending Texas McCombs MBA events, and speaking with current students and alumni via phone calls and emails.

“I wanted to join a top MBA program located in a small to mid-size city and with a small class; these were important factors because I wanted to develop close connections with my classmates in a more focused program environment. After submitting my applications, I came to the U.S. to visit five schools that I had applied to; this definitely was the best way to confirm that McCombs was the best fit for me.”

He attended business school events in Sao Paulo and multi-school events such as the MBA Tour. For him, events offered clarity to understand the similarities and differences of each program. After being admitted, he attended company-sponsored pre-MBA events in both Brazil and the United States. The A.T. Kearney Bootcamp helped confirm and narrow his career priorities post-MBA. He found that he enjoyed participating in national career fairs, such as Prospanica, in career treks and entrepreneurship events.

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The Non-Traditional MBA Candidate

The following was written by Samantha Frapart, Texas McCombs MBA ’17, and originally posted in June of 2017. 

I thought I couldn’t get into business school. With my double-major in English and Ecology, five years in non-profits, and my natural aversion to words like “Nasdaq” and “synergy,” how could I convince admissions teams that I belonged in their MBA programs? Well, after graduating from McCombs in May of 2017, I’m here to happily debunk one of the greatest myths of business school: The non-traditional candidate.

Contrary to popular belief, business programs aren’t looking for human calculators. They are looking for students eager to foster strong teams, willing to negotiate & compromise, and ready to share diverse perspectives. In management classes, I was able to add a unique viewpoint to discussions on anything from government regulations to corporate social responsibility. Though I looked to my study-team for help with my finance homework, I was able to offer equally important business lessons like proper brief-structure and design thinking.

We all have something to offer, it’s just a matter of figuring out what that is and letting it shine through.

Though I assure you “non-traditional” is a thing of the past, I know this process can feel daunting. So with the Full-Time MBA application currently open for the next class, I’d like to share some helpful tips from my experience (before and during business school) in hopes that it might ease your worries about applying and prepare you for the fantastic two years ahead.

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Student Spotlight: Pallavi Nair, Full-Time MBA Class of 2020

We have the privilege of welcoming Forté Foundation members into our MBA program each fall. The Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of top companies and business schools, working to launch women into successful careers through access to education, opportunities, and a supportive network.  Texas McCombs has been a proud Forté partner since it was founded in 2001, and the MBA program participates in Forté events across the country every year.

We recently caught up with a new MBA and Forté Fellow who hadn’t always planned to pursue an MBA, but quickly realized how the Texas McCombs MBA program could help to reach her goals and foster her passion for advocating for women in business. Meet Pallavi Nair!

Class of 2020 MBA, Pallavi Nair

Hook ’em! Class of 2020 MBA, Pallavi Nair

Tell us about your background– the education, volunteer or work experience that led you to want to pursue your MBA?

My hometown is Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, and I have a chemical engineering background. I think what drew me most to engineering is the drive to fix problems and build solutions. After my undergraduate degree, I worked as a product development engineer at PepsiCo R&D, continuing to use this passion to drive new innovation for brands such as Doritos. At some point it became clear to me that while I loved engineering, I was also fascinated by the strategy behind how we innovated. What were the emerging market trends that were actually worth pursuing? How should we leverage the company’s global resources effectively while keeping our regional consumers in mind? I knew about unlocking new technologies, but how did we decide which technologies were worth unlocking? These questions made me realize that I would love to earn my MBA and spend time delving into these topics through hands-on learning experiences and interactions with not only great professors, but classmates who have experience in a variety of business-related fields. I want to keep creating solutions over the next two years and beyond, and can’t wait to start applying the knowledge I gain through my MBA to my problem-solving approach!

What was the application process like for you? Why did you choose Texas McCombs?

I think my application process was a little different than most. I did not decide until early fall that I was ready to apply to b-school; I was very happy at my current job and an MBA was not necessarily a checklist item to further my current career path. Instead, it was the realization of what truly interested me and what I hoped to learn that drove me to apply. I selected the programs I applied to very carefully, based mostly on reputation, location and program structure, and visited each of the campuses. What struck me the most about McCombs as compared to the other schools was the culture. It’s something people mention a lot, but experiencing it in person really makes a difference! I truly felt the McCombs “win-as-one” culture was very evident. The student body truly felt like a family, and the environment felt comfortable and inclusive without sacrificing motivation and a drive for success. I was also extremely humbled when I found out I had been selected as a Forté Fellow by McCombs in my offer of admittance. The desire to drive positive change for gender equality in the workplace was something I had brought up passionately in my application process, and I was very happy to know that the school saw me as a fit representative for Texas McCombs in this arena.

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