Each fall our dean, admissions team, and career management representatives join alumni in several cities for Texas MBA Roadshows, sharing the many opportunities that come with the Texas MBA and answering any questions you may have about the application process or life at McCombs.
Below, we’ve highlighted students from the four Roadshow stops we have in the United States – Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Check out what they have to say about Austin, McCombs, and the advice they’d like to share with applicants.
Name: Conner O’Rourke, MBA ’17
Pre-MBA Residence: New York City, NY
Undergrad University & Major: University of Michigan, English
Previous Job: Sales Marketing Manager, NBC Universal
MBA Concentration: Marketing
Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? Simple. I chose McCombs because it’s situated in the best city in the country and the students I met during my class visit were the perfect combination of smart, witty and down-to-earth.
How has the McCombs community helped you to adjust to your new home? The McCombs community has been unbelievable. So much so that I have decided I can’t leave Austin. Don’t be surprised if your temporary 2-year home becomes your permanent residence. It happens to the best of us.
Any advice for other New Yorkers thinking about attending McCombs? Get ready to live outside again and hear phrases like, “you’re welcome” and “my pleasure.” Between hiking on the Greenbelt, kayaking on Lake Travis and golfing year round, there are endless opportunities to spend your weekend doing something active opposed to searching for that cool bar in BK that everyone says you should go to but can’t help you find. But there are also dozens of great bars with live music and no cover…
Any advice for folks that are going through the application process? Take your time. It’s your chance to craft a story based on your favorite subject. YOU.
What is your favorite Austin or Texas tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? My own Sunday tradition of waking up, grabbing Ms. P’s breakfast tacos and spending the day on the Greenbelt.
Any advice on things to do prior to starting school (after you’re admitted)? Get to Austin a week or two early. It may be hot, but Austin is a fun town and getting here early will lower your stress level.
Favorite memory of New York: Laying on my back at midnight alongside the Hudson watching the planes fly in and out of all three airports.
Anything else that you would like to share? Last year may just have been the best year of my life.
Name: Courtney Good, MBA ’17
Pre-MBA Residence: Washington, D.C.
Undergrad University & Major: University of Virginia, Economics & Environmental Science
Previous Job: Associate, Charles River Associates
MBA Concentration: Clean Tech
Why did you choose the Texas MBA Program? I chose the Texas MBA Program for two main reasons: the curriculum and the culture. Having worked in the energy industry prior to returning to business school, I knew I wanted to stay in the industry; the Clean Tech concentration at McCombs and UT Austin’s status as a leading energy institution assured me that I would get the industry knowledge and resources I was looking for. Additionally, the collaborative culture at McCombs and McCombs’ involvement with the greater Austin start-up community drew me to the program.
How has the McCombs community helped you to adjust to your new home? Adjusting to life in Austin could not have been easier – you are given 270 new friends when you get to campus, and are located in a city with endless opportunities and recreation. Additionally, going through the core curriculum in the fall semester with your cohort really brings everyone closer and created a great support system as I transitioned to my new home.
Any advice for other Washingtonians thinking about attending McCombs? You will be surprised at how many of your classmates are moving from the D.C. area. Also, you will feel at home because the Texas State Capitol building is right next to the university and modeled after the U.S. Capitol building!
Any advice for folks that are going through the application process? Take time to customize your essays and highlight why you think McCombs is the best fit for you. The admissions team has to read many essays, and a love for McCombs and Austin will definitely stand out.
What is your favorite Austin or Texas tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? Food wise – definitely breakfast tacos. I didn’t realize how attached I was until this summer during my internship in Atlanta, GA when I was not sure what to eat for breakfast on the weekends. Make sure to try Torchy’s or Tacodeli if you come visit Austin!
Any advice on things to do prior to starting school (after they are admitted)? First, during the summer I would recommend updating your resume and creating an initial list of your target companies. The beginning of school is a whirlwind, so the more work you have done on your resume over the summer, the more time you will have for other commitments and activities. Secondly, I recommend taking some time off and traveling or visiting family before you get to Austin. Have some fun, and give your mind a break from work before you dive into the core curriculum!
Favorite memory of Washington, D.C.: I enjoyed going to watch parties in D.C. to support the UVA basketball team.
Name: Meredith Saunders, MBA ’18
Pre-MBA Residence: Chicago, IL
Undergrad: The Ohio State University, Operations & Supply Chain Management
Previous Job: Internal Consultant, CNA Financial
MBA Concentration: Healthcare & Operations/Supply Chain Management
Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? I chose the Texas MBA Program for many reasons, but two of the most important were the variety of experiential learning opportunities and the culture. Having the opportunity to practice the skills I had learned in the classroom prior to applying to a full-time position was extremely important to me; as well as being in an environment where the students are genuinely excited not just about their own successes, but also about those of their peers.
How has the McCombs community helped you to adjust to your new home? The McCombs community has been great! Before school even started, I attended two of the MAP trips and met so many amazing people. And since then, there have been endless opportunities to go to other events including football tailgates, new restaurants, concerts, and so many other activities to get together with your classmates and explore Austin.
Any advice for other Chicagoans thinking about attending McCombs? Definitely come visit campus! And talk to as many current students as you can. Ultimately, you can read all you want about the culture of each school on their website, or Poet&Quants, but the best thing about McCombs is that once you get here, you can see that everything that is said about the culture being inclusive, and collaborative, and having amazing people, are ALL true. And you will leave here thinking that as heartbreaking as missing two Chicago winters would be; McCombs is where you need to be.
Any advice for folks that are going through the application process?
- You will get through it, and it will all be okay. It’s a long process and the GMAT is the worst, and the essays seem endless, but it is absolutely so worth it in the end.
- Definitely take culture/fit into consideration as you’re deciding where to go. Just because it looks great on paper, it may not be the best for you; so make sure you visit and see for yourself what each school has to offer and meet the people that could be your future classmates and friends!
What is your favorite Austin or Texas tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? Definitely the live music. There are bands everywhere, just waiting for you to come listen. It’s incredible. And as far as food goes I’m not going to limit myself to breakfast tacos, but tacos of all kinds here in Austin are delicious, and there is a pizza place called Via 313 that found the perfect balance between deep dish and hand tossed pizza. You need to go, and you won’t regret it.
Any advice on things to do prior to starting school (after they are admitted)? Take time off!! Relax, take a trip, do nothing. Just stop working and give your brain a break.
Favorite memory of Chicago: St. Patrick’s Day 2012 – one of Chicago’s biggest holidays. March had come and it was still fully winter, knee length puffy parka constantly in tow, and the forecast looked worse than usual. Long story short; it ended up being 80 degrees and one of the sunniest days Chicago has likely ever had before June. I think every single person who lived in the city came out to celebrate for whatever reason they wanted that day. The river was packed, spirits were extremely high, and the optimism for summer in Chicago was in full swing! It was by far, one of the most amazing, surprising, and fun days I had in Chicago.
Anything else that you would like to share? Take advantage of everything the city has to offer before you move, it is SUCH an amazing place!
Name: Royal Addis, MBA ’17
Pre-MBA Residence: Modesto, CA
Undergrad: University of the Pacific, Engineering Management
Previous Job: Go-To-Market Project Manager, E&J Gallo
MBA Concentration: Strategy & Innovation
Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? For many reasons- but what really stood out to me was the reach of the Texas MBA alumni network and the school’s strong employment connections with Bay Area technology companies.
How has the McCombs community helped you to adjust to your new home? Without a doubt it has been the encouragement and support received from the 2nd year MBA students and MBA program staff. They continually go out of their way to inspire students and make us feel at home as we transition into “MBA life”.
Any advice for other San Franciscans thinking about attending McCombs? Don’t let the thought of being in the middle of Texas frighten you! Austin may not have the beach, Dolores park, and wine country right in its backyard…. but we do have Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, Hamilton Pool, and Barton Springs just to name a few. Check them out!
Any advice for folks that are going through the application process? Take any opportunity you get to connect with school alumni and learn from their personal experience- it’s never too early to reach out! Alumni can be a fantastic resource during the application process and can help paint a more well-rounded picture of an MBA program.
What is your favorite Austin or Texas tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? It has to be UT Football tailgates- I’ve never seen anything like it!
Any advice on things to do prior to starting school (after they are admitted)? Take some time off away from your job if you can. Core classes will be upon you soon (i.e. “winter is coming…”) so relax, recharge your batteries, take time to connect with friends and loved ones, and get ready to hit the ground running!
Favorite memory of San Francisco: Being in the city when the Giants won the 2010, 2012, & 2014 World Series!
Anything else that you would like to share? I believe that the relatively smaller program size of ~270 students is an overlooked benefit and differentiating factor for McCombs. This results in a tight-knit community where you have ample opportunities to not only get to know almost everyone in your graduating class, but many of the people in the classes above and below you as well
To register for a Roadshow or see all our upcoming events, please visit the Texas MBA events webpage. Hook ’em!