By Gabrielle Zandan, Assistant Director, Texas MBA Career Management
While the majority of students were spread out across the globe enjoying their restful winter break, a group of about 90 first year Full-Time Texas MBA students permeated the otherwise empty halls of the McCombs building adorned in suits and toting padfolios, prepared for the grueling Super Week up ahead.
Super Week is an event put on by the Texas MBA Career Management team, held each year during the last week of winter break. Super Week provides an opportunity for students interested in investment banking and consulting to be interviewed for Summer Internship positions (see where our students interned last summer) without the distraction and scheduling conflicts that occur during the normal semester period. Super Week is notorious for being a test of not only mental but physical endurance, with some students having as many as 16 interviews in as little as two days. This year, we had a record-breaking number of firms participate in Super Week: 18 investment banks, two private wealth management firms, and 13 consulting firms. First round interviews took place in the comfortable Ford Career Center here at McCombs, while second round interviews took place at the company’s home office. In the evenings, students attended happy hours and dinners hosted by the employers, allowing them to get a better sense of the culture of each firm before being grilled on financial modeling and case studies.
As the students found refuge in Carpenter Center between interviews, I asked some of them to describe Super Week in one word. Here is what they came up with: impressive, exhausting, unpredictable, fun, humbling, tedious, interesting, hard, repetitive, blitzcrack (your guess is as good as mine), numbing, and emotional.
By the end of the week, the moods of the anxious, worn out students quickly shifted as invitations for second round interviews and offers started pouring in. Those who did not receive an offer during Super Week commented that the process made them more confident in their interviewing skills, preparing them for future interviews. Those who did receive offers quickly realized that this crazy process resulted in the opportunity to spend a summer working at one of the top banks or consulting firms in the country and the luxury of being done with recruiting for the rest of the year.
As one student summed it up, “Now I know why this is called Super Week.”
Scott Anderson is a member of the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth class of 2010.
What have you have been up to since you finished our program?
Prior to graduation, I transitioned into a Product Management position inside of a large networking company. Shortly after graduation, I was promoted as a leader on a Product Management team that is responsible for over $1B of revenue per annum. As a PM, I have had the opportunity to: renegotiate royalty structure and rate (increasing product flexibility while reducing COGS), develop and execute a product lifecycle plan (delivering more subscription value while reducing sustaining cost AND improving customer satisfaction), and drive multiple strategic product initiatives.
What made you want to get an MBA?
As a software architect, I was empowered to solve a given set of problems. I wanted to broaden the scope of my impact on product direction and asset utilization. I also wanted to improve my career opportunities and position myself for short and long-term growth.
Why did you choose the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth?
As I examined my top criteria, the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth was the obvious choice for my MBA.
MBA brand: If I was going to invest the requisite resources into an MBA, I didn’t want to ever regret the brand that is on my diploma. The Texas MBA is an elite brand that is globally valued. Don’t get too caught up into whether this degree costs a bit more than that one. You are only going to do this once.
Flexibility: I needed to be able to continue to work as I am the sole provider for my family.
Networking/Alumni: Dallas/Fort Worth program has a rich mix of amazing talent to share the MBA experience with. Also, having the access to the alumni database can be a great advantage when applying for a job. (Story: I recently got a call from a graduating Evening MBA student who was interviewing at my company for a product management job. I spent some time giving him background, roles, and responsibilities for product managers at my company. He can now prepare how to articulate his knowledge, skills, and experience as it relates to my company’s needs.)
Defined Term: Trying to schedule a part-time MBA around work would be horribly difficult. It would take multiple years to complete. I wanted a program that I knew I could complete in two years. Be aware of opportunity costs! Time is money!
How did your experience in this program impact your life and career?
I was truly amazed at the breadth of impact my MBA has had on my life. Attaining a Texas MBA was a critical, foundational component of my career transition plan. It has also changed the way I view so many things! I tell prospective students to try to be open to the experience. It’s best not to go into the program rigidly trying only to extract X, Y, and Z. It is better to be open, learn, and be changed from the experience.
What have you been doing with your “extra” time now that you aren’t having to spend it studying and in class?
Work and family life has filled in most of the gaps. My girls are into gymnastics and equestrian. I am also noodling on a startup idea…
Anything else you’d like to share?
For prospective students: You know if it is time… do it! You will be stretched (I promise). But it is very doable.
For current students: If you are going to transition jobs, create a solid plan to do so. Some things are out of your control. Do whatever you need to to make it happen! Take on a MBA+ project (or two). Dig deep and come up with a little extra (it can make all the difference!).
Rodrigo Malta, Director of MBA Admissions, McCombs School of Business, says:
The answer to this question will vary by school, so it is always best to check with the programs you are applying to determine their entry requirements. The question should go back to you then to determine if this is the right time to get an MBA career wise. Most top MBA programs view work experience favorably since students are expected to add to the learning environment both in and out of the classroom as a result of their professional experience. Applicants with post-undergrad work experience have been exposed to various challenges, leadership opportunities, learning environments, etc. that will enable them to fully benefit from the MBA experience where they would not otherwise benefit without this working base.
If you are applying to an MBA program and your work experience is less than the average from the incoming class, my advice would be to concentrate on the demonstrated teamwork and leadership skills in key projects on your professional work experience. Co-Ops and internships in undergrad may also be highlighted if they can be leveraged to achieve your post-MBA goals. More importantly, it is key for the applicant to let the admissions committee know how you will be able to add to the class environment given the less than average work experience (i.e. unique work assignments, etc.).
This is our first post in a new monthly series that highlights Rodrigo’s responses to MBA admissions questions found on Quora, the popular question-and-answer website. View original question and answer found on Quora.
Last year at the Venture Labs Global Investment Competition, Rob Adams, the popular McCombs instructor and director of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (TVL), promised everyone in attendance that big things were to come.
“I’ve got two big goals,” Adams said. “To make McCombs the No. 1 school for entrepreneurship in the world, and to launch a bunch of successful companies in the process.”
McCombs rose to No. 5 in the 2012 Princeton Review entrepreneurship ranking, and in a recent Q&A with McCombs Today, Adams predicts bigger things ahead.
What’s new on the venture startup horizon at McCombs?
RA: Everything we do will have a touch of new, beginning with the arrival in January of Rob Warren as the assistant director of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs. Rob’s hire is a direct outcome of the naming gift we received back in May. I promised everyone at the global competition last year that big things were coming, and we’re moving at startup speed to fulfill that commitment.
Rob comes to us from the University of Manitoba, where he teaches, runs an entrepreneurship center, raises investment dollars, mentors business teams — you name it. I’ve asked him to give renewed focus and energy to our Texas Venture Lab Investment Competition. Watch for this competition under his guidance to attract increased participation from a greater number of schools across Texas, and more money on the table for winners.
In February we’ll announce the results of the Texas Venture Labs Scholarships Program, a new program that gives scholarships to entrepreneurs to pursue their startup businesses as part of earning their MBA — that’s a value of about $175,000.
Finally, expect changes in our Global Venture Labs Investment Competition, which we’re tightening up with the goal of spinning off more successful ventures. Our theme for the competition is “investor ready,” and that’s exactly the quality of business teams we are attracting.
Not to forget one of my favorites, our popular NASDAQ event with the GVLIC winner will expand to include more interaction with corporate partners, advisors, and students.
To read the rest of the Q&A with Rob Adams, visit McCombs Today.
Why do good people do bad things? That’s the topic of interest for McCombs’ recently launched “Ethics Unwrapped” project, a free video series which aims to stimulate thought and discussion on business ethics.
Ethics Unwrapped is a project of the relatively new Business, Government & Society department at McCombs, formed as part of a renewed commitment to teaching business ethics at the university. The department focuses on the regulatory, political, legal and ethical environment of business and aims to help students cultivate the skills needed to successfully manage the dynamic business environment of the future.
“Today’s global marketplace is more competitive, more transparent, more culturally and politically diverse, and more fluid than ever before,” said Robert Prentice, interim department chair and head of the Ethics Unwrapped project. “Future business leaders will need to be able to navigate the legal, ethical and cultural demands of government and society.”
The videos include a documentary featuring disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and more than a dozen animated shorts featuring ethics concepts, including those from one of the hottest areas in current ethics education — behavioral ethics.Teaching notes are available for each video in the series, which is appropriate as continuing education for business leaders as well as students.
“Our goal is to provide a high quality and entertaining educational resource that anyone with access to the Internet may use,” said Prentice.
To see all of the videos, watch our “Ethics Unwrapped” YouTube playlist.
A new startup called BrainFund is looking to change the economics of how college students finance their education. Started by current Texas MBA at Houston student Casey Hinson, BrainFund enables students to utilize their existing social networks and email to encourage large amounts of people to give small amounts of money toward their college funding.
“Basically we’ve come in and given students a new college financing option, and we’ve given America a new option. And that option is to help students directly while understanding that a small gift, along with all the other small gifts, is going to actually make a big difference for a college student, and that’s the key: giving them that platform,” Hinson said.
Brainfund is focused around three main pillars: community, responsibility, and trust. “It’s all about the students taking responsibility for their own financial futures and the community surrounding them and supporting them in that effort,” says Hinson.
The BrainFund team plans to compete in several business plan competitions this year, including the Venture Labs Investment Competition in the spring. The team has already won the Dallas Mavericks Business Idea competition held by UT Dallas, where they received $5,000 from Mark Cuban.
For more information on Brainfund, check out “College by the Crowd: The New Future of School Funding?” by OnlineColleges.net.
“A child deserves the right to play sports without the fear of sudden cardiac death. We have the technology to prevent and treat the condition – it is our moral obligation to cause change.”
The quote above is from Stephen Myers, a current student in our Texas Executive MBA program and also the co-founder of the Center for Coronary Artery Anomalies at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. The Center promotes the awareness, training, screening, and treatment of coronary artery anomalies and sudden cardiac death in athletes, striving to produce experimental evidence that will likely change the way said conditions are viewed by the general public and the medical profession. The research from the Center has been referenced by numerous publications, including the Houston Chronicle, ABC News, and the New York Times.
I recently caught up with Stephen to ask him about his inspiration to found the Center and the process he went through to get it off the ground. Here’s what he had to say:
“My client at the time, Dr Paolo Angelini, a world renowned interventional cardiologist at the Texas Heart Institute, was discussing the story of a child who suffered a sudden cardiac death while playing football. Dr Angelini stated that the death was 100% preventable and 100% treatable. He explained that there is a condition that in most cases does not display symptoms and that often times the first clinical manifestation is death. Detection is done through a simple noninvasive MRI test. The test would detect a coronary artery anomaly and thus the child would be given two options if a positive finding was identified: 1) stop competing in sports or 2) have the surgical procedure which will correct the anomaly and allow the child to participate in sports.
I then started to research the condition along with deaths that occurred that year. I could not believe the amount of sudden cardiac deaths that had happened on the field of play in the US and overseas. As an athlete since the age of 7, which ultimately landed me at Baylor University as a dual athlete as a wide receiver and as a Track and Field athlete competing in the 400M & 800M, I wondered who is looking out for us as athletes knowing that we could die during competition?
Many professional athletes have died from this condition while playing their chosen sport in front of family and fans. Simply YouTube “Sudden Cardiac Death” to view a tragedy. Note – the videos are not for the faint of heart, I do not recommend watching them as it is traumatic to see an individual go through this event (sudden death).
For example in 1990, Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers died following a dunk and Celtic forward Reggie Lewis collapsed and died during a workout. I thought if they made it all the way to the pros with this anomaly and they were given the best medical attention possible then why was the condition not detected? What is the excuse? What about your average kid that only has a UIL physical?
The UIL outlines the physical exam that a student must have before competing in organized sports while in school. A nurse or a PA can perform the exam. A physician is not required. From my own experience, the UIL physical only consisted of a doctor listening to my heart and telling me to breath in and out. What disturbed me is that an athlete can die from sudden cardiac death during a sporting activity but yet it is not part of the UIL physical. Moreover, in one article a college coach was quoted as stating that eventually enough kids will die for someone to do something, but right now it’s just not cost effective. I thought what if we could offer a system whereby the service is free via donor support or state and/or federal funding. Could we stop a child from dying and prevent a parent from grieving the loss of the child? Yes.
Being an entrepreneur and seeing an opportunity to create change, I asked Dr. Angelini if he would mind reading a proposal that would address the issue. After submitting the proposal, he asked if I would present a formal business plan to the Texas Heart Institute. On August 8, 2008, I presented the model to Doctors Denton Cooley and James Willerson of the Texas Heart Institute. Dr. Cooley is a heart surgeon famous for performing the first implantation of a total artificial heart. Dr. Cooley is also the founder and surgeon in-chief of the Texas Heart Institute as well as Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. During the meeting, I noticed Dr. Cooley had written all over the business plan so I felt as though he was taking the pitch seriously so I gained confidence in the meeting as it progressed.
At first the proposal was not accepted, but I did not deter and started my own center and raised $1M. After proving the model and the reach of the service, on April 21, 2009, my center joined the Texas Heart institute.
Subsequently, the Kinders of Houston, Texas, donated $5M to start the Center for Coronary Artery Anomalies at the Texas Heart Institute. I would manage the project and the vision for expansion.
To perform the study, we acquired a $2M mobile MRI from Philips and hired staff. For two years, we have been screening at “no cost” middle school kids in the Houston, Texas area, specifically the HISD and FBISD School Districts. We have screened over 3,000 kids and at 5,000 we will publish findings. The initial findings have been extraordinary and will change the way screening and prevention is viewed in this arena. Moreover, the MRI Study is the largest MRI and EKG study in the world. With George Foreman, Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Madison as spokespersons, we have received a great response from the community.”
With the winter break nearly upon us, we’re excited to announce the return of Coffee Chats with current students.
As Texas MBAs take advantage of the time off of school to head back home, travel to see friends or family, or just vacation in a new city for a few days, many of them have also made time in their schedules to meet up with prospective students to talk about the program.
These informal Coffee Chats present a unique opportunity for those of you who have not been able to attend an info session or take a class visit. Through the current MBA students, we will bring the Texas MBA Program to you, as they are able to answer questions about the program and address any concerns that you have about the application process.
The students will be hosting Coffee Chats in numerous cities over the break – to see a full list of Coffee Chats for each program, visit the links below:
We really hope that you are able to take advantage of this great opportunity and make it out to one of these events – our students can’t wait to meet you!