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There’s No Place Like McCombs: Visit Us in Austin and Around the World

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Summer is here!  And with summer comes heat, sun, and travel.  We, too, will be hitting the road for a number of events around the world, and we wanted to take just a quick moment to let you know how you can find us this summer

Below, find a list of opportunities to meet us in a city near you.  If we are not visiting a city near you, then know we are always happy to have you here in Austin!  Austin is a great place to visit over the summer if you too love sun and heat, as well as live music, great food, and many places to take a dip in cool waterAdmissions Officers will be present all summer long, and if you plan in advance with us, we can do our best to have a current student or alumni here to meet you as well, just let us know. 

Without further pontificating, here is our general travel schedule.  Hope to see you on the road!

Domestic Coffee Chats

  • Our current 1st Years are all across the country now working at their summer internships.  We have asked many of them to host local coffee chats, an intimate opportunity with typically no more than 5-6 people, to discuss McCombs and their own experience during the application process through their first year at McCombs. Space is limited, so please register soon to ensure you get a seat at the table.  Visit the following link to see the full schedule and register:
  • McCombs Summer Coffee Chats Registration Link

Diversity Opportunities

  • We will be attending a number of events for the Consortium, MLT, and Forte, and if you are a member of those organizations, we look forward to seeing you there! 
  • If you are not a member of either of these organizations, or if you are and want another opportunity to meet us, we will be at the National Diversity MBA Summit in Washington, DC.  Here are the details:

International Opportunities

  • MBA Tour: We will be visiting many cities around the world with our friends at the MBA Tour.  Please visit their website for exact dates and instructions on registering.  Here are the cities we will be visiting:
    • Sao Paulo, Brazil
    • Lima, Peru
    • Bogotá, Columbia
    • Mexico City, Mexico
    • Taipei, Taiwan
    • Tokyo, Japan
    • Seoul, South Korea
    • Shanghai, China
    • Beijing, China

Come to Austin

  • If you can make it to Austin, please email us at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu.  We will do our best to accommodate a visit with us here at the MBA Program Office.

Other Outreach

  • For a comprehensive list of our Coffee Chats and Tour Events, please visit our website.
  • If you still cannot find an opportunity to meet one of us on our travels, then please make sure to reach out to a current student or an alumnus via our student and alumni directory.  They are happy to answer your questions and offer you advice as you begin the process of researching and applying for B-School.
  • Also remember that once the Fall hits, we will have a whole host of new opportunities to meet us both domestically and around the world, so stay tuned! 

Meet the Graduates | Bill Blackstone, MBA ’14, Executive MBA

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Name: Bill Blackstone
Program: Texas Executive MBA
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Undergraduate Institution: Baylor University

What were you doing professionally before coming to McCombs, and what made you decide to pursue your MBA?

As a student in the Executive MBA program, I continued to work full-time at Rackspace while pursuing my MBA. When I started the program, I was a front-line manager, and, through hard work and leveraging what I learned in school, I was promoted three times in the first year of school. Currently, I am the Site Leader and local executive for our Rackspace Austin office consisting of 560 employees. With a background in musical theater and a degree in music, I felt an MBA was an important step to continued success in a business career.

What led you to choose the Texas MBA?

Following the sage advice of the ages, I put all my eggs in one basket. McCombs was the only program I wanted to attend due to its incredible network, world-class professors, and global reputation. Further, living in the best city on the planet – Austin – McCombs was an easy choice since I was able to continue working for Rackspace while attending school just a few minutes south on I-35.

What has been your favorite part of the Texas MBA Program at the McCombs School of Business?

Hands down, the people. You will regularly hear about the faculty being world-class. It’s true. But, so are the students. I will never forget walking into class for the very first time and meeting my fellow classmates: a Navy SEAL, an Air Force Fighter Pilot, a farmer and multiple doctors, lawyers, engineers, and C-level executives. Then, there was me – the Broadway turned Business dude. It was hard not to be intimidated.

Further, over the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of being teamed up with a study group (Team Orion!) consisting of a humorous, type-A doctor; an incredibly polished non-profit consultant; a caring and thoughtful software manager; an Excel genius, bell pepper farmer; and a thought-provoking art gallery owner that we’re convinced is a CIA agent (I really hope the NSA isn’t reading this blog post). Ultimately, the diversity in experience, thought and nationality of the entire class truly created an unparalleled learning environment.

Any particular memories that stand out?

At the beginning of the EMBA program, we have a bit of a “hell week” where all of us “old folks” get re-introduced to school. Towards the middle of the week, our study groups were given a challenge of developing a strategy for a business case and pitching our idea in a competition against the other study groups and the Mexico City EMBA program. Our team made it to the finals. As the first presenter, I was promptly introduced to the brick wall named Professor John Doggett. After successfully standing my ground through the rapid succession of questions, Professor Doggett fired his last shot: “Son, do you KNOW how to answer a question in 17 words or less?!?” I immediately quipped – “Sir, yes I do. However, you haven’t allowed me to speak 10 words without interruption.” A hush of shock fell over the room. Then, Doggett let out a roar of laughter and turned to Dr. John Burrows (EMBA Program Director) and asked, “Is this one of yours?” He immediately replied, “Damn right he’s one of mine.” Thus, my MBA career began.

What about a favorite professor?

This has to be the toughest question. To be fair, I have to mention three professors who have made a profound impact on my career. First, Dr. Rob AdamsNew Venture Creations, Texas Venture Labs Practicum – truly opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship. He showed me that success in entrepreneurship wasn’t just luck but there’s a science behind solving market pain points. Second, Professor Sandy Leeds – Investment Theory – made me write out company valuations by hand. Not only did he help me appreciate Excel more than ever, he taught in such a manner that helped me truly absorb financial concepts which will help me in every aspect of my career. Finally, Dr. Violina Rindova – Strategic Innovation – taught me to look where no one else was looking. Her methods of strategic innovation have permanently altered my decision making process.

Any words of wisdom for incoming students?

Get your tail kicked. This is the only time in your career where you can flesh out new ideas, learn tough subjects and challenge others whilst challenging yourself without fear of career altering consequences. Take every advantage of the opportunities presented during your time in school.

How has your education in the Texas MBA Program influenced your approach to your career?

During the first information session I attended, Dr. Burrows described the ability of the program to change the slope and velocity of your career. Originally thinking this was marketing fluff, I’ve come to realize the truth of this statement. I can say, with confidence, the only area of my career it hasn’t influenced is my coffee consumption.

What’s next for you?

At the moment, I love my career at Rackspace. In my current role, I’m able to utilize all aspects of my MBA from Managerial Accounting to Negotiations to Leadership to Marketing and everything in between. Ultimately, I’m excited about the local and global opportunities that are now within reach because of the Texas MBA program.

Join us in congratulating Bill and all of our Class of 2014 graduates. They have worked incredibly hard and have truly earned the Texas MBA. If you’re interested in connecting with Bill, feel free to get in touch with him online via LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/billblackstone/  or Twitter: @BillBlackstone

Interview with Admissions Director: Rodrigo Malta Chats with MBA Crystal Ball

RodrigoMalta-TXMBA-LargerOur Director of MBA Admissions, Rodrigo Malta, recently spoke with MBA Crystal Ball, an MBA admissions consulting group out of India, and shared with them some information about our admissions process, tips about essays and interviews, and more. See an excerpt below:

MBA Crystal Ball: Your 2013 employment reports states that 18% of the jobs were in the Technology industry. That is an encouragingly high number compared to other top schools. Please elaborate on the functional profiles within this sector that students go to; also help us understand whether these are primarily in the products space or also in the services side of Technology. Do you see this sector as being more open for international candidates, on a relative basis, compared to the others?

Rodrigo: About 70% of those jobs in the technology industry were in marketing and sales. Of those jobs, about 50% were in software, 25% in hardware, and a handful in E-commerce.

Generally, we do see the technology sector as being more open for international candidates.

MBA Crystal Ball: A lot of our readers are curious to understand employment opportunities in the marketing space. As an international student, which industries and what sub-functions can one realistically target post an MBA from your college?

Rodrigo: Most of the careers our international students enter in the marketing space are in technology.

In our experience, international students can expect to have better success in the consulting, technology, finance, and manufacturing industries, and, in fact, about 65% of our international students have ended up in consulting or finance.

MBA Crystal Ball: Any roles that are generally preferable (analytical, planning etc) or out of bounds (e.g. front office marketing) for international students with no prior cultural exposure?

Rodrigo: For international students without prior cultural exposure, we have found that analytical, technical, industry consulting, and manufacturing roles are more preferable. When it comes to manufacturing, for example, international graduates often provide a unique cultural background that employers may need in the global marketplace.

Because we believe that each student’s path is unique, we wouldn’t necessarily put any avenues “out of bounds,” but we do know that consumer packaged goods marketing (CPG) can be difficult for international students, but not impossible.

Generally, some of the toughest areas we’ve seen for international students are in energy or energy finance, largely because the process for acquiring sponsorship can be costly and laborious for companies in these industries.

MBA Crystal Ball: What proportion of your students typically manage to switch their careers (sector/function) after the MBA? What are some of the more drastic changes that you have observed in the recent past?

Rodrigo: Here at McCombs, the majority of our students are able to get into the industry they indicate to us as their target industry.

In our experience, however, we have certainly seen many drastic changes, like engineers shifting to create successful careers in investment banking. But when we see these types of changes, they don’t necessarily come out of nowhere.

We remind our students in these situations about the importance of continuity, and, when deciding on a new direction, the importance of acting strategically, continuing to demonstrate the relevance of their prior experience.

Click here for more admissions tips from Rodrigo Malta from his recent interview with MBA Crystal Ball.

What Diversity Means at McCombs

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By Brodie Reynolds, Associate Director of Admissions, Full-time MBA, University of Texas at Austin

We have a tendency here at the McCombs School of Business of bragging incessantly about how great our students are.  They truly are not only the smartest MBA students there are, but also the kindest, most genuine, and highly capable people that we know.  But what makes them this way?  I could begin to list off their unique work backgrounds, or the interesting things they learned during their undergraduate experiences, or their innovative career plans, but these lists do not really explain what makes them special.  These lists of course matter, but if I were to identify the defining characteristic of the McCombs student, it would be an excitement for learning, and an adventurous spirit that keeps this excitement alive through adversity and change.

Knowing this characteristic is so pervasive within our student body, we work very hard to create an academic environment that supports and encourages innovation, adaptation, and excitement for the unknown.  We insist that our student body is as diverse as possible, so that the unknown can be found not only in the coursework you take, but also in the person sitting next to you in your study group.  Diversity, at its core, is opportunity: opportunity to learn, opportunity to step outside yourself and grow, and opportunity to make a network that can pull you in the directions that will most benefit your future.  It is what makes us different, and we encourage each of our students to be themselves fully, without reservation.

This summer we are celebrating our 30th year of partnering with the Consortium of Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), an organization whose purpose is to promote and develop diverse MBA candidates.  You can learn more about the Consortium and its mission by attending the Information Session they offer during their Orientation Program event, which is in Austin this year from June 5th – 10th, 2014. 

This is only one of many ways we support and promote diversity, including our Diversity and Women’s Forums, the Forte Foundation, MLT, and our many, many student organizations.  Each year we are excited to see the countless ways each new student adds to the diversity we have forged over the decades McCombs has existed.  We look forward to the possibility of adding your uniqueness to our community as well.

No matter who you are, you can be successful at McCombs, as long as you, too, are excited about the unknown and want to grow with the people around you. 

Meet the Graduates | Kyle Schumacher, MBA ’14

Kyle Schumacher

Name: Kyle Schumacher, #TXMBA Class of 2014
Hometown: Niceville, FL
Undergraduate Institution: University of Central Florida

What were you doing professionally before coming to McCombs, and what made you decide to pursue your MBA?

Prior to my MBA, I was at Google (in Austin) on their Enterprise Sales team. The MBA had always been a career goal and I felt that luck favors those who aggressively seek opportunities.

What led you to choose the Texas MBA?

McCombs is based in the “City of Ideas.” This, in combination with the cooperative, but driven, student culture made McCombs an obvious choice.

What has been your favorite part of the Texas MBA Program at the McCombs School of Business?

Undoubtedly, I’ll look back on my MBA and remember how it gave me the opportunity to work for a social enterprise in Kenya. The experience was transformative. I had always worked for Fortune 500 companies, but was intrigued by developing markets and new business models. The summer internship gave me the ability to explore this passion further. Furthermore, I was directly able to apply the skills learned during my first-year to add value to the organization.

What other activities have you been able to participate in because of your affiliation with McCombs?

Board Fellows – President: I saw a club that had tremendous potential. By sticking MBA students on the board of local non-profits, the students get invaluable governance experience and the non-profit gets a fresh perspective and, often, a lacked skill set. The organization grew by 250% during our team’s tenure and secured organizations such as Livestrong.

Startup Ecosystem: The exposure I received to the Austin entrepreneurial community was unparalleled. One highlight was working with a PhD student to commercialize his robotics technology. We filed a patent and pitched to over 100 members of the local community.

MAP Trip Belize: This 10-day trip before classes started gave me an incredible set of friends to enter the program with. We still reminisce on memories from the trip.

Any other particular memories that stand out?

My study group consisted of an architect, librarian, professional poker player, and a tech entrepreneur. The incredible diversity forced me to see business problems in new ways… exactly the reason I chose Texas!

What about a favorite professor?

Professor Doggett. Love him or hate him, he is a master at his craft. Everyone was incredibly engaged and I always found myself thinking about the topics discussed outside of class.

Any words of wisdom for incoming students?

The Texas MBA program is one of the best career insurance policies in the world. Use it as an opportunity to stretch yourself and to try something new.

How has your education in the Texas MBA Program influenced your approach to your career?

My peers’ ambitions and my ambitions go well beyond our first job post-graduation. I, perhaps foolishly, have confidence I have been exposed to the tools, to the opportunities, and to the network to proactively change the world.

What’s next for you?

I will be working for a local startup, Impossible Ventures, who is committed to taking on an extremely complex problem. My role is to help build out their customer-facing operations. Should be challenging and exciting!

Join us in congratulating Kyle and all of our Class of 2014 graduates. They have worked incredibly hard and have truly earned the Texas MBA.

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