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THE MAGAZINE OF THE McCOMBS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

spring 2017

SLACK VP APRIL UNDERWOOD, BBA ’01, BUILDS NEXT-LEVEL CONNECTIONS

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INSIGHTS ON CYBER SECURITY y

ONE-YEAR MASTER’S SUCCESS STORIES y

WHEN THE GLASS CEILING SHATTERS


y DEPARTMENTS

2. LETTER FROM THE DEAN

strategy, client relationships, and advertising’s bottom line value.

3. NEWS Short Takes: MBAs claim real estate prize, student-athlete makes AP Big 12 Team, new faculty books published, and more. 6. Energy: Texas resources, mapped. 8. Subiendo: First-generation students get a boost from McCombs.

35. COMMUNITY Partnership: Intel and McCombs team up to create possibilities for finance students. 38. Up Close: Entrepreneur brings new ideas to the oil business, marketer supports small business in Detroit, musician reinvents apparel, and more. 42. Gatherings: Alumni events and celebrations. 44. Alumni Notes

11. RESEARCH Zhuping Liu: Winning Ph.D. student. 12. Ideas at Work: Companies benefit when women take leadership roles. 14. Insights: 12-hour shifts lead to physician mistakes, hurricane retail

SPRING 2017 McCombs is published in the fall and spring for alumni and friends of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

David Wenger EDITORIAL MANAGER

Todd Savage EDITOR

Molly Dannenmaier

48. BOTTOM LINE Back to School: A student returns.

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Kim Brown, Adrienne Dawson, Jeremy M. Simon

y FEATURES

ART DIRECTION/DESIGN

CHAMPION CONNECTORS April Underwood, BBA ’01, VP of product at Slack, is a key player in the tech sector and a powerful example of the benefits of relationship building. BY C Y N T H I A H A N S O N

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Tucker Creative Co. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Steve Brooks, Madeline Goss, Cynthia Hanson, Samantha Harris, Kristen Hensley, Judie Kinonen, India Ogazi, Mary Ann Roser CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

THE HIGH STAKES OF CYBERSECURITY McCombs experts weigh in on the challenges of fighting online threats. BY M A RY A N N R O S E R

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Melissa Glynn, Robert Houser, Matthew Mahon, Wyatt McSpadden CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATORS

Alice Cho, Brave the Woods, Gabriel Silveira ONLINE

today.mccombs.utexas.edu/ magazine CHANGE OF ADDRESS

ONE YEAR TO CAREER A growing roster of innovative master’s degrees at McCombs is helping people fast-track their careers. BY J U DIE KINON E N

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512-232-2441 alumni@mccombs.utexas.edu FOLLOW US

facebook.com/utmccombsschool twitter.com/utexasmccombs linkedin: http://bit.ly/UTexasMcCombs

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McCOMBS: FROM THE DEAN

Our Go-To Play

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with a Vince Lombardi story shared by Daron K. Roberts, director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at UT. Roberts recently spoke at our school about leadership lessons from the NFL. When Lombardi first came to the Packers, he told players the team needed a go-to play. They developed the Packer Sweep, and it worked famously despite its simplicity. A former player recalled, “The thing about the Sweep was this: “We knew we were running it, they knew we were running it, and they knew they couldn’t stop it.” Roberts reminds us that in a data-driven world that offers increasing opportunities for specialization, new value propositions, and mission creep, Lombardi’s lesson is to “remember what you do well and then go to it.” At McCombs, we are focusing on three core strengths where our students, our faculty, and our alumni have traditionally shined. ’LL BEGIN

class companies, and blaze leadership paths in technology, consulting, and financial services. FOSTERING DISCOVERY Our faculty members are among the most influential business school researchers in the world. Several of these intellectual groundbreakers are featured in the research section in these pages. With the support of University President Greg Fenves, we are launching a global search to grow faculty capacity by 10 percent, hiring five to six additional superstars with a minimum endowment of $3 million each. CHANGING THE WORLD McCombs continues to strengthen its national and international influence in business edu-

cation, management practice, and public policy. We recently surveyed thousands of stakeholders as part of a comprehensive brand study for the school. The insights gained will result in a refreshed strategy for maximizing the positive impact of our programs, centers, students, and, of course, our alumni. I’m pleased that we’re highlighting several of these world changers in our cover story. That’s our game plan. Let’s go to it.

JAY HARTZELL Dean and Centennial Chair in Business Education Leadership

DEVELOPING LEADERS As you’ll read about in this issue, we now have three new one-year master’s degree programs in finance, marketing, and business analytics, following the pattern of our longestablished graduate programs in professional accounting and technology commercialization. Professor Elizabeth Teisberg, a new joint hire with the Dell Medical School, is leading efforts to develop a one-year graduate degree in health care management, and we’re investigating a one-year MS in energy management with colleagues at the UT Law School and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Energy Center. Students in these intensive master’s programs add a highly focused educational capstone in business to their liberal arts, natural sciences, or engineering backgrounds. They gain access to significant positions in world-

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NEWS

WELCOME RETURN TRENT THURMAN BRINGS LEADERSHIP AND PASSION FOR INNOVATION TO THE MSTC PROGRAM

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FAMILIAR FACE has returned to McCombs. Trent Thurman, MBA ’94, is the new director of the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization program. “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be leading MSTC,” says Thurman. Previously he was an assistant dean and director at McCombs, where he guided the Texas Evening MBA, MBA at Houston, and MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth programs for seven years. Thurman then went on to serve as executive director for graduate programs at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business, but he jumped at the chance to return to Austin. “We have a wealth of programs and initiatives encouraging the study and research of innovation,” Thurman says. “Add the momentum from the Dell Medical School, the proposed Innovation District, and Austin’s innovative spirit, and you have all the ingredients to make MSTC the best program of its kind in the nation — and that’s my goal.”

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N E W S : S H O R T TA K E S A Distinguished Fellow Ryan Ballestero, a Ph.D. candidate in accounting, was named a 201617 Harrington Fellow, one of the highest honors given to faculty and graduate students at the university. “The Donald D. Harrington Fellows Program is the most prestigious and competitive fellowship offered by the Graduate School,” says Marvin Hackert, interim dean of graduate studies. Ballestero was selected based on his potential for research success. “In his application, Ryan clearly articulated a love for accounting, a desire to research areas related to financial reporting and audit quality, and an interest in understanding the ways that market participants utilize and react to accounting information in allocating capital,” Hackert says.

STOCK PICKS

A group of MBA students won the UNC Alpha Challenge last fall. Yamel Cotero, MBA ’17, Ian Ricks, MBA ’18, and Jonathan Evans, MBA ’18, faced off against three-person teams from other top MBA programs and successfully presented stock picks to a panel of judges. “The Alpha Challenge is known as a highly competitive investment competition with a strong set of peer schools,” says Tina Mabley, assistant dean and director of the Texas MBA program.

AP Big 12 Team

Connor Williams, BBA ’18, left tackle on the UT football team, was named last fall to the Associated Press All Big 12 Team. He earned freshman All-America honors, started all 12 games, and transferred into McCombs with a 3.65 GPA. “I've always tried to lead by example,” Williams says.

FACULTY BOOKS Get a global perspective in three new titles from McCombs faculty. Information, Risk, and Operations Management Professor Sirkka Jarvenpaa co-authored Words Matter: Communicating Effectively in the New Global Office; Associate Marketing Professor Orlando Kelm co-wrote The Seven Keys to Communicating in Brazil: An Intercultural Approach, and Deirdre Mendez, CIBER program coordinator, penned The Culture Solution: How to Achieve Cultural Synergy and Get Results in the Global Workplace.

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TECH LEADERSHIP

Marketing Lecturer Ben Bentzin received the 2016 Technology Community Leadership Award from the Austin chapter of the Society for Information Management. Bentzin is the CEO of Interactive Health Technologies LLC, which offers a program for K-12 physical education.


TOP TALENT The Business Honors Program launched a new partnership with the Turing Scholars Program in computer science to attract students interested in both fields.

SPRING 2017

McCOMBS BY THE NUMBERS

Fraud Detection McCombs students will help the Department of Veterans Affairs in a first-of-its-kind initiative starting this fall. Over three years, student capstone projects in the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program will support the VA’s Financial Services Center’s efforts to increase efficiency and reduce fraud. “Students will gain access to real-world problems, projects, and industry domain experts who will enrich their analytics knowledge,” says Ramesh Rajagopalan, MSBA associate director. First up: a project in the area of fraud detection analytics.

ETHICS DEFINED

95,272 Number of living McCombs School of Business alumni.

Real Estate Prize A McCombs team composed of Corbin Eckel, MBA ’17, Jon Mendoza, MBA ’18, C.J. Euler, MBA ’17, Kim Nettles, MBA ’18, Sam Mysock, MBA ’17, and Kenny Cahill, MBA ’17, claimed top honors and a prize of $10,000 last fall at the school-sponsored National Real Estate Challenge. Competing teams from top-ranked business schools acted as portfolio managers weighing investment opportunities. “From day one, McCombs has pushed us to share our unique strengths in group settings, and the competition was the ideal proving ground,” says Eckel. “Presentation skills and the ability to articulate complex financial data were the biggest factors in our success.”

I CO N M A D E BY F R E E P I K

interest, explains Ethics Unwrapped director Cara B i a s u cc i . M a ke s u re to It’s possible both to look check out Ethics Defined, good and do good. Ethics a new animated glossary of Unwrapped, a pioneering online ethics program based at McCombs, is offering a fresh new website design and expanded content. Look for materials, including videos, cases studies, and teaching notes, organized by topics such as leadership and law. The website enables faculty and companies worldwide to access materials in quick takes based on

50 key terms. “To have an informed, thoughtful discourse, you need to have a basic vocabulary of ethics concepts,” says Biasucci.

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Number of living Texas MBA alumni.

Months until Rowling Hall opens for the first semester.

99

Ph.D. students enrolled in McCombs during the 2016-17 academic year.

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Rank of the new one-year master's in marketing according to College Choice.

33%

of MBA graduates (full-time program) accepted positions in the tech industry in 2016.

42%

of those full-time MBA graduates are women.

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NEWS: E BN EH ER I NGY D THE SCENES

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TEXAS ENERGY THE TIDE HAS TURNED in the Texas energy industry. After a two-year crisis, the market is now poised for new growth. Meantime, Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, and gets high marks for solar as well. Much of the excitement is located in the Midland area, where just last fall the U.S. Geological Survey announced the largest estimate of continuous oil ever assessed — in the Permian Basin. That region is also home to vast wind and solar farms. It’s a fertile moment for those interested in pursuing a career in energy — whether traditional or green. And McCombs is at the forefront of energy business education in Texas, with energy-focused degree opportunities at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, as well as extracurricular resources in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business, and the new Sustainability and Social Innovation Initiative.

U.S. oil reserves are now estimated to surpass those of Saudi Arabia, 264 billion versus 212 billion barrels respectively.

2017 Substantial increases in Texas oil production are predicted for 2017, after a two-year energy decline.

40% Texas produces 40 percent of U.S. crude and 30 percent of U.S. gas.

20 BILLION

McCOMBS OFFERS: • • • • • • •

UNDE RG RA D UAT E E NE RGY P R O G RA M ENERGY FI NA NC E U ND E R GRA DUAT E M A JO R HOUSTO N M BA PRO G RA M ENERGY FI NA NC E M BA CO N C E N T RAT I O N CLEA N T EC H M BA CO NC EN T RAT I O N CLEA N T EC H M BA FE L LOWSH I P O NE-Y E A R M A ST E R’ S I N E N E R GY MANAG E M E NT ( FO RT HCOM I N G)

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75% “Great Crew Change”: Nearly 3/4 of the current petrochemical workforce is nearing retirement age.

In November 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey announced a new estimate of continuous oil in the Permian Basin — 20 billion barrels — by far the largest such estimate recorded for any formation in the United States. Austin-based MMEX Resources Corp. is spearheading plans to build a $450 million refinery there.

ILLU I LSLTURSAT T RI AT O NI O BN Y B JO Y SMEAPR HTA M CMDAEGRN MEOTTTTI


FIRST REUNION The first alumni reunion for the business school was held in 1951, attracting graduates from as far back as the class of 1919.

EXPERTS Energy experts with the ability to understand new technological tools such as “smart” sensors are in increasingly higher demand.

FALL 2016

100,000 With the stabilization in oil prices, the industry is now looking at adding as many as 100,000 new jobs nationwide — but qualified hires are hard to find.

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The cost of solar energy has fallen 85 PERCENT since 2009.

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Solar energy is predicted to be about 20 PERCENT of total generation capacity in 2031 compared to 3 percent in 2017.

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2 016 UT Energy Poll: 47.5 PERCENT of Texans surveyed either have installed or are likely to install solar panels on their home in the next five years.

TEXAS IS THE

No. 1 PRODUCER of wind energy in the country.

IF T EXAS W ERE A COUNTRY, IT WOULD BE

THE 4TH-LARGEST wind-producing country in the world. T EXAS PRODUCES

MORE WIND ENERGY than the next three states combined.

5,000 28% 30%

Houston: Energy Capital of the World, home to more than 5,000 energyrelated firms.

2016 UT Energy Poll: 28 percent of Texans surveyed either own or are likely to purchase a fully electric vehicle in the next five years.

Texas refineries account for 30 percent of total U.S. refining capacity.

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NEWS: LEADERSHIP

UT’S MASTER BUILDER

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thank Pat L. Clubb, Political Science Ph.D. ’85, MBA ’96, who got construction underway before she retired in 2016 from her role as UT Austin’s vice president for operations. During her 16 years leading the capital construction program at UT, she oversaw the construction

of 34 buildings, initiated the Landmarks public art program, and implemented two campus master plans, notably championing the building of the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The addition of Rowling next door will expand the business school’s footprint

at the southwest corner of campus. “It will be an important asset for McCombs to have that entire complex,” says Clubb, who leaves the campus with the distinction of overseeing one of the largest periods of growth in university history. “It has been a wonderful privilege to be at UT.”

CREDIT TK

OWLING HALL continues to take shape. The gleaming f i ve - s t o r y s t r u cture (below) will house the graduate business programs when it opens in spring 2018. While McCombs looks to the future with a new building, we can

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NEWS: SUBIENDO

SPRING 2017

RISING UP FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS GET A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE UT AND McCOMBS — AND A SHOT AT A FULL SCHOLARSHIP. by Samantha Harris

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AY DA LO P E Z , B B A ’ 2 0, ST E P P E D

onto the UT Austin campus this fall as a first-year student with a full scholarship. An earlier visit a year ago when she was still inhigh school made all the difference. No one in her family had attended college, but her visit as part of Subiendo ( “rise” or “advance” in Spanish) gave her a glimpse of what it might be like. Now in its eighth year, Subiendo: The Academy for Rising Leaders is a weeklong, nocost, summer leadership program hosted by McCombs that brings more than 80 economically disadvantaged high school students from across Texas to campus. Students selected for the program are rising seniors who display leadership qualities in their high schools. Nearly all are in the top quarter of their class. Subiendo participants get a real college-life experience. They sleep on campus at Jester dormitory, and spend each day taking part in a packed schedule of lectures, career fairs, etiquette dinners, campus and Capitol tours, and leadership workshops. Students also work in small groups on an assigned policy challenge, with topics ranging from health care and higher education to energy and the environment. “Subiendo’s leadership and team-building activities helped me not only to discover my potential as a leader but also to learn about the rich network the University of Texas has to offer,” says Lopez, who grew up in Dallas. “Ultimately, Subiendo helped me realize that I was meant to be a Longhorn.” Since 2010, Subiendo has welcomed Lopez and more than 500 other high school seniors. “It’s so cool to see a kid who won’t look you in the eye on day one, and by day five they are handing out their business cards,

shaking hands, networking, and they have presented a case study in the Capitol in front of a panel of business leaders,” says Subiendo director Leticia Acosta. The idea for Subiendo Each summer, 80 rising high school seniors from across came to Kenny Jastrow, Texas get a tour of both the campus and the Capitol. BBA ’69, MBA ’71, in 2009 as he was preparing to give his commencement speech to the graduating Texas MBA class. Jastrow Lopez received, which provides full tuition, began thinking about the demographics of room, and board to students who have particTexas and how the population of the state was ipated in Subiendo and attend McCombs. The becoming more diverse, and he recognized the donation was made on behalf of CFP Foundaneed to cultivate new leaders. tion’s founding trustees, Gary Crum, MBA ’72, Jastrow contacted Sara Martinez Tucker, and his wife, Sylvie Crum, BA ’74. MBA ’79, a former U.S. Department of Edu“It is clear that college graduates from dication under secretary and now a UT regent. verse backgrounds are increasingly playing a Before long, an advisory council of business larger part in the leadership and management leaders had been formed, ready to help students of our state,” Gary Crum said. across Texas find opportunities for a chance at The CFP gift will support two scholarship a college degree that, for many, seemed beyond recipients through four years of college. their reach. More than 90 percent of these The Crum family gift to Subiendo inspired students are bravely venturing into new terCarolyn and Preston Butcher. They recently ritory — if admitted, they will be the first in gave $500,000 to establish a third endowed their families to go to college. scholarship that will support a Subiendo stu“I have a piece of paper where I keep track dent entering college this fall. The school’s of all the universities where our Subiendo goal is to have four scholars (one per year) at students have been accepted,” Acosta says. McCombs, with the hope that another donor “It’s covered in logos from Harvard, Columbia, will step forward to establish one more enBrown, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Rice — dowed Subiendo scholarship. and, of course, UT Austin.” “These scholarship opportunities will open An impressive 97 percent of Subiendo particdoors for students who may not have perceived ipants wind up enrolling in college, with about the college of their dreams as a possibility, and a third of them attending UT Austin. it’s not because the talent wasn’t there,” says This year marks an important milestone Acosta. “I have no doubt that these gifts are going for the program. Lopez was chosen to receive to make a big impact in many students’ lives.” the first full four-year scholarship offered to a If you are interested in more informaSubiendo alumnus to attend McCombs. tion about supporting Subiendo, contact The CFP Foundation gave $1 million to esLeticia Acosta at Leticia.Acosta@mccombs. tablish the endowment for the scholarship that utexas.edu.

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NEWS: BUSINESS FORECAST

STATE ECONOMY SET FOR COMEBACK

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S THE ENERGY OUTLOOK CONTINUES

to improve, business leaders from across the state are cautiously optimistic about Texas’ economy. That was the consensus at the 2017 University of Texas McCombs Business Forecast events, where experts shared insights with audiences in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio in January and February. They predict that 2 percent job growth will help the Texas economy stabilize in 2017 following two lackluster years caused by weak oil prices. FROM OIL BUST TO OIL BALANCE

Energy accounted for roughly 13 percent of the state’s GDP in 2014, then it dipped to 6 percent a year later, costing Texas 100,000 jobs. Yet economists Mine Yücel, Keith Phillips, and Robert Kaplan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas noted that while energy and related manufacturing weakened sharply in 2015-2016, the service sectors in the state continued to grow during that time, and that regionally, the I-35 corridor of Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio saw few negative effects from the energy bust. UNPRECEDENTED RESERVES IN PERMIAN

In November 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey announced a new estimate of continuous oil in the Permian Basin, by far the largest such estimate recorded for any formation in the United

States. The area is assessed to have 20 billion barrels of oil. During the energy downturn, innovations in extraction technology continued in the Permian. “We did a lot of learning during an anemic time while not a lot of rigs were running. You had plenty of time to focus, get your science right, optimize things,” said Bill Montgomery, BBA ’84, of Quantum Energy Partners. FINANCIAL SYSTEMS “LOADED FOR BEAR”

Banks are more stable than they have been in years, said Elaine Agather, chairwoman of the Dallas Region for JPMorgan Chase. “By any reasonable measure, the financial system is unquestionably stronger because of regulations after the mortgage crisis of 2008,” said Agather. “Our capital and deposits are stronger than they’ve been in 70 years.” However, David Booth, chairman and coCEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, said, “There’s got to be an optimal amount of regulation, and whatever that point is … in the financial services industry it’s gone way too far.” John Goff, BBA ’77, a private investor in Fort Worth and co-founder of Crescent Real Estate Equities, agreed, “There’s significant cash on the sidelines. If you look at the firepower on bank balance sheets, there is $14 trillion of excess lending capacity that’s not being tapped into.”

UNIVERSITIES INCUBATE INNOVATION

Bob Metcalfe, an early Ethernet pioneer and professor of innovation at UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering, said the innovation system that drives prosperity is functioning well and getting better. More universities are adopting the MIT innovation model, he said, in which professors and students incubate new projects on campus, identify investors, and take the innovations to market with students serving in C-level roles. DATA-DRIVEN DISTRIBUTION

Even in traditional industries, innovation is crucial to success said Alan Dreeban, partner and director at Republic National Distributing Company, a wholesale distributor of wine and spirits based in San Antonio. “We use a complex blend of data to create a product mix for every socioeconomic slice so we can glean the most profit per square inch of shelf space.” HEALTH CARE: THE OUTLIER

And yet with all the positive developments in the Texas economy, one area where innovation and utilization are out of sync is health care. While nearly 10,000 new health care jobs were created in 2016, Texas still has the highest number and highest percentage of uninsured residents, said Don Kramer, M.D., founder and chairman of Nobilis Health. The state also doesn’t pay for the $5.5 billion in uncompensated care costs that Texas health care providers incur annually, he said. DISTRUPTIVE CLOUD COMPUTING

Speakers from McCombs’ 2017 Dallas Business Forecast event: McCombs' Dean Jay Hartzell; John Goff, BBA ’77, CEO of Crescent Real Estate Holdings; Elaine Agather, chairwoman of the Dallas Region for JPMorgan Chase; and Robert Kaplan, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Videos at bit.ly/2017BusinessForecast.

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The most recent — and disruptive — connection technology is cloud computing, said Taylor Rhodes, CEO of San Antonio’s Rackspace Managed Cloud Business Solutions. Today’s Uber, Lyft, Yeti, Airbnb, Amazon, and even the newly responsive Domino’s Pizza, would never have been possible in their current forms without their born-in-the-cloud technology-based platforms, he explained. “Technology is both creative and destructive,” he added. “Jobs are lost and jobs are created. We have an opportunity here to be on the winning side of that.”


RESEARCH

SPRING 2017

DISSERTATION CELEBRATION Ph.D. STUDENT WINS COMPETITION FOR MARKETING RESEARCH THAT BRIDGES THEORY AND PRACTICE

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ARKETING Ph.D. student Zhuping Liu has won the Alden G. Clayton Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Competition. One of three winners, he shares the honor with Ph.D. students from the Wharton School and the Yale School of Management. “I value this award because it recognizes not only my work but also my research philosophy, which is to pursue topics that are both academically interesting and practically relevant,” says Liu. “I’m even more motivated now to produce useful work.” Liu’s research focuses on mobile promotions, targeting, and consumer retention, and he studies how firms can use social media and mobile technologies to engage customers and increase sales. He credits much of his success to the guidance and constructive criticism of his advisors, Marketing Professors Frenkel ter Hofstede, who passed away in 2016, and Vijay Mahajan. “Frenkel was a great mentor and person,” says Liu. “I will try my best to honor him by publishing the research I worked on with him, including my dissertation.” Mahajan is confident he will. “Zhuping is very smart and hardworking. This is a brilliant start to a long and productive academic career.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY LAUREN GERSON

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R E S E A R C H : I D E A S AT WO R K

Among Fortune 500 companies, only 4 percent have female CEOs and only 21 percent of board seats are held by women.

WHEN THE GLASS CEILING SHATTERS COMPANIES WITH WOMEN IN TOP LEADERSHIP SEE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE BOTTOM LINE by Steve Brooks

see that employees were burning out. Turnover was 60 percent at Healthbox, the firm where she’s chief financial officer. The reason, in her eyes, was a top management style that pushed employees for results without considering their human needs. When a new president came on board, Paine saw an opportunity to “launch a culture crusade.” Together, they huddled with the entire staff to talk about what made workers happy and unhappy. They acknowledged extra achievement. They had check-ins every three weeks. Eight months later, not a single employee had left. “Disrupting certain elements of an organization’s culture is important,” says Paine. “I bring a fresh set of eyes to every process. It’s what I do.” CHALLENGING INGRAINED WAYS According to two new studies from the McCombs School of Business, she’s not alone. Women in boardrooms and C-suites bring new perspectives and challenge ingrained ways of doing things. These are some of the reasons that their influence ultimately improves the bottom line: • Firms appointing women to top management teams improved their long-term financial performance, according to a study by Management Professor David Harrison and doctoral student Seung-Hwan Jeong. “From the data we’ve seen,” says Harrison, “firms do as well, and usually better, if they shatter the glass ceiling.” • To boards of directors, women bring an average of nearly 10 percent additional distinct areas of expertise compared to male directors, find Associate Dean for Research Laura Starks

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and Daehyun Kim, Ph.D. ’16. “We show that women who are newly added or are already serving on boards bring unique skills to these boards,” says Starks. BENEFITS FOR BOARDS The upper echelons of the business world are still overwhelmingly male. Though women account for 47 percent of the workforce, they make up only 15 percent of directors at publicly traded U.S. companies. That prompted Starks and Kim, an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Toronto, to wonder whether boards were missing out. Earlier theoretical research showed that boards are more effective as corporate advisors when they contain a diversity of expertise. Female directors, they suspected, might also enhance boards by adding different and currently missing skills. “The ‘old boys’ club’ in the minds of directors puts a limit on skill sets,” says Kim. “The push towards more diverse directors might result in their being better endowed with information.” The researchers looked at boards in the S&P SmallCap 600, an index of companies with market capitalizations between $400 million and $1.8 billion, which average even fewer female directors than larger firms. Thanks to a recent securities rule that requires companies to list directors’ skills or qualifications, Starks and Kim could rank each director in 16 areas of expertise. Not only did they find that new female directors offered more identifiable skills than male directors, but women also contributed skills that boards had been lacking. Of 519 new directors appointed between 2011 and 2013, the research showed that the average woman brought 66 percent more areas of expertise than her male counterparts.

While men were heavier on traditional business abilities like finance and operations, women added talent in such areas as risk management, human resources, and sustainability. Today’s boards are hungry for these skills, notes Starks: “There’s much more emphasis today on environmental and social issues by corporations than there was even five years ago.” WOMEN IN THE C-SUITE Harrison and Jeong, meanwhile, looked at how women operate in C-level roles. It’s the tier at which women are rarest, as they made up only 3.2 percent of CEOs appointed in 2013 and 2014 in Fortune 500 firms. Three decades of studies have reached ambiguous and sometimes conflicting conclusions about whether women in high positions help or hurt a company’s performance. To resolve those differences, the researchers analyzed 146 previous papers, teasing out factors that might have influenced their outcomes. A major factor, they found, was that CEOs have more managerial discretion in some firms — depending on the ownership and size of their company and the country in which it operates. Once they adjusted for those differences, they found that over time, firms with female managers did slightly better than average financially. Though the advantage was in the range of 1 or 2 percent, those aren’t trivial numbers for large corporations. “You’re talking tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue or return on assets,” says Jeong. In the short term, though, incoming female leadership had the opposite effect. Stock returns did take small but detectable hits just after announcements of women CEOs, but that’s likely due to simple skittishness, not chauvinism. “Women CEOs are rare,” Harrison

I CO N M A D E BY R R O O K

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TEPHANIE PAINE, BBA ’03, COULD


Two McCombs studies show that women on corporate boards and in C-suites bring distinct skills to the table that benefit the companies they serve.

says. “Almost anything rare is seen as risky and brings a sense of uncertainty. The market hates uncertainty.” But the qualms of short-term investors could create opportunities for those who are more farsighted: long-term returns were more positive for women-led firms, as were accounting metrics such as return on assets. “I might want to buy just a bit after the announcement of a female CEO, because other folks are selling,” says Harrison. “I can scoop up some stock and, later on, I can watch it rise.” SMARTER RISK-TAKING Why does management benefit from including more women? For both studies, a key answer is what Harrison calls “a different set of eyes.” Data suggest that women’s perspectives tend to challenge unspoken assumptions within groups dominated by men and lead to better decisions, Harrison explains. “The presence of women on top management teams helps those teams process information in a more comprehensive way,” he says. That’s a role that travel technology advisor Ellen Keszler, MBA ’87, has played on more than one board. “They were early-stage companies, and once they’d gotten to a certain point, I suggested it was time to put in a

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y A L I C E C H O

more formalized bonus and incentive compensation program,” she says. “They were finance-focused, where I had more of a human relations perspective. I was saying, ‘Let’s think about employees. Is their compensation motivating them?’” Sue Gove, BBA ’78, agrees. “I see women pushing for more accountability, challeng-

“Women CEOs are rare. Almost anything rare is seen as risky and brings a sense of uncertainty.” ing the way things are done,” she says. Gove is president of Excelsior Advisors and is an independent director for companies like AutoZone and Logitech. Harrison and Jeong also found that women have lower appetites than men for some kinds of strategic risks. In the studies they reviewed, firms with women in top jobs scored lower on risky measures like financial leverage, capital expenditures, and share price volatility.

“Having a woman on a team helps to promote smarter risk-taking,” says Jeong. Paine, the Healthbox CFO, used to work in private equity acquisition. She sized up the risks when assessing their value. “I tended to view sky-high valuations with a skeptical eye,” she says. “I was the one asking, ‘Is the company at too early of a stage? Is there too little revenue? Is the market really going to support it? “It’s not just wanting to jump on the bandwagon of something management recommends, but saying, ‘Let’s be more thorough with our analysis and evaluation,’” says Paine. Women also can bring novel ideas to a board that is stuck in a rut, says Kim. “Expertise is an important source of professional opinions. Bringing in diversity of expertise is really bringing in diversity of opinions.” But Gove cautions that diversity on boardsdoesn’t come about on its own. She’s used to being a company’s first woman director and pushing her colleagues to add more. “The pool is still tilted towards men, for sure,” says Gove. “The best approach a board’s nominating committee can use is to set out in its criteria that it wants to fill an open seat with a female candidate.” The approach works, she adds. “Each of my boards today has at least two female directors.”

#McCOMBSMAG 13


RESEARCH: INSIGHTS

12-HOUR SHIFTS AND PHYSICIAN MISTAKES by Adrienne Dawson

I

they’re called “adverse outcomes.” To a woman in labor, this could mean blood loss or hearing her unborn baby’s heart rate drop too low for too long. Researchers have tried to find patterns to these potentially life-threatening emergencies. Are they more likely to happen if a woman gives birth in the middle of the night or during the weekend or if she’s tended to by a junior doctor? “There are all sorts of studies about the timing of deliveries, but what nobody had looked at before is whether there is some kind of proxy for how fatigued the doctors are,” says IROM Associate Professor James Scott. That’s right — exhaustion. Scott and his co-authors from the University of Cambridge and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT are the first to examine where a patient’s delivery falls during a doctor’s shift and whether there is a correlation between that timing and adverse outcomes. They wondered if long shifts led to increased risk. To find out, they looked at nearly 25,000 unscheduled deliveries in the United Kingdom from 2008-2013. The obstetricians, all from the same labor and delivery ward, consistently worked 12-hour shifts. Scott and his fellow researchers found no significant differences in the rates of commonly occurring complications between day versus night shifts, weekday versus weekend, vaginal or cesarean section deliveries, or whether the birth was overseen by a junior or senior physician. N ACADEMIC SPEAK,

14 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

McCombs research shows that physician mistakes start increasing during the ninth hour of a 12-hour shift.

Instead, they found that two specific medical issues — maternal blood loss and low blood oxygen levels in an unborn baby — increased significantly when a doctor entered the ninth hour of a 12-hour shift. At this point, the risk of maternal blood loss exceeding 1.5 liters increased by 30 percent, and arterial pH, a marker for infant distress, was at increased risk of falling below a safe range.

In the case of fetal blood oxygen levels, researchers suspect that fatigue led doctors to miss small distress signals. “Ideally, those would have been caught if the doctors were just a bit fresher and sharper,” Scott says. He adds that this study highlights the importance of remembering that patient outcomes aren’t always clinical; they can also be operational. “And staffing decisions are part of that.”

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y G A B R I E L S I LV E I R A


Prior to 1994, all public firms had to report advertising expenses in excess of 1 percent of sales.

DATA-DRIVEN RETAIL STRATEGY FOR HURRICANE ZONES

ACCOUNTING FOR ADVERTISING’S VALUE

WHO “OWNS” CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS?

DOUG MORRICE, PROFESSOR, IROM {

LEIGH MCALISTER AND RAJI SRINIVASAN, PROFESSORS, MARKETING {

Y. SEKOU BERMISS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, MANAGEMENT {

For retailers along the coasts, figuring out what to send to stores in the path of a hurricane — and when to do it — is a challenge. “The trick is to get the right products in the right quantity to the right location at the right time, but storms come with a lot of uncertainty,” says Morrice.

THE ISSUE:

T H E R E S E A R C H : Together with Associate Professor John Butler and co-authors, Morrice partnered with a prominent retailer that wanted to improve its storm planning processes. By tracking five years’ worth of sales data surrounding 15 hurricanes for each of the Texas retailer’s Gulf Coast locations, the researchers were able to uncover consumer buying trends unique to different regions of the state. They could then correlate weather forecasting information with actual sales data to give retailers a reliable way to gauge demand ahead of a storm, in real time. I CO N M A D E BY G R E G O R C R E S N A R

OUTCOME: That means retailers can send the

supplies that are most needed — based on past sales trends during previous hurricanes — to precise locations most likely to be in the storm’s path. As a result, consumers have enough time to purchase the goods before the storm makes landfall.

THE ISSUE: Establishing advertising’s worth

to C-suite executives has been an ongoing challenge for both marketers and researchers. Does it only boost short-term sales, or does it also improve firm value? THE RESEARCH: To find out, McAlister and Srinivasan studied 14,571 public firms between 1996-2009, following an SEC rule that changed how they report advertising expenses. Instead of requiring all firms to report expenses, companies only had to disclose costs if they were “material” to operations. The researchers could then determine which firms were differentiators or cost leaders and compare each company’s share of voice to its sales and firm value. OUTCOME: Advertising can help any firm boost sales, but it is associated with significantly higher shareholder firm value for differentiators only. Their findings suggest that advertising shouldn’t be seen as an income statement expense but as a balance sheet intangible asset that builds shareholder value.

THE ISSUE: When Tom Cruise left a sports management agency in the film Jerry Maguire, he assumed his clients would follow him. They didn’t, and that’s no surprise, says Bermiss. He recently looked at why clients are more likely to stay loyal to firms instead of following their contacts out the door.

“A lot of people will tell you, ‘I’m the show. My clients are here for me,’ but they don’t take as many clients as they might think,” says Bermiss. He analyzed more than 1,000 lobbyists and lobbyist firms and 6,000 of their clients between 2001-2009 to find out if these lobbyists “owned” their client relationships.

THE RESEARCH:

OUTCOME: The answer is no. Bermiss found that dedicating a lot of time to one client over the short term doesn’t build loyalty, but tenure does. Managers who dedicate the majority of their time to only one client don’t build equitable working relationships and may have a power imbalance. Conversely, those who work with clients for many years while simultaneously overseeing other accounts are more likely to take business with them when they go.

#McCOMBSMAG 15


THE ADVOCATE AND FRIEND

THE BENEFACTOR THE FACILITATOR

THE CONVERSATIONALIST

THE VOLUNTEER

THE CLOSER

THE HOST THE MENTOR

THE LISTENER THE DOER

THE DIPLOMAT THE NEIGHBOR

THE PRO

THE OBSERVER

THE EXPERT

HOW SKILLFUL RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT TOOK APRIL UNDERWOOD TO GOOGLE, TWITTER, AND BEYOND by Cynthia Hanson | photographs by Robert Houser

THE TREND SPOTTER

1 TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU 16 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

THE ICEBREAKER

THE EX-PAT

TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU 1


April Underwood is VP of product at Slack, one of the buzziest young tech companies of recent years.


BBA ’01, is proof of the power of personal connections. As an undergraduate Business Honors major, she leveraged a chance meeting with 3M’s Tina Beamer, BBA ’93, to land a summer internship writing code and building software. It was an experience that set the stage for Underwood’s early career in product management and engineering at big names in Silicon Valley, among them Travelocity, Google, and Twitter. During the social media company’s explosive growth from startup to IPO, she was a key player, developing both the breakthrough Tweet button and Twitter API. ¶ Fast forward to 2015. After leaving Twitter, Underwood turned a meeting with tech entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield into a role as vice president of platform at Slack, Butterfield’s $3.8 billion collaboration startup. Slack’s features include direct messaging, file sharing, and search, with both open channels for sharing information to an entire team to custom channels where a few individuals can hold more private conversations. Slack aspires to be the messaging platform of choice for teams of any size —whether at a dentist’s office or a Fortune 500 company. “It’s an audacious goal, and it’s going to take a lot of work,” acknowledges Underwood, who holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. Today, she is Slack’s vice president of product, a role that plays to her sweet spot of product vision, platform development, strategic partnerships, and API integrations. ¶ Her leadership has already been felt: This January, the 800-employee company APRIL UNDERWOOD,

18 TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

launched Slack Enterprise Grid, a product designed for large teams that’s meant to expand Slack’s reach beyond its current 5 million daily active users. Underwood, who grew up in Texas, was a technology prodigy from the start. At 6 years old, she mastered using complex CAD software to draw straight lines on the computer — a task that confounded many of the students in her father’s architecture class at Amarillo Community College. By 10, Underwood created spreadsheets to catalog her vast collection of baseball cards, and as a high school senior, she wrote her first program. “I finished my computer class homework quickly, so I created a program that allowed me to compute my GPA,” she recalls. “I was a little obsessive about tracking my performance.” ¶ Now at age 37, Underwood is a Silicon Valley power player. She recently was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40” and one of the “Most Creative People of 2015” by Fast Company. And she believes in giving back: Underwood cofounded #Angels, an investment group composed of former and current female Twitter executives, to support early-stage companies. Since its launch in 2015, the group has invested nearly $3 million in more than 50 enterprises. We caught up with Underwood before the release of Slack Enterprise Grid to get her take on everything from the benefits of a well-rounded business education to different types of connections — and why the face-to-face relationships that helped launch her career remain vital in our tech-driven world.

Q: What drew you to studying business at McCombs?

A: I started at UT as a chemical engineering major. I had enjoyed AP chemistry in high school, but after a semester, I realized chemical engineering wasn’t for me. A friend in my dorm opened my eyes to McCombs. I didn’t know anything about business majors, but once I learned about the curriculum, I got pretty excited and applied for the Business Honors Program in my sophomore year. I got accepted and gave up my engineering scholarship. College was a financial burden for my family, and I was lucky to earn scholarships from McCombs after I’d been there a year. It was critical for me to complete my education without racking up a lot of debt, and I graduated in three and a half years. Q: You have achieved success in a highly competitive and evolving industry. Be-


sides technical ability and hard work, what personal attributes contributed to your rise?

A: My strong communication skills — both written and verbal — allowed me to stand out. I started as a software engineer and moved into product management, which is an inherently cross-functional role. You need to understand technology, create a vision for the future, and get your team, managers, and customers excited about it. You have to clearly communicate ideas and have the confidence and strength to set ambitious goals for your team. The McCombs curriculum, with courses in finance, marketing, and communications, gave me a well-rounded skill set and the exposure I needed to succeed. Q: In addition to giving the world the Tweet button, you led Twitter during a period of incredible growth — going from 150 to 4,000 employees in five years. Managing growth is an accomplishment in and of itself.

A: We were constantly changing the way we did things because what works with 200 employees doesn’t work with 400 or 800. I’m also proud of the work I did on ad production, which helped Twitter build an incredible business around advertising and facilitated Twitter’s going public in 2013. Q: What are some of the ways that Twitter

refer to a story or link. When I met [CEO] Stewart [Butterfield], he talked about his vision for the Slack platform. Platforms are my bread and butter. What I love is the unique opportunity to put my experience to use around a big business opportunity. Q: How did your previous jobs prepare you for your role at Slack? A: The diversity of my experience — as an engineer, product manager, and marketing and business development leader — gave me a broad tool set from which to draw. Plus, I’ve worked at companies as small as 20 employees and as large as over 20,000 employees. The way you become prepared to take on new challenges is by training your brain to tackle new problems — and tackle them quickly. Use what you’ve learned and be open to the possibility that the way things worked at the last company — or in the last role — may not apply.

These days, I am lucky to have a close-knit network of women investors, executives, and founders of companies — I call them “friendtors.” We look out for each other and help one another get access to great opportunities. I’m also fortunate to have a group of men and women who help me when I’m looking to hire or need advice. I turn to my six co-investors with #Angels, as well as the investors at Slack, our board members, and good friends from UT and my MBA program. Q: How do you see the convergence of big data, mobile, artificial intelligence, and other innovations changing how we connect? Any predictions?

A: Fortunately, machine learning and artificial intelligence are starting to achieve real utility in the workplace. Questions like, “What was our revenue on April 14?” and “Which engineer knows the most about this feature?” will be an-

BUSINESS SCHOOLS NEED TO FACILITATE WAYS FOR STUDENTS TO GO FIGURE THINGS OUT. A LOT OF LEARNING HAPPENS IN JUST DOING THINGS AND TAKING RISKS.

enables business and personal connections that would not exist otherwise?

A: Twitter allows you to hear directly from anyone in an unfiltered way. Businesses can receive feedback directly from customers. At Slack, we read and reply to every question and comment we get on Twitter. It’s an invaluable source of feedback — both good and bad — that helps us understand our customers better. As a professional, Twitter allows me to follow other execs at companies in my industry. People like Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, and Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of Stripe, share openly about business, politics, and the world on Twitter. I get to engage with them in a way I would not on any other platform. Q: What motivated you to make the move to Slack?

A: I love the product. I use Slack to stay in touch with friends and former Twitter colleagues in the U.S. and Canada. When a couple of them went to work for companies that used Slack, they suggested we move our conversations from texting to there, and we never went back. It was a better experience than just texting; we were able to organize around different topics, and it had much better search capabilities to

Q: What differentiates Slack from other work project platforms?

A: It’s not just a communication program. It connects with the tools you use every day, like HR systems, or Google Drive, and systems engineers can even use it to create software. You can work with your colleagues to achieve your goals as a team, but it also ties together what can, at times, be an overwhelmingly siloed set of tools. Slack facilitates connections because it actually allows teams to do their best work and do it more efficiently. Q: The tech sector has a reputation for being difficult for women to break into. Who inspired you in your career path?

A: From early on, I never sensed there was a glass ceiling for women. I’ve been fortunate to work at companies with strong female leaders: At Travelocity, there was CEO Michelle Peluso [now CMO at IBM] and at Google, I looked up to Marissa Mayer [CEO at Yahoo], Sheryl Sandberg [COO at Facebook], and Susan Wojcicki [CEO at YouTube].

swered accurately and instantly with software. When you think about the sum of all of the time that knowledge workers spend retrieving information and answering questions that other people have already answered many times over, you can imagine just how much productivity can be redirected toward real creative pursuits. These technologies could significantly boost productivity and creativity for many people. Q: In a world of virtual connections, how have such innovations changed your workplace and personal behaviors, for better or worse?

A: Software supports, rather than replaces, human relationships in the workplace. When I worked at Twitter, I would often know a bit about a colleague’s life before I met him or her because of posts I’d seen on Twitter. That allowed me to connect on a much more personal level. Now, in my role at Slack, I hear from many executives who are looking to enhance culture within their companies. Slack allows employ-

TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU 19


ees to bring their whole selves to work by offering an environment where people not only get work done but also connect with colleagues around common interests. Here at Slack, we have channels for parenting, favorite movies (#starwars, of course), and political issues — all initiated in a grass-roots way by our employees. We also get work done! But we do so more easily because we don’t expect people to turn off their “authentic selves” when they get into the office or log into Slack. Q: What prompted you to launch #Angels? What types of companies are you targeting for investment in 2017?

A: Five of my Twitter colleagues and I realized we had an interest in helping support early-stage companies go through the type of amazing journey we’d experienced together. We back companies in a variety of categories, and each of us makes our own investment decisions. Health care is one particular area we see as ripe for technology-driven innovation. We’ve been delighted to back companies like Color Genomics, Forward, Nurx, and Hale Health. Q: What can business schools be doing better to prepare a

NETWORK

BUILDERS PROVEN STRATEGIES TO CONNECT AND BUILD POWERFUL RELATIONSHIPS by Jeremy M. Simon and Todd Savage

new generation for the challenges and opportunities ahead?

A: Anything business schools can do to help reduce barriers for people starting their own businesses is really valuable. In Silicon Valley, there is the expectation that if you have an idea, you should go after it, because there will be ways to raise money and make it possible. Encouraging entrepreneurship is as important — or even

YOU HAVE TO CLEARLY COMMUNICATE IDEAS AND HAVE THE CONFIDENCE AND STRENGTH TO SET AMBITIOUS GOALS FOR YOUR TEAM.

more important — than the classwork itself. Business schools need to facilitate ways for students to go figure things out. A lot of learning happens in just doing things and taking risks. Q: How do you act as a networker, mentor, or guide to others — and do you have a particular philosophy for exercising your influence?

A: I’m always looking for ways to guide men and women who are early in their careers, but I want to do so in a scalable way. I speak at UC Berkeley and UT when I can, and through #Angels I have facilitated events for executives or company founders who are so busy doing the work that they’re not taking the time to get to know other awesome women in the industry. Bringing together 20 to 40 women for an event — rather than reaching out one-on-one — allows me to help more women grow in their careers. But I don’t tell people I have it all figured out. Cynthia Hanson, a journalist based outside Philadelphia, has written for The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, and the Brown Alumni Monthly.

20 TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

Ashley Loney, BBA ’06, Dean Jay Hartzell, and Andrew Phong Vo, BBA ’95

For Andrew Phong Vo, BBA ’95, managing director at Accenture in Houston, networking is second nature. Whenever he meets new people, he makes mental notes about their background and interests. Vo then reflects on opportunities to connect them with others; he takes pleasure in connecting people and organizations. “It’s rewarding to bring people together and, in a sense, serve as a professional matchmaker,” says Vo. As an active alumnus, he’s quick to give back in other ways, too: Not only is he the Accenture executive sponsor to the university, he is also a member of the McCombs Advisory Council, a member of the dean’s new scholarship committee, and the McCombs representative on the Texas Exes council. Here’s Vo in action: In 2007, he recruited Ashley Loney, BBA ’06, to join Accenture. A decade later, Vo thought she might like

the opportunity to get involved with McCombs. “You can talk about all the interesting things you’re involved in, but that doesn’t necessarily make an impact or impression on people until they can see it for themselves,” Vo says. At his invitation, Loney joined him at last year’s McCombs Hall of Fame Dinner where they heard from some of the school’s most distinguished alumni. “The minute I moved back to Austin 10 months ago, I was certain I wanted to get more involved at UT,” Loney says. “In my 10 years at Accenture, I have stayed connected with McCombs through the recruiting process, but I have always wanted to do more. So, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Hall of Fame Dinner as a first step.” That evening, she was able to meet Dean Jay Hartzell, who personally invited her to learn more about the school. “Since


then, Ashley has been able to get involved by finding ways to pay it forward,” Vo says. “There’s a sense of cohesiveness and family that comes with the McCombs community. This collaborative environment offers the ability to make those connections.” Thanks to Vo’s efforts, Loney is now in the process of joining the school’s advisory board. “All of us have the opportunity to serve as a connector to someone else,” Vo says. “It’s not always about setting and achieving goals. The more you can empower and bring people together, the more they can elevate their own platform. That, in turn, will promote a culture and environment of giving back.” So for Vo, making connections is about stewardship. In any quest for networking and reaching out to develop your career or business or give back to your community, there are myriad roles you can play. We turned to other expert connectors — alumni, faculty, and current students — to share some of their best practices and ideas.

THE BENEFAC TO R

Think about how you can help your contacts. “It’s about adding value to their lives” says Kiley Baker, MBA ’13, a vice president at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York. Baker, who serves on the Wall Street for McCombs Board, learned that lesson from her own mentor at the bank. “I focus on understanding what’s important to them and being a net giver. It sends the right message — and you become a trusted resource.”

THE CONVERS ATIO NALIST

Social media provides the chance to meet people far beyond your own professional circles. Twitter particularly excels in this area, says Andrew Watts, BBA ’17, who has worked as a consultant at Google, Facebook, and

Rooster Teeth. “Twitter is more effective in connecting with people than email,” Watts says. “On email you have a more formal, forced conversation and people are less likely to reply. Twitter is a place where people are offering their thoughts and ideas and you can easily chime in and start building a relationship. Give good suggestions, add funny or insightful commentary, and they are going to be more likely to engage with you. It’s a really good starting point.” Rebecca Otis, BBA ’07

new people — which, like snorkeling, can be more superficial.

T H E VO LU NT EER

T H E ADVOC AT E A ND F R I END

While we’ve all heard of paying it forward, Erik Qualman, MBA ’99, carves out a minimum of three minutes per day to, as he says, “post it forward.” He regularly shines a light on others doing work he respects. That can take the form of a “Follow Friday” (#FF) on Twitter or a LinkedIn post about a few favorite thought leaders. “What counts is doing it genuinely because you like these people,” Qualman adds. He notes that neuroscience shows such posts make the poster, recipient, and even readers happier. “If someone sees an act of kindness in the offline world, it makes them happier,” he says. “The same holds true in the digital world.” At the same time, Qualman makes sure to devote energy to his current friends and acquaintances. “A mistake people make is that they don’t cultivate the relationships they already have,” he says. He compares it to scuba diving: Sometimes you need to go deep to explore existing connections instead of always looking to meet

It may seem counterintuitive when you’re focused on creating your own business, but entrepreneurs can fast-track connections with investors and dealmakers by volunteering or joining a board. “Entrepreneurs and people coming out of school building their first company may not have many contacts yet,” says Ingrid Vanderveldt, MBA ’96, who, as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell Inc., was named a “superconnector” by Fast Company in 2014. “Now you’re creating an authentic opportunity to have a real conversation with the people you want to build relationships with. You have immediately elevated yourself to a peer-to-peer level and can create a conversation around something you mutually care about.”

T H E C LOSER

The best way to use a networking meeting? Be clear on how the person can help you and always ask how you can help them. Nina Godiwalla, BBA ’97, says many people contacted her after she published her bestselling book, Suits: A Woman on Wall Street. In networking meetings, they often struggled to articulate what they

wanted. “Have a clear idea of what you want from the person you reached out to. It’s helpful for you and them — your time with them is short.” She was also invited into several invitation-only circles. “At the end of each meeting I had with C-level executives, I noticed that they often closed the meeting the same way, ‘Well, Nina, let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.’” Now she makes it a habit to do the same.

T H E M E N TOR

If you’re asked for help, stay focused, advises Rebecca Otis, BBA ’07, a blogger, speaker, and Salesforce senior marketing consultant. “Suggest a quick phone call to learn more about the person reaching out to you and what they’re looking to achieve before meeting in person,” Otis says. “Or, carve out a specific time in your day to respond to LinkedIn requests or personal networking emails.” If you’re not the ideal person to help, think of someone else who may be a better fit. “This will help them expand their network and will prevent a dead end,” she says.

T H E H OST

Next time you attend a conference, consider helping pass out attendees’ name tags. That’s the advice of Professor John Daly,

TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU 21


who teaches both at McCombs and UT’s College of Communication. “Always work the reception desk at events. You get to meet everyone ahead of time, get to know their names, and you have somebody to talk to when you actually walk into the reception.”

THE L ISTENER

Finding the sweet spot where your passions and talents overlap can help you connect with others who also share them, says Marketing Professor Raj Raghunathan, author of If You’re so Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? “The networking will happen organically,” he says, because you’ll be able to speak about a topic with a depth you’d never gain from a shallow attempt to simply get their approval. Instead, says Raghunathan, “you’re authentically interested in what they do and you truly have something to contribute to them, as well.”

THE DO ER

Meet the higher-ups in your organization, says William Cunningham, professor of Marketing and past president of UT. “When I came to Texas, I made a concerted effort to get to know the power structure,” says Cunningham, who began his career at the university as an assistant professor in 1970. He began eating lunch with the department chairman and got to know Dean George Kozmetsky at faculty parties. It began with a simple introduction from the young Cunningham: “Just, ‘Hello George, I work

22 TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

for you.’” Kozmetsky would visit Cunningham’s office and, when searching for an assistant dean several years later, Kozmetzky eventually offered Cunningham the job. “Because I got to know George Kozmetsky, all of a sudden avenues opened up for me,” Cunningham says. Yet not having a set strategy can sometimes be the best strategy, says Cunningham. “Different people have approached me at times about what they could do to position themselves to be president of The University of Texas,” he says. “My advice is always the same: Do nothing. They’ll come to you.” Instead, he advises relying on working hard and building relationships. “I never really had a strategy in my career other than just to try to do the best I could.”

T H E D IP LOMAT

It’s human nature to want to interact with people who are similar to us, but they may simply tell us what we already know, says Sekou Bermiss, assistant professor of Management. To get new information, seek out people who are different from you. But how? “The best way that I’ve seen, and what the research points to, is finding a shared interest,” Bermiss says. Interests like cooking, music, or sports can cross lines and provide a foundation for building new connections. After all, says Bermiss: “What’s the purpose of networking? It’s to get information that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”

T H E N E IGH B OR

When a neighbor borrows eggs, you can usually trust they’ll eventually repay the favor. A network should consist of similar trusted relationships, says UT Psychology and Marketing Professor Art Markman, who’s written blog posts for people he later asked to guest lecture in his classes. “A lot of what we’re trying to do when we network is to develop and

Sekou Bermiss, assistant professor of Management

expand our ‘neighborhood,’” he says. The benefits to both parties play out over time. “They might do something for you,” says Markman, “because you’ve done something for them in the past, or the expectation is that you will in the future when they need it.” And much like how you’d treat a neighbor, he suggests that people also enjoy simple, random interactions for their own reward and not to achieve a specific outcome. In time, some of those connections could become important.

this person is and relevant points about them, because otherwise three conversations later, you’re going to forget,” says Stacey Rudnick, director of MBA Career Management. When you leave the event and send them a LinkedIn request, mention some specifics from the conversation “so that they have a reason to remember you,” she adds.

THE PRO

Accept social networking requests from new contacts who are below you in professional experience or title, advises Rajiv Garg, assistant professor of Information, Risk, and Operations Management. Although the person might be a junior employee right now, that can change. Plus, when you need to hire, you can tap your social network for such connections. Those employees tend to show greater loyalty, which can lead to workplace friendships. “I believe hiring from your social network contributes to overall retention and happiness in the workplace,” Garg says. ”

T H E O B SER V ER

During a networking event, pause between conversations and take notes. “Write down who

T H E EX PE RT

Speaking on a panel can be a networking goldmine, says Amira Fawcett Malpass, MBA ’17, cochair of the McCombs Ambassador Committee. She has invited alumni to campus in her roles with McCombs student organizations. It’s about more than the panel topic. “You’re going to get to know other alumni panelists as well as current students,” she says. For example, a Graduate Women in Business technology panel her group hosted featured leading women in their fields, none of whom had met previously, and was opened by the CMO


of Microsoft. Being on a panel promotes easy bonds between speakers. “You have a little family up there,” Fawcett Malpass says.

THE TREND S P OTTER

Students have things to teach alumni, too, so connect with them at McCombs events. You’ll find out what’s happening on campus, and you may meet potential interns who can work on a business problem your company is facing. “Alumni also can get the buzz on what the hot companies are right now, because if they’re deeply entrenched in their company, they may not be on the lookout for what’s going on,” says Michelle Hardy, director of MBA Employer and Alumni Engagement. “Students always know what’s popular.”

THE E X- PAT

Moving far away requires building a new network from scratch. Tam Le, BBA ’11, who’s lived everywhere from Oklahoma to Istanbul and now resides in Singapore, suggests finding commonalities. “The rarer the thing in common, the more it matters,”

Le says. For example, in Texas it wasn’t unusual to find a fellow Longhorn. “I could just walk 10 feet and meet someone else with that exact same trait,” she says. That changes the farther you are from home. “In Singapore, I get excited if anyone’s even set foot in Texas and just being an American is enough to form a friendship.” Before making a big move, use the internet to research new locations, companies, and hiring managers. “In the year before I moved to Singapore, I was a LinkedIn master,” Le says. She sent messages to alums working in her target areas or who attended the university where she studied abroad; people who shared a common connection; and individuals at companies where she formerly worked. “I was leveraging every network I had,” she says.

TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO GO UP AND CONNECT WITH THE SPEAKER, AUTHENTICALLY OF COURSE, AFTER THEIR TALK.

Burkhart following his talk for the Venture Fellows speaker series. Anytime someone makes a connection for you, be sure to circle back and let them know how things worked out, Lindsay advises. “People who go to the effort of introducing others get

satisfaction out of that,” she says. “It’s the least you can do to let them know that, regardless of the outcome, you really appreciated that they thought of you and connected you with that person. That goes a long way to closing the loop.” Michaela Lindsay, MBA ’17

T H E IC E BRE AKER

Make the effort to interact with the presenter at an event, says Michaela Lindsay, MBA ’17. “Take the initiative to go up and connect with the speaker, authentically of course, after their talk,” she says. “Just shaking their hand and saying ‘thank you’ — even if you don’t have a genius comment to make — goes a very long way.” It’s then easier later to send a personalized thank you and expression of genuine interest in their work. That can lead to a nice exchange, a connection on LinkedIn, a follow-up conversation, and more, says Lindsay, who landed a role with Worksmith by connecting with CEO Bryan

CONNECT WITH McCOMBS There are a variety of ways to connect to fellow alumni, faculty, and current students. Follow both the McCombs Alumni Network on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) for alumni events. Update your information in

the McCombs Alumni Directory so peers and colleagues can find you. And turn to page 44 in this magazine or go online to browse through updates from fellow classmates. Share your good news with the entire McCombs community —

whether it’s a new job, promotion, or award — by sending an email to alumni@mccombs. utexas.edu. Read about all of the ways alumni can connect with the McCombs community at www.mccombs.utexas.edu/alumni.

TODAY.MCCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU 23


CY BE RSEC U RITY CO NU ND RU M McCOMBS EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON THE GROWING DIGITAL THREAT By Mary Ann Roser | Illustration by Brave the Woods

#McCOMBSMAG 25


he news that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee during last year’s presidential campaign hit like an earthquake that won’t stop rumbling. The aftershocks include more startling news of massive cyber breaches. Just last month WikiLeaks released thousands of documents purported to be CIA hacking tools, followed by another release that suggested the CIA’s own hacks could be disguised as actions by Russia or another country. Also in March, two Russian intelligence agents and two criminal hackers were arrested in the 2014 Yahoo breach of 500 million accounts. By now, the American public seems to have been shaken awake to the significance of data protection issues along with companies that were complacent or loath to invest in cybersecurity. Experts say they hope the attention will lead to more online vigilance. They predict that cyberattacks will happen more often across

government, corporate, and personal digital space, while those who guard the data acknowledge they are playing defense in an increasingly high-stakes game. Tom Molden, MBA ’98, an information security executive at General Motors, along with other McCombs experts in the cybersecurity field, says that threats are ever present. “We’re definitely in an ever-evolving threat landscape, with threat actors who get more sophisticated every day,” Molden confirms. At the GM IT Innovation Center in North Austin, experts manage a variety of security controls, monitoring network traffic, scanning for and remediating vulnerabilities in the systems infrastructure, and analyzing anomalous

IN ADDITION TO CONFIDENTIALITY, COMPANIES NEED TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY AND AVAILABILITY OF THEIR INFORMATION. TOM MOLDEN, MBA ’98,

26 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

information security executive at GM

online activity. It’s all part of a day’s job. And it’s never done.

Data Security Landscape While the federal government does have some policies that some industries are required to meet regarding data security, in most cases, states are left to set cyber rules and police businesses. And although experts say they don’t see strong enforcement of such policies, many of them also don’t want to see a federal law prescribing cybersecurity requirements. The field is changing rapidly, and there is no “one-size-fits-all solution,” cybersecurity experts say. Cyber criminals, meanwhile, can spend a small amount on a hacking kit and reap big returns selling the data on the underground market. As technology becomes more pervasive in the world, the volume of targets and motivations for attacks is rising. Public utilities, industrial environments and transportation services are increasingly at risk from hackers; and the threat goes beyond theft of personal data, to include theft of trade secrets and disruption of operations. “In addition to confidentiality, companies need to protect the integrity and availability of their information,” Molden adds. Christina Buss Pucheu, BBA ’10, a cybersecurity and privacy manager at accounting and consulting giant PwC in Dallas, says she has noticed companies spending slightly more on security in recent months. Even so, no system is perfect. Consequently, companies walk a tightrope between how much to invest in cybersecurity and the cost of a potential breach. It’s a delicate balancing act. The cost of cyberattacks has risen 200 percent over a five-year period,


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS A KEY TOOL IN TODAY’S CYBER EFFORTS. former vice president of corporate and business development at the cybersecurity firm Cylance

JOEL BAUMAN, MBA ’02 ,

Hewlett Packard Enterprise said in a report last year, to $450 billion worldwide. That’s expected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2019. “It’s going to get worse,” warns Andrew Whinston, McCombs professor of Information, Risk, and Operations Management, who researches cybersecurity issues. “As long as people can make money from stealing data, they will do it.” Ultimately, adds Whinston, who is also the director of the Center for Research in Electronic Commerce, “we’re going to have to come to terms with the idea that we don’t have an effective way to deal with cybersecurity.” The equation is lopsided in the criminal’s favor, says Joel Bauman, MBA ’02, the former vice president of corporate and business development at cybersecurity firm Cylance. Bauman, who lives in San Jose, California, insists that companies need to direct more resources to preventing cyberattacks. Adding to the challenge is an acute shortage of cybersecurity workers. Worldwide, there were 1 million vacancies in 2016, according to an estimate by Cisco, the San Jose tech giant. “It’s very competitive to get cybersecurity talent,” PwC's Pucheu says. “Growing new talent is difficult, but companies need to make their own investment to bridge that gap. It’s definitely a promising field, and it’s not going away.”

Emerging and Ongoing Threats A year-end report from FireEye Inc., a leading cybersecurity solutions firm, says: “One sobering thought is that the threat activity we expect to hear about in 2017 may be taking place right now, with adversaries already inside

many of the systems and networks necessary to achieve their mission.” On average, it takes more than 200 days for a company to discover its system has been infiltrated, says Curtis Dukes, former director of information assurance at the National Security Agency. Cyber attackers are hard to beat because, unlike organizations that face many daily tasks from selling widgets to keeping their employees happy, they are single-minded about obtaining and exploiting sensitive information. “The public is very naive about security,” says Eric Rattanavong, BBA ’03, director of information security analysis at Capital One in McLean, Virginia. “They don’t clamor for better security because they don’t know what to fear.” Like other experts, Rattanavong is not surprised by the recent high-profile hacks and expects to see more cyber espionage. Suspected Russian hackers, according to news reports, took down part of Ukraine’s power grid during the past two Decembers. “Cyber will be the theater of war in the future,” Rattanavong says. “The first militaristic volley isn’t going to be a missile; it’s going to be hacking — whether it’s hacking utilities, transportation, or communications.” Ransomware, a malicious software that can freeze a computer system or encrypt data until the victim pays up, is an increasing threat, Rattanavong and other experts say. Hospitals and health care companies saw an escalation of ransomware last year. When faced with paying the ransom or being unable to function, they paid. Ransomware was behind a power plant breach in Lansing, Michigan, last year when a utility company employee inadvertently opened an attachment with a virus. The compa-

ny paid $25,000 to regain control of the system and spent $2.4 million beefing up its defenses. Power plant hacks are challenging because plants rely on proprietary control systems, which are highly complex and designed by outside vendors, says David Zahn, MBA ’99, chief marketing officer and general manager of the cybersecurity unit at PAS in Houston. So, if there is an unauthorized change in such a system, it can easily go undiscovered. “Eighty percent of all cyber assets in a plant are proprietary systems, and, unfortunately, most plants don’t even keep an inventory of those systems,” Zahn says. “You can’t secure what you can’t see.” PAS provides security software to energy, power, and bulk manufacturing industries in more than 70 countries. Zahn notes that power plants aren’t alone in using proprietary control systems. They are used in everything from the rides at Disneyland to airplanes.

CYBER WILL BE THE THEATER OF WAR IN THE FUTURE. ERIC RATTANAVONG, BBA ’03,

director of information security analysis at Capital One

#McCOMBSMAG 27


THE PROBLEM IS THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT RECOGNIZE THE THREAT AND CHOOSE NOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. author of several books on cybersecurity and CEO of the cybersecurity certification training company Lantego.

DOUG LANDOLL, MBA ’01,

Threats from Within Everyday objects, from home appliances and thermostats to jet engines to oil fields, are embedded with computing devices that enable them to send and receive data and are part of the “internet of things.” Increasingly, these objects are going to be hacked, experts say. “In the rush to get tech into those products, they didn’t think about security until afterward,” says Dukes, who is now executive vice president of the nonprofit CIS, formerly known as the Center for Internet Security. Global spending on IoT security is expected to be $434 million this year, according to an analysis by Gartner, a leading global advising and research information firm. By 2020, Gartner predicts that 25 percent of all identified attacks will involve IoT, but only 10 percent of security spending will be earmarked for it. At the very least, companies should encrypt sensitive data and transmissions, including any kept on laptops, says Doug Landoll, MBA ’01, of Georgetown, Texas. Through his company Lantego, Landoll develops and leads training for cybersecurity certification exams and helps companies detect cyber vulnerabilities. Obtaining an independent assessment is perhaps the single-most important step on a company’s path to greater security, experts say. Organizations can then prioritize how they’ll spend the money, says Landoll, who previously worked for the FBI and CIA. “The standards, the controls, and the experts who know how to fix it are out there,”

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Landoll adds. “The problem is the organizations that recognize the threat and choose not to do something about it.” Another weakness is that security staffs at medium-sized and smaller companies typically focus on outside threats, without understanding how insiders may do harm. At the time Edward Snowden accessed classified documents and made them public in 2013, the NSA hadn’t paid much attention to insider threats, either. Snowden was a systems administrator, a position that generally holds “the highest level of credentials” for access, Rattanavong says. “We are at that stage now where we have to monitor system administrators.” He estimates that “probably less than a fourth” of all companies do that. As Zahn puts it, “You can build a moat around your castle and protect it from the bad guys getting in, but you also have to protect your castle from the guys inside who already have the keys to the kingdom.”

Educate Early and Often Even employees who have no desire to cause harm can get careless with those keys and open an attachment, unwittingly enabling undesired access. Organizations need to constantly educate their employees — and consumers need to educate themselves — on how to avoid attacks, says Sean McCleskey, a lawyer and former Secret Service agent. McCleskey is now director of organizational education and measurement at UT’s Center for Identity, which offers free educational

information to consumers, businesses, and law enforcement. McCleskey teaches a course on law and identity as part of a master’s program in identity management. He sees firsthand how freely people put out private information that could be compromised. “I don’t think students and younger people have really appreciated how valuable their data is,” he says. “I don’t know if they realize, having grown up with social media, how much they’re freely giving away. How many identity answers have you revealed online?” He jealously guards his Social Security number and never puts it in his medical records, he says. He advises computer users to check carefully before clicking to make sure a site’s address or unfamiliar email is legitimate. Landoll urges consumers to monitor their checking, bank, credit card, and online shopping accounts regularly and change their passwords frequently.

Protection through Regulation? Whinston says he has done research on potential solutions and has evidence indicating the benefits of having the federal government set up an agency to monitor outbound spam from companies, a sign they’ve been breached. Businesses would be required to report outbound spam, and the numbers would be publicly disclosed, giving consumers more information to help them decide where they


may — or may not — want to shop. Furthermore, Whinston wants cyber insurance to be far more common. Businesses wanting the coverage would have to meet standards, and insurers would thrive or die based on how well they guard data. In a similar vein, internet service providers would act like cyber insurance companies by protecting their customers from hacks. ISPs that don’t perform well would go out of business, Whinston says. Protecting data is one issue that attracts bipartisan support, but experts said they didn’t want to predict what the Trump administration will do about cybersecurity. In general, Trump has said that businesses should expect less business regulation, not more. Just as rules to strengthen consumers’ privacy were to take effect in March, the Federal Communications Commission blocked them. Congress then voted to repeal the regulations, which would have required internet service providers, such as Verizon, to take “reasonable” steps to protect consumer data from being breached. The companies also can sell or use the data without seeking consent. Supporters said the rules would have stifled innovation and been more restrictive on ISPs than on companies like Facebook.

Technology Solutions Companies, meanwhile, are not standing still. Many are looking to new technologies

for solutions. As a report last year by PwC says, more and more businesses are turning to the cloud to secure their data: “Many, in fact, are running data and workloads such as finance, operations, and customer service in the cloud. Even highly regulated businesses, including large financial services firms with very mature cybersecurity programs, are entrusting sensitive data to cloud providers.” Those off-premises cloud storage services can also be combined with other innovative technologies. For example, several cybersecurity companies are buying artificial intelligence tools to detect abnormalities so they can catch criminals before they hack, rather than reacting to a breach, says Bauman, the former executive at Cylance, one of the first companies to develop AI software as “a core tool for security” in 2012. The company’s technology can look at a billion files and “leverage machine learning to pull those files apart into component parts, like unraveling DNA into proteins,” Bauman says. “The company is trying to solve the problem of malware, to see if a file is malicious.” The U.S. Office of Personnel Management used Cylance after the agency’s staggering 2015 hack that compromised data on individuals inside and outside the government. Cylance located the corrupted file that caused the intrusion, which had begun in 2014. In

addition to AI, businesses and consumers might soon hear more about new efforts to authenticate identity and avoid fraud. Lee Aber, BBA ’01, is vice president of security and risk management at one such digital identity verification company, ID.me. Aber says he worked at several Austin companies and Texas data centers where he learned the nitty-gritty workings of network security before consulting with federal agencies in Washington. At ID.me in McLean, Virginia, members of the military and veterans can authenticate who they are online by going through a series of identity-proofing steps, just one time, to access benefits and other federal government services. Aber says he thinks “companies need to find a way to securely ensure that it’s really you” so consumers can control their privacy when they interact online. Other experts echoed that as ID.me prepares to launch in the private sector. “Your personal information is already public, and it's too easy for others to become you digitally,” Aber says. The security teams at GM are constantly evaluating new technologies, including AI, Molden says. At the same time, he says, businesses should be collaborating and “sharing intelligence with each other” Mary Ann Roser owns Roser Prose LLC and was an Austin American-Statesman reporter.

YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS ALREADY PUBLIC, AND IT’S TOO EASY FOR OTHERS TO BECOME YOU DIGITALLY. LEE ABER, BBA ’01,

vice president of security and risk management at the digital identity verification company ID.me

#McCOMBSMAG 29


One Year to Career

PRACTICAL ONE-YEAR MASTER’S DEGREES SERVE AS BUSINESS CAPSTONE FOR ANY UNDERGRADUATE MAJOR

By Judie K i n on e n


McCombs' MPA degree, ranked No. 1 among all business schools, has been so successful that McCombs created four more one-year master's programs — in business analytics, finance, marketing and technology commercialization.

ONE-YEAR GRADUATE DEGREES ARE HOT.

And while McCombs’ popular one-year Master’s in Public Accounting program is decades old, a new crop of one-year master’s programs is now flourishing at the school. Students with backgrounds as diverse as liberal arts, the natural sciences, and engineering enter a year of “intense experiences and training in business," says Dean Jay Hartzell. “Our burgeoning portfolio of master’s programs provides students who have little-to-no work experience access to top early-career positions in world-class companies,” says Hartzell. “Graduates of McCombs finance, marketing, business analytics, and technology commercialization one-year master's programs go on to Fortune 500 companies in technology, consulting, and financial services.” Students cite the speed and convenience of the programs as critical. The MS in technology commercialization even offers online and weekend classes, making it possible to work while earning the degree. Hartzell is encouraged by the success of these programs, and he says other such offerings are in the planning phase, including master's degrees in energy management and health care management. “This is the future of business education,” he says. >

#McCOMBSMAG 31


BEFORE ONE-YEAR MASTER'S:

INTENSE INTEGRATION MS IN BUSINESS ANALYTICS INTENSE. That's how Bejan Sadeghian, MSBA ’16, describes his 10 months in the Business Analytics master’s program. “But it was perfect — a short program that allowed me to completely shift into a different industry,” he says. As a process integration engineer with Samsung for three years, Sadeghian had taught himself a bit about big data analysis out of necessity on the job. Now he was ready to delve deeper.

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“This program gave me the best mixture of technical and business education,” says Sadhegian, who has a bachelor's in electrical engineering. Coming from a manufacturing environment, he says his business coursework often reminded him of situations at his old job. He cites several classes on statistical process control: moving averages and autoregressive models. “It was all stuff I wish I had known when I was working at Samsung.” In just under a year, Sadeghian built on his foundational understanding of simple analytics models like linear regression and decision trees, and he learned to build and apply more advanced techniques like support vector machines and convolution neural networks.

Bejan Sadeghian. MSBA ’16 Process Integration Engineer at Samsung AFTER: Senior Analytics Consultant at IBM

“The social media and text analytics classes were great at introducing more unstructured analytics that are of high value in the workplace,” he says. In fact, the big data technology and services market is exploding, with a recent International Data Corporation report forecasting it to increase at about six times the growth rate of the overall information technology market through 2018. After Sadeghian graduated, he landed a job with IBM as a senior analytics consultant, and he's working now as a data scientist on a health care analytics project. Sadeghian still refers to some of his course notes for tips on approaching client problems. “Everything we learned had a real world application,” he says.

P H OTO G R A P H B Y M AT T H E W M A H O N


NEXT LEVEL VALIDATION MS IN TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIALIZATION “I REMEMBER JUMPING UP AND DOWN IN MY CUBICLE, screaming inside,” says Varuni Hjaltason, BBA

Xavier DeTagle, MSM ’17 BEFORE ONE-YEAR MASTER’S:

Business Development Officer at Muxy AFTER: Consulting Analyst at Accenture

ECONOMIC CHOICE MS IN MARKETING

’87, MSTC ’14, laughing as she recalls the moment she opened her acceptance letter to McCombs’ MS in Technology Commercialization program. Hjaltason loved her job as product line manager with Dell, but she knew that an advanced degree would move her to a new level in her career. And, indeed, it has. “It awakened me again and has excited me for the next chapter of my life.” Because it bridges technology and business, the MSTC gave Hjaltason fresh insights into product management — a subject she thought she already understood well. “I knew how Dell managed the product life cycle, but I was very interested to see what the research said or what other companies did,” she says. Hjaltason was cured of what she calls “tunnel vision” as she studied factors outside her existing role. “I learned from more engineering-type folks to look differently at the entire process, from product concept through launch.” She also gained valuable skills in market validation, skills she put to work right away when looking at new products at Dell. Hjaltason says she even refers to her old class notes now in her new role as a commercial planning and strategy manager for the Center of Excellence at Dell. As a wife and mother of two, Hjaltason says the flexibility of the MSTC — courses are held every other weekend — made it work for her when a traditional MBA would have been overwhelming. “I think, ‘Hey, I should be thinking about retirement!’ But I can't see that. To me, I'm like a 25-year-old ready to go on my next big adventure. I've got a lot to prove.”

HELPING A FRIEND with his Austin startup sounded

great to Xavier DeTagle, MSM ’17 — until his priorities suddenly changed. DeTagle recalls, “My wife and I began talking about starting a family. I knew I needed stability.” In his hunt for a graduate degree that could help, DeTagle, who had majored in economics as an undergraduate, learned about McCombs' one-year MS in Marketing. “It's economics applied to marketing,” he says. In a world where it's easy to gather the finest minutiae about consumer purchasing habits, marketing has moved far beyond demographics. “It used to be, ‘We're going to target 18to 24-year-old males’” he says. “But through machine learning and other new methods, we're now able to segment the market based on actual behavior.” Courses are analytics heavy, “but this program does a really effective job of translating that ‘mathiness’ into business strategy while pushing us to view a product as more than just a thing. “The product is a solution to a problem," he says. McCombs’ marketing degree was the solution to DeTagle’s problem. With his first child born in February, he has already secured a position as a consulting analyst for Accenture upon graduation. “There's stability and room to grow. So yes, it’s pretty cool,” he says.

Varuni Hjaltason, BBA ’87, MTSC ’14 Product Line Manager at Dell AFTER: Commercial Planning and Strategy Manager, Dell Center of Excellence BEFORE ONE-YEAR MASTER'S:

#McCOMBSMAG 33


Russell Brockett, MSF ’13

Data Analyst at Source Consulting Senior Associate at Dimensional Fund Advisors

BEFORE ONE-YEAR MASTER'S: AFTER:

ANALYTICAL INTUITION MS IN FINANCE on equations and formulas, the MS in Finance program's greatest strength is in “giving you the skills to intuit what’s behind markets,” says Russell Brockett, MSF ’13. Brockett chuckles when recalling one professor's mantra that “There's always more than one cockroach in the kitchen” — a reminder that business problems are rarely caused by a single factor. Combining such nuggets of wisdom with business instinct has helped Brockett navigate the complexities of his job with Dimensional Fund Advisors — the eighth-largest mutual fund company in the U.S., which works only with institutions and financial advisors. In an office with multiple Nobel Prize winners, Brockett trains financial professionals in investment theory. He didn’t start his education in business. Instead, Brockett entered the McCombs program a year after earning a bachelor’s in psychology and government, but he doesn’t see the shift to finance as a divergence from his lifelong interest in human behavior. “There are a lot of parallels among finance, government, and psychology,” he says. “What you see in the market is all related to how people make decisions.” That's why he valued McCombs’ unique intersection of finance theory with practical quantitative experience. The program is strong on analytics skills like Excel modeling and portfolio attribution analyses, but he explains that “above all, it provides a good foundation in how to use analytical intuition.” He says the program was “the best of all worlds”: top-tier faculty, small class size (only 29 in his), and a fast-paced curriculum that allowed him to start working in his new field in one short year. And what he learned at McCombs not only helped him progress quickly within his organization, he says, “It also helped me land a job I love.” Judie Kinonen is a freelance writer based in League City, Texas.

WITH ALL ITS NECESSARY FOCUS

34 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

P H OTO G R A P H B Y M AT T H E W M A H O N


COMMUNITY

INTEL AND McCOMBS CURREN KRISHNAN, MPA ’99, CREATES JOB PIPELINE FOR McCOMBS FINANCE STUDENTS

BY ST EV E B R O OKS

F

OR CURREN KRISHNAN, MPA ’99, hands-on experience in corporate finance came young. His parents, immigrants from India, owned a chemistry lab in Los Angeles. His father wouldn’t let him near test tubes but did allow him to collect checks and make bank deposits. By the time he was 12, Krishnan was keeping the general ledger. Three decades later, he’s helping McCombs students get real-world experience themselves at the multinational corporation where he is chief of staff to the EVP of manufacturing and sales — Intel Corp.

The McCombs/Intel Corporate Finance Fellows Program, which Krishnan helped

design, assigns teams of students to semester-long research projects for Intel — with an inside track to employment for those who excel. This same kind of experiential learning is what first drew Krishnan to McCombs

as a high school student. He came for a five-week summer business program that included a day touring a Frito-Lay plant. It led him to the school’s Professional Program in Accounting and another chance to learn outside the classroom. >

#McCOMBSMAG #McCOMBSMAG35 6


C O M M U N I T Y: While getting a joint BBA and MPA in five years, he interned at one of the Big Four accounting firms. Besides honing his financial skills, the stint taught Krishnan that a big accounting firm was not where he wanted to work. “I wanted to be part of a team that was building something,” he says. He got his wish at Intel, which he joined as a new graduate in 1999, moving to the company’s Chandler, Arizona, campus, which remained his home base for seven years. Every year and a half, the finance team would rotate him to a different segment of the sprawling business: from chip factories to high-speed Wi-Fi and mobile device development locations. “Intel's global scale gave me a lot of opportunities early in my career to travel the world,” he says, “to client and vendor sites as well as other Intel campuses worldwide.” In 2006, he relocated to the company’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California. One of his favorite assignments was strategic capacity planning. “Our job was to look out five to 10 years, do demand projections for our processors, and figure out how many factories we needed to build,” Krishnan says. “Here I was, just four years out of school, and I had the chance to influence those kinds of decisions.” It was the kind of heady opportunity he wanted other McCombs students to know about. He traveled back to Austin every year to help recruit. Over time, though, he was finding Intel a harder and harder sell.

SELLING INTEL TO MILLENNIALS Millennials saw it as a dated technology firm. To them, the financial action was in consulting or investment banking. Krishnan met with McCombs officials about how to make semiconductors sexy. Then-finance chairman Jay Hartzell — now dean — suggested an existing McCombs model called Venture Fellows that sends students to intern at venture capital and private equity firms. Those internships often lead to jobs for many of them. A light bulb went off for Krishnan. “We didn’t pack up and go home,”

36 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

After his McCombs/Intel Corporate Finance fellowship, Ofir Fatal, MBA ’15, took a position as a pricing specialist at Intel's Hillsboro, Oregon, campus.

he says. “The real thing we needed to do was not to retreat but to double down.” Thus, in 2014, the Corporate Finance Fellows program was born. Intel pledged an annual contribution for three years. Part of the money provides scholarships for up to six students: four MBAs and two undergraduate juniors. Students apply in the fall, and those awarded fellowships spend the spring on an Intel project — a big-picture strategic issue like how to connect smart appliances to the cloud. They’re guided by both a faculty advisor and weekly call-ins with Krishnan and other finance officers at Intel. At the end of the semester, the fellows present their findings and

recommendations at one of Intel’s four major U.S. campuses — Chandler, Arizona; Hillsboro, Oregon; Fulsom, California; or Santa Clara, California — and then intern at one of those locations during the summer. In the program’s first three years, eight out of 13 fellows ended up taking jobs at Intel.

BEYOND NUMBER CRUNCHING After doing his fellowship project on the internet of things, Ofir Fatal, MBA ’15, became a pricing specialist for Intel’s custom foundry, which makes chips-to-order at the Hillsboro


C O R P O R AT E PA R T N E R S H I P campus. He helps potential customers understand Intel technology and negotiate deals. In another year or so, he’ll rotate, getting the chance to learn about a different segment of the company. “Here, you’re meant to be as broad as you are deep,” Fatal says. “Anyone can crunch numbers. I’m learning how to create actionable information and influence others, to understand what customers need and how to deliver it.” For Amy Wilson, MPA ’12 , MBA ’16, her Intel internship offered another benefit: meeting

“Anyone can crunch numbers. I'm learning how to create actionable information and influence others, to understand what customers need and how to deliver it.”

SPRING 2017

experience and the ability to interact with seout on several criteria, like the quality of recruits nior financial managers at a major U.S. compaand their promotion rates. Another strength ny. It helps Intel identify students they might is the existing web of relationships between not otherwise see, to get to know them and the institutions. Krishnan’s long-time menpotentially to recruit them. It’s a win-win.” tor and boss, Stacy Smith, BBA ’85, MBA ’88, Krishnan is delighted that Intel has renewed served nine years as Intel CFO and recently its pledge for another three years. To him, took on a broader leadership position as EVP it’s a reminder of Intel's manufacturof the promise ing operations and sales. that first brought Smith is also a longtime him to campus. member of McCombs’ “McCombs was Advisory Council. ahead of its time So far, McCombs has in bringing in been pleased with the industry and givpartnership. In 2014, it — CURREN KRISHNAN ing students real gave Intel its Blazing Sadpracticum expedles award for the comparience,” he says. “Looking back, I’ve been part ny with the most unique and innovative school of one of the companies that changes the involvement over the preceding year. world with its products. That I was able to get “Intel has been a great corporate partner,” that job so early in my career is a testament says Finance Department Chairman Bob to McCombs.” Parrino. “It provides students with hands-on

“McCombs was ahead of its time in bringing in industry and giving students real practicum experience.”

— OFIR FATAL

McCombs alums who were already there. Now that she’s a system affordability finance specialist at the Hillsboro campus, analyzing how to make PCs more cost-effective, she can go back to them for advice. “As I’ve transitioned to a place where I’ve never lived before, they’ve helped me with personal support and on-thejob training,” she says. Says Krishnan, “You have a network of Intel employees who are looking out for you. Our goal is to make sure every employee is successful. We’re taking a very long view on this.” Part of his long view is to make Corporate Finance Fellows the exclusive hiring pipeline between McCombs and Intel Finance. McCombs, he says, is one of just five business schools from which he focuses recruitment efforts.

McCOMBS GRADUATES STAND OUT It’s not just Longhorn pride. Compared to other colleges, Krishnan says, McCombs stands

After her McCombs/Intel Corporate Finance Fellowship, Amy Wilson, MPA ’12, MBA ’16, landed a job as a system affordability finance specialist at Intel's Hillsboro, Oregon, campus.

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C O M M U N I T Y: U P C LO S E

A TASTE OF HOME y

DOMINIK STEIN, MBA ’11

y

MICHAEL HEYNE, MBA ’11

and Michael Heyne (above left to right), owners of the fast-growing restaurant chain VERTS Mediterranean Grill, say they have the best hummus, they would know. Together, they tried more than 150 flavors and brands, from every grocery store chain in Texas. They were committed to providing their customers with a house-made hummus that could go head-to-head with the best. “We really bought every hummus in the marketplace and didn’t stop until ours was better,” says Heyne. “If you execute that in every element, then it’s just better food. This is the biggest focus for us.”

WHEN DOMINIK STEIN

38 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

The German transfer students were inspired by the Turkish street food they grew up eating and opened their first VERTS location, on the Guadalupe “Drag” in Austin, just two days after completing their MBAs at McCombs. The concept: healthy, authentic recipes created by Michelin chefs using all-natural ingredients like quinoa, rotisserie meats, fresh vegetables, and made-from-scratch sauces and spreads, like tzatziki and, of course, hummus. In just six years, the long-time friends have grown their business from two locations in Austin to more than 24 throughout Texas. In 2016, they opened locations in Boston and New York, and this year, Philadelphia. “Our mission is to become the culinary leader in fast-casual Mediterranean,” says Stein, who was recognized this year in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in food and drink. With a 700page business plan and a team of believers

behind them, the friends’ restaurants were an instant hit. They began with 25 investors and now have more than 300 funders and $45 million in investment capital. Their success has attracted executives from Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, and Chipotle to join the company — a sign of accomplishment for the young entrepreneurs. “We have an aggressive plan to open 20 more locations this year, 40 next year, and 250 in total by the end of 2020,” says Stein. They credit much of their success to their McCombs education. Heyne says that all the time spent in classes learning about small business, finance, marketing, products, and real estate was invaluable. “We are still in contact with different professors from UT today,” he says. “Having professors we can lean on and go back to and ask questions, we feel so supported.” —India Ogazi


SPRING 2017

ACCELERATING OIL AND GAS y

PROMOTING DETROIT y

ERIN PATTEN, BBA ’07

for the Detroit nonprofit Ponyride, Erin Patten leads promotional efforts for a wide-ranging band of creative small business owners — from cabinet makers and metalsmiths to dance teachers and hairdressers. It’s a dream job that she created for herself. It began during a fellowship at the Detroit office of the Kresge Foundation, a $3.6 billion private foundation that works to expand opportunities in U.S. cities through grant-making and social investing. “As a Kresge fellow, I went on a fact-finding exploration of the city,” says Patten. She discovered Ponyride and approached Kresge with a proposal for a marketing position, which they accepted and funded. Small business in Detroit, once on the verge of collapse, is now on the threshold of a renaissance, thanks in part to Ponyride. In an unusual business model, Ponyride provides space to more than 40 small businesses at minimal cost. The catch: Each business must have a social component and give back to the Detroit community. “I want to be a voice for socially conscious entrepreneurs who don’t have the time or bandwidth to market themselves because they’re so focused on getting that next product out the door,” Patten says. Patten holds bachelor’s degrees in marketing and Plan II Honors from UT, as well as an MBA and a master’s in public policy from Harvard. She is the chairwoman of the McCombs BBA Advisory Board and credits her education at the school for her growth and development, along with the entrepreneurial spirit that led to her self-envisioned role at Ponyride. —India Ogazi

AS DIRECTOR OF RETAIL AND MARKETING

KENNY WORRELL, BBA ’10

KENNY WORRELL WAS WORKING for an oil company when prices took a big hit in late 2014. While the company was in excellent financial health, he believed the downturn presented an attractive entrepreneurial opportunity. In 2016, he co-founded Accelerate Resources, with the help of New York investment firm Pine Brook Road Partners. The goal was to capitalize on market inefficiencies, using a technology-driven approach to pursue high-quality assets in the nation’s best shale plays. As co-founders in their early 30s, Worrell says he and his colleagues are committed to doing things differently than they’ve been done in the past. “It’s an old business that seems to be getting younger every day with new innovations and technologies,” he says. It’s that mindset that led to Worrell being named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in the energy sector for 2017, which he says was incredibly exciting and humbling. “My grandma doesn’t really know what it is that I do, but that didn’t stop her from sharing it on Facebook as fast as she could,” says Worrell. After graduating from McCombs in 2010, Worrell began his career as an investment banker at Barclays Capital in Houston, where he focused on public oil and gas company transactions and capital markets. He then joined Natural Gas Partners, a private equity firm in Dallas, where he helped to invest in and monitor dozens of oil and gas portfolio companies. In the process, he got to know the management team of one of those companies, RSP Permian. After helping to take it public, he was offered a position as the company’s No. 2 finance guy. While there, he executed $4 billion in capital markets transactions, acquisitions, and development capital before leaving to co-found Accelerate. He credits McCombs for preparing him with the real-life skills needed for success. “McCombs graduates come out better prepared than a lot of their undergraduate counterparts around the country,” he says. “The concepts you learn are the very same that you apply to making real-world business decisions.” Today, the Midland, Texas, native is happy riding the wave of Accelerate and seeing where it takes him. While the company’s growth has been faster than expected, he says the final chapter is far from written. “It will be fun to look back someday and reflect on what we were able to build, starting with nothing but an idea, unboxed laptops, and a couple hundred dollars’ worth of furniture.” — Kristen Hensley

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C O M M U N I T Y: U P C LO S E

HITTING A RIGHT NOTE y

GLOBAL VIEWS y

KELLY MERRYMAN, BBA ’98

FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, Kelly Merryman has been at the helm of a series of transformative new ventures in entertainment. From Sony Pictures to Netflix to YouTube, Merryman’s work has been at the forefront of the digital distribution revolution. As vice president of content partnerships for YouTube, her latest venture is the launch of YouTube TV, an inexpensive monthly TV package designed for the millenial generation. Merryman grew up in a household where she knew anything was possible if she worked hard and wanted it badly enough. The eldest daughter of an elementary school teacher and a petroleum engineer, she says her ambitious and optimistic outlook on life began with her parents. “A belief that I control my future has been a powerful force in my life,” she says. “Each day, each week, each season brings a new set of challenges and a new chance to reinvent.” At McCombs, she majored in finance and business honors. Her first job as an associate

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consultant with Bain & Company took her to Johannesburg, South Africa, where Merryman discovered a thirst for new cultures, a passion for quality and equal education, and a realization that history must be understood, discussed, and shared. After receiving her MBA from Harvard, she carried her passion to Sony Pictures and then to Netflix. While at Netflix, she led efforts to bring the innovative subscription streaming service to Canada, Latin America, and much of Europe. In 2015, Merryman joined Google-owned YouTube. She leads a team of 150 people working in more than 20 countries. While partnerships include major players such as the New York Times, the NFL, and the BBC, she’s also focused on supporting women in the Middle East who use YouTube as a platform to share their stories with the world. “We’re also helping publishers reimagine the distribution of news to global audiences in times of crisis and important events,” she says. “I feel so lucky to be at YouTube — a platform where everyone has a voice.” — India Ogazi

KEVIN YU, BBA ’00

NEARLY FOUR YEARS AGO, Kevin Yu, a violinist for the Las Colinas Symphony in Irving, Texas, was performing a major symphony lasting more than an hour and a half. When he came off stage, he was drenched in sweat, uncomfortable, and feeling stifled in his tuxedo. “I immediately thought, there’s got to be a better way,” he says. Yu was right, and his solution is a breakthrough approach to formal wear. His company, Coregami, creates comfortable, moisture-wicking tuxedo shirts for classical musicians. A major departure from the traditional, stiff tuxedo attire, which hasn’t been reconceived in a century, Yu’s ergonomically designed, stretchable shirts blend are made from athletic fabrics. His product has gained the attention of musicians and media worldwide. Yu, an MIS major who has worked in the hightech and energy industries, spent six months researching his formal-wear solution before getting his breakthrough at a meeting with a fabric supplier in Los Angeles. The supplier was so impressed with Yu’s idea that he gave him sample fabrics and a list of credible designers. Today, Yu’s shirts are worn by musicians in more than 50 top orchestras around the world. He plans to expand his line by adding comfortable bow ties, breathable vests, pants with elastic waists, and jackets with real pockets, in addition to a functional women’s line. “You don’t have to be uncomfortable in a suit or a tuxedo or a tie,” explains Yu. “I simply wanted to solve a personal problem.” — India Ogazi


SPRING 2017 In Memoriam

REMEMBERING PROFESSOR FRENKEL TER HOFSTEDE FRENKEL TER HOFSTEDE, an award-winning marketing professor at the McCombs School of Business, died Oct. 10 after a fall in his home. A member of the McCombs faculty for more than a decade, ter Hofstede is remembered for his significant contributions to both teaching and research, as well as the strong friendships he formed. “I know this news will be met with shock and disbelief by colleagues and students at McCombs, and is all the more poignant considering Frenkel’s young age and the tremendous promise that lay ahead for this already distinguished academician,” Jay Hartzell, dean of McCombs, said in an email to the school community in October. “He was very positive, full of life — he loved life, enjoyed great food, good wine,” says Finance Professor Ramesh Rao. “And he took his friendships with people very seriously.” Before coming to Texas, ter Hofstede studied in his native Netherlands, receiving an M.S. in econometrics from the University of Groningen in 1994 and a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Wageningen in 1999. He became a faculty member at McCombs in 2003 and was promoted to associate professor in 2005. As a professor, he cared deeply about students and was recognized for his teaching excellence. He received the business school’s CBA Foundation Advisory Council Award for Teaching Innovation and was named to the faculty honor roll four times. Additionally, ter Hofstede was an accomplished researcher in the areas of marketing models, research methodology, and international business, says Wayne Hoyer, chair of the school’s Marketing Department, point-

ing to ter Hofstede’s article with colleagues at the University of Muenster that was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Marketing. For his research contributions, ter Hofstede was awarded the CBA Foundation Research Excellence Award. He also received the William O’Dell Award for an article in the Journal of Marketing Research for the most significant long-term contribution to marketing theory, methodology, and/or practice. But those who knew ter Hofstede were equally impressed by how he applied his curiosity and thoughtfulness to connecting with others. “He had a great regard for people, that’s one thing that struck me,” says Rao. “He really valued people and relationships. He also had a deep philosophical undertone to his outwardly friendly and casual behavior. He searched for meaning in some of the things we take for granted, and he found meaning in some of the most obvious things. “That’s one message that keeps coming through: how seriously he took friendship,” Rao says. Hoyer echoes that sentiment. “Most

important, he was a tremendous colleague and friend who will be sorely missed by all those who knew him and were touched by him.” — Jeremy Simon

The Frenkel ter Hofstede Endowed Scholarship supports educational expenses for promising students at the McCombs School of Business. The criteria for this endowed scholarship is merit-based, with a preference given to those who have a strong desire for and demonstrated skill in quantitative methods, particularly when applied to marketing research. The number of students supported annually depends on how much money is raised, but the hope is to support an undergraduate upperclassman or a master’s degree student (or both) with this scholarship. If at least $50,000 is raised, the scholarship will be sustaining and ongoing. If you would like to make a memorial gift to the Frenkel ter Hofstede Endowed Scholarship, you may do so online: bit. ly/hofstedefund or by mail: McCombs Development Office, 1 University Station, B6500, Austin TX 78712.


C O M M U N I T Y: G AT H E R I N G S A REVIEW OF McCOMBS CELEBRATIONS, HONORS, AND ALUMNI EVENTS.

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McCOMBS MARKETING CONFERENCE OCTOBER 28, 2016 In a panel session titled “Lessons Learned Since My Time at McCombs,” Kate Garner, MBA ’03 (left); Sue Galvanek, MBA ’99 (right); Karen Plotkin, MBA ’98; and Tony Rogers, BBA ’90, MBA ’97, shared business success tips. Other alumni speakers included John Rood, MBA ’89; Marissa Tarleton, MBA ’02; Kurt Kane, MBA ’98, and Matthew Langie, MBA ’97.

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BHP ANNUAL COMPANY FIELD TRIP JANUARY 20-22, 2017 Surveen Singh, BBA ’12, (front right) gave BHP students a tour of Instagram’s San Francisco campus during their annual company field trip. The students also toured the offices of Google and Adobe and dined with local BHP alumni.

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WOMEN OF McCOMBS NIGHT OCTOBER 11, 2016

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McCOMBS MBA REUNION NOVEMBER 11, 2016

The Women of McCombs affinity group organized three exclusive dinners for alumnae aimed at creating networking opportunities for women business leaders. Holly McMullan, MBA ’04, (back row, fourth from left) hosted the New York City dinner; Kelly Steckelberg, MBA ’04, hosted the San Francisco dinner; and Catherine Crain, MBA ’93, hosted the Houston dinner.

The weekend’s events included lectures by faculty members, a tour of the Rowling Hall construction site, an alumni breakfast tailgate, and the Texas vs. West Virginia football game. Pictured: Steve Maselli, Ken Dion, and Kirk Nelson, all MBA ’96. 1

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HALL OF FAME OCTOBER 14, 2016 Four business leaders were inducted into the McCombs Hall of Fame: Sanford L. Gottesman, BBA ’73 (pictured); Joe E. Holt, BBA ’71; Wm. Eugene Powell, BBA ’68, MBA ’70; and Jeffrey L. Swope BBA ’72, MBA ’73. Dean Jay Hartzell also recognized two alumni as 2016 Rising Stars: Ashish Gupta, BBA ’00, and Mark Whatley, MBA ’04. The Hall of Fame was established in 1983 in recognition of the University's centennial celebration. The Hall of Fame award is the highest honor given by the McCombs School of Business. 5

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• M ARK YOUR CALENDAR WITH UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST TO THE McCOMBS COMMUNITY AT WWW.TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU/EVENTS

SPRING 2017

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ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING OCTOBER 14, 2016 Dean Hartzell presented Howard Berk, BBA ’87, with a McCombs Lifetime Leaders Award. Special recognition was also given to Shane Brisbin, BBA ’94, Laurie Ann and Jonathan Goldman, BBA ’87, and John Harkey Jr., BBA ’83, for establishing new endowments at McCombs. 7

BBA PARENTS COUNCIL MEETING SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 Judy Ann McCartney, executive level member of the McCombs Parents Council, spoke at the meeting held twice a year to give parents the opportunity to support BBA programs and initiatives. During the fall meeting, Dean Hartzell spoke about his vision for the school, and Arthur Allert, assistant dean for undergraduate programs, led a panel on admissions, scholarships, new programs, and student resources.

NEW YORK CITY ALUMNI CHAPTER EVENT OCTOBER 13, 2016 McCombs graduates connected in NYC. Pictured are Ash Kim, BBA ’15, and Justin Fong, MPA ’16. 9

CHICAGO ALUMNI CHAPTER EVENT OCTOBER 7, 2016 Chicago alumni and recent grads got the chance to meet at a “Welcome to Your Network” event. Texas MBA students, who were in the area for an MBA Veterans conference, also attended. Pictured: Jonathan Richard, MBA ’10 (left), and Rafael Guzman, MBA ’15 (right), catch up with Michelle Hardy, MBA employer and alumni engagement director. “Welcome to Your Network” events were also held last fall in Houston, Portland, Austin, Dallas, New York City, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

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SAN FRANCISCO ALUMNI CHAPTER EVENT SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 David Platt, associate dean of the BBA Program Office, joined McCombs alumni and friends at the Texas vs. California pre-game tailgate. Alumni pictured include Adam Petras, BBA ’15 (left), Ryan Morris, BBA ’15 (center back), Angela Morisette, BBA ’15 (third from right), and Sabine Wimmer, BBA/MPA ’00 (far right).

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C O M M U N I T Y: A L U M N I N O T E S Please send your updates to alumni@mccombs.utexas.edu for publication in the fall issue of McCombs magazine and online at McCombs Today. Feel free to share news on behalf of a fellow graduate.

1960s

1980s Joseph Williams, MBA ’80, Ph.D. ’87,

has been appointed as information and communication technology industry policy advisor and the director of economic development in Washington state. Williams was previously the dean of the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. Robert Glass, BBA ’81, was named to

John W. Bowers Jr., BBA ’66, was recog-

the list of “Leaders in Their Field” by Chambers USA. Glass practices law with GableGotwals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was honored for his work in corporate and commercial health care.

Will O’Hara, BBA ’68, who recently

Mike Sanders, BBA ’81, joined Venturi Wealth Management in Austin as director and senior advisor. Sanders has more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, and research in the financial services industry at Goldman Sachs, Ned Davis Research Group, and Potomac Research Group.

nized by State Farm Insurance for his 50th anniversary of service as an agent. He has received the company’s Bronze Tablet, Silver Scroll, and Golden Triangle awards. retired, has joined the advisory council of Ethics Unwrapped, a program based at McCombs designed to help teach students to make ethical decisions in life and business. O’Hara was a lecturer at UT and pledged $16 million to McCombs in 2008.

1970s David Abney, BBA ’71, was elected chair-

man of the UPS board. Abney began his career with UPS as a part-time package loader in college and became CEO in 2014.

Margaret Mooney, BBA ’71, has retired from Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago after 38 years in advertising. Mooney stepped down from her position as senior vice president and management director, and now resides in Santa Fe. She is the author of Redneck Opera, which won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award for Western Humor in 2016. Charles M. Holley, BBA ’79, was appointed to the board of directors of Amgen, a human therapeutics company. He will serve as a member of the audit committee and the corporate responsibility and compliance committee. Holley is the former executive vice president and CFO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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Myra Morris, BBA ’82, has accepted

the position of COO of the Ed Rachal Foundation. Additionally, Morris is counsel with Royston Rayzor, a full-service litigation firm, and is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Laura Kilcrease, MBA ’92, has taken a position as CEO of Alberta Innovates, a government-funded group of agencies dedicated to leading innovation in the Canadian province. Kilcrease is a 25-year veteran of the Austin technology scene. She developed and launched the Austin Technology Incubator and Capital Network and worked as entrepreneur-in-residence at McCombs.

Michelle Dains Hunter, BA ’85, MBA ’00,

plans to step down from her position as executive director of the State Bar of Texas in 2018. She had been executive director since 2008 and served nearly 20 years with the 100,000-member organization.

1990s Teresa de Onis, MBA ’91, has been hired

as senior director of marketing at UT Austin. She recently served as marketing director for big data, analytics, and storage at Dell, and earlier led marketing efforts at National Instruments and AMD.

Judy Szanto Kutin, BBA ’91, has joined

the faculty at the Pennington School, a private college preparatory school in Princeton, New Jersey. Kutin teaches mathematics in the middle school and the Cervone Center for Learning, which is dedicated to educating students with learning disabilities.

Chris Cowan, BBA ’93, has opened the law office Downs, McDonough & Cowan LLC in Durango and Telluride, Colorado. Cowan is also a lawyer at the Cowan Law Firm in Dallas.


SPRING 2017 Tom Welch, MBA ’93, re-

ceived an award for academic excellence from the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter program at the 2016 CPCU annual meeting.

Brett Hurt, BBA ’94, received

$32 million in funding for his company, data.world, a social network for data scientists. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Hurt spoke last fall at UT as part of Entrepreneurship Live!, a series of talks hosted by the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at McCombs.

Dan Laufer, MBA ’94, Ph.D. ’02, has completed a three-year

term as head of the School of Marketing and International Business at Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand. He remains at the school as an associate professor of marketing and is a global crisis management expert. Sean Murphy, BBA ’95, joined

Target Corp. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as vice president of product management where he is responsible for improving the retailer’s online experience. He relocated from Washington, D.C., where he was executive vice president of e-commerce at CustomInk.com.

Ben Ayers, Ph.D. ’96, was awarded the Ray M. Sommerfeld Outstanding Tax Educator Award. The award, presented by the American Taxation Association in cooperation with the Ernst & Young Foundation, recognizes outstanding contributions by a faculty member teaching taxation at a recognized academic institution.

Danielle DiMartino Booth, MBA ’96, has published a book,

Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America. It recalls her experience in central banking and on Wall Street, and presents forecasts based on her research.

Rhett Kiesler, MBA ’98, sold his brewery, Revolver Brewing, to a subsidiary of MillerCoors. Kiesler founded the Texas brewery with his father in 2012. Cindy Lo, BBA ’98, and her

company, Red Velvet Events, have acquired an Austin retail building and will convert it into creative office space for the event planning company’s new headquarters.

Rad Weaver, BBA ’98, was

named to a six-year term on the UT System Board of Regents by Gov. Greg Abbott, BBA ’81. Weaver is the CEO of McCombs Partners and chairman-elect of the San Antonio branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Mark Engels, MBA ’99, was

named chief revenue officer of Hyperwallet, a global payouts provider. He previously worked as executive vice president of business and channel development at SecureNet Payments.

2000s Amy George, MBA ’00, and

her startup, Earthly Labs, were selected to take part in Texas Venture Labs’ Startup Accelerator class of 2017. Earthly Labs, founded in 2016, is dedicated to addressing climate change through eco-friendly products.

Bri Bagwell, BBA ’09, competed on Country Music Television’s “Next Superstar” and finished in the top 10. She has recorded two albums and recently released a new single and video.

Will McDade, BBA ’00, was appointed president and general manager of Interstate Batteries’ PowerCare segment. McDade also serves as vice president and CFO of Interstate Batteries. Shawn Abboud, BBA ’02,

helped return Darrell K. Royal’s 2005 BCS National Championship ring to the Forty Acres. Abboud has decided to donate it back to UT after he won the ring in 2012 at a benefit auction for the Darrell K. Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease. It will be added to the Darrell K. Royal Collection in the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. Swapnil Agarwal, BBA ’03,

started a Houston-based real estate investment firm, Nitya Capital, as well as a management company, Karya Management. He has acquired 29 apart-

ment complexes and properties throughout Texas, collectively valued at $650 million. The companies provide residents who are immigrants with free legal consultations, meals for children, English courses, and other services. Mike Frandsen, Ph.D. ’03,

was selected as the president of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Frandsen’s appointment follows a 17-year career in higher education as both a professor and senior-level administrator at Albion College and Oberlin College. Manuel Ortiz, BBA ’03, has

been promoted to head of EB-5, sales, and investor relations at Civitas Capital Group. He is responsible for developing and managing global investor relations and overseeing the EB-5 capital division sales team.

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C O M M U N I T Y: A L U M N I N O T E S entering the market in 2014, the company has earned more than $100 million in sales. Adam Jacoby, BBA ’09, was featured on CultureMap Austin’s “Top Texans Under 30” list for expanding his parents’ farm and ranching operation by opening Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile in East Austin. The ranchto-table restaurant has received recognition from Zagat, Texas Monthly, and other media.

Ashley Walker, BBA ’03, recently founded Culture Engineers, a consulting firm based in London that works to develop organizational culture. Matt Chasen, MBA ’04, has stepped down as CEO of uShip, an online shipping logistics company he started 13 years ago. He will remain on uShip’s board and plans to be involved with early-stage startups. Mike Horn, MBA ’04, was hired as senior director of marketing and communications at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Horn previously served as director of marketing and digital strategy for the university communications department at UT Austin. Matt Lemme, MBA ’04, was named a portfolio manager at the Cushing Energy Income Fund. Lemme joined Cushing Asset Management in 2012 and earlier worked at Highland Capital Management. Joe Matula, BBA ’04, has joined Allen Har-

rison Co., a Houston-based privately held real estate investment and services firm. Matula is responsible for maintaining and expanding capital relationships as well as leading the firm’s finance and accounting division.

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David Young, MBA ’04, was appointed

Dale Shover, MBA ’06, has been hired as vice president, business operations/finance for the south region at Frontier Communications Corp. The Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company provides telecommunication services. Stephen R. Delago, P.E., MBA ’08, was

awarded the 2016 Austin Under 40 Award in the engineering, architectural, and design category. Delago also won the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards Executive Leadership Award in the small enterprise category and this year was recognized by Engineering News Record as a Top Young Professional. Delago is principal and owner of Texas Engineering Solutions LLC.

as the CFO of Nobilis Health, a health care development and management company. Young most recently served as senior vice president and division CFO of St. Jude Medical Inc.

George Musselman, BBA ’08, was

Cameron Lockley, BBA/MPA ’05, is managing partner at Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar in Austin, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Lockley previously worked at Catalan Food & Wine Bar in Houston.

Leon Chen, BBA ’09, received $11 million

David Kuhlken, MBA ’05, was featured on

texaswinelover.com as one of the top five winemakers in Texas. Kuhlken, co-founder and president of Pedernales Cellars, has been featured in Texas Monthly and other publications.

James Walsh, MBA ’05, and his start-

up, Cutting Edge Gamer, were selected to participate in Texas Venture Labs’ Startup Accelerator class of 2017. Cutting Edge Gamer provides graphics cards to online game players on a membership basis.

Philip Krim, BBA ’06, was named to

Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40.” The 32-year-old is CEO and co-founder of Casper, an online mattress company. Since

promoted to senior vice president and CFO of TransPecos Banks in San Antonio. Musselman has worked at TransPecos since 2009.

from a Dallas-based private equity firm to expand his cookie business, Tiff’s Treats. The Austin company operates in four Texas cities and has three locations in Atlanta. Chen started the company in 1999 while still in school, with his wife, Tiffany Taylor Chen, in their apartment.

Stephanie Hansen, BBA ’09, was featured on CultureMap Austin’s “Top Texans Under 30” for her company, Bravelets. Inspired by her mother’s battle against cancer, Hansen sells bracelets bearing a triangle symbol with the words “be brave.” Ten percent of each sale goes to charity, and Bravelets has raised more than $2.5 million for cancer support groups. Sean Kelley, MTSC ’09, co-founded Texas

Free Market Surgery, a medical service that openly shares prices online for outpatient surgeries as well as referring users to surgeons.


SPRING 2017

2010s

Dish Society, with locations in Houston and Katy, Texas.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca, MSTC ’10, has written an interactive

Michael Garel, MBA ’12,

children’s book, The Internet of Mysterious Things, about the internet of things. DeLuca is an inventor and software engineer who has been named one of the top 25 influential women by the Internet of Things Institute. She is also a TED speaker and was named to Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People” in 2015.

and his company, eyeQ, were selected to participate in Texas Venture Labs’ Startup Accelerator class of 2017. Amanda Hill, MBA ’12,

was named a principal at Three Box Strategic Relations. Hill has worked at the firm since 2013 when she joined as director of strategic development.

Ricky Johnson, BBA ’10,

was featured on CultureMap Austin’s “30 Under 30” as co-founder of PledgeCents, a company that allows teachers to raise money for their classroom needs. PledgeCents has raised nearly $600,000 for more than 300,000 students.

Joel Stewart, MBA ’13, was appointed to the board of directors at Inventure Foods. Stewart serves as a vice president of LKCM Headwater Investments, where he has worked since 2013.

John Vollbrecht, MBA ’10,

appointed portfolio manager of the Cushing Energy Income Fund. English joined Cushing Asset Management in 2014 and has worked in the energy industry since 2009.

started FlyingTee, a golf range and restaurant, with two partners in 2016. It received the New Business of the Year Award from the Jenks Chamber of Commerce in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Nick English, MBA ’14, was

Jerry Wilmink, MBA ’14, Nikishka Iyengar, BBA ’11,

spoke at the 2017 McCombs Business for Good Summit. Iyengar is the chief sustainability officer at Rubicon Global, as well as the founder and CEO of the Guild, a residential accelerator aimed at helping social entrepreneurs launch their ventures while living sustainably. Aaron Lyons, MBA ’11, was

named to the Houston Business Journal’s “40 under 40” in 2016. Lyons is the founder and CEO of the farm-to-table restaurant

was featured in the Rivard Report in recognition of his company, Wisewear, and its take on wearable devices. Rather than plastics, Wisewear offers wearables made of metal with the appearance of jewelry and with benefits such as built-in panic buttons. Charlie Biedenharn, MBA ’15, was featured in San Anto-

nio Magazine for his role in the founding of Bakery Lorraine. The story focused on Biedenharn’s overcoming family and life obstacles to find success in business.

Sam Acho, BBA ’10, was nominated by his team, the Chicago Bears, for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award honors a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his performance during games. Acho just finished his second season with the Bears and his sixth in the NFL.

Ethan Lee, MSTC ’16, was hired as finance and modeling chief at Texas Free Market Surgery upon completing his master’s degree. Lee left a job in Asia in 2014 to enroll in the technology commercialization program at McCombs. Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, MBA ’15, was appointed by Texas Gov.

Greg Abbott, BBA ’81, to serve

as deputy adjutant general for the Army. She previously served as director of construction and facilities management for the Texas Army National Guard. Sam Garcia, BBA ’16, released his second book, How a Goat Was Elected Mayor and the Political Spring That Followed. Garcia is studying at Harvard Law School.

#McCOMBSMAG 47


M c C O M B S : B OT T O M L I N E

NEVER TOO LATE

ELDON TARVER, BBA ’18, STARTED BUSINESS SCHOOL AT UT IN 1961. BUT LIFE INTERVENED AND HE NEVER FINISHED HIS BACHELOR'S DEGREE. NOW, AT AGE 75, HE’S BACK. As told to Jeremy Simon

Y

OU COULD CALL IT A BUCKET LIST ITEM. Throughout my

adult life, I regretted not finishing my degree. I always felt like if I went back to school, I wanted to return to UT. So, two years ago when my wife, Pauline, and I moved back to Austin to be close to our children, it became a real possibility. I learned about the Hazlewood Act, a state law that provides up to 150 hours of tuition exemption for veterans and their spouses and dependent children at public colleges and universities in Texas. That made it financially viable. When I got my acceptance letter, I took a picture and forwarded it to my children. All four wrote back basically saying “Atta boy!” I get a lot of support from family. But some of my friends kind of scratch their heads. The first time around, I wasn’t a good student. I spent too much time at Gregory Gym and the Student Union. I dropped out and went into the military for four years. Then I re-enrolled at UT and lasted nearly two years, but dropped out again. By that time, I was married with two children, trying to work two or three part-time jobs and go to school. It just didn’t work out very well. In 1966, I was on campus the day of the Tower shooting. I had finished classes and left campus without even knowing the shooting was going on. When I got to work, everybody was so glad to see I had arrived safely. One of my business school professors was shot and severely wounded but survived. It was personal in that regard. In 1968, I went into nursing home administration. I worked my way up to vice president of operations for a major health care company by the time I retired in 2008. I started back to school in fall 2016. All of my previous course work was accepted. Credit requirements have changed since I was last here, so I’m having to take some additional courses. I’m enjoying school. I’m adjusting to the way things are taught today as compared to 50 years ago — everything is very computerized. In my accounting course, I’m learning to navigate the software program for homework and study guides. It’s been challenging, but I’m learning it on the fly. I’m reasonably proficient with Excel, I’m a good typist, and I’ve been conscientious about my assignments, so I’ve done pretty well so far. I’ve tried to be a better student this time. I’m taking classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and studying all day pretty much every other day. Since I was last here, one big difference is how crowded everything is. During my last semester in the ’60s, there were probably about 15,000 students. I could park and walk from Littlefield Fountain to my classes. Now, I ride the bus for one hour each way because there's hardly any parking available and what's available is expensive. Also, there’s the

48 TODAY.McCOMBS.UTEXAS.EDU

student diversity: When I was here originally, there were few minorities. Now, it is much more multicultural, which is great. Then there’s the Co-op. That’s a madhouse. It was a lot simpler to get your books before. All of my professors have asked me about my story, because there aren’t any other gray-headed pupils. One of the questions I get in the library is “You’re a grad student?” When I say I’m an undergraduate, they’re always surprised. I’m blessed with good health and have reasonably good energy. I do have to re-read a little bit more than the average student — and it is a challenge to complete an exam in the two hours we’re given. After I get my degree, obviously I’m not in the market for a job. I’d been doing volunteer work and probably will look into doing that again. But right now I haven’t thought that far ahead. Most of my focus has been getting through this first year and learning how to be a student again. I’m just trying to get it done while I’m still alive.

Eldon Tarver returned to business school 50 years after leaving without completing his degree requirements. Now, he's set to graduate in 2018.


“D on’t be afraid to raise your hand because something makes you nervous. That probably means it’s something you should try.” Kerry Hall, BBA ’83 President, Texas Capital Bank, Austin

Invested in the Community KERRY HALL GRADUATED IN 1983 AND WENT STRAIGHT INTO BANKING. She moved from internal audit to lending to commercial middle market work. She made it through the banking collapse of the late 1980s. In 2002, Texas Capital Bank in Austin named her president, and she’s been a major voice for economic development in the city and the state ever since. As president, giving back to the community has been one of her strongest imperatives. She’s been deeply involved with Opportunity Austin, Texas One, the E3 Alliance, the American Heart Association, Caritas, Junior Achievement, and of course, McCombs, where she supports female business students through mentorship.

give.texasbba100.com


NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE

PAID

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN McCombs School of Business 1 University Station B6000 Austin, Texas 78712

BURLINGTON, VT 05401 PERMIT NO. 19

One Person Can Make a Difference JD MOORE REMEMBERS ONE person in particular who had a major impact on his undergraduate experience — Assistant Dean Arthur Allert. “It really matters to a kid who’s on his own for the first time, alone in a big school where everyone is so accomplished. Sometimes you feel like you might not be able to find your way, but then someone takes an interest in helping you succeed. For me that was such a stabilizing force.” To thank the McCombs mentor who was so supportive of him when he was a young finance major, Moore established the Arthur T. Allert Endowed Excellence Fund in Business, which supports the BBA Program Office, where Allert is still assistant dean.

JD Moore, BBA ’93 Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, Medtronic McCombs Endowed Excellence Fund Donor

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McCombs Magazine Spring 2017  
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