Author: Sabrina Martinez (page 1 of 3)

Community Spotlight: Texas McCombs MBA Women

Texas McCombs has had the privilege of partnering with the non-profit organization  The Forté Foundation to provide access to education, opportunities, and a supportive network to empower women in business education and management leadership since 2001.

Forté is committed to “changing the balance of power in the workplace” and strives to provide women with the resources they need to become leaders in business. The foundation has awarded $180 million in fellowships and has helped nearly 8,000 women earn and pursue their MBA.

Forté also provides advice and resources on their Business 360° Blog, hosts women-lead webinars and connects students and working-professional women all year around.

McCombs continues to be an active partner by participating in Forté events across the country and hosts women-focused conferences and events every year. We also attend their annual conference every year. This event brings together women from across the nation for a weekend of professional development and networking with top industry leaders, employers, and peers. This year’s conference was held in Chicago in July.

Firsthand Experience: Being a Forté MBA

Elpidia Gamez, MBA Class of 2021

Elpidia Ellie Gamez, new MBA and Forté Fellow, said she chose to attend McCombs for the collaborative community and plans to pursue a healthcare concentration. She appreciated that McCombs gives her the opportunity to work with the globally-recognized Dell Medical School and the College of Pharmacy on pharmaceutical innovation and commercialization.

“I can continue to develop and improve my leadership skills through McCombs’ unique MBA+ Leadership Program and participating in student-led organizations, such as GWiB and MBA Healthcare Association,” says Elpidia. “Also, Austin is not only a cool city with great eats and a fun social scene, but also a center for innovation and budding technology.”

McCombs hosted a pre-conference dinner for our Forté fellows at Giordano’s for a taste of famous Chicago deep dish pizza. This gave our fellows the chance to meet and talk about their post-MBA ambitions and goals. The conference kicked off with keynotes and discussions from business leaders. The fellows then had breakout sessions and panels based on their career and industry interests.  Forté also held a Career Expo and Networking Reception where the fellows met with representatives from Forté corporate sponsors who were ready to provide opportunities, advice, and insight.

“It was really great to see so many companies demonstrating their commitment to diversity and inclusion and advancing women in leadership with their participation throughout the day and then at the career expo. The room was abuzz with excitement to meet and speak with potential employers so I’m very grateful to our Career Services team who helped us prepare our pitches and for the engagements we had throughout the conference,” says Elpidia.

A panel of women leaders at The 2019 Forté MBA Leadership Conference in Chicago.

The second day of the conference kicked off with discussions from industry-leading women from Chevron, Google, Liberty Mutual, and Walmart. Forté then hosted career development breakout sessions like, “Leveraging Men as Mentors & Sponsors,” “Classroom Communication Strategies,” and “Set Yourself Apart with Personal Branding.” The fellows also got the chance to vote on Power Pitch Presentations where women-led teams pitch a business plan to panel of judges for feedback and chance to win seed money to continue their business idea during or after business school.

“I thought it was incredibly brave and empowering to see these ladies present their business plan with so much passion and polish to a room full of strangers who were all there to support with cheers and applause,” says Elpidia. The day wrapped up with the Edi Hunt Award and a conversation featuring Jessica Bennett, author of the Feminist Fight Club.

In conclusion, Elpidia expresses one of the best takeaways from the conference:

“I left Chicago inspired and better prepared to further the progress driven by the women who came before me who are now industry leaders both on-campus and in my future workplace.”

Elpidia with her power word “victorious” at the 2019 Forté MBA Leadership Conference in Chicago.

McCombs Graduate Women in Business (GWiB)

The McCombs chapter of the National Graduate Women in Business organization (GWiB) hosts an annual Women in Business Leadership Conference which brings together students, alumni, faculty, and influential businesswomen to address issues and challenges that affect women in today’s business environment.

GWiB also sponsors a professional development series, meets with prospective students, offers a mentoring program, hosts social outings, and organizes an annual boat cruise across Lake Austin. The org also spotlights it’s members on their Instagram page to highlight goals and achievements.

View this post on Instagram

Every week, we feature a woman from our community. Our #wcw this week is second-year Manasa Murthy! #whymccombs Name: Manasa Murthy Hometown: Diamond Bar, CA Past Work Experience: Critical Care Clinical Pharmacist (Ascension Health) Future Career Goals: After graduation I will be working at HEB as their Director of Health & Wellness. Our goal is to improve the health of Texans through food and innovative services. McCombs organizations and leadership positions: Past Co-President: Health Innovation Fellows, Past Co- VP Events: GWIB, Past VP: Indian Graduate Business Association, Past Board Fellow: Half Helen Foundation, Past Co-Women’s Weekend Chair, MAC Member Who is YOUR #wcw and why? I have many #wcw at McCombs but if I had to pick one it would be Lily Trieu. Lily  is always the first in a group to make others feel welcome and included. She is passionate about education and diversity and goes above and beyond to make meaningful change. I respect Lily for always standing up for what she believes in and know she will do amazing things in the future.

A post shared by GWiB at McCombs (@gwibmccombs) on

Discover McCombs: Women’s Weekend

In addition to conferences and meetups, Texas McCombs encourages all women MBAs interested in the program to attend our annual Discover McCombs: Women’s Weekend held each fall. Students get the opportunity to tour the beautiful UT Austin campus and Rowling Hall, plus engage with our community through panels, events, and sessions on program resources.

Last year’s Women’s Weekend welcomed 56 MBAs and kicked off at the Kendra Scott Home Office! The attendees also helped FloCode put together 315 Flo Packs for women in need and participated in Google’s #IAmRemarkable workshop. It was truly an amazing event.

McCombs also hosts diversity and inclusion conferences and workshops such as Elevate and Diversity Weekend.


If you’d like to connect with Elpidia about her experience with Forté, the MBA application process, or her background, reach out to her.

We will be highlighting more students and events throughout the year so be sure to subscribe to our blog. If you would like more information about the Texas McCombs MBA program, we encourage you to attend an MBA event—class visits, campus tours, or info sessions on-campus.

Contact our MBA admissions committee with any questions you have. Hook ’em!

Texas McCombs Community: Pride 2019

Last week, Austin held its annual Stonewall Riots Rally at the Texas Capitol to raise awareness about violence against the LGBTQ+ community and to celebrate Pride in a safe space. This year is the 50th Anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots in 1969 where members of the LGBTQ+ community fought against a police raid on June 28 at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York. A year later, the very first Gay Pride Parades in America took place in New York, California, and Illinois. Since then, cities all over the country host Pride marches and celebrations to highlight LGBTQ+ identities and allies in the community during the month of June.

Photo of rainbow pride flag in front of the Texas state capitol

Photo Courtesy of Austin Pride Facebook

Austin has many Pride Month celebrations around town in June but for various reasons, its official Pride festival and parade is held in August– this also gives the UT Austin student population, a very active part of the LGBTQ+ community, the opportunity to volunteer and participate. The MBA program is celebrating Pride Month by recognizing the impact, courage, and achievements of our students that are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Examining Your Healthcare Higher Ed Options

Our MBA at Houston program is top-ranked, led by world-renowned Texas McCombs faculty, and positioned at the center of thriving Houston, Texas– the no. 1 city in the country for healthcare jobs. Over 736,000 people are employed at Houston’s world-famous Texas Medical Center alone. Many healthcare professionals pursuing a graduate degree may wonder what an MBA can do for their careers or if an MHA or MBA is right for their goals.

Angela Van Dyke headshot McCombs Houston Class of 2020

Angela Van Dyke, MBA 2020

We recently caught up with MBA at Houston 2020 student, Angela Van Dyke, a healthcare professional who has earned her MHA and is on her way to an MBA, to explore these options.

Angela holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She currently works at PersonalMed as their National Sales Manager.

On Getting her MHA

Angela is passionate about the healthcare industry and sees herself working in the field long term.

I pursued an MHA to gain a deep and abiding understanding of the entire healthcare industry. I wanted a fundamental grasp of law and economics specifically in their application to healthcare. I also wanted to learn more about public and population health, hospital management, and clinical services.” 

On Pursuing her MBA

Through the MBA, she is becoming more proficient in technical concepts, such as finance, accounting and analytics. So far, her experience at Texas McCombs has exceeded her expectations.

“Pursuing an MBA is like a journey of transformation that allows you to pick up new tools and sharpen old skills. It’s an incredible time in your life to grow personally and professionally. The MBA is well recognized across all industries and empowers you with the credibility, creativity, and ability to add value for any organization in a variety of settings in virtually any industry at any level. An MBA arms you with the necessary expertise to quickly assess problems and determine the appropriate strategy for success. This is why I found it valuable to return to school and pursue my MBA.” 

Why Both Degrees?

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Student Spotlight: Dara Chike-Obi, MBA Class of 2019

Dara Chike-Obi, Evening MBA Class of 2019

Dara Chike-Obi,
Evening MBA ’19

Dara Chike-Obi is an Evening MBA student from Houston and a new mom who recently shared her experience of being a new parent while in the MBA program. “Unthinkable exhaustion” is the very honest first response that comes to mind when she is asked about her experience, which was also rewarding and very possible with realistic expectations and family support on her side.

On Being A Student and a Mom

“Ignorance truly is bliss. I was naive and had no understanding of the amount of mental, physical, and emotional energy that is required of a new mom. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. As graduation nears, and my child gets older; I feel stronger, smarter, and quicker than I’ve ever felt before. If I can get through this, I can get through almost anything.”

Her Biggest Challenge

My biggest challenge was figuring out how to balance school, new baby, marriage, and a full time job. Many times I had no other option but to put my head down and power through. You soon realize that the toughest parts of your journey are ALWAYS temporary. Take one day at a time, one breath at a time. Eventually, you look up and see how far you’ve actually gone.”

Dara’s Advice

“I have two pieces of advice:

1. Make sure you have help.

This cannot be done alone. Your support system needs to understand that this is an ‘all hands on deck’ situation for the next two years. My wonderful husband rearranged his work schedule so he can be home on class nights to put our son to bed. My mother in-law would drive 4 hours from Dallas with a trunk full of freshly prepared food for my entire family. You must allow people to help you.

2. Accept that there is no balance.

Madeleine Albright said it best:  ‘Women can have it all, just not at the same time.’ You’re going to be pulled in multiple directions by multiple people. Learning to prioritize will get you far.”


We encourage you to review our Parental Accommodation Policy for details on the kind of accommodations it can provide. When you enter a working professional MBA program, we understand that family support is a key element.  Please let us know if you have any questions or need further info.

Student Spotlight: Ricardo Robles, Houston MBA Class of 2020

Ricardo Robles Jr. Headshot

Ricardo Robles Jr. Houston MBA Class of 2020

This past fall, 84 new MBA students started at Texas McCombs as part of the Houston MBA Class of 2020!

We recently caught up with Ricardo Robles Jr., a Houston native who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He has worked as an engineer at Pacific Drilling, an engineering consultant at Lloyd’s Register and is currently a Senior Specialist for Performance at Rowan Companies.

Ricardo’s “Why McCombs?”

Ricardo first saw an MBA as a “springboard” for developing his skills in business and expanding his network. He believed an MBA would accelerate his professional progression and open up new avenues for success. He is most excited to continue building relationships in the program that will impact him for the rest of his life.

“Texas McCombs was always at the top of my choices for multiple reasons: the reputation of the program, the excellent professors, and the global network to name a few. Analyzing the program on paper put it on the top of my list but meeting the staff and other prospective students through information sessions made me sure that Texas McCombs was the right choice for me.”

McCombs Impact 

Ricardo’s notable experiences include studying statistics with real world applications and collaboration with students from different backgrounds.

“The diversity of the student body has really helped me refine my collaboration skills with people who may be very different from me. Collaboration has been a major part of this program from the beginning and I’m looking forward to working with my classmates more.”

Ricardo’s Advice to You

For those of you interested in applying for your MBA at Texas McCombs, Ricardo has some advice for you:

“Attend an information event!. They are helpful at every stage of the process. Whether you are still wondering if an MBA is the right choice for you or which program you should pursue at Texas McCombs, events are a great resource to experience the culture and talk to current students.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA  to find out more about all our programs, events and community, or join the #WhyMcCombs conversation on Twitter. Hook ’em!

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