Tag: entrepreneurship (page 1 of 5)

Entrepreneurship at McCombs: Austin Startup Week

The McCombs School of Business, ranked #6 for entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report, offers many unique resources in one of America’s most innovative cities to prepare students for new business ventures. Many Texas MBA alumni have gone on to run successful startups not only here in Austin, but across the country. Check out some of the companies our awesome alumni have started as we gear up for Austin Start Up Week on October 3, 2016.

Sock Club: Noah Lee, MBA ’16

Sock Club offers a monthly sock subscription and customizable sock designs, with delivery straight to your door. 

  • Founded: 2012sockclub-847b3fcd4214f607a3f5e426e9e175b4
  • Advice to current students: Half the battle is getting started. You will never know if the idea will succeed unless you try it.
  • Favorite part of current position: Every day brings a new challenge.
  • Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Finding the time to get everything done and finding good help.
  • How did you and your partner Dane come up with the idea for Sock Club? We read a Forbes article on a subscription sock company that shipped black Italian dress socks, we liked the idea of a reoccurring revenue model, and thought it would be better to do it with colorful socks. Away we went.
  • How did McCombs and the Texas MBA Program help you in running your business? Running a new company requires managing your mistakes and opportunities, and is impacted by how effectively you can react to the results of your economic activity. The Texas MBA Program didn’t necessarily teach me how to do things. It taught me how to think about things and make decisions.

Nicely Noted: Perry Nelson, MBA ’10 

A stationery subscription service that delivers a curated collection of letterpress cards and stamps to your mailbox every month.

  • Founded: 2011xnorsrpc
  • Advice to current MBAs: Take risks while you have the safety net of being in school. You have unique access to almost anyone in the business community by approaching them as a student; take advantage of it.
  • Favorite part of current position: Wearing many hats! Every day is different, and the challenges run the gamut from working with developers, training interns, and pitching press for editorial coverage to assembling the monthly mailing, and more.
  • Biggest challenge as a business owner: Prioritizing and keeping the core value proposition at the forefront of all your efforts.

Beatbox Beverages:  Aimy Steadman, Justin Fenchel, Dan Singer, & Jason Schieck, MBA ’13

A ready-to-drink mixed alcohol beverage, prepared in Austin. 

Justin Fenchel says:beatboxlogo_retina

  • Founded: 2011
  • Advice to current MBA students: Take a chance — you have two years to explore what you really want to do. Try not to get caught up in the chaos of who has a job and who doesn’t. Take the time to find out what you really want to do because you’ll never have a better opportunity.
  • Favorite part of current position: Working doesn’t feel like work.
  • Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Stress and fear from starting a business in an industry that we effectively have no experience in.

You’re Invited to McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

Smart People. Big Ideas. New Connections.

What happens when you combine Austin Startup Week with McCombs’ renowned faculty, world class students and alumni, and Austin’s hottest tech startups? McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

Come meet successful McCombs entrepreneurs from the Texas MBA and Texas MSTC programs showcasing their startups. You’ll have the opportunity to network with current students, alumni and local entrepreneurs from the growing Austin Startup scene. Join us for discovery, a great time, and complimentary food & drinks.

Register for McCombs Entrepreneurship Night

Meet Us During the ATX Startup Crawl!

The ATX Startup Crawl is a celebration of technology and entrepreneurship in Austin! The Texas MBA Program will be present during the event to answer answer questions and share with you how an MBA degree from The University of Texas at Austin can help you increase your potential and jump start your career.

RSVP today to grab your spot to network with more than 90+ Austin startups and don’t forget to stop by our booth!

Thursday October 6, 2016 5:00pm – 10:00pm
800 Congress Ave, Austin TX 78701


Check out more startups started by McCombs alums: http://www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu/2013/12/mccombs-alumni-product-guide

Texas MBA Full-Time Program – FINAL Application Deadline Approaching

The final Texas Full-Time MBA application deadline (for domestic applicants) is March 24th. WThe deadline is March 24e are excited to have seen an increase in both the quantity and quality of applications this cycle so far, and have received applications from over 40 countries. The Texas MBA Admissions team is looking forward to welcoming some of our newly admitted students to our Preview Weekend event in Austin soon!

Discover More Reasons “Why McCombs?” 

If you are applying to our program before the March 24 final deadline, here are some fantastic blog entries to help you complete your application:

Understanding the 2015 Essay QuestionsUnderstanding the 2015 Essays Leveraging the 3rd PersonLetters of Recommendation The WaitlistThe Waitlist: FAQs & How-Tos You’ve Got Application Questions, We’ve Got AnswersTips on the

We’re here to help – If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us via email at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu and we encourage you to check out our many upcoming events.

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Hook ‘em!

SXSWi 2015: McCombs Entrepreneurship Night & Booth Info

SXSW 2015 is almost here! The Texas MBA will have a booth at the SXSWi Tradeshow, March 15-18. If you’re attending the conference and/or tradeshow, please stop by our booth to say hello and for the chance to win some Texas MBA swag!

SXSW banner 2014

You’re Invited to McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

What happens when you combine SXSWi with McCombs’ renowned faculty, world class students and alumni, and Austin’s hottest tech startups? McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!
Kick off SXSW with the Texas MBA. We’ll be having a reception during SXSW Interactive with SXSW attendees, local entrepreneurs, and McCombs students, faculty, alumni, & prospective students. We will also be showcasing some McCombs startups. All attendees will need to RSVP below:

Register for  McCombs Entrepreneurship Night
Note: Due to capacity restrictions, registration does not guarantee entry.

Meet us at SXSWi




We’ll see you at SXSW! Hook ‘Em!

Entrepreneurship at McCombs: TVL Scholarship Competition Recap

Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (TVL) at UT is a campus-wide initiative to accelerate start-ups in taking their innovations to market. In service of this mission they have created, in coordination with the McCombs School of Business, the TVL Scholarship, a unique program for entrepreneurial students interested in attending business school.

TVL Scholarship Competition 2015

2015 TVL Scholarship Competition Finals

This year’s TVL Scholarship Competition Semi-Finals & Finals were held on February 20th. 16 presenters gave their pitch to a panel of judges in hopes of winning the scholarship. Each TVL Scholarship is worth up to $174,000 and includes:

– $10,000 per year scholarship, as well as in-state tuition (for a total of $25,000 per year scholarship value).

– Consideration for admission of your company into the TVL Accelerator upon graduation.

– Consideration for a post-graduate position as a Venture Partner worth $50,000.

– Continued support from Texas Venture Labs throughout the development of your company.


Congratulations to the 2015 TVL Scholarship Winners!

TVL Scholarship Winners 2015

TVL Scholarship Competition Winners 2015 (left to right): Omar Garza & Tenaj Ferguson

Full scholarships were awarded to 1st place and “Best Presenter” winner, Tenaj Ferguson, for Lady Epicure Gourmet all-natural frozen bars & 2nd place winner, Omar Garza, for YouRefund, a tax fraud prevention app.

3rd place was awarded to Phil Trench for VacayBuddy & 4th place was awarded to Patrick Zhang for Concertleaf.

More Entrepreneurship at McCombs

McCombs, ranked #8 for entrepreneurship, offers many unique resources in one of America’s most innovative cities to prepare students for new business ventures. Learn more about TVL or check out these other resources:

Commencement Speaker Spotlight | Dan Driscoll, MBA ’14


Dan Driscoll (MBA ’14), Sebastian Turner (MBA ’15), Susan Strausberg (Longhorn Startup mentor to Prepify), Sarah Yu (MBA ’15) and Eric Burleson (MBA ’15) at Longhorn Startup Demo Day.

Getting to Texas

When asked how he ended up in Texas, Dan Driscoll (MBA and MA in Advertising ’14) will tell you that it wasn’t necessarily his choice. In fact, in the Washington D.C. native’s own words, Texas was the “last place” he ever thought he’d live. But when Dan’s wife was admitted to the LBJ School of Public Affairs here at UT Austin, and at a time when Dan was ready to move on from coaching soccer through an organization he co-founded, they were eager to make the move.

dan_bwOnce in Austin, Dan began work as a digital media consultant, teaching businesses how to market themselves, focusing primarily on web presence, digital strategy, apps, and social media. But over time, after alluring job offers from larger tech companies surfaced, he realized that he would much rather spend his time developing and marketing a product of his own than those belonging to other people.

That’s when Dan decided to pursue a dual degree program at UT, starting first with a Master in Advertising through the Advertising School in the Moody College of Communication, where he was able to pursue digital technology in the marketing space, and a Texas MBA here at the McCombs School of Business. During his time here, Dan has helped launch a few exciting ventures.


HireUp is a recruiting tool Dan developed after witnessing the inefficiencies and frustrations for both candidates and recruiters at career fairs. Determined there could be a better way to connect the two groups, he developed an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that helps “take the pain out of the search process, helping people avoid long waits and dead ends at career fairs.”

1A8493HI_1391752661528As a Texas MBA student, Dan was able to take an elective course outside of the business school that focused on UI/UX design, which helped him take the project from idea to product. He was the only business student in the class and he was able to connect with two engineers who were interested in working on the project. The HireUp model was so successful in their market testing for the class that they already had clients wanting to enroll before the semester had even ended. Dan knew that it was a bit more than he could handle with all of his other responsibilities, so he handed it over to a friend, Cawley Thompson, a student visiting from the ESADE Business School in Barcelona through the Texas MBA’s Exchange Program, who still runs HireUp today along with Dan’s original classmates from the UI/UX course.  HireUp is now funded and joining the Seed Sumo startup accelerator this summer in College Station, TX.


Prepify came out of his coursework from the “Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility” class, taught by Professor Brian Richter. Dan wrote a paper that introduced a venture that would provide free, high-caliber SAT preparation to any student anywhere. A computer adaptive learning platform where students can login and study for the SAT through engaged learning, Prepify is gamified, which encourages students to interact with the curriculum in meaningful ways. Prepify was developed in partnership with Bell Curves, an education organization based out of New York that provided the curriculum content.

130PGBNX_1383243896362A few other Texas MBA students got involved with the project: Joe Bartolotta (MBA, ’15), Sebastian Turner (MBA, ’15), Sarah Yu (MBA, ’15), and Eric Burleson (MBA, ’15). They were able to acquire some developers from MakerSquare, a boot camp for coding in downtown Austin where Dan had taken some part-time classes, and, together, they built a demo. Recently, the Prepify team took home the $20,000 grand prize as the national winner of the Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge – an enormous honor for any entrepreneurial venture. (Sanergy won the same competition two years ago, a company that has since been named as one of Fast Company’s ten most innovative companies).


I7ZLFXDB_1382722493937In 2011, during his first year at UT, Dan participated in a three-day startup conference where he helped hatch reQwip, a marketplace for sports gear. We’ve talked about reQwip previously in the blog, but now, in 2014, we’re pleased to report that they’re at last going to market. reQwip is also joining the Seed Sumo accelerator: they’ve fully funded their pre-seed round and they’ve won a few competitions (which translates to tens of thousands of dollars in cash prizes to help fund the venture). One of the co-founders on the project is a former engineering student from UT, and the other, Kate Dailey, is the wife of fellow Texas MBA student Doug Herling (MBA, ’15).

Using the idea for reQwip, Dan participated in the Longhorn Startup Seminar run by Josh Baer, Bob Metcalfe, and Ben Dyer. While not officially offered through the MBA Program, it turned out to be one of the best classes Dan has taken here at UT. “It’s all about learning by doing and making mistakes. You focus less on your grade – it’s more about where you end up based on where you started,” he says.

Since starting the Texas MBA Program, Dan has won multiple awards for his innovative business plans, including the national "Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge" for Prepify.

Since starting the Texas MBA Program, Dan has won multiple awards for his innovative business plans, including the national “Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge” for Prepify.

The Texas MBA Experience

While pitching ideas at the Longhorn Demo Startup Day in front of nearly 1,000 people (on the same stage where four U.S. Presidents stood just weeks before) was an incredible experience, Dan says that it has been his classmates he appreciates the most about his time in the Texas MBA Program. “People here are genuinely excited for their neighbor’s success – the general view in Austin is that a rising tide lifts all boats. It has been a remarkable experience here, and I think that really speaks to the quality of the Texas MBA students,” he says.

If all of that isn’t enough, Dan has also been working closely with the McCombs Entrepreneur in Residence, Brett Hurt, on designing and executing strategies and opportunities for advancing entrepreneurship on the campus of the UT Austin. And in his “spare” time, Dan is also an assistant coach with the UT men’s soccer team and volunteers for DreamGoDo.org, a charity raising college tuition support for at-risk youth.

Looking Ahead

Dan’s trajectory has been shaped by many different experiences – his résumé is a roadmap of a mind in motion and a reflection of innovation in action. We’re glad his path led him here, and we wish him all the best as he transitions to his full-time role with reQwip after he graduates with the Class of 2014 on May 16. We’re also excited to mention that Dan was recently given the honor to speak at the 131st University-wide Commencement Ceremony, taking place Saturday May, 17.

Join us in congratulating Dan and all of our Class of 2014 graduates. They have worked incredibly hard and have truly earned the Texas MBA.

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