Category: MBA at Houston (page 1 of 7)

Top Tips for a Successful MBA Interview

We understand that if you are planning to apply this application cycle , you may be affected by challenges posed by COVID-19. The University of Texas continues to prioritize your safety and you can stay updated on safety measures and announcements via Protect Texas Together.


After you submit your MBA application, you may receive an invitation to interview.  The weeks after submitting create a new set of questions, especially because of the current restrictions for on-campus visits and virtual interviews. Common questions include:  What interview format options are there? What sort of questions will I be asked? Who conducts the interview? How should I prepare?

Some applicants anticipate an interview and feel nervous, which is natural. If you are nervous, here is some key advice: The interview is your official opportunity to share your story, provide examples, and tell us why you chose McCombs like no one else can. Take advantage of this opportunity; It can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to understand the rest of your application elements and gives us the chance to get to know you better!

Different schools have different interview processes. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas McCombs MBA runs the virtual interview experience. Be sure to read all confirmation emails and instructions very carefully.

Invitation Only

Currently, all interviews are being conducted virtually. For our Full-Time MBA program, interviews will be conducted by a current MBA student member of the Admissions Committee. For our Working Professional MBA programs, interviews will be conducted by the dedicated Admissions Officer for your program.

If you receive an interview invitation, an email will point you to our online platform and allow you to select an interview time slot that works with your schedule. There is a deadline to complete your interview, so be sure to schedule it as early as you can.

Interview invitations can come at any time during the application round. You will want to check your email (and  your Spam Folder) regularly after you submit your application  so you can  respond to our invitation and secure your preferred time slot.

An Un-Biased Approach  

Going into each interview, our interviewers do not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. (Even so, it’s always a good idea to have a copy of your resume on-hand during the conversation.)

All of our interviewers are fully trained on conducting an interview that is professional, fair, impartial and helpful. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Most interviews follow the general framework of introductions, questions from the interviewer for you to answer, then leave time  at the end for you to ask questions about the program and/or application process.

Top Tips

  1. Be On Time: Arriving on time is “Interviewing 101,” yet it still manages to trip up even the most prepared of candidates. Please follow all the instructions in your confirmation email about how to connect with your interviewer.
  2. Test Technology: Virtual interviews are being conducted through Zoom. If you don’t have one already, create a Zoom account. You’ll want to find a good space to conduct your interview, ideally with good lighting, stable internet, and access to a plug. We recommend connecting directly to your internet for the most reliable internet connection.
  3. Pace Yourself: You’d be surprised how many times, at the end of an applicant’s long answer, we are asked to repeat the original question. Most often this happens to people who try to put too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address their prepared examples.  Don’t worry, you will have time to get to it.  Plus, there is often an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything you didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.
  4. Be Professional But Loosen Up: Given our program’s famously friendly culture, our interviews are relatively informal.  If you still find yourself nervous, practice your answers in front of a mirror or with a friend or colleague and ask them how you did. Did you answer the question? Did you rush through it? Take a moment to outline your answer in your mind first, and then address it calmly and confidently.  Don’t get too comfortable, though. While we’re an easy-going group, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea. This includes professional language and attire, as if you were interviewing for a job.
  5. Know What We’re Looking For: We listen for confidence, clear and concise communication of career goals, concrete examples of teamwork and leadership, in-depth knowledge of our MBA program, and overall genuine enthusiasm.  Also, the interview can be a place to showcase secondary skills that are difficult for us to determine solely based on your application: interview skills, self-awareness, communication style, and “hire-ability.” Keep these in mind so we can get a feel for the application intangibles.
  6. Come with questions: A good list of questions for your interviewer can illustrate a few key things about you as a candidate: You’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA, and you can formulate coherent thoughts under pressure. We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones and have a few backups.

If you have any questions during the application process, we’re here to help. Please visit our website for details on applying to each program and follow us on Instagram for an inside look into the the Texas McCombs MBA.

Student Spotlight: Elsa Wright, MBA at Houston Class of 2021

When Texas McCombs MBA at Houston student, Elsa Wright, has a goal, she meets it. While working in the waste management and sustainability industry in Houston, Texas, her goal was senior leadership at her company. Like many professional women, Elsa wondered if she would be able to achieve all her career goals alongside her personal goal of having a family. Below, Elsa shares how she navigated these goals & priorities, overcame her struggle with imposter syndrome, and eventually enrolled in the MBA program. Juggling graduate degree work, motherhood, and marriage in the midst of a pandemic has definitely been a challenge, but Elsa has shown that determination and belief in oneself will ultimately lead you to success.

PHOTO: Elsa's Headshot. She has short brown hair and is wearing a red dress shirt with a black blazer.

Elsa Wright, Texas McCombs MBA ’21

Getting Her MBA

Elsa was eager to gain the foundational knowledge and skills needed to move into a leadership role in her career and knew an MBA from Texas McCombs could get her there. As a minority woman and mother, Elsa faced the realities of the world head-on.

“With recent events in the news, a lot of people have become more aware of the struggles that minorities face every day — struggles that stem into career growth,” she says. “I struggled with the idea that I had to achieve a master’s degree to be on the same playing field as many of my white male counterparts who hadn’t. Intelligence could be equally distributed among our society, but opportunities are not always.”

Elsa says she has struggled with imposter syndrome her entire life and her biggest piece of advice to anyone, especially women and mothers, considering an MBA is: “Just do it!”

“I have personally spent more time considering the idea and deciding to make the leap than I have spent actually getting my MBA,” Elsa says. “I felt that maybe I wasn’t ready, that I should wait for my son to get older, or that an MBA is just too competitive and I might not get in.”

Impostor syndrome— the false belief that others have overestimated your capabilities or that you’re not good enough— disproportionately affects women more than men — especially women of color. One of the direct factors contributing to impostor syndrome is the lack of women in organizational leadership, according to a 2019 Lean In study. The business world, including the realm of business education, has made strides in recent years, but there is still much work to be done toward equity and gender parity.

When narrowing down her prospective MBA schools, Texas McCombs appealed to her because of the prestige, atmosphere, and flexibility it offered.

PHOTO: Elsa standing in front of the University of Texas tower.

Elsa Wright standing in front of the UT tower at sunset.

“As I researched MBA programs, I found that Texas McCombs was the highest ranked in Texas. I attended the info sessions, and instantly felt what I like to call ‘the warm and fuzzy feeling.’ I felt welcomed with open arms, and could feel such a forward-thinking attitude that I could not resist being a part of.”

“The Working Professional program understands and respects that, as a working professional, we’re undergoing a journey,” she says. “The program didn’t require a specialization, but instead teaches you how to speak all languages of business, which allows me to explore where my career may take me instead of fixating on a specific career path.”

The moment she stepped on campus, Elsa knew that Texas McCombs would be her home for the next two years.

“I’ll never forget, it was our very first day of Austin Intensives and Assistant Dean, Joe Stephens, spoke in front of the entire Working Professional class of ’21: He said:

‘For those of you that may suffer from imposter syndrome and feel like you don’t belong here or deserve to be here, I am here to tell you that you do belong, and you do deserve it. We chose you because you have something to offer this program.’

To this day, those words resonate inside me and push me forward to make a difference.”

Pivoting to Online Learning

Elsa says her first year in the MBA at Houston program has been personally and professionally eye-opening. Now, she’s more open to possibility and career challenges, and has the confidence in technical business subjects that she never had before.

“During my MBA experience so far, I have grown both personally and professionally. It has opened my eyes to so many more possibilities in my career and given me a sense of confidence in business topics that I before was illiterate in.”

In her second and final year of the program, Elsa will be continuing her studies in the midst of a global pandemic. She now faces the challenge of online learning, working from home, and childcare.

PHOTO: Elsa, her son and husband.

Elsa’s family

“As a mother of a four-year-old, it became extra challenging since I can no longer rely on daycare during working hours. This means studying during lunch time and after work hours. While some people have caught up on Netflix shows while staying home, I’ve been forced to be even more efficient with my time, juggling motherhood, full-time work and my MBA coursework without the traditional resources I was accustomed to leaning on in the past.”

Throughout these difficult times of uncertainty, Elsa says she’s thankful for her partner, who’s also made sacrifices and has been there to support her through her MBA journey.

“Our fellow mom and dad classmates and I owe our better-halves tons of kudos for holding down the house for us to make this MBA happen.”

Elsa is no stranger to challenges and is looking forward to taking her upcoming and final year at Texas McCombs to the next level to meet her goal of accelerating her career.

“I’m amazed with how much I have grown both as a person and as a professional. Today, I’m able to apply so much of what I’ve learned to my daily work to improve my understanding of my current role, and to understand my company on a micro and macro scale.”

“As a full-time professional and mother, I know that the next year will be a challenge for me to juggle, especially with the continued challenges COVID-19 poses. However, I’m also hopeful that the remaining journey, even though difficult, will prepare me for the world and the challenges to come in the future. I’m confident that this experience will be more than worth the time and effort.”

The Road Ahead

Elsa is most fond of and proud of the moments spent bonding with the women in the program because of their unique perspectives and perseverance.

“Women still generally make up a minority in both business and business education, but that minority is strong and relentless. We make sure to get together, make time and lend an ear to each other.”

“It’s important for women to lift each other up. We make an unwavering, lasting impact in each other’s lives.”

Elsa is currently the Major Manufacturing & Industrial Account Manager at Waste Management in Houston, where she has worked for ten years. She started at the company working for customer service and says she’s been blessed to have mentors who have provided her with constructive criticism and advice to expand her professional growth. In the future, she plans to apply all the skills and expertise she’s acquired through her MBA to go further in her career than she’s ever imagined.

Elsa holding a trophy.

Elsa Wright holding the 2019 Big Eagle Circle of Excellence Award at Waste Management.

In 2019, Elsa was awarded the Big Eagle Circle of Excellence at Waste Management—  an elite, company-wide recognition of the 75 top-performing employees out of the 45,000+ company-wide.  After she won, she was asked to make a speech about what led to her success, to which Elsa replied that there is not just one thing that ever leads to success.

“You can’t sum up success with one award, recognition or promotion. Success is infinite and immeasurable; it’s the culmination of hours, days and years of blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice – emphasize on sacrifice,” she says. “I have been at WM for over ten years, that is over 20,000 hours of work. Success never arrives overnight.”

Elsa’s top tip for success is to not just work hard, but learn.

“I’ve witnessed countless individuals just focus on work, but never make an effort to actually learn. You can always learn something new. I attribute my success to my eagerness to learn and not just understand my role, but the role above mine and the one above that. If I can retain what I learn and teach it to someone else effectively, and possibly dissect the process and create a better one, not only have I become a better asset for my company, but also a better version of myself.”


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!

Everything You Need to Know About the Texas McCombs MBA COVID-19 Test Waiver

 

Standardized exams like the GRE, GMAT, EA, TOEFL & IELTS help us to evaluate a candidate’s academic preparedness for the rigor of business school and is one metric used to compare candidates within a large pool of applicants.

In addition, studying for and taking the exam – for some, even taking it multiple times can show the admissions committee your commitment to the competitive business school application process and how you may approach academic challenges as a student. 

However, we understand that many are experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that these challenges may be affecting your applications plans and ability to take an exam. Due to the unprecedented circumstances, we are providing applicants who are unable to take an exam in person or online the opportunity to petition for a test score waiver.

Here, our Admissions Team answers some questions you might have about the Texas McCombs MBA COVID-19 test waiver, including who the waiver is for and how it might impact your application. 

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 test waiver? 

Applicants who meet both of the criteria below have the opportunity to petition for a special test waiver:

  • You are unable to take an exam in-person at a designated testing center due to lack of availability in your region, or because you or someone in your household is immunocompromised, AND  
  • You are unable to take an exam online due to lack of availability in your region, technology or other test-taking requirements (e.g. device availability or compatibility, slow internet connection, testing environment) 

If you do not meet both of these criteria, we require that you complete the standardized tests prior to submitting your application.Both GMAC and ETS have introduced remote testing options for the GMAT, GRE, EA, and TOEFL exams for candidates impacted by coronavirus, and the majority of testing centers have re-opened globally with stringent health and safety precautions.   

How do I request a COVID-19 test waiver? 

If you meet both requirements above and would like to request a COVID-19 test waiver, please email TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu to receive a link to the petition and to learn more about the test exception process 

Is there a deadline to request a COVID-19 test waiver? 

The test waiver petition must be approved by the admissions committee before you submit your application to McCombs. The admissions committee may take up to five business days to review your petition, so please follow the timeline below to meet the application round deadlines. At this time, test waiver petitions are only being accepted for the following application deadlines.  The admissions committee will start accepting test exception petitions for later application deadlines after the new year.  

  Submit Petition By…  …For Application Deadline  Submit Petition By…  …For Application Deadline 
Full Time MBA  October 6, 2020  October 13, 2020   December 18, 2020  January 5, 2021  
MBA at Houston  October 20, 2020  October 27, 2020  January 26, 2021  February 2, 2021 
MBA at DFW  October 20, 2020  October 27, 2020  January 26, 2021  February 2, 2021 
Evening MBA  October 20, 2020  October 27, 2020    
Executive MBA     January 26, 2021  February 2, 2021 

How does a test waiver impact my application? 

If you are approved for the COVID-19 test waiver, you may be asking yourself, “What are my chances for admission?” 

The truth is that by removing one component from your application, your other components will carry more weight in the committee’s final decision. Below are some items to consider as you craft your application. 

Academic History 

Does your undergraduate or graduate transcript accurately reflect your academic ability? If your GPA is low, and you do not submit a GMAT or GRE score, the admissions committee may have concerns about your ability to succeed in the rigorous MBA curriculum.  

One other factor to consider is whether or not your quantitative ability shines elsewhere in your application. While many of our MBA students come to McCombs from non-quantitative majors, these applicants are typically able to prove their quant prowess through the GMAT or GRE. If you come from a non-quantitative background and qualify for a test waiver, you will need to find other areas within your background or experience that can demonstrate your quantitative skills. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that you are set up to succeed academically in the program. If the admissions committee has concerns about your quantitative ability, it may impact your chance of admission, or you may be required to complete pre-MBA coursework prior to admission and/or prior to enrollment.  

Work Experience 

Your work experience will be reviewed thoroughly by the committee for leadership potential, progression and/or increasing responsibilities, and achievements. Generally, the level of responsibility someone has within a company correlates positively to how they will perform in a rigorous graduate educational program.  For those with less than the average work experience, a standardized test score may make your application more competitive. 

If you have any professional certifications, such as the CPA, CFA, Series 7, or others – be sure to highlight these on your resume and within your application, as attaining these types of certifications helps show the committee your academic readiness.  Advanced or terminal degrees should also be highlighted.  

Career Goals 

If your post-MBA career goal is to work in management consulting or investment banking, employers in these industries may ask that you provide your GMAT score when applying for internships or full-time positions. If you qualify for a test waiver and are considering pursuing post-MBA jobs in these industries, it is important that you are aware of this before enrolling because you may end up having to take the exam to apply for these roles. 

Scholarships 

Scholarship awards are competitive and limited in number. Scholarship decisions are based on a longstanding holistic review process that takes into account your entire application and serves to assess the overall strength of your candidacy, including readiness for academic rigor, career goals, leadership potential, and fit with our program culture. Submitting an application without a test score may limit the information available to award a merit-based scholarship  

One other note: Admission deferral requests for the Full-Time MBA program will not be considered if you gain admission to Texas McCombs and have a test exception. 

What if I’m an international student and am not able to take the TOEFL or IELTS? 

If you are an international student who does not qualify for our standard TOEFL/IELTS waiver based on work experience and/or education history, but you meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test waiver, you may be asked to prove your mastery of English via other avenues, such as a meeting with an admissions committee member or an additional essay request. In addition, if admitted you may be required to enroll in and pay for the pre-MBA Business English Program, which occurs in June 2021.  

Final Thoughts on the COVID-19 Test Waiver

The COVID-19 test waiver is intended only for those who cannot take the exams in person or virtually due to circumstances beyond their control.  If you qualify for a test waiver and believe that your application will not be negatively impacted by the lack of a test score, we encourage you to submit the petition and apply when you are ready. However, it is important to remember that we have multiple application rounds for a reason! For some, it may be best to wait to apply until you can submit with test score in-hand.  The decision will be different for every applicant, and we encourage you to approach this thoughtfully.   

We wish you well during these difficult times. Please contact us if you have any questions, and best of luck on your application! 

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.

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