Tag: women (page 1 of 4)

My Texas MBA Women’s Forum Experience

From Julia Brannan, Texas MBA Class of 2018, on her experience at the 2015 Women’s Forum.

julia-brannanWomen interested in  the Texas Full-Time MBA Program are encouraged to attend our annual Women’s Forum, taking place Nov 18th & 19th! There’s only a few spots left, so apply today!

During the forum you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the Texas Full-Time MBA Program, interact with current students and faculty, understand the value proposition of the Texas MBA, and experience what makes Austin so special!


Here’s a look into my Women’s Forum experience:

As I sat in the audience with 80 other prospective female MBAs interested in learning more about McCombs, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how much this event would impact my decision to join the McCombs community.

Day 1 – Thursday

I join the Texas MBA Women’s Forum GroupMe and current students are messaging us, “Who runs the world? Girls!” I’m feeling excited. Now I know I have an additional bond with some of these women beyond McCombs and a passion for women in business – a love for Beyoncé. I head to the Welcome Reception and meet amazing current students including Amira Fawcett, class of 2017. She came from a sales and trading background and had just been accepted for a product management internship at Amazon. Amira is a prime example of what a woman in business is like at McCombs. She’s down to earth, hilarious, driven as ever, and is passionate about helping her female peers reach their goals.

Day 2 – Friday

I applied during the first application round so I head to my scheduled interview in the morning. My interview is with Eric Franco, class of 2016, who’s heading to a job at an energy company post-graduation. Eric shared stories about taking classes in UT Austin’s other graduate schools, including top programs in law, public policy and engineering (the list goes on!). He loved that McCombs offers a tight-knit community along with access to endless resources throughout UT. Post-interview I grab lunch with girls attending the forum and later we head to happy hour with current students and explore Austin.

Day 3 – Saturday (main part of the Forum!)

We settle in and are greeted by Austin’s beloved breakfast tacos and the Assistant Dean of the Texas Full-Time MBA Program, Tina Mabley. Tina, a McCombs Alum, shares what makes her love this program – the people. She explains how every year the students, faculty, and administration continue to build the program for the better. For instance, Silva Gentchev, class of 2017, had just launched the Social Impact Internship Fund (SIIF). SIIF is a student-run initiative for first-year MBAs geared to help fund their classmates’ social impact internships with organizations that otherwise would not be able to afford MBA salaries (spanning non-profits to the public sector to social enterprises). The rest of the day moves at a quick pace and I’m viciously scribbling down things that inspire me left and right. To share a few:

  • During the Student Life Panel I meet Tenaj Ferguson, Class of 2017, who won the Texas Venture Labs Scholarship worth $10,000 and in-state tuition after pitching her own-startup in the competition. Tenaj is using an incubator in Austin to help grow her business, Lady Epicure Gourmet – a retail and food service natural food brand and manufacturer of commercial food tech equipment. Using McCombs’ strength in strategic marketing, she landed an internship at the Campbell Soup Company to build upon her brand management skills.
  • Ty Henderson, a favorite McCombs professor, leads us through the Classroom Experience, providing a taste of what his Analysis of Markets class would be like. It’s incredibly engaging, partially case-based, and rooted in data analytics.
  • I meet Nikki Bruce, Class of 2015, in the Beyond the MBA – Alumni Panel. Nikki used McCombs’ MBA+ Leadership Program to pursue a micro-consulting project with Boston Consulting Group. This experience validated her desire to pursue consulting and she now works full-time at Deloitte Consulting.
  • Associate Director of Career Management, Ramona Arora, shares during the Career Management discussion how students have access to career counselors and communication coaches who help to advise a student’s career search, assist with resumes, and provide feedback on interview behaviors. Additionally, I learn we’ll have access to the largest alumni network in the country – alums who are more than willing to take our calls (I’ve experienced it firsthand now, they really are)!

Attending the 2015 Women’s Forum was far and away the most rewarding experience I had throughout the MBA application process. Two main things really stand out to me looking back; first, the forum gave me that intangible validation that McCombs was the right fit for me. Austin, and to a larger extent, McCombs, were environments that I knew I wanted to call home. Second, it facilitated an-ongoing conversation that I personally feel strongly about – women’s experience in the workplace and in leadership in general.

Now, in my first semester at McCombs I truly feel that the answer to “Who runs the world?” is #McCombsWomen.

texas women mean business

 

2015 Texas MBA Women’s & Diversity Forum Events

This past weekend, the Full-Time Texas MBA program hosted their annual Women’s Forum at the McCombs School of Business here at UT-Austin. This is always an exciting McCombs event and this year’s attendance was strong! 83 potential MBAs had the TX womenopportunity to interact with McCombs faculty and staff, alumni, and current students during a number of information sessions and networking receptions, allowing them to learn more about all aspects of the program and begin to picture themselves as Texas MBAs.

Professor Srinivasan of the Texas MBA program

Texas MBA Program Professor, Raji Srinivasan

“It was a wonderful and large group of women, who
were excited to learn about the Texas MBA program, the University of Texas at Austin, and Austin! There was animated discussion about the challenges of coming back to school, especially for women, and issues related to career switching. I enjoyed speaking to them and learning about their career goals and aspirations. This is a great group of prospective MBA students and I look forward to seeing many of them in the fall of next year.”

– Professor Raji Srinivasan

 

A Global Perspective.

The 2015 Texas MBA Diversity Forum was also this month, on November 14th. McCombs hosted 88 attendees from all over the world and these future MBAs had the opportunity to get to know program staff, faculty, alumni, current students, and each other for a first-hand look at the Texas MBA program.

Highlights from this year included a “Why McCombs?” presentation from Assistant Dean, Tina Mabley, in which she discussed what makes McCombs and the city of Austin stand out, from innovative culture, to beautiful outdoor spaces and a thriving arts and music scene. Attendees also learned about our dynamic student life through interactions with members of McCombs student organizations.


If you were not able to attend our Women’s or Diversity Forums this year, check out some of the other events happening on campus this season. We hope to see you soon!

5 Ways Women MBAs CAN Have It All

When I started in the Texas Executive MBA program (EMBA) last August, I fully expected life as I knew it to end. I scheduled a couple of relaxing trips — a beach vacation over Fourth of July, and a fly fishing adventure with my husband on the Salmon River in Idaho. I got my hair cut. I read Vogue and took a few spa days. I scaled back my involvement in non-priority projects. By the time August rolled around and I buttoned up my business suit for the first seminar, I was ready to kiss my “old,” pre-MBA life goodbye.

A few weeks ago, I participated in a panel at the annual Texas MBA Women’s Forum, speaking to prospective Evening and Executive applicants. I remembered how I felt just a year before as an audience member watching a similar panel and wondering whether I was ready to make the commitment to the program. Now that I’m well into my second semester as an EMBA, life has gotten complicated, but it’s not impossible, and I’m certainly still able to enjoy my “old” life. I’m here to inform women considering the program that you can have it all. Here’s how:

1) Your support network goes far beyond you.

Friends opening creditsWhether you’re married, single, or “it’s complicated,” you’ll quickly find that you need more than just the power of you to get through this program. For those who have significant others, it’s imperative that he or she be on board with your decision — they will be your sounding board and your soft place to land. But don’t think you have to have someone waiting for you with dinner on the stove to tackle an MBA. This program expands your network — intentionally so — both professionally and personally. Between your study group, your classmates at large, and your professors, you begin to develop a network that helps you answer some of the most challenging questions in your life, whether they are related to career advice, personal development, or schoolwork. Additionally, the women in the class ahead of me have done a great job at building relationships with the women in my class. I think I can safely speak for the ladies of the Class of 2016 when I say that we’re all looking forward to paying it forward to incoming female students next year.

2) You become a decision-making rockstar.

How often do you hum and haw over whether to attend a meeting or bring an issue to your boss? How many times a day do you click on the same email trying to decide how to respond? Dr. John Burrows, the EMBA program director, and one of your first-semester professors, likes to say “Begin with the end in mind.” While at first this concept can be difficult to grasp, once you get the hang of it, you start applying it to everything in your life. When a decision needs to be made, you are able to arrive at an effective, prompt, and well-supported conclusion. Not only that, but you begin to collect tools and strategies that help you dive into and analyze these challenging situations with confidence. Being in this program so quickly cuts through the chaff in your life, that you just might be surprised by how much extra time it frees up (which, of course, leaves more time for studying!).

3) You learn how to prioritize the right things, not all the things.

One of the most important parts of the program that you won’t find in any formal curriculum is that it teaches you to recognize when and how to take care of your personal life. This isn’t just something that MBAs need to learn — any executive looking to go the distance must get a handle on this lesson at some point.

Need to get some exercise? There’s no shortage of running groups or cycling teams to join (or start your own!). If you have kids, be there for them first. Your group will support you (and demand cute photos of your kids as repayment!). A few of us in the Class of 2016 have made a point to have “Manicure Mondays” every few months when we get our nails done together. It’s a simple thing but it allows us to debate cases or talk through tough quantitative concepts while doing something special and relaxing for ourselves. During my first semester, my husband and I bought a house and decided to renovate our kitchen ourselves. Did I often think I needed to be reading case studies while I knocked dry wall down off the walls? Absolutely. Did I finish reading those cases by the time class rolled around? Of course. Life has a way of expanding and contracting to your priorities. It’s up to you to ensure you put the right priorities in your life.

4) You learn how to maximize your unique strengths.

Leslie Knope quoteChanneling your strengths as a leader goes far beyond focusing on just doing what you’re good at. In fact, this program challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone and to wrestle with questions you might previously have avoided. This is where you learn how to channel your natural talents, as you start to realize — with the guidance of great professors and supportive classmates — that there are unique aspects about you that make you a unique leader. These are the stories you come into the program with: a former career as a professional athlete, or a struggle to overcome a fear of public speaking. These bits and pieces of your history are often overlooked — and sometimes even hidden from ourselves and others. But the EMBA program encourages you to really explore what parts of those stories you can leverage to make the world a better place. How does this ultimately help you have it all? You have time to reflect on and ensure that an important part of yourself is not left behind as you grow and change as a leader.

5) You can find self-fulfillment.

Remember being forced to run the mile in grade school while being timed and yelled at by some domineering gym coach? I bet you couldn’t wait to stop running. Now think about what it felt like the time you chose to train for and complete a long distance race, whether it was a 5K or an Ironman. Sure, it was daunting going into it, but the process was just as satisfying as crossing the finish line. Pursue an MBA if you are looking for fulfillment at both a personal and professional level. It requires too much time, effort, and sacrifice if you don’t plan on finding personal satisfaction and happiness in not only the outcomes, but also the inputs. In her controversial essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” Anne-Marie Slaughter writes about one challenge for women attempting the balancing act:

Seeking out a more balanced life is not a women’s issue; balance would be better for us all. Bronnie Ware, an Australian blogger who worked for years in palliative care and is the author of the 2011 book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, writes that the regret she heard most often was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Make sure an MBA isn’t just another item on the list of what others expect from you. If you’re true to yourself in this program, you’ll do just fine.

Student Org Spotlight: Graduate Women In Business

Student organizations at McCombs open doors to relationships, leadership development, professional growth, and just plain fun – and none of them are doing a better job at those things than the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) organization.

I recently caught up with Kiley Baker, who served as co-president of GWIB for the 2012 class year along with classmate Marissa Kraines. As co-presidents the pair focused their energy on developing relationships externally with women business leaders and corporate sponsors as well as internally amongst their members. Kiley said that the position was an amazing opportunity to determine the direction of an organization that makes an impact on the development of Texas MBA women.

What is GWIB all about?
GWIB is an MBA organization focused on developing a professional and social network among McCombs MBA women. GWIB has more than 150 members across the Full-Time and Evening MBA programs, and we are proud that 95% of Full-Time MBA women have joined the organization across the Classes of 2013 and 2014.

GWIB focuses our programming on three pillars, including education, professional development and social networking. The Class of 2013 officer group worked hard to plan exciting and interactive events for our members, accomplishing our goal of developing a women’s network that capitalizes on our unique position in business. GWIB creates an environment at McCombs that allows women to explore their career interests, advance their professional development and meet supportive women to develop a life-long network.

Does GWIB host any special events?
GWIB hosts a number of events over the course of the academic year, ranging from cocktail parties to company-sponsored leadership development workshops. GWIB has a number of corporate sponsors that host recruiting events that are open exclusively to GWIB members. Last fall, one of our most popular events was a leadership development workshop with Deloitte Consulting. We not only heard from some of the top partners in Deloitte on how to tell your story, network by design and recognize your strengths, but also had the chance to network with Deloitte partners and recruiters. Another exciting event that GWIB members participated in was a “Powerful Austin Women” happy hour, sponsored by Laura Kilcrease, McCombs Entrepreneur in Residence and local venture capitalist. Through this networking event our members had the chance to converse with some of the most successful women in the Austin business community.

GWIB also hosts social events for our members, often with a Texas flare. Last fall we welcomed our new members in the Evening program and Class of 2014 with Tex-Mex and margaritas. We celebrate the graduation of each second year class with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Four Seasons gardens on Austin’s Town Lake. An intimate lunch with Olympic Gold Medalist and University of Texas graduate Sanya Richards-Ross remains one of my favorite events. Sanya is an advocate of women’s rights and an impressive entrepreneur. Our time with her was incredibly inspiring and will remain one of my most memorable hours in the MBA program.

Who can join GWIB? Are there “no boys allowed”?
Students in the Full-Time, Evening, or Executive MBA programs are eligible to join GWIB. While we have an occasional male that joins, the organization is most appealing to women given the nature of the programming and events.

What has been your favorite part of GWIB?
Women remain unrepresented in MBA programs, and I take great pride in playing a leadership role in an organization that is instrumental in creating a network amongst our members. The McCombs women across the Class of 2013 have strong ties and I am constantly amazed by my women classmates. We have been given a number of opportunities to interact with and learn from each other through GWIB. Our women’s network is an accomplishment that I like to think our organization helped to facilitate.

Evening And Executive MBA Women’s Forum

By Amber LyonsTexas Evening MBA Class of 2013

Saturday, January 26th marked the second annual Texas Evening (TEMBA) and Executive (EMBA) MBA Women’s Forum in Austin, Texas. The event was an all-day affair that drew some of the most talented business women in Austin together. The forum gave prospective students the opportunity to network with other prospects, current students and alumni. The day’s events included: a welcome by the program directors, a keynote from Laura Starks, a presentation by Professor John Daly, an MBA+ Leadership Program overview, an alumni and student panel, and a career management overview. We concluded the day with a networking reception that allowed everyone a relaxing atmosphere to interact. This year I had the pleasure of co-chairing the Women’s Forum with Jocelyn Sexton from the EMBA program.

Student Panel At Texas MBA Women's Forum

Student and Alumni Panel at Texas MBA Women’s Forum

Some of you reading this blog might wonder why it is being posted a month after the event. It is just one example of the challenges and balance required to be a full time employee and full time student. I will not call the program part time, because those of you who have balanced work and the Texas MBA program realize it is quite an amazing feat.

The past three years in the TEMBA program have flown by and it is hard to believe that I now find myself in my final weeks. It feels like only a short time ago I received my acceptance letter and sat in my first class session. Looking around the room I was a bit surprised to realize my fellow women in the class only made up about 15% of the class. Although the women made up only a small percentage of the class, they have become a large voice and hold many of the class leadership positions. Our Graduate Business Council (GBC) president is a woman, as are all of the members of GBC, including me. Also, our McCombs Admissions Committee (MAC) chair is a woman, and so are many of its members. The women of TEMBA 2013 have worked hard, become prominent members of the class, and are some of my best friends in Austin.

It has become clear over the past three years that learning in an MBA class comes in equal parts from the professors and from classmates. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a class that continually challenges each other every day. I became involved in MAC in order to give back to the program, continue to pull in the best students, and help prospective students along the application process. There is value in helping pull the best and brightest students into McCombs, because the quality of the student reflects the quality of the program. I also see value in helping McCombs grow their number of women applicants because if my class is representative of the business world, women have a voice, and even if the women make up a smaller number than men in the working world, women are stepping up in leadership positions and influencing the future. Each year the percentage of women in top MBA programs is growing and I hope that events like the Women’s Forum will help encourage more bright and talented women to continue to apply and realize the impact they can make in an MBA class and in the business world.

Thanks,
Amber

 

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