Tag: texas mccombs (page 1 of 10)

Successfully Answering the MBA Essay Questions

The essays in your MBA application are an important part of sharing your unique story. The most successful essays thoughtfully address the prompts, clearly communicate why you want to attend Texas McCombs, and authentically share who you are. We’ve shared some tips below to aid you in submitting a strong set of essays.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay 1

We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation, but we want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself. Select only one communication method for your response

a. Write an essay (250 words)
b. Share a video introduction (one minute in length)

First, this prompt is purposely open-ended. It grants you the freedom to introduce yourself in a way that is genuinely “you.” Think about what gives you energy and recharges you. When you first meet someone, what’s your personal elevator pitch? How does it share your values? Give us a well-rounded mix of information in this essay so we can better understand you beyond your work life.

Don’t forget about the first sentence of the prompt: “We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation.” The admissions committee already read your resume, letter of recommendation, education history, and goals. While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of those components.

Finally, the choice is yours: written essay or video. We have seen significant success with both mediums and do not have a preference of one over the other. Therefore, play to your strengths! If your skill is in writing, focus on the essay. If you’re not shy in front of a camera, then record a video. However, if you do submit a video, keep in mind that sending us a photo slideshow isn’t advisable. These slideshow submissions don’t grant the admissions committee the chance to actually see and hear from you, which is really what we are looking for in a video submission. Have fun with either submission, and do not take this essay for granted— it can go a long way in setting the stage for your MBA application and creating another great impression.

Texas McCombs MBA Essay 2

Picture yourself at the completion of your MBA journey. Describe how you spent your time as a Texas McCombs MBA student to achieve your personal and professional goals. (500 words)

Essay Two provides an opportunity to explain why you’re applying to Texas McCombs. By describing what you’re excited for and your plans as an MBA, we will understand your career plan, learn what you’re passionate about, and discover how you want to develop yourself both in and out of the classroom.

What classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to your career plan? Personally, how do you envision yourself becoming an active member of our community? Connect the dots between your goals and how McCombs will get you there.

Make sure to give us specifics. If you’ve engaged with the program, you know there is a lot to look forward to: challenging classes, concentrations, organizations, student/alumni networking, award-winning professors, unique career-oriented opportunities, a vibrant city…the list goes on. Illustrate what attributes of the program you plan to take full advantage of and how you plan to make a positive impact while you are a student. What will be your MBA legacy? Convince us that you are indispensable to our community.

MBA Optional Statement

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Who Should Write Your MBA Recommendation?

The Texas McCombs MBA application requires one professional letter of recommendation from a person who has supervised your work and/or has assessed your performance during your career.

A recommendation letter is one of the only things you rely on someone else to provide in your application. Circumstances differ for every applicant and deciding who you should ask will vary.  Below are some scenarios to help guide you in choosing the best recommender your application.

Your Supervisor

Your current direct supervisor is traditionally the best choice. This is likely the person in your network that knows your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. However, this may not be a viable option for you.  Perhaps you aren’t able to communicate to your employer that you’re applying to business school or you do not work with your direct boss that closely. It could also be that you attained a new role recently and your current supervisor has not had a chance to work with you very much. Or,  you’re an entrepreneur & don’t have a supervisor.

All of these are valid reasons to look for other recommendation sources, but remember that if you do not ask your current supervisor to write your recommendation letter, we do ask that you explain your choice in the Optional Statement.

Your Former Supervisor

If you cannot ask your current direct supervisor to write your recommendation, maybe you can ask a previous supervisor? Depending on how recently you worked with them, the “old boss” may be the best choice, especially if you had a strong professional relationship with that person. This is also a very common option.

Your Indirect Supervisor

Asking an indirect supervisor can another option, especially if you’ve worked with this person closely on past assignments or long-term projects.  This is a nice alternative to a supervisor that you may not work with closely.

Your Client or Vendor

This type of recommendation source is especially useful for entrepreneurs or for applicants who work for a family business.

If you work for a family business, it is preferred that you ask an individual outside of your family to write your letter of recommendation.

Your Mentor

Mentors inside or outside of your workplace are great to have in your corner when it comes time to apply to business school. However, be sure that your mentor has a clear understanding of your current professional value, not just your potential or future goals. Select a mentor with whom you have worked with on measurable tasks to ensure that they will provide a recommendation with depth. Often, mentor recommendations are submitted as an optional secondary recommendation. Keep in mind that the admissions committee is looking for someone who has worked with you professionally.

Other Options

There are many individuals who may fall in the category of “other recommenders.” For example, a former professor, a colleague or a coach.

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The Working Professional and Executive MBA Admissions Team

Every year, our Working Professional and Executive (WPE) MBA Admissions Team hosts hundreds of events, answers your questions, and reviews applications with the goal of putting together an incoming class that showcases the strengths and values of Texas McCombs.

Our WPE Admissions Team team is dedicated to supporting you throughout your application process, really getting to know you and your goals, and helping you find your perfect fit within our programs. Get to know more about them below.

Dave Jackson
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth

Dave Jackson Headshot

Dave Jackson is the Senior Admissions Officer for our MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program and is a proud McCombs MBA alumnus. He has 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, and communication.

Dave graduated from the MBA program in 2010, amidst the Great Recession. He was inspired by a fellow alum to look at the economic situation with a fresh perspective. He recently shared his experience and insights: Considering an MBA in Uncertain Times

“An MBA is an investment that will pay off over a long time horizon, in ways both easy to measure and less tangible but still significant. So if you’re thinking about whether these turbulent times are right for making the MBA investment, it’s worth considering that this might be the best time of all to go for it.”

When considering making an investment in your MBA, Dave says you should look closely at the value an MBA program has to offer and consider whether waiting is worth the opportunity cost of missing out on the benefits you could start receiving sooner.

“A big part of that value comes from the network you build with your classmates and alumni. As a McCombs student, you instantly join a powerful and passionate network of 500,000+ University of Texas at Austin and 100,000+ McCombs alumni who are eager to help their fellow Longhorns.”

Connect with Dave to learn more about the MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth and the application process.

Christie Jenkins
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs Evening MBA

Christie Jenkins HeadshotChristie Jenkins is our Senior Admissions Officer for the Evening MBA. She joined the team in April 2020 and is originally from Vernon, Texas. She studied Public Relations at The University of Oklahoma, and received her MBA from the University of Illinois.

Christie has worked in higher education for nearly a decade and plans to spend the rest of her career in the field. While it is non-traditional that she earned her MBA, given her career goals, she believes education in America is evolving significantly, and looks for candidates that are humble and eager to learn.

“Many of our candidates have impressive careers and academic accomplishments, but I am looking for candidates who recognize there is plenty they have left to learn and are open to being taught. The classroom is safe space to make mistakes and work on your areas of improvement. I like students who are willing to embrace this opportunity and make the most out of their MBA experience.”

Christie was attracted to Texas McCombs for its renowned reputation as the best MBA program in Texas. She joined the admissions team with the goal of increasing the number of women in our working professional programs and diversifying our classes.

I like working with the best and the brightest. Texas McCombs is the best MBA program in Texas, and the Evening MBA program is ranked #7 in the country (U.S. News, 2020). Rankings aren’t everything, but they do encompass many important factors like the quality of our curriculum, faculty, outside-the-classroom opportunities, career services, facilities, and more. I like being around people who are the best at what they do and students who are going to make a positive impact on society.”

“Like all business schools, we have more men than women. Texas McCombs is better than many top programs, but we still need to improve in this area. Diversity in the classroom is so important. It leads to more comprehensive discussions, better outcomes, and creates the next generation of business leaders that the following generation will look up to.”

Christie has advice for those pursuing their MBA degree.

“Go for it. A common refrain I hear from prospective students, and was true for me before I started my MBA, is that they have been considering getting an MBA for a long time. There is never a perfect time to go back to school; life will always be busy. Don’t wait for the ideal conditions or you will never act. Just take the first step. Come to an info session or start the application. You will be surprised at how energized you get by finally acting on your dream.”

Connect with Christie to learn more about the  Evening MBA and the application process.

Elizabeth (Beth) Martinez
Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Texas McCombs MBA at Houston

Headshot for Elizabeth MartinezBeth Martinez is our Senior Admissions Officer for the MBA at Houston. She is originally from Chatham, Illinois, and earned her BA in History at the University of Cincinnati and her MBA at Rice University in Houston. Beth wanted to work in corporate finance in oil and gas, so she decided to pursue her MBA to change her career. She now has industry experience in banking, the start-up world, publishing, and oil and gas.

“I have been fortunate enough to be involved in hiring and recruiting for many of the companies for which I have worked and the best people hands down are grads from McCombs. McCombs is clearly doing something right.”

Beth looks for candidates that are enthusiastic, open, and have a track record that highlights focus. She believes candidates should pay close attention to what is happening in the world of business, be curious, authentic, and clear about what they want.

“I want to help grow the Texas McCombs Houston program such that we are full to the max capacity every year, as I believe we have a fantastic opportunity here. Houston is the energy capital of the world and the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world. What’s not to like?”

Connect with Beth to learn more about the MBA at Houston and the application process.

Sharon Barrett
Director, Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs

Sharon Barrett Headshot

Sharon Barrett is the Director for Working Professional and Executive MBA Programs. She is a UT Alumna and double longhorn with both her BBA  in Marketing and MBA from Texas McCombs.

Sharon has a passion for education and has worked at Texas McCombs for over 10 years. She helps MBA candidates find the program that best fits their needs.

“If you are still deciding between leaving your job to attend an MBA full-time, or continuing to work while you earn your degree part-time, rest assured you’re not alone.”

Sharon also shares her insight and expertise on MBA planning, resume building, and decision-making with WPE MBA prospects. Her piece of advice when applying to McCombs is to highlight the quality of your work experience in your resume.

“Remember, your resume is important, but it’s only one data point for you as a candidate. Years of work experience give only one sense of you as a candidate, so use your resume to make the quality of those years really stand out.”

Connect with Sharon to learn more about the Executive MBA and the application process.

Rodrigo Malta
Managing Director, MBA Recruiting and Admissions
Rodrigo Malta Headshot

Rodrigo Malta, also known as Digo, grew up in Brazil and moved to the United States when he was in high school. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Management from Missouri State University and his MBA from Texas McCombs in 2007. Hook ’em!

During his time in the program, he was involved in the McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC) and later used his MBA experience to transition from an internal audit career in the telecommunications industry to a marketing role in the technology industry with Dell. His passion for admissions and recruiting led him back to McCombs where he is the Managing Director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions, which he refers to as his “dream job.”

The diversity of students is “hands-down” his favorite thing about McCombs.

“We bring together students from all corners of the world with unique personal stories and varied professional backgrounds. Add in our award-winning faculty members and this is the perfect recipe for lively class discussions and an amazing learning environment.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events, and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram. We encourage you to meet one of our team members at an event soon.

Considering Your MBA
in Uncertain Times

Dave Jackson is the Senior Admissions Officer for the Texas McCombs MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program and is a proud McCombs MBA alumnus . He has 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, and communication. Dave graduated from the MBA program in 2010 amidst the Great Recession. Here, he provides a personal perspective of his time in the program that may be helpful to those currently evaluating an MBA amongst the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. 

Dave Jackson Headshot

Dave Jackson, Senior Admissions Officer of MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth

I remember sitting in a conference room in the Fall of 2008, in my first year of the Texas McCombs MBA at DFW program. For those who remember that time, we were in the midst of one of the worst recessions in our country’s history as the subprime mortgage crisis brought the financial system to its knees.

The alum standing at the front of the room talking to our class asked, “Who thinks this is a good time to be looking for a job?”

None of us even gave a thought to raising our hands. Most of us were more worried about keeping the jobs we had, let alone finding something new.

He looked at his audience of skeptics and said, “I would argue that this is the best time of all to be looking for a job. Because companies are only hiring people for positions that they know will add value. And those are the jobs you want.”

One simple argument changed our whole perspective on what appeared to be a bleak economic situation.

Now we’re facing another crisis – a public health challenge combined with an economic one. And it’s perfectly rational to ask: Is now the right time to make an investment in an MBA?

This is ultimately a personal question: Everyone has their own set of criteria for what makes a good investment and when is the right time to make it.

Here are a few things to consider:

Return on InvestmentJust as investment advisors recommend that you invest your money for the long-term, recognize that you have many more years ahead in your career and your MBA will pay off over a long period of time. But in thinking more specifically about payback, the most recent GMAC survey of business school alumni found high-levels of both satisfaction and return among both full-time and part-time graduates. Employers value the MBA and despite an uncertain hiring environment, there will be opportunities for good candidates in the future. Additionally McCombs was named No. 1 Best Value among top 20 business schools by U.S. News and World Report, based on the gap between average starting salaries and debt.

NetworkRemember that the concepts of return and value are two different things. While return is more easily quantifiable and you should expect a reasonable payback period, you begin accruing value with your MBA from the day you start, and you continue to accrue that value over the rest of your life. A big part of that value comes from the network you build with your classmates and alumni. As a McCombs student, you instantly join a powerful and passionate network of 500,000+ University of Texas at Austin and 100,000+ McCombs alumni who are eager to help their fellow Longhorns. Being surrounded by a group of smart, goal-oriented, diverse and downright interesting people will give you new perspectives on how to do your work differently, provide you with new tools for solving problems and give you connections (and friendships) that will always be with you throughout your career.

Knowledge Another main source of value in an MBA is the knowledge you gain, which has no expiration date. MBA faculty are the best in their fields, and they also recognize the strength of knowledge in the room. They know how to facilitate discussion and draw on the expertise of you and your fellow students. At McCombs we are fortunate to have extraordinary breadth across academic disciplines, as one of only five schools in the nation to rank in the top 20 across 11 or more U.S. News graduate business specialties. Additionally our faculty have been named top 10 Best Professors by The Princeton Review for 10 of the last 11 years, based on feedback from students about teaching quality and accessibility outside the classroom. We assume that everyone seeking an MBA aspires to be a leader, and our curriculum is geared toward preparing you for leadership. As we’re learning each day, strong leadership skills and empathy are critical in difficult times to ensure that our businesses, organizations, and team members are prepared to get through difficult challenges. As an MBA graduate, you will be well-equipped to play a leading role in solving the next crisis we face as a society.

Perspective Finally, it’s important to recognize that the current environment, while difficult and unprecedented, is temporary. The world economy has weathered many challenges over its long history. And while the “when” isn’t clear, things will get better. It’s important to consider whether waiting to pursue your MBA is worth the opportunity cost of missing out on the benefits you can start receiving sooner.

Warren Buffett, a child of the Great Depression who has become one of the world’s greatest investors in good times and bad, has said, “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”

An MBA is an investment that will pay off over a long time horizon, in ways both easy to measure and less tangible but still significant. So if you’re thinking about whether these turbulent times are right for making the MBA investment, it’s worth considering that this might be the best time of all to go for it.


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram.

Student Spotlight: Laura
Gallardo, MBA at Houston
Class of 2021

Laura Gallardo Headshot

Laura Gallardo
MBA at Houston ’21

Laura Gallardo is a first-generation college student that learned to navigate her own way through undergrad to Texas McCombs. From applying for scholarships & aid, to registering for classes for the first time, Laura took the initiative to ensure optimal success in her professional life. She is now taking her attained journalism and public relations skill set into the business world as she works toward her MBA at Houston degree.

In October, Laura Gallardo took over Instagram stories on MBAchic  to show followers what a day in the life of a working professional student is like in our Texas McCombs MBA at Houston program.

Laura’s motivation to pursue her MBA is fueled by the desire to make her family proud. 

“My parents emigrated from Mexico in pursuit of a better life. My father’s work ethic has always resonated with me and motivated me. As a teenager, it’s so easy to be influenced by the wrong crowd, particularly in the area that we grew up. I knew that if I wanted my sister to stay on the right track, I needed to set the right example for her.”

Choosing a Business School

After completing her undergraduate degree, Laura pursued a job in journalism as a local news producer. She worked in the newsroom for six years before transitioning into a traditional public communications role at a law firm. After 11 years as a working professional, Laura realized she had to move outside her comfort zone. An MBA felt like her calling.

In recent years, I found myself making multiple lateral professional moves, when in fact I’d been vying for leadership roles. I took a hard look at my career and determined that in order to shift my professional life in an upward direction, I had to re-invest in my education. A BA in communications has served me well so far, but I am hungry for strong professional growth.

Laura says she had a gut instinct that drew her to attend McCombs. She knew she wanted to ensure that she was pursuing a degree from a school that held weight in the business world, and was drawn to the University of Texas at Austin for its recognizable name and reputation.

I made my decision to apply to McCombs after sitting through an admissions webinar series hosted by our program’s amazing admissions counselor, Jenn Cole. The webinar series was incredibly helpful in walking me through the admissions process from point A to point Z. From my very first interactions with the program, I know it could potentially be a right fit for me. 

That gut instinct was solidified after attending an open house in the spring and sitting through a class. The program’s culture immediately drew me in. Current students were extremely helpful in answering questions about the workload, schedule, and overall culture – in other words, just keeping it real! Their willingness to share was very comforting. Now as a student, I can confirm that is still the case – the class of 2020 has been incredibly welcoming and inclusive.

Work-Life-School Balance

As a mother of twin 4-year-olds, the MBA at Houston program also offered Laura a convenient weekend class schedule that worked for her family. Her husband’s job requires him to travel during the week, so they felt the program’s alternating weekend structure would be the best fit. Laura developed a routine with her husband to make the addition of the program a smoother life transition.

Laura, her husband and her two children.

“The alternating weekend structure allows my family to have our normal routine during the week, and plan ahead for class weekends. On weeknights leading up to class, I excuse myself immediately after dinner to study, but make sure to read my kids their bedtime story and tuck them in to bed.

Fortunately, now at 4-years-old, they understand why mommy is not around some weekends. As a result, we’ve had some endearing conversations as they’ve asked me questions about school based on their own experiences in pre-k, such as if we have ‘circle time’ and if I ‘learn about colors.’ I try to explain to them as much as possible about my weekend absences or having to step away after dinner to ‘do homework.’

Balancing a family, full-time career, and an MBA does have its challenges for Laura. Having limited time means missing a few soccer games and special occasions. Laura credits her friends and family for being understanding and supportive in the process and her parents for being readily available to provide child care.

“Most importantly in this MBA journey, having a support system that I can rely on for emotional and moral support has been so crucial.”

Laura’s Post-MBA Plans

“Ideally, I would like to apply my current skill set (attained from a career of journalism and public relations) to a different industry. I am increasingly interested in an investor relations role where I can use my new knowledge about accounting and finance, gained here at McCombs, and compliment it with my previous experience. If I remain solely in the communications field, I would hope to lead the marketing strategy team for a publicly traded company or a private equity firm. My long-term goal is to lead at a Fortune 100 company.”

Laura and her children posing by the UT tower

Laura’s Advice to You

“If you’ve been even remotely considering pursuing an MBA, go for it! Invest in your career and yourself. Prepare and begin the admissions process early so you’re not cramming to meet the final deadlines: study for the GMAT, request your letter of recommendation, think about how you’ll fund tuition– set the wheels in motion early. Once June rolls around, the enrollment process moves extremely fast,

Don’t let your role as a parent keep you from pursuing graduate school. Like any major life change, having the right support will be crucial when returning to school, and especially if you have a family. Between classes, projects, and studying, the program will inevitably keep you away from your loved ones, so surround yourself with friends and family who have your best interest at heart, understand, and are there to encourage you.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram. Hook ’em!

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