5 Tips To Get Ahead In The Race (For An Internship)

Students wheelbarrow racing during Cohort Games as part of Texas MBA Orientation.

Students wheelbarrow racing during Cohort Games as part of Texas MBA Orientation.

Written by Susan Masson

Prospective and admitted students often ask the MBA career management team what they can do before they start the program to get ahead in the internship search. With eight years in the MBA program office and three years with career management for reference, I’ve seen a lot of students go through the process. My top five pearls of wisdom for your consideration:

1. GET REAL - We know you wrote a Pulitzer prize-winning treatise to get into the Texas MBA program, told a convincing story and laid out a brilliant career plan. Now that you’re in, it will be up to you to make it happen. So, if your plan was more of a creative writing exercise than a confident recap of your long-term goals, it’s time to get real. Be honest with yourself. What are you good at? What do you like doing? What motivates you? What work environment allows you to thrive? Recruiters don’t get to see your admissions essays, we promise.

2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK - To be effective in your internship search you need to be a good storyteller – articulate, accurate and personable. This seems simple enough since the story you’ll be telling is all about you. It’s not. Do your homework. Go back through your work history and make note of not only job responsibilities, but also your transferable skills, your strengths and weaknesses in each position, the positive and negative incidences where you had a major impact or learned something that you carried with you in subsequent positions and actions you undertook that achieved noteworthy results. These elements will become the basis for the personal brand you promote to potential employers.

3. READ - If you’re not already in the habit of scanning business news daily and following business leaders and companies that interest you, start now. Create a new habit. It will serve you well in your classes as well as your job search. If you’re new to the business world altogether or are planning to switch industries or functions, you have a whole new vocabulary to develop. Start with Vault Guides and hone in from there letting your interests and goals guide you.

4. TALK TO PEOPLE - Let your friends, your family, your co-workers and your sister’s best friend’s uncle know you’re going back to school and why. Tell them about your plans and your aspirations. Ask them about their work and their career paths. The more people who know your story, the bigger your network. People hire people they know and like. Let people get to know you. We’re confident they’ll like you or our friends in admissions wouldn’t have admitted you!

5. MARK YOUR CALENDARS - Our apologies to those of you who like to fly by the seat of your pants, but you’re about to encounter a whole new level of busy. Whatever system works for you is fine, but start laying out your plans now. You’ll have to prioritize and, sometimes, make tough decisions because there will be more opportunities to do cool, fun, interesting and advantageous things than you can possibly fit into 24 hours. If you take care of items 1-4 above, those choices will be much easier!

EXTRA CREDIT: FIND YOUR ZEN - The MBA job search is like no other job search you’ve experienced before or likely ever will again. Take a deep breath now and remember to keep breathing. It’s an adventure – sometimes exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes panic-inducing. Find your Zen; it will serve you well. Cultivate your curiosity, a positive attitude and an open mind.

Posted in Career, Full-Time MBA

Coffee Chats With Current MBAs

Join A Current Student For A Coffee Chat

Join A Current Student For A Coffee Chat

By David Burford

I have a friend who is so picky about his dining experiences that he is unwilling to eat at any restaurant in which he has not thoroughly examined all of its Yelp reviews. While I admire his efforts, I’ve never found this method to yield substantial time or money savings. He always seems to spend more time looking for a formidable restaurant than we do eating, and the online reviews tend to be too subjective and lacking the detail I’d want to know, like, “Salsa smells like gym socks.” Plus, it’s not like the authors are looking to find their reviews in next month’s edition of the highly esteemed “Yelp Reviews Monthly”. (Don’t actually Google that…) Bottom line, we don’t get the information we need to make an informed decision.

It’s easy to Google the words “Texas MBA review.” Not surprisingly, you’re going to get everything from “experts” of all things MBA, to a Texas A&M article (oh no they didn’t!), to, on page 10, reports that “Turtleman” Ernie Brown Jr. is under fire from the US Attorney’s Office!!!

In other words, this search is not very conclusive. And frankly, how could it be? I mean, Google, while amazingly awesome, is meant to give you the facts…just the facts, ma’am. Qualitative information is only useful if you and the author had the same likes, dislikes, benign indifferences, work background, etc.

Because it’s hard to get all the information you need to make a decision online, and since you can’t just Google the minds of our current students, we offer the next best thing: coffee chats. Don’t let the name fool you. If you don’t drink coffee, meet at a bar, bookstore, rodeo arena, bingo hall, etc.

In order to set up your coffee chat, visit the coffee chat page for your corresponding program of interest: Evening MBAExecutive MBA, MBA at Houston, or MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth. On each page you’ll find a proposed address of a coffee chat and corresponding name. Each person on the list is a member of the McCombs Admissions Committee; a team of students designated to help provide applicants with information in order to help them make a decision about the Texas MBA. Click the name corresponding to the address you’d like to meet at, or near, and a new email message will open addressed to the MBA student you selected. If you don’t see an address that will work, but would still like to reach out to a current student, feel free to reach out to the program email box for your program of interest.

Good luck on your MBA journey!

Illustration via lovelornpoets

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Posted in Admissions, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, MBA at Houston

Catching Up With Peter Adelman, MBA ’13

Peter, with wife Ellie, atop Table Mountain.

Hoping to change careers from real estate to energy, Peter Adelman, MBA ’13, figured getting an MBA was his best bet to make a smooth transition. And after a weekend trip to Austin, Peter was quickly sold on McCombs as the place to make that transition, with all the opportunities available at UT and with everything that the city of Austin had to offer – specifically the food, weather, and 6th Street.

As it turns out, though, Austin was just a launching pad, and Peter’s new role is taking him all over the world. You know what they say, “What starts here…

I recently caught up with Peter to hear more about where he’s at, what he’s up to, and what he thought about his time as a Texas MBA student.

Peter, with wife Ellie, atop Table Mountain.

Peter, with wife Ellie, atop Table Mountain.

Where are you working now and what do you do?
PA: I am currently working in Cape Town, South Africa for Chevron as part of the Finance MBA Development Program. I’ll next be moving to Bangkok, Thailand in April for a six month rotation.

How long have you been in Cape Town?
PA: I moved to Cape Town the end of September.

What were you doing before you came to McCombs for your MBA?
PA: I was working for a real estate development company in Chicago. Read more ›

Posted in Alumni, Community, Full-Time MBA

You Are Not Your GPA

You Are Not Your GPA

You Are Not Your GPA

How do you quantify the characteristics that make you great, but aren’t measurable? How do you synthesize your personality in an easily digestible paragraph? How do you reveal the real YOU to somebody that is simply reading your application on paper? The topic of this blog post is all the qualifiable, not quantifiable, components of your application. I’m not talking about your GPA, your GMAT, or even your letters of recommendation (that is a whole different blog post). I’m talking about how you convey who you are that makes you unique. And many of you might find presenting this part of your application the most difficult of all. Read more ›

Posted in Admissions, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA at Mexico City, Full-Time MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, MBA at Houston

Perfecting Your Value Proposition to Get the Job You Want

Uncapped red pen sits atop resume, ready to perfect it to get the job you want.

Uncapped red pen sits atop resume, ready to perfect it to get the job you want.

You’ve just found your “dream job” posted online. Now, you’re rushing to submit your resume in hopes of being called for an interview. But, when you push the “submit” button, your stomach churns as you wonder “Will they see what they are looking for? Were my resume and cover letter compelling enough?”

If you’ve ever applied for a job that you knew was perfect for you, but never received a reply, then these tips are meant for you. Developing and perfecting a strong “value proposition” – what you uniquely have to offer a company – is the most important Read more ›

Posted in Career, MBA+ Program

MBA+ Project: Hyatt Gold Passport

The Hyatt Gold Passport MBA+ Project Team
Members of the Hyatt Gold Passport MBA+ Project Team along with representatives from the company.

The Hyatt Gold Passport MBA+ Project Team and representatives from the company, pictured from left to right: Brian Lederer, MBA ’15; Jeff Zidell, Senior Vice President Hyatt Gold Passport; Louisa Balach, Director of Partner Marketing Hyatt Gold Passport; Alok Marwaha, MBA ’15; David Tobin, MBA ’15; Gabriela Mata-Gutierrez, MBA ’15; Katie Ehrhardt, Manager of Partner Marketing Hyatt Gold Passport.

The MBA+ Leadership Program connects Texas MBA students with companies through short-term micro-consulting projects. I recently caught up with Full-Time MBA student and MBA+ project leader, Alok Marwaha, to learn more about his team’s experience this past semester redefining Hyatt’s strategic relationships with travel partners.

What was your MBA+ Project?
AM: The project was a marketing project for the partner marketing group of Hyatt Hotels’ loyalty division, Hyatt Gold Passport. The McCombs team was tasked to develop a recommendation regarding whether or not Hyatt Gold Passport should form a partnership Read more ›

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Posted in Career, MBA+ Projects, Students

Creating Entrepreneurs One Pitch at a Time

UT Awards- Philip Rogers Photograph-133b

Finalist Pitches At Texas Venture Labs Scholarship Competition

Written by Jaime Sutton

Last weekend I was proud to host the second annual Texas Venture Labs Scholarship competition alongside the Texas MBA program. The goal of our scholarship program is to help inspire and create MBA students who have a passion for pursuing entrepreneurship throughout their two years at McCombs. This year we were lucky enough to have 16 semi-finalists join us from not only all over the country (Portland, New York, Austin, Newport Beach, Chicago, and more) but also from across the globe (India, Turkey, Switzerland, and Kuwait)!

Alongside my Texas Venture Labs colleagues, current students, recent alumni, and Texas MBA staff members I watched as these 16 individuals Read more ›

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Posted in Admissions, Full-Time MBA

Faculty Spotlight: Stephen Limberg, Accounting

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McCombs Faculty Member Stephen Limberg During A Global Trip

One of the strongest attributes of the Texas MBA program is the highly acclaimed McCombs School of Business faculty, whose members are ranked among the best professors in the nation year after year. In this new Faculty Spotlight series, we’ll be introducing you to these classroom leaders, as we too get to know them all a little better. Up first is the Department of Accounting’s Stephen Limberg.

How long have you been at McCombs?
SL: Thirty one years ago I arrived in modestly populated Austin, Texas, on a steamy August day after driving from the west coast 24 hours without a layover. I pulled into town in a Honda Accord hatchback that was not air conditioned and was packed to the headliner with all my belongings. Hot and irritable, I located my apartment Read more ›

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Posted in Community, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA at Mexico City, Full-Time MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, MBA at Houston

When Less Is More: Short Answer Questions Explained

Advice From The A-Team

Written by David Burford

The feeling you get when staring at a blank word document. The cursor blinks, blinks, blinks….


Blinking Cursor


Suddenly the 1 a.m. memory of a long forgotten freshman comp final paper due the next day creeps into your mind. Writer’s block rears its ugly head while you work to calm your fears by thinking, it’s only 200 words. Then you realize: it’s only 200 words.

This year’s short answer questions on the application for our working professional MBA programs are modest in length, but will require your deftest wordsmith abilities to answer each question thoroughly and briefly. Choose your words carefully! Read more ›

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Posted in Admissions, Evening MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, MBA at Houston

Catching Up With Raj Gilda, MBA ’01

Raj Gilda

After graduating from the Texas Full-Time MBA program in 2001, Raj Gilda spent 10 years in New York working with Citibank and Deloitte Consulting. During that time, he also co-founded the non-profit organization Lend-A-Hand India with hopes to make a difference in the lives of the poor through self-help.

I recently caught up with Raj to hear more about what he’s up to now and talk about his time as an MBA student.

Where are you working now and what do you do?
RG: Three years ago, I switched to full-time in the social enterprise sector from banking and consulting and could not be happier about it. Currently, I spend the majority of my time in India focusing full-time on Lend-A-Hand India while also working with Citibank.

Texas MBA Alumnus Raj Gilda

With a total staff of about 350 people providing job and life skills to more than 13,000 young boys and girls from 80 high schools in rural India, I manage the resource mobilization and external relations and run the chapters in London and New York for Lend-A-Hand India. Recently I was appointed as an advisor to the Government of Maharashtra and part of the state committee to review and formulate syllabi for vocational courses offered at secondary and higher secondary levels.

What were you doing before you came to McCombs for your MBA?
RG: I worked with Mahindra British Telecom in Belfast and National Stock Exchange and IL&FS in Mumbai before joining McCombs. Read more ›

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Posted in Alumni, Full-Time MBA
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