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Navigating Change – A Timely Topic for the Society of Women Engineers

From Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional & Executive MBA Admissions

I’m so grateful for this aspect of my job. This week, I had the distinct pleasure of presenting to the Austin Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers on the topic of Navigating Change, one day after this country’s historic election results. Karen Landolt, one of our MBA+ Leadership Program Coaches, engaged this group of 40 smart, professional women in exercises and discussion on this timely topic at Dell’s Parmer Lane campus. Dell and EMC are in the process merging companies, philosophies and cultures, and being aware of something as simple as the difference between Boston, where EMC is based, and Austin’s Dell is so important in forming a more perfect union.

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Women in attendance represented a variety of engineering disciplines from a number of well-known companies in the Austin area, and they left with some practical tools to help navigate change in their organizations, their careers and in life. They also had a chance to network with each other and talk to Dell’s career team, as well as learn more about how an MBA can help advance careers not only through academics, but also through co-curricular resources such as the opportunity to receive 16 hours of one-on-one professional coaching from a prudently procured and prolific list of professionals. MBA+ coaches come with expertise in areas such as communication, executive career paths, leadership presence, professional image, improvisation (thinking on your feet), project management, media presence, creativity and innovation, emotional intelligence, and even accent modification among other skills.

If you’d like for someone from the Texas MBA to speak at your organization whether it’s a public or private company, or a professional or special interest group located in Houston, Dallas or Austin, please contact me at Sharon.Barrett@mccombs.utexas.edu.

Military Community at McCombs

Transitioning from military life to civilian life can be hard. Veterans will most likely have to move, find a new job, and leave behind a way of life that they have become accustomed to over the course of many years. An MBA degree can be a great resource for veterans to enhance their business skills and transition into a civilian role in the business community. Skills from military experience—leadership, management, team-building, logistics and operations— are easily transferable into an MBA experience and beyond.

McCombs recognizes the value military veterans bring to our campus. Our community is one of support, collaboration, and dedication to prepare you for career success. We have military students hailing from all branches of service and are honored to welcome new veterans to our classes each year.

The McCombs School of Business and The University of Texas at Austin offer many resources to aid in the transition into civilian life and returning to school full-time to earn your MBA. See below for some of resources available to vets enrolled at McCombs. We thank you for your service and hope you’ll come visit us in Austin to learn more about our nationally-ranked MBA programs.

Armed Forces Alumni Association (AFAA)

As the primary MBA student organization for military veterans in the program, the AFAA is a great way to get connected and involved in our community. The organization focuses on drawing parallels between the principles learned in the military and the skills required to be successful in business. Learn more on the AFAA website.

Student Veterans Association

The Student Veterans Association at The University of Texas at Austin works to serve the needs of students with prior or current military association, their families, and dependents. The organization aims to develop and implement support activities to better assess, promote, and represent the interests of this population within the University community.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

All veterans are eligible to receive our merit-based admissions scholarships and are automatically considered for these upon applying to the Texas MBA Program. Veterans will also automatically receive a waiver for the application fee upon submitting their application to the program.

The UT Austin Office of Student Veteran Services is available to help MBA veterans navigate the federal and state education benefits they are eligible for as well as connecting them with additional grants and scholarships available to them. Student Veterans Services also offers academic support, health care and wellness services and helps foster a community among veterans across the UT Austin campus. Check out their website for more information.

Career Support

No matter where you interests lie, the Texas MBA Career Management staff offers endless resources for helping you discover your strengths and relevant transferable skills that will make you stand out during the recruitment process post-MBA. While our military veterans go into a broad range of industries and functions, some of the most popular are operations, investment banking and consulting.

Texas MBA Military Forum | December 2-3, 2016

The Texas MBA Military Forum offers future military MBAs the opportunity to meet many of the former military members currently enrolled in the Texas MBA Program, meet our top-rated faculty, and network with Texas MBA military alumni. Through this event, you’ll learn how to successfully transition from your military career to a top MBA program, as well as discover all of the resources available to you at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Military MBA Spotlight


sattler-nicholas-ncs663Nick Sattler,
Texas MBA Class of 2017

Did you encounter any challenges when entering the “civilian life” again?

My concern was that I thought I was making a huge transition that my classmates outside the military would not understand. But in a full-time MBA program, regardless of school, all of your classmates are making huge transitions at the same time. Once I realized that I was not alone in such a life change, as a veteran or otherwise, my civilian life began to take hold and my belief that I made the right decision was cemented.

What is your favorite part about the Texas MBA Program?

My ability to define my own path. At McCombs there is no definition of success to which we must subscribe. Instead, McCombs fosters a culture of success that is focused on each of us as individuals. Here, you are not prepared for a specific post-MBA role. Instead, McCombs establishes you as a leader- no matter where you want to go. If you know what you want to do, the Texas MBA will be able to get you there.

Do you feel your military background has given you a leg-up in a particular aspect of the program?

The leadership opportunities and breadth of experiences we had available as young professionals are unmatched in the private sector. As a result, my military experience coupled with dedicated mentors developed in me the knowledge for how to 1) see the big picture, 2) define objectives, and 3) present arguments and ideas convincingly. These are the elemental skills for future success.

How would you describe the Veteran support available at UT Austin?

Outstanding, pure and simple. I was concerned about the idea of two bureaucracies – a state university and the VA – working together. But I could not be more impressed with the efficiencies and access we have as vets at UT.

What would you say have been your biggest struggles in the program and how has McCombs helped support you in overcoming these challenges?

The biggest challenge was getting out of my own way. I discounted my ability to contribute to the MBA community because I did not have what I thought was a “typical” background. I was worried about being able to translate my experience into stories my peers and recruiters would understand. But quickly, I began to shed these ideas and build confidence in myself. McCombs is a community of wildly successful people from diverse backgrounds all going on to successful futures on equally diverse paths. That is incredibly motivating. I am honored to be here.


nash-doug-jdn954Doug Nash,
Texas MBA Class of 2017

Did you encounter any challenges when entering the “civilian life” again?

My biggest challenge was in understanding the organizational, work/life, cultural and growth considerations that surround every unique industry or function. Where we come from, there is usually an organized method of communicating these considerations (say, before choosing a military occupational specialty, or an aircraft platform), but in the civilian world the onus of research is much more on you.

What is your favorite part about the Texas MBA Program?

My favorite part is hands down the relationships. I certainly enjoy the academic challenges and education that have taken me very far to date, but nothing beats walking in to the Carpenter Center and being met with a room of smiles and warm greetings

Do you feel your military background has given you a leg-up in a particular aspect of the program?

I  expected my work ethic and mental endurance to be substantially stronger than my classmates’, but I was quickly proven wrong. These are some of the smartest, hardest working, and most ambitious individuals I have ever met. What actually turned out to be among my greatest strengths is an ability to organize within a group, boil problems down to solvable parts quickly, and task organize to execute the solution.

How would you describe the Veteran support available at UT Austin?

The Student Veteran Services office is incredible. The only thing that makes me feel bad for veteran students is that more don’t take advantage of this amazing resource… they are benefits experts, and present excellent access to network and camaraderie that spans across campus.

What would you say have been your biggest struggles in the program and how has McCombs helped support you in overcoming these challenges?

There are obvious challenges in beginning to develop business framework thinking, working through hard finance skills, statistics, etc… in addition to the fact that it’s tempting to try and draw parallels for everything back to your military experience. I challenge first year vets to get active in fellows programs, clubs, industry projects and social groups they otherwise wouldn’t in order to immediately begin to apply those frameworks and start developing experience and friendship bases outside of the uniform.

International Student Spotlight: The Road to McCombs

Did you know that 28 percent of the Texas Full-Time MBA Class of 2017 are from countries outside of the U.S.? Texas MBAs come from all over the world, and this week we’re highlighting some of our international students who made the long trip to McCombs. Check out what they have to say about Austin, McCombs, and the advice they’d like to share with future international applicants.

 

img-20161014-wa0012Omar Garza, MBA ’17

Where are you from originally? I’m from Chihuahua, a city in northern Mexico that is 230 miles south from El Paso, Texas.

Why did you choose the Texas MBA Program? I chose McCombs because of its very strong Entrepreneurship program as well as the vibrant startup ecosystem at UT Austin and in the city. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America and its the perfect place to start a new business.

Any advice for others from Mexico thinking about attending McCombs? My advice to them would be to reach out to current students and alumni.  I’m always impressed by how open and friendly everybody is here and how far people are willing to go to help someone out.

 

dsc_0027-copy Tulio Soria, MBA ’17

Where are you from originally? I am from Brazil. I used to say that I am from São Paulo state. I was born and raised in the countryside of the state, in a small city called Pederneiras with a population of about forty thousand.

Why did you choose the Texas MBA Program? I knew that I needed to be in a tech hub surrounded by brilliant visionaries. The answer for me was the Texas MBA in Austin. The Texas MBA offers challenging courses in information management and analytics, which are essential for a digital leader. Austin has a young, educated population, with a great startup community and fair VC presence, along with a burgeoning creative scene, which is the perfect environment for tech.

Any advice for others from Brazil thinking about attending McCombs? It is an amazing experience to challenge yourself to immerse yourself in a new culture in such vibrant city and program.  My advice for those going through the application process is to visit Austin, visit the school and talk with our alumni and current students.

 

byhYeony Bae, MBA ’17

Where are you from originally? I am from Changwon, a beautiful medium-sized city in southeastern coast of Korea.

Why did you choose the Texas MBA Program? First, I really liked the people and culture. I enjoyed talking to the Admissions Committee and alumni during info sessions and in my interview. I am reconfirming my decision every single day while working with cool, bright classmates and faculty in  a great collaborative culture. Second, the small class size in a huge university setting was very attractive. I wanted to build a strong, personal network in the MBA program and I thought the small class size at McCombs would help me do so. Third, I really wanted to get into the tech industry after completing my MBA and McCombs has a strong network in this industry. Lastly, the location in Austin mattered a lot. I wanted to go through this life-changing experience in a place where I can truly enjoy it.

Any advice for others from South Korea thinking about attending McCombs? You can really be anyone you wish to be in the entrepreneurial and collaborative environment at McCombs. Your classmates, alumni, and faculty will give you full support and help you achieve your dreams – that is the Texas MBA culture. Austin is an amazing place for you to spend two years of precious time and beyond. My time with the Texas MBA and in Austin literally changed my life in many ways. I hope many other Korean candidates come and share my experience.

 

lisa-mariaLisa Maria, MBA ’17

City of Origin: My hometown is in Bekasi, West Java, 20 miles east of Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta, but I spent most of my time from elementary school to high school in Jakarta.

Why did you choose the Texas MBA Program?  I am a double Longhorn and graduated from the Cockrell School of Engineering for my undergraduate degree. I had an amazing experience and knew I wanted to come back for my master’s. Thanks to the UT network, I had the chance to connect with Texas MBA alumni and heard great things about the program, solidifying my decision to choose McCombs. McCombs is very student-run — being in the program has given me opportunities to be active and assume leadership positions in several amazing organizations. I have been in the technology industry my entire career and plan to go back there after graduation; McCombs’ location in the major tech hub that is Austin, TX has provided me a very valuable network in that industry.

Any advice for others from Indonesia thinking about attending McCombs? Austin has similarities with Indonesia in a lot of ways. Indonesian people are known to be very friendly, so are Texans with their Southern hospitality. Austin’s economy is growing rapidly, so is Indonesia’s. And the food scene… Austin has such diverse food options like Indonesia does, although I must admit nothing beats Indonesian food.

luciaLucia Galvez, MBA ’17

Where are you from originally? Lima, Peru

Why did you choose the Texas MBA Program? I wanted a top MBA program with a strong Management curriculum complemented with hands-on experiences, as well as a collaborative environment that fits my personality. I had the privilege of visiting McCombs before applying and people made me feel super comfortable!

Any advice for others from Peru thinking about attending McCombs? McCombs has a lot of opportunities that I discovered after I enrolled in the Texas MBA Program and I knew I made the right decision. If possible, come to Austin and interact with the McCombs community to make sure it is the right fit for you!

To learn more about the Texas MBA Program, admissions events, and application information, please visit the Texas MBA website.

How an MBA Can Help Your Startup Succeed

From Harlan T. Beverly, PhD, Texas Evening MBA ’04

Every year, thousands of students flock to MBA programs nationwide to learn the craft of business. In recent years, many of those students  have come with a gleam in their eye, that of launching and succeeding with their own startup.  At The University of Texas at Austin, MBA applicants can earn a scholarship for their idea, assuming their idea is strong enough. One of the key questions about entrepreneurial education, though, is this: what does it take to succeed at a startup? And more to the point, is that something you can learn in an MBA program?

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2016 TVL Scholarship winners Josh Berrington (left) and William Wilder (right)

Researchers in entrepreneurship have typically focused on the attributes of the founding team as key predictors of success.  While it is obvious that certain characteristics like risk tolerance, persistence, and charisma could be helpful in getting an entrepreneur started, there is still much debate about what it really takes to have a successful startup.

In 2004, I was one of those MBA students with that startup fire in my eye.  Now, a dozen years later and with three successful startups under my belt, I believe that there are many critical things that a student can learn in an MBA program to help better their odds of success.  Here are three things I learned as part of my MBA that I have leaned on to beat the steep odds of startup success (less than 1 in 10).

First and foremost: Define success before you begin. 

Not every startup idea is destined for an IPO or billion-dollar exit.  An MBA helped me to learn how to assess the business potential of a startup idea and set realistic goals for what success looks like.  All too often, startups fizzle out because they reach too high or even achieve limited success…but fail to exit at the right time.

Second: Learn, learn, learn. 

No matter what it’s called – “market validation” or “lean startup” or listening to customers – learning, and adapting is essential to success.  My MBA helped me understand both what I needed to learn (pricing for example), and how I could learn what I needed from real customers quickly.

Finally: Success is never achieved in a vacuum.

My MBA helped me to understand the importance of networking. Hiring and firing are essential leadership skills as a company grows, and an MBA not only helps you understand the leadership principles, but also helps you develop team-based skills to work well with others. For me, it was at UT Austin that I met the co-founders of my first company, as well as many future business partners.

Clearly there are many things to learn and skills to develop as part of an MBA. Can they help an entrepreneur be successful?  Absolutely.  The University of Texas’ Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs has proven capable of developing MBA students into successful startup founders. The new Texas Venture Labs MBA Scholarship is now open and accepting qualified applicants with world-changing startup ideas. Learn more about the application requirements and submit your application today!

My Texas MBA Women’s Forum Experience

From Julia Brannan, Texas MBA Class of 2018, on her experience at the 2015 Women’s Forum.

julia-brannanWomen interested in  the Texas Full-Time MBA Program are encouraged to attend our annual Women’s Forum, taking place Nov 18th & 19th! There’s only a few spots left, so apply today!

During the forum you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the Texas Full-Time MBA Program, interact with current students and faculty, understand the value proposition of the Texas MBA, and experience what makes Austin so special!


Here’s a look into my Women’s Forum experience:

As I sat in the audience with 80 other prospective female MBAs interested in learning more about McCombs, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how much this event would impact my decision to join the McCombs community.

Day 1 – Thursday

I join the Texas MBA Women’s Forum GroupMe and current students are messaging us, “Who runs the world? Girls!” I’m feeling excited. Now I know I have an additional bond with some of these women beyond McCombs and a passion for women in business – a love for Beyoncé. I head to the Welcome Reception and meet amazing current students including Amira Fawcett, class of 2017. She came from a sales and trading background and had just been accepted for a product management internship at Amazon. Amira is a prime example of what a woman in business is like at McCombs. She’s down to earth, hilarious, driven as ever, and is passionate about helping her female peers reach their goals.

Day 2 – Friday

I applied during the first application round so I head to my scheduled interview in the morning. My interview is with Eric Franco, class of 2016, who’s heading to a job at an energy company post-graduation. Eric shared stories about taking classes in UT Austin’s other graduate schools, including top programs in law, public policy and engineering (the list goes on!). He loved that McCombs offers a tight-knit community along with access to endless resources throughout UT. Post-interview I grab lunch with girls attending the forum and later we head to happy hour with current students and explore Austin.

Day 3 – Saturday (main part of the Forum!)

We settle in and are greeted by Austin’s beloved breakfast tacos and the Assistant Dean of the Texas Full-Time MBA Program, Tina Mabley. Tina, a McCombs Alum, shares what makes her love this program – the people. She explains how every year the students, faculty, and administration continue to build the program for the better. For instance, Silva Gentchev, class of 2017, had just launched the Social Impact Internship Fund (SIIF). SIIF is a student-run initiative for first-year MBAs geared to help fund their classmates’ social impact internships with organizations that otherwise would not be able to afford MBA salaries (spanning non-profits to the public sector to social enterprises). The rest of the day moves at a quick pace and I’m viciously scribbling down things that inspire me left and right. To share a few:

  • During the Student Life Panel I meet Tenaj Ferguson, Class of 2017, who won the Texas Venture Labs Scholarship worth $10,000 and in-state tuition after pitching her own-startup in the competition. Tenaj is using an incubator in Austin to help grow her business, Lady Epicure Gourmet – a retail and food service natural food brand and manufacturer of commercial food tech equipment. Using McCombs’ strength in strategic marketing, she landed an internship at the Campbell Soup Company to build upon her brand management skills.
  • Ty Henderson, a favorite McCombs professor, leads us through the Classroom Experience, providing a taste of what his Analysis of Markets class would be like. It’s incredibly engaging, partially case-based, and rooted in data analytics.
  • I meet Nikki Bruce, Class of 2015, in the Beyond the MBA – Alumni Panel. Nikki used McCombs’ MBA+ Leadership Program to pursue a micro-consulting project with Boston Consulting Group. This experience validated her desire to pursue consulting and she now works full-time at Deloitte Consulting.
  • Associate Director of Career Management, Ramona Arora, shares during the Career Management discussion how students have access to career counselors and communication coaches who help to advise a student’s career search, assist with resumes, and provide feedback on interview behaviors. Additionally, I learn we’ll have access to the largest alumni network in the country – alums who are more than willing to take our calls (I’ve experienced it firsthand now, they really are)!

Attending the 2015 Women’s Forum was far and away the most rewarding experience I had throughout the MBA application process. Two main things really stand out to me looking back; first, the forum gave me that intangible validation that McCombs was the right fit for me. Austin, and to a larger extent, McCombs, were environments that I knew I wanted to call home. Second, it facilitated an-ongoing conversation that I personally feel strongly about – women’s experience in the workplace and in leadership in general.

Now, in my first semester at McCombs I truly feel that the answer to “Who runs the world?” is #McCombsWomen.

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