Tag Archives: football

Competing With Engineers for a Sustainable World

A couple of months ago, we all received an invitation to compete in BASF’s Team Chemistry challenge. A fellow MPA student decided to formTexas-mascot a group, and so I joined. It seemed like a fun project – come up with ideas to lessen the environmental impact of football gameday. I love football gameday and I have an interest in environmental sustainability, so it was like a match made in heaven. Of course, the incentive of winning a bunch of money didn’t hurt.

So, we set to work coming up with ideas on how to approach the problem.  We easily came up with a host of small solutions that would have some impact, but quickly got bogged down in the details. After spending some more time pondering our work, we decided to focus on a group  of related solutions and hone in on them.  As Joel said in his most recent article about accountants being risk-averse, we learned from our initial mistakes, found the proper balance, and ended up with some pretty cool ideas.

We were invited to a couple of events by BASF and the Athletic Department to learn more about the initiative and the goals of the competition. One event was a sustainability panel sponsored by UT Engineers for a Sustainable World. The panel was entirely made up of engineers and the audience was entirely engineers … except two of us MPA students. It was very intimidating hearing about them discussing various polymers of which we had no clue of their existence much less their properties. Apparently these students have a big advantage over us with their knowledge of chemicals, considering BASF is essentially a chemical company. The next event was a stadium tour, during which our guides told us about their issues with waste management. Their focus seemed to be only on waste management problems, while our solutions did little to address that.

ConcoursePoster_#2_Sec120But, we pressed on, confident in the power of our ideas despite not having the technical knowledge that is certainly common among our competition. What we do have is a business ingenuity that enabled us to come up with feasible solutions that are easily implemented and have a measurable impact. We used the skills we have learned in economics, finance, and accounting to estimate the results of our proposals. We also used our branding and presentation skills to develop a persuasive format through which to deliver our proposal.

We find out Friday if we are invited to the finalist round, where we will present and defend our ideas in a “shark tank” environment. We’ve had fun putting it all together, and we’re proud of our accomplishments, but it would be great to get to write a “Part II” to this article about our preparation for the finalist round!


Lessons We Can Learn from College Football

I’m sure it is no surprise that Longhorn football is an inherent part of the culture and collegiate experience at the University of Texas at Austin. I personally have been raised to understand and love the game, but I know not everybody has the same passion for the game that I do. I believe that football is so popular because it can be so much more than a game and I have learned a few key lessons about life and management from being a football fan.

Lesson 1 – You can’t control everything –as frustrating as it is, you just can’t. This ability to accept a lack of control is a good lesson for life, because as much as we try to, the future is inherently uncertain. Events will occur no one could have predicted, and it good to be aware of what you can control and what you can’t.

Lesson 2 – Odds are that there are people more skilled for a particular task than you are –no matter how frustrated I get, and think I could get the get the job done, it’s always wise to remember that I may not be the most skilled. I also have to remind myself that my Longhorn team is only human, and mistakes will therefore be part of each and every game, and I shouldn’t be upset when they happen. Each player  had to have been very talented in order to make the team, and it’s important to rely on them and their skill sets and trust in their ability to do their job.

Lesson 3 – Success takes time –when a college football team wins a national championship, it’s easy to overlook the 3-4 years of building preparation and effort on the team’s part. National champions aren’t born overnight, success takes time.

Lesson 4 – Practice and preparation are key – I think two quotes can sum up this lesson pretty handily. The first is by Sun Tzu from the Art of War, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” The second is by our own beloved former football coach Darrell K. Royal, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Lesson 5 – Don’t let the odds get you down –my high school cross country coach always had this little gem of wisdom: “there’s a reason they don’t play sports on paper.” Upsets and unpredictable outcomes are an inherent part of college football and life. Just because success may appear unlikely, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Lesson 6 – Adjustments mid-game can make all the difference –many football games are won or lost during halftime based on the coach’s ability to make adjustments to his strategy based on how the opponent is playing. There seems to be a strong correlation between changes made at halftime and the outcome of the game. Play the game and make the adjusts needed  along the way.

Congratulations to our Longhorns and their victory in the Valero Alamo Bowl!

The Pressure of Prestige

It’s baseball season y’all, and our Texas Longhorn Baseball team has quite the journey ahead of itself. Only a few games into the season and critics are already commentating on the disappointing season the horns are going to have, however, Texas has only lost games to strong baseball teams and have pulled off a number of impressive wins.

Why would critics be saying this about a perfectly respectable season thus far? Because Texas does not have your typical baseball program. Texas baseball has a number of honors to boast:

  • Being the winningest program in college baseball history (74% of games)
  • Ranking second in all-time wins in college baseball (3,246)
  • Having the most College World Series appearances in NCAA Division 1 Baseball (34)
  • Winning the most individual College World Series games (82)
  • Having 6 NCAA National Baseball Championships
  • Possessing college’s most-winningest baseball coach (Augie Garrido) Continue reading The Pressure of Prestige