Tag: MBA student life (page 1 of 3)

National First-Gen College Day
at McCombs

In conjunction with UT’s First-Generation College Celebration and the National First-Generation College Celebration this week, we’re proud to highlight several first-generation students in our Texas McCombs MBA community. 

Jose Carlos Rojas

Jose's headshot photo.

Jose Rojas
MBA at Houston ’20

Jose is a first-generation college graduate and Texas McCombs at Houston MBA ’20 student. The hardest thing about being first-gen, he says, was having, “no reference point,” he could go back to as he immersed himself in college. He explains the journey as being lonely as his parents tried their best to understand and help him adjust to this new environment. Despite the challenges, his motivation and dedication to his family were key factors to his academic success. 

 

“After my family and I moved from Chile, I always felt an obligation to make my parents’ sacrifices worth it. I see them work very hard and I continue to strive to alleviate some of that burden from them. I started looking at MBAs once I saw my career pick up steam. I have gathered a lot of technical knowledge through my experience and felt that I needed to round myself out by pairing it with some business acumen. I chose Texas McCombs because of its great reputation, world-class faculty, and the flexibility it allowed me to have without having to quit my job.”

When asked about what advice he would give to other first-gen students, Jose strongly believes in the value of community, and that you don’t need to go through this difficult journey on your own. Currently, he’s working on getting his younger sister into college, and trying to ease any stress points she’s presently encountering that he’s been able to overcome.

“Surround yourself with people that will help, motivate and care for you. There’s value in not making college just about studying: Join clubs and activities to immerse yourself into your college and get a full experience.”

Emy Hernandez

Emy with her parents at graduation.

“For my parents, they came with nothing and gave me everything.”

Emy is a Texas McCombs MBA at Houston alumna. Her family, who only had a primary school education, inspired her and her sister to pursue higher education, instilling the value of having access to education from an early age. For Emy, having a strong community and support system to guide her has been a key factor in her success. 

“Find your community within the school that you are in, and find a mentor, staff member, or professor who can help guide your decisions. Being the first in your family to attend college, whether undergraduate or graduate school, can be intimidating and it is important that students know there is someone who can guide them.”

Along her journey towards higher education, Hernandez had difficulty dealing with Imposter Syndrome. Nevertheless, Emy is proof that you can overcome any challenge with hard work, dedication and strong support systems.

“Do not be afraid to take the next step in your personal and professional life; whether you’re applying for a new job or pursuing an additional degree. I am a Latina, queer, daughter of immigrants, inner-city Houston-raised, and graduate of a high school known as a ‘drop-out factory’ – the statistics were against me. It wasn’t easy, and today I am proud of what I have accomplished and I know my parents and my community are too.”

Waldo Arreola

Headshot for Waldo Arreola

Waldo Arreola
Full-Time MBA ’20

Waldo is a first-generation Full-Time Class of 2020 MBA at Texas McCombs. As a child, he was raised by “hard-working immigrant parents” that highly encouraged his intellectual development, and his interest in puzzles and systems within math and science, which eventually led to a bachelor’s degree in engineering & management. 

During his time as an undergrad and graduate student, Arreola struggled to adjust to the demands that time management and personal accountability have on students. However, having strong mentorships and student involvement helped him stay engaged, help others and invest in his future.

“Be curious! Ask questions! Connect with people! Get involved! First-generation students might not have as many resources as others, including networks, and might have the added pressure of supporting family members with their personal success, so it is critical to be engaged and deliberate as you pursue your personal and professional goals.”


If you have any questions, please reach out to MBA Admissions. For more information on our community and programs, check out our website. Hook ’em!

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!

Student Spotlight: Taina Schuster, Houston MBA Class of 2020

Taina Schuster,
Houston MBA Class of 2020

Our Houston Class of 2020 welcomed 84 new students this year. Our representation of women in Houston grew from 27% to 32% and we were also excited to see that 29% of these MBAs are international students from 15 different countries.

We recently chatted with Taina Schuster, MBA ’20 and President of the Houston Graduate Business Council. Taina is originally from Brasilia, Brazil and received  her BBA in Marketing at UniCEUB.  She currently works with Houston Eye Associates. 

Taina’s “Why McCombs?”

Taina always knew that she wanted have a strong impact on society. She plans to get her MBA to provide her with a broad and diverse learning experience and to be able to quickly grow her career.

“The key factors for me in choosing Texas McCombs were the strong Alumni network and the school’s commitment to a diverse classroom. I believe that diversity builds a stronger and more creative work environment, especially in the business world where there is still a lot of room for improvement. It was really important for me to find a school that had similar values and was a good cultural fit. Coming from Brazil, where I got my undergrad and where most of my network was, I knew I needed a school with a strong brand and excellent connections in order to succeed.”

Student Leadership 

The Graduate Business Council (GBC) gives student leaders the opportunity to work directly with program leadership on to oversee the development, improvement, and maintenance of a strong sense of community and pride within the MBA program. GBC serves to promote diversity and inclusivity across all MBA programs.

“As GBC’s Chief Student Body Officer, I am working as a liaison between students and administration to make sure the student body is fully represented and involved. The Graduate Business Council is one of many opportunities for leadership that McCombs offers to students. For me, it was a great way to combine my passion for diversity and inclusion and provide the connection to get to know everyone in our class better.”

McCombs Impact

Taina notes that she had to refine her time management skills in order to succeed in the program. She says her favorite experience from McCombs so far was a Business Integrity class with Professor Christopher Meakin.

During the MBA, and especially in the professional program, you will have multiple projects and managing your time efficiently is extremely important in order to succeed. The Business Integrity class approaches one of the most important subjects in business in my opinion, with discussions from ethical dilemmas to corporate social responsibility. It was amazing to see the entire class collaborating, having strong discussions about the study cases and sharing their points of view.” 

Taina’s Advice to You

“Talk to as many people as you can about the program and learn about their experiences and challenges. Definitely reach out to alumni and current students and don’t be afraid to ask questions. One common characteristic I found along the McCombs network is that everyone is always willing to chat, answers your questions or put you in contact with the right person.”


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

Student Spotlight: Lily Yap, DFW MBA Class of 2020

Lily Yap Headshot

Lily Yap, MBA Class of 2020

Our Dallas/Fort Worth Class of 2020 welcomed its largest class ever, with 88 new students. This is also the most international class the DFW program has ever had and the most diverse in terms of companies/organizations represented.

We recently caught up with Lily Yap, a DFW MBA student originally from San Francisco, California. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Business Management and works on coordinating life-saving programs and operations for animal welfare services in Dallas.

Lily’s “WhyMcCombs?”

Lily was excited to see how passionate the current MBAs in her field are and looked forward to taking leadership classes. She believes classes that refine “soft” skills are extremely beneficial and looks forward to sharing her unique knowledge with other students and organizations.

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