Tag: full-time MBA (page 1 of 3)

Texas MBA Global Connections: Explore. Discover. Lead.

Texas MBAs went global this spring with study tours across six countries — Cuba, India, China, South Africa, Malaysia, and Thailand! These tours are part of the McCombs Global Connections (MGC) program: An eight to ten-day study tour to business powerhouses around the globe.

Image via McCombs Today

During these tours, Texas MBA students explore global opportunities and learn many aspects of conducting business outside the United States. Through guest speakers, company visits, project work, and case studies, MGC provides an incredible opportunity for Texas MBAs to explore the economy, major industries, local businesses, and culture in different nations, enhancing their transferable skills and understanding of different cultures to operate in an international market.

Global Connections 2017 enabled 134 Texas Full-time MBA students to participate in engagement experiences, including cultural immersion, business visits, conferences, and discussions.

India

Texas MBA students visited local Indian communities and businesses such as Intel, Infosys, VMware, IBM and American Embassy in Bangalore and Delhi. Special activities included the Social Impact Day at Mewat Village and the “Our Native Village” cultural tour.

Exploring Indian culture. Photo by Deidra Stephens

Business visit to Infosys in Bangalore. Photo by Deidra Stephens

First Ever Cuba Tour

Texas MBAs had the opportunity to learn about the business operation and economic potentials in Cuba through a series of conferences, including the Conference on US-Cuba Relations, Conference on the Cuban Economy, Currency, Debt and Financial Institutions, and Conference on New and Micro Business Models in Cuba. They also attended local company visits to the Organopónico Vivero Alamar – Cuba’s most successful urban cooperative agricultural project and Autochapt – a non-agricultural cooperative /car repairing micro business.

Texas MBAs rode in nostalgic style in Cuba.

Texas MBAs in the first Global Connection Study Tour in Cuba. Photo by Shannon Moffett

South Africa

Texas MBAs immersed themselves in learning cultural differences and business practices in the “Think Impact Day Series” and business visits to Delheim Winery, Coca-Cola South Africa, and Heart Capital.

Global Connection Study Tour in South Africa. Photo by John Greely

Global Connections Study Tour in South Africa

Global Connections Study Tour in South Africa.

China

With three cities visited — Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing — the China Study Tour offered business visits to successful companies in China such as BYD, InterChina, Emerson, CSUN, CNOOC, and tours to major Chinese landmarks.

Texas MBAs at the Great Wall of China. Photo by Karl Novick

Business visits to China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Photo by Karl Novick

Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Thailand)

Two countries and three cities were visited in Southeast Asia’s Study Tour. Texas MBAs enhanced their cultural competency and global business operation skills with visits to the Malaysia Investment Development Authority, Emerson Process Management, NI Penang, Wong Engineering, and Western Digital.

Texas MBA students in Bantu Caves (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Photo by Joel Obaseki

Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by Torrey Kolesar

Read more about the previous Global Connections Study Tour trips to South Africa, China, and Brazil.

For more info about the Full-time Texas MBA Program, visit our Facebook page or Twitter account, or contact us with any questions.

Hook’em!

The MBA Admissions Interview: How to Totally Crush It

From the Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions Committee

You submit your application. You wait and wait and then, TA DA! An interview invitation appears in your inbox.  Your immediate reaction is probably several mental exclamation points (!!!), but I think it’s fair to say that all MBA applicants feel pretty dichotomous when it comes to the interview experience. Something like:

Yay I got invited to interview! But oh my goodness, now I’m totally freaked out and have a million questions; What are they going to ask? Should I be myself or should I open with a joke I read online? Should I bring my resume in strawberry-scented triplicate? What do I wear? Should I interview on-campus, via Skype, or off-campus? Is it better to interview with a current student, admissions officer or alumni? Should I send a follow-up thank you via email, a hand-written card, or none at all?  How do I set up the interview in the first place?! Eeek!

Breathe. Like anything else, your MBA interview invitation is an opportunity. While some applicants may look forward to it, others may not exactly enjoy the anxiety. If you are a member of the latter group, look at it this way: this interview can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to stitch together the rest of your application elements with a genuine, prepared, and poised interview performance.

The interview affords one of the only formal opportunities for official face-to-face interaction during the application process. Seize it.

You are most likely applying and subsequently interviewing with multiple MBA programs. This means managing several different interview processes, a complicated project given the variability among schools. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas MBA Program runs its interview operations.

Instructions are plastered all over the email invitation to interview and the online systems you use to book the interview, so be sure to read all instructions very carefully before scheduling anything. Generally speaking, our interview structure is this:

Interviews are by invitation only and can come at any time during the application round. There are four different interview types: on-campus with a student, via Skype with a student, off-campus in your local city with an alumni interviewer, or at a HUB city location with an admissions officer. For each type (excluding alumni interviews) there is an online calendar from which you can select an interview slot that works with your schedule. We will inform you of the last date your interview needs to be completed. The only exception to this is booking an interview in your local city with an alumni interviewer; that process is slightly different, but we provide the step-by-step instructions in our interview invitation communications if you decide to go that route.

Rest assured all of our current student interviewers, alumni volunteer interviewers and admissions officers are fully trained and capable of conducting an interview that is professional, fair, impartial and helpful. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. All interviews are blind, which means the interviewer does not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. Even so, it’s always a good idea to bring a copy for the interviewer to reference during the conversation (this is required if you are interviewing with an alumni interviewer).

Most interviews follow the general framework of introductions, questions from the interviewer for you to answer, then some time is left at the end for you to ask your questions about the program and/or application process. Once the interview is completed, you are finished! There is nothing further you need to do and your application is considered complete. All that’s left is to wait patiently for our final decision in the weeks that follow.

TIPS & PITFALLS TO AVOID:

Choose Wisely: Decisions, decisions. Interview type selection is like deciding on your coffee order at Starbucks – copious options, but there’s something for everyone. Each type of interview affords individual benefits. If you’re located proximate to Austin, try to come to campus for an interview. If you have never been to campus or met us in person before, we highly recommend interviewing on campus to get a feel for the facility and community culture. You might even be able to book a class visit, information session, or tour and interview all in the same weekend. A special “Lunch & Learn” session will be offered on select interview dates. If you can’t make the trip due to work conflicts or you are internationally-based, you might consider taking advantage of our alumni interviewers in a city near you. We also offer HUB interviews in markets around the world, such as Korea, China, India and Mexico. Or maybe none of that works for you and Skype is the only way to get it done. No problem, that option is always available. We see your interview type selection as entirely logistical and do not hold it against you if you don’t interview with us on campus.

Don’t Be On Time – Be Early: Arriving early is “Interviewing 101,” yet it still manages to falter even the most prepared of candidates.  Arriving early is even more critical if you’ve never been to campus or navigated UT Austin parking before. As for Skype, your instructions ask that you are prepared to begin the Skype video call at the allotted interview start time, but it’s always a good idea to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to work out any inevitable technological hiccups that crop up.

“And that’s why I’m scared of heights and allergic to strawberries…Wait, what was the question again?”:  You’d be surprised how many times at the end of an applicant’s long-winded tangential answer we are asked to repeat the original question. Most often this happens to people who try to cram too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address that well-rehearsed example. Don’t worry, we’ll get to it! Plus, sometimes there is an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything we didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.

Loosen Up: Given our program’s famously friendly culture, our interviews are relatively informal. If you still find yourself nervous, practice your answers in front of a mirror, a friend or a willing stranger and ask them how you did. Did you answer the question? Did you rush through it? Take a moment to outline your answer in your mind first, and then address it calmly and confidently. Don’t get too comfortable, though. While we’re an easy-going bunch, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea. This includes professional language and attire as if you were interviewing for a job (that means you too, Skypers! I’m sure your pajamas are lovely, but we’d much rather see a blazer.).

Know What We’re Looking For: We listen for confidence, clear and concise communication of career goals, concrete examples of teamwork and leadership, in-depth knowledge of our MBA program, and overall genuine enthusiasm. Also, the interview can be a place to showcase secondary skills that are difficult for us to determine solely based on your application: interview skills, self-awareness, communication style, and “hire-ability.” Keep these in mind so we can get a feel for the application intangibles.

Know Your Audience: Remember, the Admissions Committee doesn’t have a preference for which interview type you elect or who you interview with, just as long as you prepare for your audience. Are you interviewing with an admissions officer?  Read about them on our Admissions Committee page. Our alumni interviewer profiles can be found on our website.  If you’re interviewing via Skype or on-campus, be cognizant that not every student has the same background as you!  Steer clear of industry jargon.

Come with questions: A good list of questions for your interviewer can illustrate a few key things about you as a candidate: you’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA, and you can formulate coherent thoughts under pressure. We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones and have a few backups.

While our interviewing style is admittedly less intense than corporate recruiters, don’t let our laid-back Austin attitude fool you. The Admissions Committee uses the interview as a way to add character, depth and spirit to your written application, so keep these tips in mind to ensure a positive outcome.

Good luck and Hook’ Em!

 

Alumni Spotlight: Justin Key, Texas MBA ’16

Despite having just walked the stage two months ago, recent Texas MBA graduate Justin Key is already well on his way to leaving his mark on the tech world. Prior to his time at McCombs, Justin entered the Texas Venture Labs Scholarship Competition with the idea for an app that would allow friends to compete against each other while watching Netflix by answering trivia questions pertaining to a specific show or movie. His idea won first place and after being accepted to McCombs as a part of the Class of 2016, Justin was able to make Plot Guru a reality. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAR4AAAAJDRmZGE5Zjc3LWI1YjctNGViYi1hMGZhLTJmOGQ3ZjUwZmRkOAHe and the rest of the Plot Guru team launched the app in November 2015 and have already had tremendous success. In order to continue to develop his entertainment tech skills, Justin recently made the move to Seattle, WA to embark on a new exciting adventure and join the team at Amazon.

We recently caught up with him to see what he’s been up to since graduation and to learn about his reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

After six years in consulting I was ready for a change. I had been working on a startup idea on the side for some time, and was looking for a program where I could pursue a top-tier graduate education while also pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. I found the experiential opportunities at McCombs to be just what I was looking for. After visiting the campus and getting a sense for the student culture I was hooked – no pun intended!

What were you doing before you came to McCombs for your MBA?

I was a strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers for about six years. I spent the latter three years based in their Zurich, Switzerland office, and was based in Washington, D.C. prior to that.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

Two things: The value of hands-on experience and the importance of networking. Both are instrumental in getting a job and succeeding once you’re there.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

The Texas MBA Program gave me the opportunity to explore new career paths, including entrepreneurship, while I was still in school. The classroom experience was important, but the opportunities that McCombs gave me outside the classroom really helped prepare me for the next stage in my career.

Tell us a little bit about Plot Guru. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Plot Guru is all about making the television-viewing experience more interactive. Our app syncs with the show you’re viewing online and sends you games and trivia in real-time based on what you’re watching on-screen. The idea for Plot Guru started during a weekly gathering of friends to watch one of our favorite shows. Before the episode started we would always compete to see who could guess what would happen next in the show. At some point my wife suggested, “What if we made a game out of this?” The rest is history.

What is your role at Amazon and what will you be working on?

AmazonVideoDirect_200I recently started a new job as a Sr. Product Manager at Amazon. I’m working on a new platform called Amazon Video Direct, which is a self-service program for content creators, such as independent film makers, to make their content available to stream online through Amazon Video. I’m really excited to use my experience in strategy, technology and entertainment to help small film producers get their content in front of millions of viewers on Amazon Video.

What else have you been up to since you graduated from McCombs, outside of work?

I’ve been pretty busy with the move up to Seattle, starting the new job and continuing to work on Plot Guru in my spare time. Besides all that, I always make time for travel. In the past couple months I’ve visited seven states and two countries!

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Figure out what you’re interested in and get as much hands-on experience in that area as possible! Take on MBA+ projects, fellowships, internships, and independent studies. You’ll never have a better chance to try out new things like you will during your time at McCombs.

Essay Writing Tips from Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions

From Stacey Kammerdiener, Senior Full-Time MBA Admissions Officer

As you think about how to approach the essays in your Texas Full-Time MBA application, your best shot at successfully answering the essay prompts is to approach them thoughtfully. The purpose of these essay questions is to understand why you want to attend McCombs, to find out what drives you, and to learn more about who you are both professionally and personally. While it may be tempting, do us (and yourself) a favor and avoid the snooze-fest/shock-factor extremes. Instead, approach your essays genuinely and with reflection. Armed with a few insider tips from the Admissions Committee, you will be well on your way to submitting a strong application.

ESSAY 1

The University of Texas at Austin values unique perspectives and cultivates a collaborative environment of distinct individual contributions. It is the first day of orientation. You are meeting your study group, comprised of five of your classmates from various backgrounds. Please introduce yourself to your new team, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life.

Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response. 

  • Write an essay (250 words)
  • Share a video introduction (one minute)

Admissions Officer Advice:

Imagine you are standing in front of your new Texas MBA Class of 2019 study group introducing yourself. Your study group is comprised of 5 or so of your classmates who will differ from you professionally, geographically, and culturally; these individuals will be your designated group work partners throughout the first semester. What would you say to your group if you only have 250 words or one-minute? What is your personal “elevator speech?” First impressions are important in-person and are equally important in an admissions application.

Key items to make sure you include are a greeting or introduction and some personal anecdotes. We want the full picture of who you are, but presented in “nutshell” form.

What makes you interesting and unique are both your personal and professional interests and attributes.  Therefore, an intro that only discusses work experience, or only discusses previous life experience, is incomplete.  Give us a rounded mix, so that we better understand who you are in a more complete sense, and not only in one facet of your life.  When someone asks you what motivates you, what is your response?  We are looking to learn more about what drives you – in other words, we want to find out not only what you are passionate about in your personal and professional life, but why.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video.  We have seen significant success in each platform and do not prefer one over the other.  Therefore, play to your strengths!  If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay.  If you want to create a video and rely on your voice and video editing skills, then we are excited to see it.  (Keep in mind that submitting a photo slideshow with background music does not grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see or hear you, which is what makes video submissions so great!)

In any submission, have fun with it and do not take this essay for granted—it can go a long way in introducing yourself and setting the stage for your application.

ESSAY 2

Based on your post-MBA goals and what drives you in your personal and professional life, why is the Texas MBA the ideal program for you and how do you plan to engage in our community? (500 words)

Admissions Officer Advice:

This prompt allows you to leverage your short term career goal (remember the one you included on the admissions application?) and your response to essay one!  It’s also an opportunity for you to show McCombs some real love.  By the time we read your essays, we have already seen your resume, scores and basic elements of your application. In this answer, we need you to expand upon the bare facts and convey to us why you are the perfect student for McCombs and how you will become an active contributor in our community. Texas MBA students are dynamic and engaged, and we are looking for applicants who are equally as driven.

This is a dense question with lots of content. The key will be to make sure you address both segments of the question individually and within the tight limit of 500 words. Below is a dissection of each part of the question to help you craft a complete answer:

“… why the Texas MBA is the ideal program for you…”

  • Focus here on the words Texas MBA and you.  A vague essay is a poor essay, so give us specifics. If you’ve read our website or spoken to an admissions team member, frankly there is a LOT to love: classes, concentrations, organizations, students/alumni, professors, unique academic and career-oriented opportunities, and the list goes on. Before you write your essay, I recommend you write a list of your top reasons why you think McCombs is total MBA perfection. Then, make sure these specifics are mentioned to illustrate your dedication to our program. What’s the consequence of saying vague things like McCombs is “amazing” and “a great program?” First, we may question your familiarity with our school, or worse, we may assume you just reused the same generic essay you used for another MBA program – yikes.
  • Don’t forget that the admissions committee is also looking for you to clearly connect how McCombs will help you achieve your career objectives and personal goals you’ve listed on your application.  We will have already reviewed your short and long term goals, and now we want to know how you think McCombs will help get you there! What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities that we offer specifically relate to your career plan?  Connect the dots for us.

“… how do you plan to engage in our community…”

  • Lastly, as you are mapping out your reasons for attending our program, also remember that we pride ourselves first and foremost on our collaborative, diverse and extremely tight-knit community. We work very hard to find individuals excited about being a part of this community in particular, so in what ways will you contribute? How will you give back while you are here? What will be your lasting legacy at McCombs? How can you leverage our program offerings and combine it with your skill set to propel the entire program forward? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community, and that we simply cannot live without you.

Last bit of advice. Return to classic writing techniques, a strong essay structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling and cadence.  A few common essay writing pitfalls to avoid include convoluted sentences, going off-topic, name-dropping, vague or confusing goals, citing inaccurate classes, professors, or student organizations, or calling us by any other name besides McCombs or the Texas MBA (a common mistake for people who reuse essays).  Also, DON’T REUSE ESSAYS FROM OTHER SCHOOLS!  We can totally tell.

As always, please email us at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu if you have any other questions.  Get started early and edit, edit, edit!  Your essays can really send a strong application into orbit, so good luck, and happy applying!

Airplanes, Austin, Classes, and People – My Texas MBA Allure

I’ve spent most of my life living in the eastern time zone, so moving to Texas was a wild departure from my past. As I chatted with prospective students who spent their whole lives in the Northeast, or maybe even outside of the US, it made me remember the questions and priorities I had when I was seeking out business schools. Did I find what I was looking for in Texas? (Spoiler: The answer to that question is “yes”)

Here are four main things I was looking for:

1. I want to go work for _______.

Inside, I’m still a small kid, fascinated by the prospect of two giant jet engines propelling a 300+ ton wide-body airplane up into the sky. I always wanted to work for the airline industry – yes, that pressurized metal tube, shoes off, delay-prone industry. Knowing this, I set out to find a school that gave me the best chance at fulfilling my ambitions. It was the active and well-connected alumni network, the well thought-out career support system, and Texas’ historic strength in the industry that made the school so attractive to me. In fact, it was one of the alumni that helped convince me that I would have the connection and resources at McCombs to get where I wanted to be.

Importantly, it’s not just the connection to a dream job or function that mattered. The relationship to my career aspirations, the career management staff and system strength, and diverse experiences of my classmates mattered just as much. I asked my self, “can I develop a connection with the career staff who will have my best interest in mind?” “Is the career support system proactive?” Thinking back, I made absolutely the right call.

(For brevity sake, I left out the next seven paragraphs about airlines. I have been known to talk people’s ear off about it…)

2. The Neat Outdoor-sy City Called Austin

First off, I spent most of my life in the frigid tundra of the Midwest. I loved the snow (and snow days!), and thought it had a bad reputation. When I descended on Texas, freezing weather was somewhat a foreign concept.

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Austin’s Freezing February

Seriously though, Austin’s an outstanding outdoors town. It’s actually a neat town in general. I like to spend a lot of time outdoors – playing tennis, ultimate Frisbee, jogging – and in the ten different cities I’ve lived in my life, Austin’s has by far the best trails, courts, and the weather to enjoy it all. If you’re not familiar with the area, definitely check out Barton Springs Pool the next time you’re here. It’s Austin’s natural river open for swimming nearly all year-round

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Hiking the Barton Creek Trail with Classmates

3. A Customizable Curriculum

By now, you’ve probably heard about our class structure – two years, four semesters, mandatory core classes to start. But it’s the brevity of the required core curriculum that was especially attractive. After all, the Full-Time Texas MBA Program is only two years / four semesters long.

When I was looking at the Texas MBA Program, I was concerned that the small class size meant less options for electives. Many case/discussion-based classes need critical mass to tap into the proverbial “wisdom of a crowd”. That said, I discovered a surprising number of interesting electives for a program that currently averages 270 students per year, because there’s so much time to take electives (nearly three-quarters of the program are reserved for electives).

A great example of a course that shows the diversity of our electives is “Corporate Governance” taught by Professor William Cunningham. To analyze a Board of Director’s important duties and responsibilities, the Professor invites several former and current senior executives from various companies to address the class. I’m taking this course this semester; it’s a rare opportunity to take a course where we can learn from today’s business leaders. And so far, it has been quite a treat.

4. The People

It’s a bit of a clichéd concept, but I believe that people can make the greatest difference. I always tell this anecdote about how I started to see UT as the place for me. Last year, I was making my decision on business schools, and visited Austin to check out the city and the university. Incidentally, it was the Austin Marathon weekend. There was something about the volume of energy and excitement around the city that surprised me, even if it housed a very large public university.

When I visited McCombs, it was much the same. The important thing to ask is – do I see myself with these people as my classmates? Would I enjoy their company, and be able to work with them? After talking to the current students, the faculty from the class I was able to shadow in, and even random people in the atrium, I think I saw myself fitting in just fine.

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Texas vs. Cal from the MBA Student Section! (I believe we were winning at this point…?)

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