Tag: innovation (page 1 of 3)

McCombs Students Venture to Houston for Healthcare Innovation

For many people, the first few things they think of when they think of Texas are the energy market and BBQ. However, Texas is also home to some of the finest medical centers and research facilities in the country, and is quickly becoming a hotbed for healthcare innovation. With the forward-looking Dell Medical School opening up this summer, the future of healthcare looks very optimistic.

Group at TMCx

The MBA Healthcare Association at TMCx

SO, in the midst of cramming for corporate finance finals, finishing human capital papers, and PowerPoint decks for strategic marketing presentations, the MBA Healthcare Association decided to take a break and trek down to Houston, TX to check out the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx accelerator and innovation labs, and Johnson & Johnson’s Innovation JLABS facilities.

The TMCx accelerator is a 4-month program that helps healthcare startups by providing offices, co-working space, and professional services to help develop and grow their business model. They even actively foster relationships between the accelerator companies and  providers at the Texas Medical Center! We toured their highly modern co-working, office and education spaces, all solely devoted to healthcare companies. We also met one of their accelerator companies, Braincheck, who is developing a digital cognitive assessment tool. After chatting with them about their time as a healthcare startup and their experience in the TMCx accelerator, they quickly turned us into test subjects for their product!


The Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS

Moving next-door to JLABS, we were blown away by the size and modernity of the facility. Wandering through, we explored the 35,000+ square foot, state-of-the art laboratory and healthcare technology development equipment. Companies that pass the selective application process can rent out this space at an extremely reasonable rate of $1,000 per month, with JLABS creating an environment that enables these companies to focus 100% of their attention on their product development.

Touring these two facilities was not only educational and enjoyable, but also eye-opening to how healthcare innovation and product development are changing. Clearly, good times are in store for the companies at TMCx and JLABS – we can’t wait to see what’s next!

Learning From Geeks

Halfway into my MBA, I’d say the opportunities and exposure I have received here have far exceeded my expectations and resulted in a positive ROI (I just feel obligated to drop some lame MBA jokes, forgive me). I have met a lot of coolios, weirdos, and hobos, all of which I can learn from in one way or another. Allow me to give you some examples of people I’ve encountered.

Biz Stone

Biz Stone speaks to UT studentsRecently, I attended a talk on campus organized by the Student Endowed Centennial Lectureship. The speaker was Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter. He’s a funny, laid-back guy, and of course, a nerd. He was a shy kid that wanted to be cool so he got his high school to start a lacrosse team so that he could be a captain (#ChildhoodLeadership). He’s smart too – he negotiated with the school to have a no homework policy in exchange for his practice time. He went on and joined college, and yep, predictable – he dropped out. That leads to my favorite question from the audience. A student asked him, “So, when do you suggest me to drop out?” I thought, “Oh my, poor kid.” Anyways, what I learned from Biz is failures are important. We need them to get us going. If you think back to what you have been through in your own life, I’m sure you couldn’t agree more.

Ross Martin

Being a Marketing Fellow provides some perks. I joined the marketing conference held by our beloved practicum class at the AT&T Conference Center last February and BOOM – another great speaker! Ross Martin, the Executive Vice President of Viacom, introduced us to a new trend happening in the realm of marketing right now – capturing the Millennial market. He showed us some of the Viacom productions and marketing efforts, Scratch team for example, that cracked open this market completely. His ability to think outside the box led to co-branding campaigns with SunDrop beverages, among others, and he showed us some marketing pieces that blew our minds away. He preached that putting all your eggs in one basket won’t get you very far, a principal that aligns with what’s taught in several marketing classes at McCombs.

Richard Garriott

Richard Garriott speaks at SXSWMBA students can also get involved with and take advantage of community events here in the wonderful city of Austin. I went to a local forum back in February called SXSW Interactive Preview: Space Exploration with Richard Garriott. He is a space explorer, computer game developer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, traveler, and the list goes on (I had to copy and paste from his profile). It was held by Texas Advanced Computing Center. The event was packed with people from various backgrounds and ages, undergrads to PhD., entrepreneurs to retirees (are they the same?), 20’s to 60’s. Garriott has a great vision that sets the ground for his SpaceX business. He talked about how he thinks the universe will be in the next 10, 20 and 30 years! Folks, be prepared to live on Mars!

None of these speakers I knew or even heard of before I attended their talks, yet I had an enjoyable time and learned so much from them. To current and prospective students, please take advantage of your time here at McCombs, keep your eyes open to things around you, appreciate your surroundings, and be happy!

By the way, this is my first published piece of writing aka another accomplishment since coming to get my MBA. I hope y’all enjoy it.

Hook ‘em.

Students To Compete At SXSW Startup Competition

Texas MBA Students Compete at SXSWWith spring break just around the corner, most college students can hardly think of anything other than getting as far away from their college campus as possible.

However, that’s not the case for a team of four Texas MBA students, whose break begins just down the road from UT as they compete in the SXSW MBA Startup Competition.

“We’re really excited for SXSW,” says Dan Scellen, who along with teammates Joe Gosse, Ely Cohn, and Chase Machemehl will be representing McCombs in the competition to pitch their startup, Stereocast. “It will be a big stage for us,” he adds.

Stereocast is a platform that provides the ability to simultaneously share a live music performance at multiple locations, helping independent bands and venues by allowing them to expand their audience from the physical presence at the show.

“We blend the latest in low-cost, high-quality production technology into the workflow of the venue, then stream those shows live over the web to fans all over the world, who can watch it on their TVs, PCs, and tablets. It’s a disruptive way of consuming music, one that is at the forefront of many of the trends in consumers’ music and technology using habits. As the marginal value of another recorded song has eroded to zero, we believe we can connect the consumer and artist with a significant source of value,” says Dan.

The team’s journey to SXSW began right here in the business school, as the first round of the competition pitted four McCombs startups against each other to fight for the opportunity to represent UT at SXSW. Judging, which was done by Kevin Williams, John Doggett, and Rob Warren, was based on a video pitch and a 10-slide presentation.

After beating out their peers from McCombs, Stereocast will now join startups from other top MBA programs in the final round, where they will compete for up to $25,000 in cash prizes. The finals of the SXSW MBA Startup Competition will take place on March 9.

From all of us at McCombs, good luck, Stereocast!

Catching Up With Cam Houser, MBA ’10

Cam Houser of 3 Day StartupCam Houser, MBA ‘10, is the CEO of 3 Day Startup, an Austin-based academic program designed to teach entrepreneurial skills and enable students to start companies.

What brought you to McCombs for your MBA?
After graduating from Davidson College in 2000, I moved to Austin to do tech startups and play in bands. Both of those endeavors worked out swimmingly: I had a blast making records and playing in Austin’s live music scene as well as working at early stage startups. The bulk of my startup experience came from a company called Despair, Inc and its sister company Amplifier. Being part of the rapid growth of these companies was a life-changing experience and the founders opened my eyes to startups and ecommerce. One of the founders of Amplifier–Joel Bush–had an MBA from Texas and I was really impressed with his wide-ranging capabilities and lens for how he viewed a business. I wanted those same skills and that same perspective on how to run a business so I decided to take the plunge at McCombs.

How did your experience here impact you?
I took away a lot from the program but here are some highlights: I am a firm believer that you are a product of your peers and being surrounded by so many smart, hardworking classmates forced me to step my game up. I did two MBA+ Projects my first semester, Continue reading

Dr Pepper Snapple and McCombs School of Business Launch Breakthrough Marketing Education Program

Originally posted on The University of Texas at Austin news website.

Yoo-Hoo logoDr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin have embarked on a novel program to grow one of the company’s iconic brands.

DPS has tapped a pair of the university’s MBA students to serve as brand consultants for Yoo-hoo and bring a fresh, innovative approach to marketing the beloved chocolate drink. The team will develop a strategic growth plan for the brand and present it to DPS in May, with the potential for implementation in the fall.

The students and DPS are the first participants in the McCombs Brand Experience, an experiential learning initiative launched this year by the Center for Customer Insight and Marketing Solutions (CCIMS) at McCombs.

To make the experience as true-to-life as possible, the center created MBA Brands, a limited liability company, or LLC. DPS will use the student team through the company on a consultant basis. “The LLC structure allows for much more of a real-life experience. It’s a breakthrough in marketing education,” said Lamar Johnson, CCIMS director.

“This pilot will eventually lead to opportunities for many other students to participate in the future, for DPS and other companies,” Johnson added. “Cream-of-the-crop students will receive experiential training and a great opportunity, and the program will strengthen relationships between McCombs and DPS. The project brings great value to both parties — DPS will get excellent marketing strategy and planning and a great look at McCombs’ best and brightest.”

Jim Trebilcock, executive vice president of marketing for DPS, said the company designated Yoo-hoo for this project because of the brand’s broad and passionate fan base.

“We are excited to be working with the McCombs School of Business and look forward to the creativity and strategic thinking they will bring to the Yoo-hoo brand,” said Trebilcock. “This innovative brand management program will not only provide a unique learning experience for the students, but will also provide DPS with a novel way to tap the growth potential of smaller, regional and niche brands in our portfolio.”

Yoo-hoo is one of the leading chocolate drinks in the United States. It was created during the 1920s by Natale Olivieri, who discovered a way to produce a dairy-based chocolate beverage that would not spoil on the shelf. Yoo-hoo enjoyed explosive growth in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks in part to an advertising campaign featuring New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra, who popularized the tagline, “It’s Me-hee for Yoo-hoo.”

The brand went through several ownership changes leading up to its 2002 acquisition by Cadbury Schweppes, which spun off its entire North American beverage business into Dr Pepper Snapple Group in 2008.

The Yoo-hoo student team will experience a hands-on approach to managing a consumer packaged goods brand. To develop a financially sound growth plan, the students will need to analyze existing data, identify data needs and also learn to work with less than 100 percent of the desired data. They’ll learn to respond to the real-time market and how to deal with people issues and constraints.

If all goes as planned, a new team of McCombs MBA students from the class of 2014 will take over Yoo-hoo or another DPS brand in January 2013, and the program will be extended to more students and companies.


This partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple was also featured in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.

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