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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.

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  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

The Road to Rowling: Future Home of the Texas MBA Program

In spring 2013, UT-Austin announced a $25 million pledge from Dallas businessman Robert Rowling, BBA ’76, his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, BBA ’76, and their family to fund the construction of a 458,000-square-foot graduate business building – The new Robert B. Rowling Hall!

Rowling Hall will house the McCombs School of Business graduate programs, including the Texas MBA program. So, future Texas MBAs, here’s how our new home is coming along so far:
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The future home of the Texas MBA – Rowling Hall!

The Beginning of Something Big

Construction plans on the future site of the Texas MBA, Rowling Hall, began last fall. The new building, next to the AT&T Executive conference center on the UT-Austin campus, will open in late spring 2017. Rowling Hall will be the “launch pad” for projects between the school’s students & alumni, and the wider Austin community. Stand-out features include the new active learning classrooms!

Rowling Hall groundbreaking

Breaking new ground: (left to right) Associate Dean, Eric Hirst, Dean, Tom Gilligan, Robert Rowling, President Powers, and GBC President Maureen McCaffery

Groundbreaking of Rowling Hall

Construction on Rowling officially began on November 7th, 2015.
Texas MBAs are known for their work ethic. They have established a reputation as leaders, team players…They roll up their sleeves and seek solutions. They take risks and try new things. They make things happen.Eric Hirst, Dean of the Texas MBA Program

 

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Artist’s rendering of Moontower Cafe


“Meet me at the Moontower Cafe.”

Last fall, McCombs held a contest to name the cafe at Rowling Hall. Students from all six MBA programs responded with 127 submissions. A naming committee narrowed the list until student Mackswell Dickson, MBA ’16, emerged as winner, gaining a one-year tuition scholarship.   Among the attendees to the final announcement were donor Robert B. Rowling and MBA Program Dean, Eric Hirst. The winning name, the Moontower Cafe, was announced by Hirst in an email to all students.

 Read more about “Rowling Rising” or follow Rowling Hall on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

We’ll see you there in 2017! Hook ’em!

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.

Gather aroundthe table

The Texas MBA Program Office will be closed on Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27. We will reopen on Monday, November 30.

Have you planned your visit to McCombs yet? Join us soon for an on-campus event to learn more about the program. Details and registration at TexasMBA.info.

Happy Thanksgiving and we hope to see you soon!

2015 Texas MBA Women’s & Diversity Forum Events

This past weekend, the Full-Time Texas MBA program hosted their annual Women’s Forum at the McCombs School of Business here at UT-Austin. This is always an exciting McCombs event and this year’s attendance was strong! 83 potential MBAs had the TX womenopportunity to interact with McCombs faculty and staff, alumni, and current students during a number of information sessions and networking receptions, allowing them to learn more about all aspects of the program and begin to picture themselves as Texas MBAs.

Professor Srinivasan of the Texas MBA program

Texas MBA Program Professor, Raji Srinivasan

“It was a wonderful and large group of women, who
were excited to learn about the Texas MBA program, the University of Texas at Austin, and Austin! There was animated discussion about the challenges of coming back to school, especially for women, and issues related to career switching. I enjoyed speaking to them and learning about their career goals and aspirations. This is a great group of prospective MBA students and I look forward to seeing many of them in the fall of next year.”

– Professor Raji Srinivasan

 

A Global Perspective.

The 2015 Texas MBA Diversity Forum was also this month, on November 14th. McCombs hosted 88 attendees from all over the world and these future MBAs had the opportunity to get to know program staff, faculty, alumni, current students, and each other for a first-hand look at the Texas MBA program.

Highlights from this year included a “Why McCombs?” presentation from Assistant Dean, Tina Mabley, in which she discussed what makes McCombs and the city of Austin stand out, from innovative culture, to beautiful outdoor spaces and a thriving arts and music scene. Attendees also learned about our dynamic student life through interactions with members of McCombs student organizations.


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

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