Category: MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth (page 1 of 6)

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

Following a list of “unsatisfying” positions after undergrad, Rafael’s family advised him to “look for a boss, not a job.” That advice ultimately led him to his current position at Allstate. He says his current manager listens to his ideas, nurtures the skills he has while pushing him to develop new ones, and introduces him to the people that can help him reach his goals.

“A job is something that pays the bills, but a career is a lifestyle that gives you fulfilment and gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. Part of having a satisfying career is working for someone that you believe in,” he says.

Rafael works full-time as a claims manager for Allstate where he applies his MBA coursework in his role as a team leader. He was celebrated by Allstate for his efforts as a leader and his ten-year commitment to the company earlier this year.

Leading Through Experience  

Rafael was also excited to contribute his experience with diversity and inclusion to the McCombs community through Allstate. He is involved in the company’s diversity team as a certified trainer for the “Leading with Inclusive Diversity” training course. This training allows him to discuss with employees and leaders the importance of creating inclusive environments by developing intercultural competence.

“To me, diversity and inclusion is about marrying the various experiences and backgrounds of everyone in the workplace. By making sure that we are self-aware of our differences and using enhanced communication techniques, any organization can leverage its workforce to create an inclusive environment.”

Group of people in front of Jam + Toast sign

Rafael says he’s also personally leveraged his cultural and social diversity to assist with his understanding of other’s points of view at McCombs. To him, this is a key factor in his overall success with leading teams.

“At McCombs, I continue to leverage my inclusive diversity skills to enhance the material we learn, and also tackle differences of opinions when discussing highly technical or complex problems. This has been a huge win for me and for any organization that drives my passion to work towards a more inclusive workspace.”

Rafael says his management style took a turn for the better when he stopped being a boss and started being a leader, which, to him,  starts with empathy and listening to his team.

“I take the time to understand the challenges and obstacles that my team is facing. Sometimes these can be personal or work related struggles. I try to make my team aware that I am here to support and keep them on track to our shared vision of helping our customers and achieve our organization’s goals,” he says. “We celebrate our successes together, we learn from our mistakes, and we keep accountability high to make sure everyone is reaching for success.”

The coursework offered at McCombs has strengthened Rafael’s experience in leadership and management. For him, the key to having an amazing team starts with celebrating their diversity and nurturing their skillsets.

“I recently had the opportunity to talk to our Executive Vice President and Chief Claims Officer in my organization, and he solidified for me this concept very clearly. ‘Work has less to do with you and it’s more about the team.’ His thought mirrors perfectly to what I am currently studying in my MBA leadership class with Dr. Dave Harrison.”

“This is key in making sure that fresh ideas are heard and help us find better and smarter ways to work. Each time I achieve results, it’s actually my team that deserves all the credit.”


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!

Considering Your MBA
in Uncertain Times

Dave Jackson is the Senior Admissions Officer for the Texas McCombs 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. Here, he provides a personal perspective of his time in the program that may be helpful to those currently evaluating an MBA amongst the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. 

Dave Jackson Headshot

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

I remember sitting in a conference room in the Fall of 2008, in my first year of the Texas McCombs MBA at DFW program. For those who remember that time, we were in the midst of one of the worst recessions in our country’s history as the subprime mortgage crisis brought the financial system to its knees.

The alum standing at the front of the room talking to our class asked, “Who thinks this is a good time to be looking for a job?”

None of us even gave a thought to raising our hands. Most of us were more worried about keeping the jobs we had, let alone finding something new.

He looked at his audience of skeptics and said, “I would argue that this is the best time of all to be looking for a job. Because companies are only hiring people for positions that they know will add value. And those are the jobs you want.”

One simple argument changed our whole perspective on what appeared to be a bleak economic situation.

Now we’re facing another crisis – a public health challenge combined with an economic one. And it’s perfectly rational to ask: Is now the right time to make an investment in an MBA?

This is ultimately a personal question: Everyone has their own set of criteria for what makes a good investment and when is the right time to make it.

Here are a few things to consider:

Return on InvestmentJust as investment advisors recommend that you invest your money for the long-term, recognize that you have many more years ahead in your career and your MBA will pay off over a long period of time. But in thinking more specifically about payback, the most recent GMAC survey of business school alumni found high-levels of both satisfaction and return among both full-time and part-time graduates. Employers value the MBA and despite an uncertain hiring environment, there will be opportunities for good candidates in the future. Additionally McCombs was named No. 1 Best Value among top 20 business schools by U.S. News and World Report, based on the gap between average starting salaries and debt.

NetworkRemember that the concepts of return and value are two different things. While return is more easily quantifiable and you should expect a reasonable payback period, you begin accruing value with your MBA from the day you start, and you continue to accrue that value over the rest of your life. 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. Being surrounded by a group of smart, goal-oriented, diverse and downright interesting people will give you new perspectives on how to do your work differently, provide you with new tools for solving problems and give you connections (and friendships) that will always be with you throughout your career.

Knowledge Another main source of value in an MBA is the knowledge you gain, which has no expiration date. MBA faculty are the best in their fields, and they also recognize the strength of knowledge in the room. They know how to facilitate discussion and draw on the expertise of you and your fellow students. At McCombs we are fortunate to have extraordinary breadth across academic disciplines, as one of only five schools in the nation to rank in the top 20 across 11 or more U.S. News graduate business specialties. Additionally our faculty have been named top 10 Best Professors by The Princeton Review for 10 of the last 11 years, based on feedback from students about teaching quality and accessibility outside the classroom. We assume that everyone seeking an MBA aspires to be a leader, and our curriculum is geared toward preparing you for leadership. As we’re learning each day, strong leadership skills and empathy are critical in difficult times to ensure that our businesses, organizations, and team members are prepared to get through difficult challenges. As an MBA graduate, you will be well-equipped to play a leading role in solving the next crisis we face as a society.

Perspective Finally, it’s important to recognize that the current environment, while difficult and unprecedented, is temporary. The world economy has weathered many challenges over its long history. And while the “when” isn’t clear, things will get better. It’s important to consider whether waiting to pursue your MBA is worth the opportunity cost of missing out on the benefits you can start receiving sooner.

Warren Buffett, a child of the Great Depression who has become one of the world’s greatest investors in good times and bad, has said, “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”

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.


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

First Look: MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Class of 2021

The Round 1 application deadline for our Dallas/Fort Worth MBA is just around the corner! Our admissions committee is always committed to selecting top-caliber students to offer their unique perspective to our community. Last year, we had a very strong pool of applications to pull from and the program welcomed its largest class ever as a result, with 94 students beginning their MBA journey with Texas McCombs this past August.

We are proud to welcome our talented class of 2021! 

Our 94 students come from over 37 different organizations, including Goldman Sachs, Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Sabre, and more. Our students span across a number of industries as well– technology, financial services, manufacturing, energy, and healthcare round out the top five.

The percentage of women in the class also increased, continuing an ongoing trend of growth in the number of women in the DFW program– the last three incoming classes have had the highest numbers of women in the program’s history. In addition, we continued to grow our number of under-represented minority students and first-generation college graduates, which is something we hope to see in future classes.

Group photo of the Dallas/Fort Worth Class of 2021

Introducing our Dallas/Fort Worth MBA Class of 2021.

The 2021 students also have the privilege of being the first class to take over the new 17,000 square foot space at The Centrum in Uptown Dallas! The location provides great access to the city’s business community, including companies within The Centrum, such as Capital Factory, Salesforce, BRIT Systems, and the University of Texas System. The bright, innovative space creates opportunities for collaboration, learning with technology, and more access to on-site program staff and comfortable study areas.

Our admissions team feels humbled by the amazing people making up our latest DFW MBA class, and cannot wait to see what they accomplish during their time in the program. If you’d like to join them as part of the Texas McCombs MBA network, remember to start your application soon– We look forward to meeting you in Dallas!

The amazing staff from the Texas McCombs Dallas/Fort Working MBA program.

The Texas McCombs MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth staff at The Centrum opening party.

To learn more about the DFW MBA, download our brochure, check out other DFW MBA events , or follow us on Instagram for an inside look at student life.

Hook ’em!

How to Highlight Your Work Experience

This MBA Insider content comes from Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional & Executive MBA Admissions.

When evaluating your application, our MBA Admissions Committee aims for a complete picture of your qualifications and fit with the program. It’s all about perspective. We look  at your application as if we are holding a scale, balancing all the parts.

When considering the specific experience on your resume, on one side there’s a raw number of years (Quantity), and on the other is your job experience (Quality).

Quantity

Say that you are the CEO of a mid-size corporation. Wonderful!  Oh, you just started in this position? That’s an amazing accomplishment, but perhaps you’d still admit that your knowledge and expertise in such a new position wouldn’t be as developed as someone who’s been doing it for a few years.

Or maybe you have been in the same job for 10 years.  Wow!  No doubt you are a go-to person when it comes to that role, but could it mean that perhaps you didn’t take as much initiative or demonstrate leadership qualities required to launch you to the next level? Or perhaps you have only had a project manager role for a year, but in that time you’ve produced measurable results and demonstrated leadership.  In these cases, the quality of your work experience matters more.

Quality

A general job title like “Project Manager” may seem lackluster, but could actually be pretty exciting.  Don’t let us make assumptions. Take every opportunity on your application to illustrate just WHAT about your job made your experience rich and rewarding.

On the flip side, a Chief Operating Office title sounds impressive, but what kind of company did you work for and how extensive were your duties?  An impressive title with naught to back it up won’t move the needle in your favor when it comes to work experience.

The take-away on work experience:  Years, titles, and accomplishments are not, by themselves deciding factors. To help you provide us with a clear picture, here are our top tips for highlighting the quality and quantity of your work experience on your resume:

7 Tips for a Better Resume

  1. Tailor Content – You may have heard the adage that your resume should be tailored to your audience, which is true. But customizing your resume may simply entail reordering or swapping out bullet points. Remember, a resume is a summary of your relevant experience, not necessarily all of it.
  2. Emphasize Results – We don’t just want a summary. We want to know whether you generated results from your work.  If the person replacing you could copy and paste your resume bullet points into their resume, that’s probably a sign your bullet points need to better emphasize your individual contributions in the role.
  3. Avoid Redundancy – Think of each line on your resume as a valuable piece of real estate. Consider the incremental value that each line on your resume provides for you as a candidate. If you have performed the same task in multiple roles, is it necessary to list that same task more than once on your resume? Likely not.
  4. Show Balance – We want to see a “balanced” candidate – someone who has been strong in the classroom and in the workplace while participating in extracurricular activities and having unique interests outside of work. Consider creating an “Additional” section to detail your activities and interests for use as a potential conversation starter.
  5. Utilize White Space – Great resume content can only be great if a reader can easily access it. That’s where resume readability comes into play. Don’t forget to use your white space effectively. A resume is not about cramming as much you can onto the page. Rather, give your content some space to breathe.
  6. Enlist Proofreaders– Perhaps the most important element of a resume is that it is free of errors. A single spelling, grammatical, or formatting error can hurt even the most impressive resume. Have multiple individuals proofread your resume.
  7. Convey Personal Brand – What do you think of when you think of great global brands like Apple, Nike, or Google? What words come to mind? Now, when we read your resume, what words do you want to come to mind about you? Have a peer give your resume a 30-second review and see if the words you want to pop for a reader, actually do.

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. Hook ’em!

The Top 5 MBA Admissions Questions

If you have reviewed the Texas McCombs MBA application process, you are familiar with the basic steps to applying. Here are some of the steps we’ve highlighted on this blog:

Of course, the above list does not cover everything. Each application is unique, and you may have a special situation or questions specific to your career goals or background. Our MBA Admissions team has put together our Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions below.

Who has Texas residency status?

Everyone who applies to the Texas McCombs MBA is classified as a non-resident until they are admitted, accept the offer, and complete a Texas Residency questionnaire. So even though your status may look incorrect to start, if you’re a Texas resident, you’ll have a chance to prove it later on in the process.

How do I submit transcripts?

We get all sorts of questions on transcripts– foreign language transcripts, study abroad transcripts, old paper transcripts, and electronic transcripts. Here’s a breakdown of the steps for transcripts:

  • Order official transcripts from any university or college you attended EXCEPT junior or technical colleges. Have the transcripts sent to you directly. If your transcripts are in a foreign language, they must also be accompanied by an official English translation.
  • Scan and upload all transcripts to your McCombs Application online.
  • Pay your Application Fee. (see #5 below)
  • Scan and upload transcripts to the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC).
  • Store your official transcripts safely. If you’re offered admission and intend to enroll, you’ll then send your official transcripts to GIAC.

Are letters of recommendation required?

We require one professional letter of recommendation from a person who has supervised your work and/or has assessed your performance during your career. We cannot accept additional letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are received directly from the recommender via a secure portal in your application. While completing your application, you will be able to send your recommender an invitation to access this secure portal to submit their recommendation. Once your letter of recommendation is received, you will be notified via automated email.

A few helpful hints:

  • Complete this part of your application first. This will launch email notifications to your recommenders and allow them to get started on the form while you’re working on the other components of your application.
  • Contact your recommenders ASAP to let them know they should receive an email to avoid them ending up in someone’s junk/spam email folder since they come from a generic Texas MBA email address.
  • Monitor the status of your recommendations in the McCombs application portal to ensure they’re completed within a reasonable amount of time, and by the deadline. You can resend notifications from within the portal as needed.

How long do I have to submit my test scores?

As long as you’ve taken a test and have made the request to have your official scores sent to UT Austin by the round deadline, your application will be considered “on time.” During the admissions process, we sync what you reported in the application with what’s received by UT Austin. It can take several weeks for your official score to be received by the university, and your application marks this item complete once it arrives.

If you’ve decided to retake the exam after you’ve submitted your application, please notify the appropriate program as soon as you have your score. Please note there is no guarantee that your updated test score(s) will be considered in the evaluation of your candidacy, as this depends on when the McCombs Admissions Committee receives the update from you. Again, it’ll take several weeks for the official score to reach UT Austin, but be sure you’ve made the request to have the updated score sent.

If you’re applying to multiple programs at McCombs, you don’t need to send separate scores to each program. UT Austin has a central repository for official scores that all departments can access.

When do I pay the application fee?

You will not be able to pay the application fee for about two business days after you hit the submit button, depending on when you submit your application. Your application is considered “on time” if submitted by the deadline, regardless if the fee is paid on that date. However, your application will not be evaluated if you do not pay the fee once it’s due.

Please be sure to complete the following steps AFTER you hit the submit button on the application:

  • Within two business days of submission of your application you will receive an email with instructions for how to log into your GIAC MyStatus Page. Log into your GIAC MyStatus page to pay the $200 application fee. Your application fee status should reflect “Paid” in the McCombs application portal within five business days of submission.
  • Upload Transcripts to GIAC after you have paid the fee. Note: Former University of Texas at Austin students will pay a transcript fee in lieu of uploading UT Austin transcripts to GIAC.

We encourage you to carefully review all the MBA application components in detail as you complete your application. And if you have additional questions, please reach out to us.

Hook ’em!

These tips were originally posted on Sept. 18, 2017 and have been updated for this application cycle.

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