From Dave Jackson, Senior Admissions Officer, Texas MBA Dallas/Fort Worth Program:
It’s Good to be Back
Texas MBA Senior Admissions Officer, Dave Jackson
Hi everyone. I’m the new MBA admissions officer for the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, but I’m no stranger to the program. I graduated from the DFW program in 2010. The two years I spent in the program were a transformative experience for me, providing me with the broad business exposure to enhance my career in corporate communications. I was excited to return to the McCombs School of Business to help give similar opportunities to others. And I have spent my first month on the job immersing myself in the admissions cycle – recruiting prospective students at both university and company-sponsored events, reviewing applications and interviewing candidates – to shape the Class of 2017 here in DFW.
Several things have changed in the five years since I left the program. Most notably, the campus and the residency hotel are both different. The curriculum has undergone a significant review, with changes made to allow working professional students to graduate at the same time as our full-time MBA students. We have greatly expanded the MBA-Plus programs to broaden students’ skills outside the classroom.
But many things have not changed. The faculty is still top-notch, with many of the professors the same ones who taught me and the new ones of the same high caliber I remember. The curriculum challenges you to bring your best effort to each class and project, and provides you with information and inspiration to apply when you return to work on the Mondays after class weekends.
And the students continue to bring a blend of diverse work and academic backgrounds and a collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit that enables everyone to maximize the value of their MBA experience. They seed the relationships that become their personal and professional network for many years to come. The Texas MBA is about what you put into the program, and in return you get much more than three letters.
As I get to know the Classes of 2015 and 2016 and as we build the Class of 2017, I’m confident the program’s most important component – its people – remains its best component. Getting to know them has been my greatest reward in returning to McCombs.
The only way to really learn about business is to understand the real-world applications of concepts or to go out and actually apply these concepts in a real-world setting. The Texas MBA program provides you with ample opportunities to enjoy the benefits of both these learning methods. Firstly, there are a plethora of experiential opportunities that McCombs offers like the MBA+ projects and the Fellows programs. But even apart from these programs, classes often become a really great way to learn about practical applications and even put your learning to test. It is precisely for this reason that I have particularly enjoyed my Strategic Marketing class with Professor Kate Mackie.
The Strategic Marketing class, as the name suggests, covers various aspects of marketing strategy both at the product level such as the 4P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion), and at the company level such as resource allocation. What is interesting is that we actually strive to apply these concepts in a simulation, where we compete against each other to maximize shareholder value, much like what a lot of us aim to do as future C-suite executives. The competitive element of the class adds an element of fun and often has us frantically checking the results early on Friday morning, which is supposed to be our day off!
Another reason I find this course unique is that it does not look at things solely from a large resource-rich organization’s perspective. It takes into account possible resource limitations that firms may have to deal with and forces you to make decisions keeping these limitations in mind! Moreover, as readings for the class we read articles not only from business journals but also from business weeklies such as Bloomberg Businessweek, which I think is a great way to keep the conversation current. A shout out to Professor Mackie for making this course rigorous yet fun!
On one hand, this class has shattered certain beliefs I had in a previous life when I worked in a marketing role in the healthcare industry. For example, how it is actually better for a smaller company to compete in a more niche market where it can dominate rather than chase a large market. On the other hand, it has taught me useful tools as I prepare for my internship in the consumer packaged goods industry. Such as how important a clear positioning statement can be when developing a promotional campaign with a creative team.
All I can say is that, the Strategic Marketing has left me with a more sound understanding of the strategic decision making process that extends well beyond the realms of Marketing. When I was applying to McCombs, I reached out to a lot of students and Professor Mackie’s name came up when I asked about their favorite class. Now I know precisely why!