Last semester, Texas Executive MBA student David Doran had an idea to help out his entrepreneurial classmates. He wanted to create a program that would allow EMBA students who own businesses to work together and directly apply the knowledge gained in the classroom. What resulted was the launch of the McCombs Executive MBA Entrepreneur Board of Advisors (EEBA) this past fall.
I recently caught up with David, who between his busy work and school schedules, managed to answer a few questions about this new group.
What made you want to start up this Board?
I have a few students in my Executive MBA class that own businesses. Most, if not all Executive MBA student business owners do not have a formal board of directors. I thought it would be helpful to leverage our class’ knowledge and expertise by establishing a student run peer group that acts as each other’s board of advisors. The peer group helps fellow business owner classmates set quarterly SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals and holds each other accountable for executing them. The McCombs School of Business already has Texas Venture Labs to help students launch new ventures. This new program is targeted at Executive MBA students who are already running companies and fellow classmates who want to help be advisors. The goal for this peer group is for each EMBA business owner’s company being an on-going, real-world case study in which we can interact with management.
How did you get the idea?
Peer based advisory boards are not a new concept. I have been a member of The Alternative Board (TAB) and I am currently a member of the HTG Peer Groups and have found them extremely valuable in helping me growing my company. Peer based boards of advisors organizations that provide professional facilitators such as The Alternative Board and Vistage, charge members over $5,000 per year. I figured with the talent and leadership we have in our Executive MBA classes, we could create our own peer group without the need for professional facilitators. There’s no cost, except our limited time, to participate in the McCombs School of Business Executive MBA Entrepreneur Board of Advisors.
How does the board work?
All members share in running the meeting and performing board tasks. The EEBA peer group works by having the group establish a “go-giver” culture where everyone is focused on being a “go-giver” in helping Executive MBA student led companies. We had a very successful first EEBA meeting on December 8th, 2012 with six companies presenting to a board of 18 advisors. Bill Blackstone, MBA ’14, and Community Strategist at Rackspace, volunteered to host our first board meeting at the Rackspace office in Austin.
Who can join the group?
Membership will be open to all Texas EMBA students (past and present) who wish to help their fellow business owners by applying what they have learned in the EMBA program. Our next meeting is Sunday, March 17th which is the same as our class weekend. Cynthia Huchingson, MBA ’12, and Development Director at Oncology San Antonio, has volunteered to host the meeting at her office. We have students from the EMBA class of 2012, 2013, and 2014 planning to attend. EMBA students and alumni interested in attending the next meeting should contact Cynthia Huchingson, email@example.com.
David Doran, MBA ’14, is also the CEO of Texas System Group based in Austin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.