Tag Archives: admissions

MPA Cribs: A “Mini Tour” of the McCombs School of Business

The 21st Street Entrance to the McCombs School of Business

Six floors, three buildings and top-notch classrooms and facilities – The McCombs School of Business has been the home of over 6,000 students. Personally, it is the only place on-campus where I spend my time: for classes, group projects, organizational meetings, studying, eating or just socializing with friends.

I would like to open the doors of the business school and give you a “mini tour” of the buildings’ most prominent highlights.  Welcome to my crib!

1)   “The Family Group”

Situated by the 21st Street entrance of the business school,   “The Family Group” is a sculpture designed by Charles Umlauf. Umlauf had a vision that focused on family; “the foundation upon which the world of business is built.” The plaza where the sculpture is located also has several tables and chairs where students can study or wait before their classes start.

AIM Investment Center


2)   AIM Investment Center

One of the most prominent facilities in the business school is the AIM Investment Center. With the LED ticker constantly running overhead, the facility provides business students the latest updates on current stock prices. The AIM Investment Center is also a part of the EDS Financial Trading and Technology Center, which is dedicated to helping MBA students and undergraduate finance majors obtain real-world experience in managing investment portfolios and developing client relationships.


Continue reading MPA Cribs: A “Mini Tour” of the McCombs School of Business

I really didn’t think I was going to get in…

Grad school admissions can seem like a bit of a lottery.

I express this not only as my own sentiment regarding applying to the MPA program, but also as a common theme among my peers. Not knowing anyone in Austin when I arrived, I was eager and available to get to know others in the program. After classes groups of MPAs often walked to restaurants near campus, like Pluckers or Cain and Ables, to visit. [I’m convinced food is the ultimate ice breaker.] A habitual conversation starter for us was “how and why did you end up coming here” because in our early interactions that was what we knew we had in common.

In response I heard and reheard variations of the story “I didn’t think I had any chance of getting in, but the early response was first, so I applied to see what would happen, knowing that if I didn’t get in I could go elsewhere”. It always surprised me because the people who said these things are so remarkable! I would think “your GMAT is amazing!” or “you were in the top of your class” or “your extracurriculars are so impressive” but the fact remains that many of us who had the option to and chose to attend here weren’t sure we had what it takes.

The mechanics of graduate school admissions are a mystery, a bit like winning the lottery, and we all wish we could find the key.  My admittedly flawed sampling of students probably can’t be used for any truly reliable conclusions about it, but I think that the theme is not an accident. Something about the admissions process seems to slect people who are highly successful yet modest, reminiscent of Jim Collins’s “level five leader”.  Aside from that, from what I can tell the secret to getting in to this program is not being deterred by probability; it’s taking the initiative to pursue something with an uncertain outcome.