THE MAGAZINE OF THE McCOMBS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
s p r i n g 2 018
THE FUTURE IS HERE
y Robert B. Rowling Hall, the new home for graduate business education at Texas McCombs.
E R I K A S T E WA R T, M B A ’ 1 9 , prepares for a final presentation in a strategy course at Rowling Hall. “The daylight here makes a huge difference. I like looking out.”
y D E PA RT M E N T S
2. LETTER FROM THE DEAN 3. NEWS
Short Takes: Students launch record label, new degree offerings at McCombs, SEC on campus, and more. 8. Social Innovation: New McCombs initiative connects and supports social change efforts campus-wide. 10. Headlines: Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley uses his business degree to serve and protect.
12. Ideas at Work: New study says Enron-era law is working to flag potential fraud.
Partnership: USAA seeds new center at McCombs around new research and analytics. 42. Up Close: Consultant helps Kenyan startup take solar beyond the city, marketer brings Bollywood to Texas, and more. 45. Alumni Notes
SPRING 2018 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. CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Emily Reagan DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
David Wenger EDITORIAL MANAGER
Diwakar Gupta: Health care ops pioneer.
Molly Dannenmaier y F E AT U R E S ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Texas McCombs finds its rightful place with a game-changing new center for graduate education. BY J E R E M Y M . S I M O N OPENING NIGHT 20
Years in the making, Rowling Hall opened its doors to great fanfare in February.
Jeremy M. Simon ART DIRECTION/DESIGN
Tucker Creative Co. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Steve Brooks, David Canright, Bonny Chu, Kristen Hensley, Judie Kinonen, Forrest Milburn, Danielle Ransom CONTRIBUTING
T H E N A M E SA K E 2 2
Robert B. Rowling and his wife, Terry, led the way with their generous contribution. Here’s how the gift came about.
Jana Birchum, Lauren Gerson, Greg LaPalomento, Iris B. Lee, Jared Tennant, Jeff Wilson CONTRIBUTING
THE VISION 26
Five themes gave shape to the future of business education at McCombs.
Stephan Schmitz ONLINE
B U I L D I N G TO U R 3 2
Explore the classrooms, study labs, and community spaces that make the building such a hub of activity.
http://issuu.com/mccombs schoolofbusiness CHANGE OF ADDRESS
A GIVING GROUP 38
Honoring the people and companies whose contributions made it all possible.
P LU S ST U DY G R O U P S
Students have already put the principles built into Rowling to the test. We interrupt study time to see how it’s working for them. C O V E R P H OTO G R A P H B Y J A R E D T E N N A N T; A B O V E P H O T O G R A P H B Y J E F F W I L S O N
facebook.com/utmccombsschool twitter.com/utexasmccombs linkedin: http://bit.ly/UTexasMcCombs
McCOMBS: FROM THE DEAN
A Vista to the Future McCombs magazine features something other than a portrait of one of our exceptional alumni on the cover. I hope you agree that a groundbreaking occasion for the school merits the exception. We proudly present the Robert B. Rowling Hall commemorative issue. While Texas McCombs is ultimately about the power of people, knowledge, and enterprise, there is also energy created from the interaction of physical space, technologies, and communities. Rowling Hall was born from a vision far grander than just an expansion of capacity — although it provides that in spades. It is a high-performance environment designed to maximize human potential, just as elite sports technologies bring out the best in Olympic athletes. From the founding gift in 2013 and the long envisioning process, through the breathtaking scope of construction (including the deepest hole ever dug in Austin), we’ve watched several graduating classes pass through McCombs with only the sight of construction cranes to hint of what was to come. Now, the wait is over. O R T H E F I R ST T I M E ,
We held our first classes in the hall in midMarch after a celebratory grand opening a month earlier. Students, faculty, and staff immediately enjoyed the fruits of the careful planning process that identified five core themes for the graduate business center: Attracting Convening and inspiring bright minds and enterprising leaders to learn, debate, and engage with each other and the outside world. Overlapping Communities Creating opportunities to interact, facilitate, and continue conversations that move learning and business forward. Tinkering Making seamless the transition from classroom to hands-on learning with a multitude of technologies, labs, and programs. Innovating Breaking free from constraints imposed by the physical structures of classrooms and study areas, with more flexibility and adaptability of purpose. Showcasing Opening up learning and lab spaces so that a walk through the building becomes an immersion in the inner workings of the community within.
JAY HARTZELL Dean and Centennial Chair in Business Education Leadership
2 M c C O M B S .U T E X A S . E D U
P H OTO G R A P H BY D E N N I S B U R N E T T
P H OTO G R A P H BY I R I S B . L E E
The next time you are on campus, we invite you to explore Rowling Hall and see for yourself. As just one stop on a tour, I suggest you visit the fifth floor — there, visitors are treated to a panoramic view of the university campus and the dynamic growth of downtown Austin, from the best spot on campus with the ideal atmosphere for a school built to change tomorrow. I offer my sincere appreciation to all of you who gave so much to make this future vision a reality.
HITSVILLE, TEXAS STUDENT-LED RECORD LABEL GIVES A BOOST TO MUSICAL CAREERS
have its roots at McCombs. Student-run label UTalent Records was born last spring when Maria Tangarova, BBA ’20, recognized that many talented UT student musicians struggle to find their place — and eventual success — in the music industry. The goal is to help students produce their music, secure gigs, and market themselves. “I created UTalent Records as a way for artists to be exposed to the industry,” says Tangarova, the label founder and president. She and fellow students Youn Joo, Madison Mohns, and Sarah Teng, all BBA ’20, serve on the group’s executive board. After the group’s first meeting attracted around 75 people, a second round of live auditions gave musicians a chance to impress UTalent leadership with their performance skills. Selected musicians then began collaborating with the label’s marketing, finance, production, and songwriting committees, and student musicians can access an on-campus recording studio. Among the label’s artists is singer-songwriter and guitarist Christopher Tung, BBA ’19, (at left). “UTalent is helping me further my musical ambitions by giving me exposure to aspiring artists and professionals in the music industry while also providing the tools and collaborators necessary to create and produce original music,” Tung says. H E N E X T H I T S O N G M AY
Christopher Tung, BBA ’19, one of UTalent's first artists.
N E W S : S H O R T TA K E S McCOMBS, UT LAUDED FOR PRODUCING VC-BACKED ENTREPRENEURS
Thanks to the university’s new Tower Fellows Program, experienced professionals have a unique Forty Acres opportunity. Currently accepting applications for the fall semester, the ninemonth Tower Fellows Program will offer up to 30 fellows — each with two- to-three decades of professional experience — access to UT courses and facilities, as well as educational and networking o p p o r t u n i t i e s . “ T h e To w e r Fellows Program is the perfect opportunity for highly accomplished individuals from all walks of life to explore, discover, reflect, and prepare for whatever they decide comes next,” says Gaylen Paulson, associate dean and dire c to r of Texas E xe cu tive Education at McCombs.
4 M c C O M B S .U T E X A S . E D U
COACHING YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
Track & Field Athlete Gives Back
Fabian Jara Dohmann, MSF ’18, has a strong arm — and a big heart. The UT javelin thrower from Paraguay grew up in a single-parent household with two athletic older brothers. “No matter how hard I tried, they were always better than me, so I was never satisfied,” Dohmann says. That drive earned him a UT athletic scholarship and admission to McCombs, with a dream of becoming Paraguay’s secretary of sports or education. In April, he earned the Dorothy Smith Marbridge Foundation Community Service Award for motivational speaking to groups of kids in low-income Austin schools. “I was inspired by the right people and helped by so many people. I really value that,” says Dohmann, currently ranked No. 4 in the nation. Now, it’s his turn. “It’s my way to give back.”
In early April, 20 McCombs MBAs helped 90 students from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders who were completing a three-month long capstone project addressing real company challenges. The MBAs offered constructive feedback ahead of the high school seniors’ final pitch to local professionals and entrepreneurs. “We enjoyed the opportunity to engage with these students and were impressed by their caliber,” says Jacqueline Sigler, MBA ’19, who organized the event. “The teachers and students all said it was constructive and a great dry run. They loved Rowling Hall and enjoyed hearing about our different paths and suggestions for life ahead as they graduate high school.”
NEW DEGREES Look for the latest degrees at Texas McCombs: certificates in Health Informatics and Health IT for both executives and professionals (spring 2018); an MD/MBA dual degree program for third-year medical students (fall 2018); an entrepreneurship minor open to all UT students (fall 2018); a dual-degree honors program in business and computer science (fall 2019), and certificates in risk management. McCombs is also hosting students in a new cross-disciplinary program in design thinking (fall 2018).
P H I L I P M E N C H ACA
McCombs and UT produce among the largest number of entrepreneurs backed by venture capital in the nation, according to the latest PitchBook ranking. A leading private equity and venture capital research firm, PitchBook tracked founders of companies who received a first round of venture funding between 2006 and 2017. Among business schools yielding founders with MBA degrees, McCombs landed at No. 11 among U.S. schools and No. 14 worldwide. Broken down by gender, UT came in No. 12 globally for the greatest number of female founders and tied for No. 16 among MBA alumnae founders.
S P R I N G 201 8 SEC HEARS FROM TEXAS ENTREPRENEURS The Securities and Exchange Commission visited campus on November 30. The Herb Kelleher Center hosted the SEC’s Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation. The forum examined the challenges facing small business attempts to raise money and considered policy changes to reduce or eliminate those impediments. SEC attendees included Chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioners Michael Piwowar and Kara Stein, who heard from Texas-based small businesses. The capital was an obvious location. “Austin is known as the ‘rock star’ of small-business cities,” Clayton said in his opening remarks.
ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS A recent gift ensures Texas McCombs students gain firsthand exposure to the business of Hollywood. The Cain Foundation, whose chairman is Wofford Denius, BBA ’74, invested in the establishment of the Wofford Denius UTLA Center for Entertainment and Media Studies. The center’s facility increases the capacity of the UTLA Program to accept McCombs students as participants in the UT Semester in Los Angeles program. “Twenty-eight years ago I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dream to become a music attorney" Denius says. “I hope this program enables students to discover and pursue their passions and dreams by exposing them to the opportunities in the growing and evolving world of entertainment.”
BULLS, BEARS, AND LONGHORNS
McCombs is expanding its reach in the Big Apple. With more than 3,300 alums in the greater New York area, the recently rebranded New York for McCombs (previously Wall Street for McCombs) now offers networking and mentorship opportunities for New York City-based graduates and students working in industries beyond finance. “There’s also a lot of cross-pollination, meaning that if you’re in investment banking and you go to the meetings, you get to meet marketing and accounting folks,” says Xavier Sztejnberg, director of New York for McCombs.“Everybody is getting to mingle, both students as well as board members.”
Awarded Scholars Bettering the World Azja Stanton, BBA ’19, and Cheyenne Valdez, BBA ’20, earned IE Kuhn Awards for the fall 2017 semester. Stanton and Valdez were among 20 UT students who received $1,000 stipends from the university’s Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate Internship Program. The awards support academic pursuits and internships for first-generation as well as economically disadvantaged college students bound for grad school. Stanton is helping run free legal clinics for people seeking to expunge or seal their criminal records, while Valdez is studying the impact of gentrification on longtime East Austin residents. The awards will help pay for Stanton’s LSAT prep class and Valdez’s research project.
McCOMBS BY THE NUMBERS
Texas McCombs tied with Wharton for the most number of undergraduate business specialties ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.
Texas McCombs BBA rank in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report's undergraduate business program rankings.
Positions that the Texas McCombs BBA climbed in the same ranking since 2015.
of full-time MBA graduates who took a job in the technology sector in 2017.
Rank for best campus environment, an indication of how happy students are, according to a 2017 Princeton Review survey.
Rank for best MBA for nonprofits, a student assessment of how well the school is preparing them for a nonprofit career, according to a 2017 Princeton Review survey.
N E W S: B U S I N E S S F O R E C A S T
EXPERTS HIGHLIGHT ROBUST EXPECTATIONS FOR TEXAS ECONOMY ALUMNI, EXECUTIVES, AND THOUGHT LEADERS COME TOGETHER TO SHARE INSIGHTS ABOUT EMERGING ECONOMIC TRENDS by Judie Kinonen
6 M c C O M B S .U T E X A S . E D U
“We need labor,” Phillips said. “We need to rethink how we do immigration, but I think the answer is not less. I think it’s more.” INNOVATION DRIVES ENERGY
One of the tailwinds of this growing economy is optimism, driven in large part by higher oil prices, Yücel said, noting that business leaders responding to a Dallas Fed survey hope for oil prices between $61 and $65 per barrel. The U.S. has added four million barrels of oil per day into the market since 2008, making it a real force in the global market, with the majority of that surge coming from Texas.
STAGGERING UNDER THE WEIGHT OF DATA
At a time when 90 percent of the world's data has been created in the last two years, panelists noted that collecting, generating, and storing that data present unique challenges for a number of industries in the years ahead. Peter Zandan, global vice chairman for research and data insights at public relations consulting company Hill+Knowlton, said the world is not prepared for the societal issues raised by the proliferation of data. “Data knows us better than we know ourselves,” he said, adding that most Americans are “digital literate, but data illiterate.”
LEFT TO RIGHT, THIS PAGE: D. Keith Oden, president and co-founder of Camden Property Trust; Clay Williams, chairman, president, and CEO of National Oilwell Varco; Mine Yücel, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; and Jay Hartzell, Dean of the McCombs School of Business. OPPOSITE PAGE: Hartzell; Stephen McGaw, senior vice president of corporate strategy and development of AT&T; Mike Van de Ven, chief operating officer of Southwest Airlines; and Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
G R EG L A PA LO M E N TO
prices and record low unemployment, the Texas economy rebounded last year and has shifted into higher gear this year. That’s according to some of the state’s most prominent business leaders. Their optimistic outlook was echoed by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas at business forecast events organized by the McCombs School of Business in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio in January and February. The annual gatherings are popular sold-out forums attended by alumni and corporate leaders. Last year, Texas saw its lowest unemployment rates since 1970, and those numbers will continue to drop, with job growth of about three percent expected this year, according to economists Keith Phillips, Mine Yücel, and Robert Kaplan of the Dallas Fed. They were among the experts in business and economics who offered their generally sunny predictions drawn from past year trends and projections based on market analysis. Even Hurricane Harvey failed to dampen employment numbers in the state for long. Though the smaller coastal cities are still enduring significant workforce fallout, Houston had recovered its 23,000 lost jobs by November, mostly in construction, retail trade, and restaurants. As for the rest of the state, “Growth is pretty broad-based across all sectors,” Yücel said. “We’re certainly hearing a lot from businesses about the optimism with the tax plan, and that just added to growth that was already occurring,” Phillips said. But these record low unemployment rates, coupled with an aging workforce, mean that employers face a tight labor market — one that could be loosened through wise immigration policy, said Kaplan. ITH HIGH OIL
This robust growth is the direct result of advances in drilling technologies, said Clay Williams, chairman, president, and CEO of National Oilwell Varco. “On average, rigs today drill four times the footage that they did back in the 1980s,” he said, crediting the downturn of the ’80s and ’90s with the necessity of inventing better drilling methods. And he said the industry is ripe again for innovation: Increased use of robotics, machine learning, and predictive analytics will improve safety and efficiency in the oil field.
SPRING 2018 It is data that make job disruption a real problem, Zandan said. “It’s not the robot, but what the robot knows that’s taking the job away.” The already astounding amount of data being generated will multiply 13 times by 2025, said Stephen McGaw, senior vice president of corporate strategy and development of AT&T. He said that’s why AT&T invested $105 billion in infrastructure from 2012–2016, and that rate of investment will persist.
“The reality of it is, there are two groups of folks out there: You’re the targeter or you’re a target of opportunity,” Dickson said. “If you’re a bank or financial institution, you’re under incredible assault all the time.” SHAPING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Even traditional industries are innovating, driven by a desire to guide the customer experience, said D. Keith Oden, president and co-founder of real estate investment firm Camden Property
BEEFING UP CYBERSECURITY
“You have to do a lot of innovation around cybersecurity if you’re in our business,” said McGaw. In addition to developing tools to keep its own data safe, AT&T has rolled out software like Net Bond, which extends a private network into the public cloud, shielding it from internet security threats. The prevalence of such threats cannot be overestimated, said John Dickson, principal of Denim Group. “What’s happening is there’s now this incredible underground economy,” he said, noting how easy it has become in the last two years to buy the tools needed to steal information or disrupt technologies. “It’s the equivalent of going to Amazon or downloading it,” Dickson said, adding that imminent dangers from America’s political enemies include GPS and power grid disruption.
“The reality of it is, there are two groups of folks out there: You’re the targeter or you’re a target of opportunity. If you’re a bank or financial institution, you’re under incredible assault all the time.” John Dickson, Principal, Denim Group
Trust. In an industry-shifting move, Camden has rolled out the first revenue management software for the multifamily industry: “We have 160 community managers each charged with the task of deciding what’s the right market clearing price for this apartment at this moment,” Oden said. “Without technology to assist them with that and drive that decision, it can’t happen.” In another industry first, Camden has implemented a round-the-clock contact center for any resident or potential resident. These kinds of efforts to keep in touch with the customer base have never been more important, said Mike Van de Ven, chief operating officer of Southwest Airlines Co. “We’re really focused on information exchange and mobility of information,” he said. Southwest has invested in a listening center, a group charged with monitoring real time social media networks and the news. “We’ve got to marshal our resources as soon as these emerging issues start to develop,” Van de Ven said. “They go viral very quickly, and we want to be a part of messaging that story.” FOSTERING A CULTURE OF ORIGINALITY
The innovation required in today’s business climate can only spawn a corporate culture of shared ideas, said Adam Hamilton, president and CEO of Southwest Research Institute, an applied research and development organization. “We have different technical divisions, but we can get out of those divisions and talk to other scientists, engineers, mathematicians, statisticians, even business people and find out what’s going on in their world and be more aware of what needs to be done,” he said. Changes in geopolitics, from closer relations between China and Russia to a nuclear North Korea, will continue to shape how business operates. Closer to home, we should be watching the future of NAFTA, said David Judson, editor-in-chief of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform. “NAFTA, much discussed here in Texas, won’t disappear,” he said. “Negotiations will be protracted, but there’s too much at stake for it simply to be cancelled.” Watch the full video for all four events at http://bit.ly/2018DrivingInnovation. Judie Kinonen is a freelance writer based in League City, Texas.
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE SOCIAL INNOVATION INITIATIVE AIMS TO DEVELOP CHANGE LEADERS by David Canright
took a break from her academic career, she was hoping to parlay her expertise as a finance professor into a nonprofit consulting opportunity. Sure enough, a coffee meeting with a neighbor led to a seat on the board of Impact Austin. Her work at the donor-advised collective giving organization made her realize how much she had to learn about the nonprofit world and the Austin community. “I had no idea of the needs in my own backyard,” she says. The experience solidified her commitment to philanthropy, sustainability, and social change. She founded her own socialimpact consulting firm. She was recruited by the LBJ School of Public Affairs to teach a course in social impact investing. And now, after many years, Kothare has returned to McCombs as managing director of the school’s new Social Innovation Initiative. “I’m back at the school I left years ago in the best job I could ever imagine,” she says. Launched in spring 2017, the Social Innovation Initiative provides students, faculty, and the broader comHEN MEETA KOTHARE
munity with the opportunities and skill sets needed to promote social change. It reflects a generational shift in values and aspirations. “Today’s students are far more engaged in social impact activity than any previous generation,” says Laura Starks, professor of finance and co-executive director, with Associate Dean Steve Limberg, of the initiative. “We hope to harness their passions and the world-class resources at UT to develop leaders who can drive social and environmental change while creating economic value for their organizations.” Connecting social innovation programs campus-wide, the interdisciplinary initiative offers new courses, experiential learning, and career guidance. At the same time, the initiative facilitates applied research opportunities and works with existing social impact programs to enhance and strengthen their offerings. The initiative targets four key issue areas: social entrepreneurship; impact investing and environmental, social, and governance investing; public and social sector innovation; and corporate social innovation.
Meeta Kothare, managing director of the McCombs Social Innovation Initiative, gives students feedback during a social impact pitch session.
“A modern company has to focus on a triple bottom line,” Kothare says. “It has to create value through its social and environmental impact, and also be profitable. In addition to seeking traditional business skills, our recruiters increasingly look for our MBA students to have diverse skills to steer their organizations on issues such as water scarcity, human rights, diversity and inclusion, and climate risks. We have to equip our students with the skills they will need in 21st century corporations.” With a steering committee of 24 tenured faculty and eight non-tenured faculty teaching courses, “the goal is to become a center within the McCombs School, with participation by the LBJ School, the school of social work, and the medical school, among others,” says Kothare. “Many of our programs work in collaboration with student organizations and practitioners in the field — many of them McCombs graduates. The interdisciplinary nature of the initiative is key, because social innovations with the most impact often occur at the intersection of private, public, and social sectors,” Kothare says. Business has a critical role to play in advancing social concerns, she says. On climate change, for example, “a vast majority of companies are signing on to the U.N. Global Compact on Climate Change on their own. We are seeing companies taking over when government is walking out,” Kothare says. The Social Innovation Initiative takes its place in the UT community at a time of change and expansion at McCombs. At the new Rowling Hall, the initiative occupies a prominent place on the ground floor, with rooms for conferences, lectures, workshops, and the collaborative practicum projects at the heart of the program. A recent collaboration with UT’s Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab Fellowship Program assisted undergraduate students interested in launching social-impact startups. The program culminated in an event, cohosted by the initiative, featuring Dan Graham from BuildASign and Lee Walker of Dell and Livestrong. “The creation of the Social Innovation Initiative,” Kothare says, “is a crucial step in bringing UT’s overlapping communities together to collectively address the world’s most pressing problems.”
L AU R E N G E R S O N
N E W S: L E A D E R S H I P
WHO WE ARE. WHERE WE'RE GOING. â€œIt's been a decade since we've been privileged to provide a report to alumni to match the importance of this issue of McCombs magazine. I'm drawn to the description transformative. To fully understand the scope and pace of the changes ahead, I invite every member of our community to read my Dean's Report 2018. Please join us in advancing the world further, faster.â€? Jay Hartzell, Dean VIEW IT ONLINE AT: deansreport.mccombs.utexas.edu
N E W S: L E A D E R S H I P
HOMETOWN HERO AUSTIN INTERIM POLICE CHIEF BRIAN MANLEY, BBA ’92, PRAISED FOR POISE DURING THEY CITY'S PACKAGE BOMB CASE by Judie Kinonen
U R I N G W H AT H E R E C E N T LY C A L L E D
“absolutely the most difficult weeks of my career,” Austin Police Department Interim Chief Brian Manley, BBA ’92, led the high-profile investigation into a series of package bombs that shook the Austin community in March. Two people were killed and five injured over three weeks throughout the city. The case ended on March 21 after authorities tracked down the 23-year-old suspect, who killed himself by detonating a bomb in his car. In Austin and around the state and nation, relief for the end of a terrifying episode quickly turned to gratitude for Manley, who many people praised for calm, compassionate leadership that united the fear-gripped community. “I have not seen a better job than what we’ve seen from this police chief and the Austin police force,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, BBA ’81, at a press conference that evening.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler concurred: “His work with the community is masterful, and I consider it masterful because he cares.” An Austin native, Manley has served on the APD all of his 28-year career, rising to interim police chief in December 2016, when Art Acevedo left Austin to lead Houston’s police department. Manley holds a degree in finance from McCombs, which he finished just after beginning as a patrol officer for APD. He told Fox News that protecting others is his lifelong passion: “I went and got my business degree, but I knew this is what I wanted to do, and I’ve never looked back.” And yet, this high-profile case brought to bear an impressive set of management skills that have characterized Manley’s years on the force, said Adler. “The ability for him to be able to lead in a way that’s not about him or his ego, but getting the work done, was once again on display for all of us to see.”
Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley, BBA '92, addresses reporters during the serial package bomb case that shook the city in March.
Manley said his business education has greatly contributed to his success as chief. “I have to ensure that our agency has the proper resources — from equipment to personnel — and that major projects are completed on time,” he said. “I have to run the organization like a business and serve as the CEO.” For the package bomb case, that meant enlisting help from hundreds of federal agents and managing an intricate trail of citizen tips, receipts, surveillance video, and cell phone data—all in the midst of security preparations for South by Southwest. Manley dealt with criticism during the complex investigation. The first explosion on March 2, which killed a 39-year-old East Austin man, appeared to investigators as an isolated incident. But the inquiry shifted when another bomb March 12 claimed the life of a high school student, a promising musician who had been accepted to UT’s Butler School of Music. Some community members felt officials would have investigated the first crime more thoroughly had the victim been white, potentially heading off the next several attacks, which targeted people of color. Manley faced such questions at a town hall meeting a couple weeks into the case, addressing the concerns of 400 anxious critics. His assurance that the force was doing everything in its power to catch the killer helped ease racial tension and began to re-unify the Austin community, according to city council member Delia Garza, who is backing Manley for selection as permanent APD police chief. As of press time, it had just been announced that Manley was the sole candidate for the permanent police chief position, a testament to the strength, poise, and leadership Manley has demonstrated throughout his long and distinguished career.
ART BY JANA BIRCHUM
HEALTH CARE OPS PIONEER DIWAKAR GUPTA JOINS GROWING TEAM OF HEALTH CARE BUSINESS EXPERTS
ROFESSOR DIWAKAR GUPTA
joined the McCombs faculty in fall 2017, bringing decades of cutting-edge health care operations experience to the school. An engineer by training, Gupta first applied his expertise to health care in Canada during the early 1990s, when the province of Ontario needed to rein in costs. “At that point, there weren’t many people trying to think about optimizing operations. I thought this was a need and had a very important societal benefit,” he says. Gupta has served as a faculty member at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, McMaster University, and the University of Minnesota. Most recently, as a program director at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., he evaluated proposals and awarded funding to top operations management researchers. Since coming onboard at McCombs, he’s taught Health Care Operations Management to Ph.D. students and Health Care Analytics to MBAs, while also conducting research into such areas as optimizing staff and scheduling for operating rooms, and increasing organ supplies, specifically kidneys. “The medical school provides a ready laboratory for studying different operations problems and the effectiveness of different solutions,” he says. Gupta also looks forward to working with other schools and departments. “I want very much for McCombs to become a glue that holds together health care quantitative research — operations research, analytics, optimization, any of those types of topics — across the campus.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY LAUREN GERSON
R E S E A R C H : I D E A S AT WO R K
SARBANES-OXLEY IS A WARNING SYSTEM FOR FRAUD SOME ON WALL STREET ARGUE SARBANES-OXLEY IS COSTLY AND BURDENSOME, BUT A NEW STUDY FROM McCOMBS SAYS THE ENRON-ERA LAW IS WORKING TO FLAG POTENTIAL FRAUD. by Steve Brooks
hen Dain Donelson, now an associate professor at McCombs, worked at IBM, the finance department once needed to get a multi-million dollar check written in a hurry. Because the check was for such a large amount, it had to be signed by two different vice presidents. And because it was 7 p.m., that meant going to another department to find someone with the authority to provide a second signature. It was a cumbersome procedure, but necessary to prevent embezzlement or other kinds of financial fraud. “It was a fail-safe way to make sure money didn’t get taken out of the business,” recalls Donelson. The experience helped spark a lifelong interest in fraud and how accounting controls could help prevent it. In new research, Donelson and colleague John McInnis, both associate accounting professors at McCombs, look at audits of accounting controls, a controversial requirement of Sarbanes-Oxley, also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, which passed in 2002. The researchers’ findings show that the law, though unpopular on Wall Street, is doing its job: sounding early warning signals of potential Enron-like financial fraud. The provision in question, Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley, requires that auditors not only certify the numbers in a company’s financial statements, but also understand the processes and controls that produced those
numbers in the first place. Then the auditors have to certify that the firm’s internal accounting controls are adequate to prevent both accidental errors and intentional fraud. “Internal controls auditors have to ask what processes are in place for recognizing revenues, receivables, billings, and bad debts,” explains McInnis, himself a former auditor, “then force companies to document these controls and processes.” But financial firms have long complained that such extra auditing steps are too costly, and they’ve lobbied Congress to repeal the rule. In July 2017, the president of the New York Stock Exchange blamed the requirement for decreasing the volume of initial public offerings and halving the number of public companies over the past 15 years. Meanwhile, the law’s benefits were unproven, say the two professors. No research had ever documented that weak controls actually increased the risk of fraud, as supporters of Section 404 assumed, and no one had assessed whether the pricey audits actually flagged potential fraud. Now that the audits had been going on for more than a decade, it was time to find out. FROM ‘MATERIAL WEAKNESS’ TO FRAUD CHARGES
With Matthew Ege, assistant professor of accounting at Texas A&M, the researchers looked at auditors’ opinions of companies with more than $75 million in publicly
owned shares. From 2004 when the law took effect to 2007, they found that 11 percent of all opinions uncovered material weaknesses in a firm’s internal controls — weaknesses serious enough to lead to inaccurate financial reports. What the researchers wanted to know next was whether those weaknesses actually led to future charges of corporate fraud. The answer? Yes. McInnis, Donelson, and Ege examined every class-action lawsuit and fraud allegation between 2005 and 2010 and found that companies cited for weak internal controls were 90 percent more likely than the average firm to be accused of accounting fraud in the future. The lesson, says McInnis, is that stronger internal controls do in fact discourage managers from meddling with accounts. “Having robust higher-level controls may not prevent all financial statement fraud,” he says, “but maybe it makes it harder.” Does that mean Sarbanes-Oxley’s audit requirements are worth the expense? Maybe, maybe not, say both professors. Their study doesn’t weigh benefits against costs or suggest whether the law should be preserved or repealed. Their study does, however, show where the biggest risks actually are. It turns out that the bulk of the fraud they reviewed didn’t come from lower-level procedural oversights, like not requiring two check signers on a specific account. Instead, most fraud resulted from
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What’s behind the processes that produce a company’s numbers? New research from McCombs shows that companies cited for weak internal controls were 90 percent more likely than the average firm to be accused of accounting fraud in the future.
high-level bad practices, like not having an independent internal auditor who reports directly to a board of directors. Auditing standards have evolved in recent years to focus on these kinds of top-down risks, McInnis says, which has made auditing less expensive and perhaps more effective. He also notes that even though weak controls nearly double the rate of fraud, it’s still a rare event. Among firms with material weaknesses, only 3 percent were later accused of fraud.
I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y S T E P H A N S C H M I T Z
“It’s like medical studies that say that if you eat red meat, it doubles your risk of a certain type of cancer,” McInnis says. “Even though you double the rate, the overall risk is still low.” Fraud may be uncommon, but it can be incredibly costly when it does happen, says Donelson. He hopes that besides contributing to policy debates, his research can aid individual investors. “Getting out of Enron at the right time would have saved you tons of money,” he
says. “When a material weakness in internal controls is reported, that should be a red flag. It’s not just an increased risk of messing up accounting by accident. It increases the risk, though it’s a small risk, that the CEO is cooking the books.” “ I nt e r n a l C ont r ol We a k ne s s e s a nd Fi na ncia l Repor t i ng Fraud” wa s published in Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory. Steve Brooks contributes frequently to McCombs School of Business publications.
NEW GRADUATE BUILDING PUTS TEXAS McCOMBS IN ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE — CONNECTING THE
S P EC I A L EV E N TS ROOM
TEXAS EXECUTI VE EDUCATI ON M OON TOW E R CA FÉ
SCHOOL TO AUSTINâ€™S VIBRANT BUSINESS COMMUNITY by Jeremy M. Simon | photograph by Jeff Wilson
ACC E L E RATO R
M STC P RO G RAM O F F ICE
MBA P RO G RAM O F F ICE
FACULT Y LOUN G E
T ERRAC ES
AU D I TO R I U M
STUDIO CLASSRO O M
afternoon, Eric Hirst, senior associate dean at Texas McCombs, enters the soaring, light-filled atrium of Robert B. Rowling Hall. It is only the second week of classes held in the school’s brand-new home for graduate business education, and he is touring its floors with obvious delight at the way the building is coming to life. Hirst catches the eye of students as he walks up the open stairways and along the corridors as classes changed. “How’s it working out for you?!” he inquires again and again. ¶ Climbing the stairs to the second floor, where the MBA Program Office is visible behind a wide glass wall, Hirst glances back down to the ground floor. He spots Steve Limberg, associate dean for graduate programs, and waves to get his attention. They have a meeting scheduled that afternoon, and the two deans chat informally across the open expanse about a topic on their meeting agenda. A RECENT MARCH
The building’s openness is one of its most distinguishing features, and planners predicted it would foster interaction among the McCombs community. Following Hirst, who has kept a hard hat in his office for the past three years as the building’s project head, it is clear that the vision was becoming a reality. “We want communities to develop,” Hirst says. “We’re bringing together talented people who are diverse in their backgrounds, objectives, and experiences, because we believe that sharing new ideas can impact practice in meaningful ways. Every corner of the building has been created to promote conversation, camaraderie and idea-sharing.” Rowling Hall anchors the southwestern edge of campus at the corner of Guadalupe Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and faces an open courtyard that connects to the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Its handsome façade forms a prominent gateway to the campus, and projects McCombs out to the wider business community. The building’s architects “It connects our students, alums, faculty, and staff with Austin,” describe Rowling Hall as a geode: While a brick-and-limestone says Dean Jay Hartzell. “It serves as a magnet that brings people exterior faces the city, visitors inside.”Rowling Hall, home to the MBA and MS in Technology discover an inner perimeter that maximizes transparency. Commercialization programs, officially opened on February
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22 with a grand celebration for donors and friends of the school. (See page 22.) The building is a state-of-the-art center for business education, containing more than 200,000 square feet of academic space with adaptable classrooms, study and breakout rooms, MBA graduate program administration offices, career services, and research centers. It is home to the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, the real estate-focused John C. Goff Labs, and the Center for Leadership and Ethics. It doubles the space available for Texas Executive Education programs and houses additional facilities for convention and conference opportunities at the university. It is designed to foster gatherings and attract a broad public: Among its features are a café, community boardroom, business accelerator lab, and a 15,000-square-foot ballroom. Open-air terraces suitable for events and informal gatherings give sweeping views of the UT Tower and stadium and south toward the growing cityscape of downtown Austin. With the debut of Rowling Hall, the McCombs School is positioned to take business education far into the future. “We want to attract the best and brightest talent to the modern, dynamic, tech-savvy place that is Austin, Texas. And we needed a building that fits that,” explains Hartzell. “With today’s technology, we can teach differently. So the kinds of experiences our students have whether inside or outside the classroom are different.” Texas McCombs raised more than $58 million in gifts and pledges to help fund the building’s construction. Total project costs, which included funding commitments from the UT System Board of Regents, UT Austin, the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, and the McCombs School of Business, were approximately $186 million. Rowling Hall is named in honor of the $25 million gift from Dallas businessman Robert B. Rowling and his wife, Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, both BBA ’76, and their family. (See page 24.) “Advances in business are made when different communities come together and share ideas, and that’s what drove this building’s design,” says Hartzell. It is purposefully crafted as a space that would invite learning, debate, dialogue, and the freedom to experiment — both in terms of teaching and in forming the ideas that will shape our future.” | CONTINUED ON PAGE 24
Anchoring the campus corner at Guadalupe Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Rowling Hall rises five stories and contains more than 200,000 square feet of academic space.
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GRAND OPENING ON FEB. 22, 2018, ROWLING HALL OPENED ITS DOORS TO SUPPORTERS, ALUMNI, FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS FOR AN EVENING OF CELEBRATION AND RECOGNITION.
1. Robert B. and Terry Rowling take in the building that bears their name. 2. Tina Mabley, assistant dean and director of the Full-Time Texas MBA Program (2nd from right), enjoys the opening ceremonies with other staff, faculty, and students. 3. Alumni and donors absorb remarks from school leaders. 4. One of the Texas Cowboys provides a Texas-sized welcome to visitors. 5. Confetti showers Senior Associate Dean Eric Hirst, Dean Jay Hartzell, Robert B. Rowling, and UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. 6. Rowling and Red McCombs share a word. 7. Celebrating outside the Zlotnik Family Ballroom, Marcie Zlotnik, BBA ’83, and Bob Zlotnik, BBA ’75, MBA ’80 (center), flanked by their sons (left to right) Matt and Mitchell, and (to the right) Kevin and his wife, Lauren. 8. As night falls, fireworks over Rowling Hall end the festivities. 9. A video welcome greeted attendees on Rowling’s plaza.
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G R A N D O P E N I N G P H O T O G R A P H S B Y L A U R E N G E R S O N A N D J E R R Y H AY E S
STUDENTS AT WORK Name: Elie Atkeson, MBA ’19 Date/Time: April 12, 1:23 p.m. Room: David B. Middlebrooks Study Room, 3rd floor
Working On: Preparing arrangements for a summer studying abroad in Copenhagen. “From here you can see outside and catch sight of friends coming into the building.” S T U D E N T P H OTO G R A P H B Y J E F F W I L S O N
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REMARKABLE ROWLING CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18
Sparkling Like a Geode FACI N G T H E CIT Y, the building’s brick-and-lime-
stone façade, which links it to the other venerable buildings on campus, looks all business. But when visitors walk around to the main entrance through the courtyard, a surprise awaits. The architects conceived the building as a geode. Just as when you crack open what appears to be an otherwise normal–looking rock and discover a sparkling interior, visitors to Rowling find a glassy inner perimeter that maximizes transparency. From nearly anywhere in the building, the entire Texas McCombs community can make visual connections across the building and the campus. This interior is arranged around a central and public entry plaza that establishes the building as a destination, and creates a dramatic sense of arrival. It’s unlike other buildings on campus. “It’s glass, weird angles, and weird levels, which I think is exciting,” says marketing lecturer Stephen Walls, MBA ’96. “It’s almost like the façade of business on one side and the reality of business on the other.” When visitors step through the front door, they enter an atrium built to emphasize openness and connection. “There are lots of atriums in buildings, but in an educational environment it’s especially inspiring,” explains Todd Schliemann, lead architect and partner at Ennead Architects, the New York-based firm that designed Rowling Hall. “You walk in, you’re lifted up, and you know you’re going to learn something in this building.”
THE GIFT A FAMILY GIFT GIVES ROWLING HALL ITS NAME.
Gathering a Team and Inspiration a long-held need for the school. In 2009, the school’s then-Dean Tom Gilligan commissioned a strategic facilities master plan. That analysis revealed the existing McCombs building couldn’t be expanded or renovated to achieve the school’s goals of enhancing its national and global reputation. McCombs required a new graduate school building. In the fall of 2012, bidding from contractors began, and design firms were vetted. Hirst was part of a small group | CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 ROWLING HALL FILLS
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I N 2 0 1 2 , R O B E R T B . R O W L I N G , BBA ’76, was visited by then-Dean Tom Gilligan at Rowling’s Dallas office. The McCombs School had plans for a new graduate building and Gilligan invited Rowling and his family to be the main sponsor. Rowling has been a longtime supporter of the university and the school. The chief executive officer of TRT Holdings Inc. (which owns the luxury Omni Hotels & Resorts chain and Gold’s Gym International), he has served on the University of Texas System Board of Regents and is a past chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company. In 2005, he was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame. Rowling initially wasn’t taken with the idea of seeing his name on a building. “I pretty much dismissed it, quite honestly,” he says.
Robert B. and Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, both BBA ’76, pause to savor the moment during the building’s opening.
“We haven’t ever really believed in putting our names on anything.” Gilligan made his case for the future Rowling Hall. “He gave the reasons why it was important to him,” says Rowling. “He even said, ‘If we can’t use your name, we won’t take your money.’ It was pretty funny.” Rowling and his wife, Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, BBA ’76, discussed the proposal, finally agreeing to the gift that made the building possible. “Terry and I both went to Texas and we loved our experience there,” Rowling says. “Higher education is a great equalizer. Neither of us came from families that had many financial resources, and Texas gave both of us a great education. So it’s naturally a place for us to give back.” He is quick to credit the more than 70 high-level donors who were inspired to give back too. “It’s been a big
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effort by a lot of Texas alums to put this thing on the ground. It’s not just the Rowling family,” he says. School leaders expect the new building will help recruit outstanding faculty and students, including in-state residents who will be able to stay in Texas for a top-tier education. Says University of Texas at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves: “This magnificent building is a testament to the vision of Robert and Terry Rowling, and their belief in the power of a UT education, which propelled the project from the beginning.” Rowling expects that visitors will be “blown away” by a building unlike anything else on campus, pointing to its open architecture and collaboration spaces. “Everybody expected something good,” he says, “but it’s better than good.”
STUDENTS AT WORK Names: Elaine Thai and Yash Samant, both MPA ’18 Date/Time: April 12, 1:44 p.m. Room: Jon and Rebecca Brumley Accelerator, 5th floor Working On: The startup space was not yet occupied by student entrepreneurs, so they discovered it as a perfect spot to study for a CPA exam. “People don’t know this room is available yet,” Thai says.
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The second floor landing of Rowling Hall invites students, faculty, and visitors to gather for conversation and idea sharing.
REMARKABLE ROWLING CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22
of school leaders who spent a week traveling around the country to view buildings designed by the finalists. At the end of the search process, they selected partners Jacobs Engineering Group and Ennead Architects, an award-winning firm with considerable experience in large-scale educational buildings. Ennead’s completed projects include UT’s new engineering building, Stanford Law School’s William H. Neukom Building, and the University of Oregon’s Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.
THEMES THROUGH COLLABORATION BETWEEN UNIVERSITY EDUCATORS, ARCHITECTS, ALUMNI, STUDENTS, AND BUSINESS LEADERS, FIVE CORE THEMES WERE IDENTIFIED THAT WOULD SET THE PATTERN FOR HOW THE BUILDING WAS ENVISIONED.
Who Do We Want to Be?
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1. AT T R AC T I N G Rowling Hall is designed to convene and inspire bright minds and enterprising leaders drawn from within the university campus and beyond. The exterior plaza, ballroom, auditorium, classrooms, student lounge, study rooms, and laboratory spaces are carefully crafted to invite learning, debate, and dialogue.
Shell Oil Co. employees from around the world held working sessions in the new classrooms of Texas Executive Education.
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McCombs and UT system leaders began the visioning process to conceive what a new center for business education would need. “At the very beginning, it was really wide open,” recalls Limberg, the associate dean of graduate programs. What sorts of ideas bubbled up? Limberg’s mind turned to the Lone Star State’s history, defined by explorers, settlers, and wildcatters up through today’s tech innovators in Central Texas. Entrepreneurship, therefore, was central to the new building. In their meetings, the assembled group of faculty, staff, and students thought deeply about the school’s identity. “We asked ourselves: Who are we — and who do we want to be? And how is this space going to help us get there?” says Hirst. With direction from Ennead and Jacobs, participants were taken through exercises that considered the school’s strengths and its constituents. The architects then organized the team’s thoughts. “They took everything we said and crystalized it into the themes for a building,” says Tina Mabley, assistant dean and director of the Full-time Texas McCombs MBA program. Five guiding themes emerged: A place for overlapping communities (including students from all programs, faculty, staff, and visitors), a showcase for teaching and learning, a place where hands-on tinkering is used to solve problems, a hub of innovation, and a magnet that attracts visitors from across campus and beyond. The new building would need to excite visitors about the people they’d interact with and the ideas they’d encounter. Participating faculty, meanwhile, debated how classroom design would encourage difIN 2013,
Associate Professor Maytal Saar-Tsechanksy makes use of Rowling Hallâ€™s cutting-edge classrooms.
STUDENTS AT WORK Name: MBA students Date/Time: April 12, 2:11 P.M. Room: Carpenter Family MBA Student Leadership Center, 3rd floor
Working On: Students in the Net Impact chapter at Texas McCombs were making last-minute preparations for the 10th annual Social Innovation Summit. P H OTO G R A P H S BY J E F F W I L S O N
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ferent teaching approaches, from traditional “sage-on-a-stage” lectures to classes that emphasize student activity. The building also had to be flexible enough to evolve as education and teaching changes in the future. Walls was among the faculty tapped for their ideas. “Discussing and debating was helpful for us as a faculty, to get to hear all those inputs,” he says. Faculty voiced thoughts on what they wanted, what they’d been impressed with elsewhere, and what they were frustrated with currently. “There wasn’t one unifying view,” says Hirst, “so flexibility became a watchword for the building.” In the end, the new space would offer classrooms to suit both traditional and more cutting-edge teaching styles. Students brought ideas, too. MBA students commented that the existing MBA program office — with its reception desk and hallways full of doors — was intimidating. That led to a new design at Rowling’s MBA program office that mixes open spaces with private offices for career counseling and other more private discussions.
A Mighty Transformation gave their approval to the project, construction began. A significant portion of the building sits underground, housing both a ballroom and a 400-space parking garage. Crews spent more than half a year digging a hole 80 feet deep, the largest ever in Austin. Alongside the building’s construction, Whitis Avenue was converted into a plaza, with a tunnel running underneath connecting the new Rowling Hall ballroom to the AT&T Center. In total, 225,000 tons of debris was removed in 15,000 truckloads. The project required 3,800 trucks to pour the concrete structure. From 200 workers early in the construction process, the crews peaked in the last few months at more than 600 workers on site over 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rowling Hall is expected to earn a LEED silver certification for its environmental efficiency and cost-saving elements, and is pursuing a zero-waste target over the next 12 months. ONCE THE REGENTS
Teaching Redefined classrooms today, and you’ll find faculty testing and refining the latest approaches to teaching. Current pedagogy places an emphasis on team learning. The architects made the building’s design respond to that need. V I S I T R O W L I N G H A L L’ S
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Senior Associate Dean Eric Hirst
2 . OV E R L A P P I N G COMMUNITIES Every corner of the building, from the expansive entry hall to the Moontower Café, is intended to facilitate conversations, purposeful interactions, and idea sharing between students from across degree programs and disciplines, faculty members, program staff, alumni, recruiters, business executives, and others. These communities come together to network, share ideas, and move business forward.
3. T I N K E R I N G Hands-on learning is on display everywhere, from the entrepreneurial activities of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs to the cutting-edge programs of the Center for Leadership and Ethics. Students can grow their companies in the Jon and Rebecca Brumley Accelerator or partner on experiential consulting projects around the world, using the latest technologies and idea-sharing environments such as the John C. Goff Labs.
STUDENTS AT WORK Name: Edgar Varela, MBA ’18, and Helen McCann, MBA ’19, Date/Time: April 12, 3:40 p.m. Room: Breakout Room, 3rd floor
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Working On: McCann, paired with an Austin startup on self-driving drones through Texas Venture Labs, was meeting with Varela to draw on his expertise on autonomous vehicles. M c C O M B S . U T E X A S . E D U 29
Flat-level classrooms are furnished with tables and chairs that can easily be rearranged from an exam-style setup with individual desks to communal tables that accommodate groups of students for in-class exercises. Even the electrical outlets are movable, allowing devices to be plugged in anywhere. Other classrooms have double rows of seating at the same height, allowing one row of students to turn around and easily work with the students seated behind them. Meanwhile, Rowling Hall’s high ceilings mean classrooms can have both whiteboards and projection screens in use at the same time. Some professors are experimenting with a “flipped classroom” model where students watch online faculty lectures — pre-recorded in Rowling Hall’s video studio — as homework before coming to class for team projects. In the building’s second-floor showcase design studio, students can create prototypes. The studio is fully on display through a wall of glass and is outfitted with raised tables to encourage standing. Explains Walls, a lecturer in design thinking: “Everything was designed around the idea that students would be active, moving around, working in different teams, and then seeing what others are working on to be inspired by their work, too.” Outside the space is a walled critique nook where student teams can gather to share their ongoing work. As education continues to evolve in the decades ahead, Rowling Hall will adapt with it. “If 15 years from now, the way people are learning changes and we want to do something else entirely, the design can be adapted,” says Marketing Professor and incoming Marketing Department Chair Andy Gershoff.
On the Corner of Tomorrow Austin offers an experiential classroom to graduate students. “There’s a nice, symbiotic relationship between the city and the school, and this location puts us at that literal overlap between business and education,” says Mabley. “We’re at that corner.” More than anything, the building offers the McCombs community renewed capacity to do something fresh and world-changing, explains Hirst. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take programs to a whole new level and to redefine what graduate education is going to be in the future.” B E YO N D R O W L I N G ’ S D O O R S ,
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4. I N N OVAT I N G Classrooms, conference spaces, and technology systems are designed for ultimate flexibility to match the teaching and learning approaches of modern higher education. Rowling Hall provides multiple tools for creating and communicating vital information, including an advanced studio for video and sound production and video networking capabilities. Individual spaces have been designed to allow the freedom to experiment with pedagogy and thought leadership long into the future.
5. S H OWC A S I N G Transparency is intentional throughout the building. Daylight and spectacular city perspectives are visible in the outdoor terraces, classrooms, and collaboration areas. Inside, the activities of learning centers, laboratories, and experiential learning programs are on display on every floor of the building. The inner workings of student projects, research activities, and career programs are a showcase that inspires participation and exploration.
Todd Schliemann, design partner at Ennead Architects
STUDENTS AT WORK Name: Hattie Brazetton and Emilio Popo, both MBA â€™19 Date/Time: April 12, 4:02 P.M. Room: Breakout Room, 3rd floor Working On: She had just finished a test and was writing a negotiation paper; he was reading a strategic case for a strategic management class. P H OTO G R A P H S BY J E F F W I L S O N
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S PA C E S TAKE A TOUR OF THE BUILDING’S CLASSROOMS, LABS, AND NUMEROUS GATHERING SPOTS.
1. B A L L RO O M The below-ground Zlotnik Family Ballroom leverages the convening power of the university on a grand scale with technology, hosting services, and parking to accommodate the most noteworthy of events. The ballroom pre-function area is home to “Amistad América,” a stunning, 4,000-square-foot mural by New York-based artist José Parlá.
2 . AU D I T O R I U M The multi-functional auditorium is designed for sharing expertise and perspectives across disciplines and communities, including students, faculty, alumni, business leaders, and event sponsors. 3. M O O N T OW E R C A F É This gathering spot offers a casual yet lively environment for caffeinating before class, sharing ideas over lunch, or brainstorming the next big thing over beer and snacks. BUSINESS LABS Labs showcase hands-on learning activities where students, faculty, business partners, and alumni can see and participate in the enterprise of learning.
4. S T U D E N T L O U N G E The lounge fosters casual and comfortable gatherings for reflection, idea sharing, and planning both before and after classes.
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4 3 One of many study nooks at Rowling Hall
S PA C E S 3
1. S T U D I O C L A S S RO O M More than just a classroom, the studio draws out the most creative instincts of an entrepreneurial student population of tinkerers and innovators, with space to create, store, and showcase ideas. 2 . C L A S S RO O M S Varied and distinctive classrooms encourage the knowledge sharing, interaction, and innovation that transforms minds and generates solutions to vexing problems and challenges. 3. T E R R AC E S Outdoor terraces offer a breath of fresh air and inspiring views, while extending the capacity of the nearby rooms. FAC U LT Y L O U N G E This gathering spot located adjacent to meeting rooms allows faculty and students to engage in discussions and experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom. SPECIAL E V E N T S RO O M This fifth-floor multipurpose space enables interactions between faculty, students, alumni, industry experts, researchers, and policymakers that enhance professional growth and understanding.
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The openness of Rowling Hall offers views into a hive of activity.
A GIVING GROUP CALL THEM FRIENDS OF ROWLING HALL: THE PEOPLE AND COMPANIES WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE.
with the educational ambitions of Rowling Hall would not have been possible without the generosity of many alumni and friends of Texas McCombs. Nearly 70 individual and corporate donors offered financial support of $25,000 and up to spaces throughout Rowling Hall — from individual study rooms to innovative learning spaces to the massive underground ballroom. (List as of April 20, 2018.) A 2 1 S T- C E N T U R Y B U I L D I N G
INDIVIDUAL DONORS Kamela and Kenneth Aboussie George R. Ackert Susie and John L. Adams Laurie and Randy Allen Clay, Linda and Les Allison Susanne and Bill Bancroft Peter Bartholow The Wendy and Howard Berk Family Teresa and Gary Binning Jim and Holly Bohart Shane Brisbin Rebecca and Jon Brumley Laura and David Busker The Cele and John Carpenter Family The Cooper Family Stuart Cruikshank
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Sylvie and Gary Crum Jan and Tom Daulton Berkeley and Jason Downie Barbara and Alan Dreeben Shannon and Tom Fallon Elizabeth and Jeff Fronterhouse Kimberly and Michael Glazer Cami and John C. Goff Carol and Ronald Goldman Annie and Bob Graham Mary Jo and Bryan Grundhoefer The Hegi Family Shannon and Charles Holley Toni and Charles Horn Gayle and Woody L. Hunt William J. Ihlanfeldt Susan T. and Kenneth M. Jastrow II Luther King Capital Management
The Zlotnik Family Ballroom greatly expands the school’s capacity to host large events.
Ashley and Lance Loeffler Ashley and Scott Mattei The McCaffery Family John McStay Jane and David Middlebrooks West Miller Family Kelli and Chris Mize Iris and Ardon Moore Denise and Ray Nixon Beverly H. and William P. O'Hara Pam and Brad Porter W. Matt Ralls Beverly and Jack Randall Jacqueline and Benjamin Rodriguez Sandra and Stanley Rosenberg Terry H. and Robert B. Rowling 7th Generation Foundation Anne and Brien Smith
Ashley and G. Stacy Smith Barbara and John T. Stuart III Catherine and Sam L. Susser Courtney and Doug Swanson Sara Martinez Tucker and Greg A. Tucker Vickie and Ken Walker Ashley and Rad Weaver Susan and Steve West Vicki and Mark Whatley Marcie and Robert Zlotnik CORPORATE DONORS Chevron Cisco Deloitte Phillips 66 Wells Fargo
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RESEARCH MEETS THE REAL WORLD COLLABORATION WITH USAA SERVES AS CATALYST FOR THE CREATION OF A NEW McCOMBS CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND ANALYTICS
BY JUDIE KINONEN Harvey made landfall last August, affecting 13 million people in five states from Texas to Kentucky, the insurance industry faced an epic challenge: How to provide the swift service clients needed when so many claims required immediate attention? With roads impassable, properties inaccessible, and mass numbers of families displaced, insurance companies needed a new-era solution. This is just the kind of real-world challenge that McCombs’ new Center for Research and Analytics was created to help tackle, says Kumar Muthuraman, the center’s faculty director and a professor in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management. Muthuraman helped launch the center last June, in collaboration with USAA, the San Antonio-based Fortune 500 financial services company that serves U.S. military members and their families. > HEN HURRICANE
Igor Frowlow, lead modeling analyst with USAA and executive-in-residence for the new McCombs Center for Research and Analytics. THIS PAGE:
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C O M M U N I T Y: C O R P O R AT E PA R T N E R S H I P COLL ABORATION L AUNCHPAD USAA is blazing a trail for other industry collaborators to join the center at a range of membership levels, says Susan Broniarczyk, McCombs associate dean for research. “The center is actively seeking partners from a wide variety of industries,” she says. “Our goal is to build a dynamic dialogue between these businesses that are dealing with real-world problems and the researchers who can help them find solutions.” Says Muthuraman, “Members of the center can share trend data and relevant industry problems with us. Then we can take what they’ve shared to the faculty who understand these pressing questions, conduct the necessary research, and come back to our member companies with answers.” With hopes for cultivating such research as well as enhancing the recruiting pipeline, USAA opened the conversation about a center with McCombs in fall 2016, says Igor Frolow, a lead modeling analyst with USAA who now serves as executive-in-residence for the new McCombs Center for Research and Analytics. The collaboration deepens McCombs’ longstanding relationship with USAA, which for several years has sponsored McCombs capstone projects, fellowships, hackathons, and individual collaborative projects. “Our leadership determined that it would make a great deal of sense if we could integrate some of our research and analytics activities,” Frolow says. UNLE ASHING ANALY TICS
“USAA is committed to leveraging data and analytics to create relevant, exceptional experiences for our members,” said Eric Smith, USAA’s chief data and analytics officer. “This collaboration marks an opportunity to work alongside researchers to discover breakthrough ways to apply data and analytics across a broad spectrum of needs.” Wendy Elder, director of corporate relations for McCombs, says the idea for the center met a real need. “We had industry people wanting to collaborate with us on research and no structure for doing that,” she says. Also fortuitous is the fact that Dean Jay Hartzell has deemed analyt-
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SPRING 2018 ical research as one of McCombs’ top priorities, based in part on the wild success of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program. “Our faculty is one of the most prolific in the country in terms of research,” says Hartzell. “It makes sense to provide them with the domain expertise, data, and financial resources that will help them become even more productive.” ADVANCING BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE Broniarczyk says McCombs faculty are renowned for being thought leaders who conceptualize new approaches to business problems. “This new kind of industry collaboration,” she explains, “allows our faculty access to data and cutting-edge business problems to test and refine their theories and methods in a way that results in important advances in business knowledge and real-world solutions.” Frolow says USAA was excited about having such a highly regarded research institution in such close proximity to the company’s San Antonio headquarters. “We wanted a place that we could both tap into in terms of finding out what research was being done and how it could be used to address some of the issues that impact our members.” Having Frolow on campus is a boon to UT, and the executive-in-residence designation — which provides office space for a company representative — is one of the most exciting benefits of a company’s advanced membership at the center, Muthuraman says. Other benefits include an invitation to an annual analytics summit and a subscription to a quarterly research newsletter.
To continue this flow between the university and the business world, the center hosted its inaugural research symposium in November. But this was no ordinary conference. Explains Muthuraman: “The classic issue with industry research is that just because I met you at a conference doesn’t mean the problem that you want solved happens to be the problem I want to solve. It’s very, very hard to make these matches between academia and industry.” So, to streamline the process, Frolow met with USAA leadership to create a list of initiatives to tackle. Muthuraman took that list and began “shopping all around UT”— within and outside McCombs — to find faculty members whose research interests aligned with those needs. The result: 54 faculty members, stuSusan Broniarczyk, McCombs associate dents, and USAA staff met for a sympodean for research sium uniquely targeted to its audience, and discussions began within a matter of hours. Muthuraman says the center will likely host a full-day conference or two half-day conferences per year going forward, customized to the interests of companies who, like USAA, choose to join the center at an advanced level. “Somebody called it speed-dating,” Muthuraman says, laughing. USAA collaborations under consideration run the gamut, from anticipating life-changing events to digital communications to optimizing call centers. Perhaps the most important one, says Frolow, is the work USAA does in planning for storms and their aftermath. Specifically, USAA is striving to meet the needs of its members by improving upon a process in place during Hurricane Harvey. In the immediate aftermath, the company deployed a Cessna aircraft and a fleet of drones to take aerial photographs of damaged regions. The images assisted USAA adjusters with evaluation of the members’ damage and, as soon as assessments were complete, to distribute funds, “sometimes even before our members had submitted their claims or were allowed to return to their home due to evacuations,” Frolow says.
“Our goal is to build a dynamic dialogue between these businesses that are dealing with real-world problems and the researchers who can help them find solutions.”
AUTOMATED IMAGE RECOGNITION ACADEMIA-BUSINESS CONDUIT “If I’m interested in a certain kind of research, I can walk to Igor’s office and ask if anybody at USAA would be interested in talking to me,” says Muthuraman. “He then acts as the conduit. Similarly, anyone at USAA with an interesting problem can reach out to their colleague at UT, Igor, to help find a researcher who can help them.” CREDIT TK
Kumar Muthuraman, faculty director of the new McCombs Center for Research and Analytics and professor of Information, Risk, and Operations Management. LEFT:
The challenge, says Frolow, has been that manually assessing those photographs — with staff members poring over thousands of pictures — can be time-intensive. USAA has been developing automated image recognition to help those impacted by natural disasters. Vice President for Insurance Claims Innovation Ramon Lopez has initiated discussions with UT experts to help further advance automated image recognition technology. “With advances in image vision, image processing, and world-class academic research in this field, it may be possible to reduce the time from weeks to perhaps down to a few minutes,” Frolow says. “We believe you could take a photograph and have the image analysis program immediately summarize the consequence of the hurricane and even automate estimation of the financial damage.” Frolow says USAA’s research interests boil down to a desire to provide exemplary member service. “That’s the ultimate goal, and we believe the Center for Research and Analytics is an absolutely perfect environment for making such goals a reality.”
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CONNECTING AFRICA exactly where he would end up working after college, but he knew it had to involve returning to Africa. Nine years later, that’s exactly where he is. “I had a 10-year horizon for planning to go back home to Africa,” Kidenda says. “Part of it was a realization that anything I’m really interested in applies directly to the development challenges that countries in Africa encounter.” Kidenda served for nearly three years as a senior consultant in the Nairobi, Kenya, office for Dalberg Advisors, a global strategy consulting firm that focuses on international development. He recently accepted a new job as a senior fellow at PowerGen, a Kenyan startup that builds solar-based electrical grids in rural parts of the country and neighboring Tanzania. Born and raised in Kenya, Kidenda is the first of six siblings in a closeknit family. He initially came to UT to pursue a degree at the Cockrell School of Engineering, but two years later he transferred to the business school. While at McCombs, he became the first scholarship recipient of J O H N K I D E N DA D I D N ’ T K N O W
the African Leadership Bridge, a network that helps students from Africa attend UT. After receiving his BBA at McCombs, Kidenda completed a master’s in public administration in international development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Kidenda says his time in the United States helped forge strong bonds that he still cherishes to this day. “There are a lot of friendships that have stayed,” he says. “And the strong UT alumni community that I meet in far-flung corners of the world continues to remind me that what starts here really does change the world.” For anyone similarly unsure of what their future holds, Kidenda has one piece of advice: Go with the flow. “The world is likely to take you in unexpected directions. Whenever this happens, try to take it as a sign of providence and roll with the punches,” Kidenda says. “Keep the faith and stay close to your community, and things will probably work out all right.” — Forrest Milburn
L AU R E N G E R S O N
y JOHN KIDENDA, BBA ’09, SENIOR FELLOW, POWERGEN
BOLLYWOOD MEETS TEXAS y KOVID GUPTA, BBA ’10, SCREENWRITER, FILMMAKER since he graduated from UT, Kovid Gupta has rocketed through India’s entertainment stratosphere, and at age 30, is on the verge of launching a Texas-based, Bollywood-style production company. Gupta was recently named as one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” in Asia for his achievements as a writer and filmmaker. He started as a screenwriter for Indian television, wrote two highly acclaimed non-fiction books, worked as the assistant director for the fourth-highest grossing Indian film, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Found a Treasure Called Love), while studying for his MBA at Cornell, and now works as head of business development for India’s Vinod Chopra Films. Ever since he was a child growing up in Houston, Gupta says he loved watching videos of Bollywood movies and TV shows. Their larger-thanlife characters and dream worlds filled with rich stories were completely unlike his suburban upbringing, he says. As an undergraduate at UT, he triple-majored in marketing, Asian studies, and radio-television-film. He knew he wanted to work in India’s Hindi-language film industry, but he had no connections there. So, during his last semester at UT, Gupta sent scores of Facebook messages to people in Bollywood asking for advice on how to get into the business. One of those messages panned out. The writer Rajesh Dubey from the show Balika Vadhu (Child Bride) invited Gupta for a meeting in India. It was a success. Gupta worked for Dubey on a trial basis before being asked to fill in for an assistant who had just left. Gupta went on to write for two of India’s most popular TV shows. In the midst of all t his, Gupt a is working on getting his own production company off the ground in Houston. His goal is to create an American take on Bollywood-inspired content using both Indian and non-Indian talent. His biggest piece of advice? No matter the field, persistence is key. “For every one offer I’ve received, I’ve gotten 99 rejections. That just happens,” Gupta says. “You do have those low periods, but you’ve just got to stay resilient and stay strong.” — Danielle Ransom IN THE EIGHT YEARS
CORPORATE CITIZEN y TAMARA FIELDS, BBA ’96,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ACCENTURE
I N T H E A F T E R M AT H of Hurricane Harvey, native Austinite Tamara Fields felt compelled to help in any way she could. “I had several friends in the Houston area whose houses got flooded,” Fields recalls. “I knew I needed to help, so I personally went to help them muck their homes immediately after the disaster.” Her employer, Accenture, also quickly mobilized, contributed funds, and provided support to affected employees. “I’ve always been proud to work for Accenture,” she says, “but that was another moment that reaffirmed that I work for a great company.” For Fields, managing director of Accenture’s Austin office, helping others in tough times has been a running theme throughout her life. When her father and later her stepfather passed away during her childhood, Fields says she knew she needed to take charge and support her mother and younger siblings. In order to alleviate additional financial burden on the family, she applied for more than 100 scholarships in high school — many of which she received — enabling her to attend McCombs. That sense of duty and accountability has served her well in her position at Accenture. She’s been with the company for 20 years — ever since she graduated from college — and is responsible for helping advance Accenture’s business in the health and public service practice across the Southwest region. Fields oversees more than 20 large-scale client projects and regional sales opportunities at any given time, and manages a team of more than 100 people. “It’s important to me that my company has the same core values that I have about helping others and being a good corporate citizen,” she says. “I’m honored to be in a position to encourage others to work hard and aim high. I take great pride in my work, knowing that what I do matters.” — Kristen Hensley
C O M M U N I T Y: U P C L O S E
HEALTH INNOVATOR turned researcher turned business professional, Dr. Nishi Viswanathan has found her “perfect world” as director of Texas Health Catalyst, a Dell Medical School initiative that facilitates the commercialization of promising innovations into health products. Viswanathan says her career goal was to find a pursuit that merged business, research, and health care. During the early days of UT’s new medical AS A MEDICAL DOCTOR
school, she met Mini Kahlon, vice dean for strategy and partnerships. As Kahlon outlined her vision for Texas Health Catalyst, Viswanathan’s eyes lit up. “The biotech startup I was working with was facing the same problems Mini described. We were struggling to find the right clinical collaborators and industry partners,” she says. “I knew Austin needed this program.” Early biomedical discoveries often fail to advance due to the lack of adequate clinical and business support. THC, however, provides the necessary expertise and funding to shepherd projects through this long and complex journey. Entering its third year, THC has helped several exciting projects aimed at saving patients and the health care system both money and time. A remote monitor for heart failure, if successful, has the potential to save the health care system millions of dollars. Another project, developed in collaboration with McCombs, is a scheduling solution to reduce patient wait times. Today, Viswanathan credits her boss, THC Director Ruben Rathnasingham, with empowering her and being open to all of her “outof-the-box, sometimes crazy ideas.” The team hopes to create an efficient pipeline for innovation and support projects that commercialization partners are clamoring to take to market. She’s also trying to get more UT students and post-docs involved: “I’m working with two McCombs students, Upasana Bhattacharya, MBA ’18, and Ben Hlousek, BBA ’18, to design a robust internship program for THC where students can take on interim leadership roles at UT startups.” With her unique skill set, Viswanathan says she feels fortunate to have found her dream role. “A few weeks ago my daughter asked me, ‘Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?’ I answered, ‘Exactly what I am doing today.’”
— Kristen Hensley
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y NISHI VISWANATHAN, MBA ’12, DIRECTOR, TEXAS HEALTH CATALYST
C O M M U N I T Y: A LU M N I N O T E S Please send your updates to email@example.com for publication in the fall issue of McCombs magazine and online in the alumni news section of the McCombs website. Feel free to share news on behalf of a fellow graduate.
1970s Jean Zimmermann Ross, BBA ’79, retired from the catering
business she and her husband started 29 years ago. Opening Night was a full-service catering company in Pittsburgh.
Board of Regents in September. She was earlier appointed to a six-year term on the board in 2015 by Gov. Greg Abbott, BBA ’81. Prior to her appointment as regent, Tucker, a native of Laredo and resident of Dallas, served as the nation’s top higher education official as under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush. There, she oversaw all policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid.
Steve Robertson, BBA ’79,
Kevin Eltife, BBA ’81, was
retired after 29 years as a special agent with the U.S. Department of Justice. As a supervisor with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Robertson was in charge of an office responsible for 13 Central Texas counties. He spent his last day on the job collecting approximately 4,000 pounds of expired prescription drugs as part of the DEA's National Take Back initiative. Robertson, a retired captain in the U.S. Naval Reserves, plans to transition to a new career in business after more than 35 years of public service.
appointed to a six-year term on the UT System Board of Regents, where he is leading a task force to reshape system spending policy. Eltife has served as state senator for Texas Senate District 1, mayor of Tyler, and member of the Tyler city council.
Bob Feiner, MBA ’79, published
his first children's book, The Tree That Ate Everything. The story is based on a real-life experience with his twin boys. Proceeds from the book benefit Down syndrome charities. Feiner is a senior vice president in Dell Technologies’ services business. Sara Martinez Tucker, MBA ’79, was unanimously elected
chairwoman of the UT System
Jody Lockshin, BBA ’83,
president and owner of Habitat Hunters Inc., was named both best Realtor and best apartment locator in the Austin Chronicle's “Best of 2017” awards. Lockshin worked as a real estate agent for Habitat Hunters during her undergraduate years. She later bought the company and has earned Realtor, certified residential specialist, and certified negotiation expert designations, among others. Steve Macnoll, BBA ’83, was
named managing director of Mohr Partners, a real estate firm. Previously, he founded Macnoll Realty Advisors where he served as president for more than 13 years. He was also the director of
land acquisition for KB Home, a homebuilding company. Chuck Harris, BBA ’86, was
named executive director of the Texas Exes. He previously served as president of Netspend Corp., an Austin-based financial services company, as general manager of software company Intuit, and as CEO of Electronic Clearing Housing, a financial services company. Mindy Hildebrand, BBA ’86,
will be honored by the UT Cockrell School of Engineering with a department named for her family: the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. The move comes after the Hildebrand Foundation made a $25 million gift to support the Cockrell School of Engineering. Her husband, Jeffery Hildebrand, BS Geology ’81, MS Engineering ’85, is a member of the UT System Board of Regents. Mindy serves on the McCombs Advisory Board, and two of their three children attend UT. Loreen Gilbert, BBA ’87, es-
tablished a mentorship program for women entrepreneurs and business owners. She partnered with tennis star Maria Sharapova in an initiative made possible through the National Association of Women Business Owners. Gilbert is a national board member of NAWBO and the president of WealthWise Financial Services. Robert Franklin (Frank) Muller Jr., BBA ’89, was named
an entrepreneur-in-residence at the McCombs Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Renewal for the 2017-18 academic year. Muller is
S P R I N G 201 8 chief executive officer of Provasi Capital Partners, and has more than 30 years of experience with entrepreneurial investment companies. He has been a featured contributor in industry publications such as Bloomberg and Kiplinger.
1990s Michelle Frymire, MBA ’91, has
joined U.S. Risk LLC as chief financial officer. She brings to the company more than 25 years of experience in the finance industry. Frymire spent 14 years with both American Airlines and Continental before becoming vice president of finance at Delta Air Lines. Most recently, she served as CFO for Service King Collision Repair, a Blackstone portfolio company, where she oversaw significant growth in the finance, M&A, development, and procurement functions. Romil Bahl, MBA ’92, was
appointed CEO of KORE, a solutions provider for internet of things and machine to machine communications. Bahl previously served as CEO of Lochbridge and executive vice president of global industries at CSC, both information and technology companies. He was also CEO of PRGX Global, a financial services company. Erin Nealy Cox, BBA ’92, was
sworn in as the new U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, which includes Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, and 97 other counties. Cox took the oath of office in November, making her the top federal prosecutor in North Texas. Carolyn Jenkins, MBA ’92,
was appointed CEO of Khorus
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C O M M U N I T Y: A LU M N I N O T E S Business Journal’s Best CEO Awards 2017. Hurt is one of five CEOs with decades of experience at the helm of fast-growth companies honored with the award. A team of judges evaluated everything from revenue growth to company culture to make their selections. William Kilday, MBA ’94, wrote
Never Lost Again, a behind-thescenes account of the creation of Google Maps and Google Earth, published in May. He is the vice president of marketing for Niantic Inc., a Google spinoff company responsible for GPSbased games such as Ingress and Pokémon GO. Daniel Laufer, MBA ’94, Ph.D. ’02, was interviewed by the Wall Suzanne Brown, BBA ’94, MBA ’06, published a new book, Mompowerment: Insights from Successful Professional Part-Time Working Moms Who Balance Career and Family. She provides advice and insights, drawing from her expertise and research in addition to information from more than 110 professional part-time working moms. The book’s goal is to empower mothers to define a different version of work-life balance.
Software, a provider of enterprise software. Jenkins is a veteran leader in SaaS, a software delivery method, and a former VP of customer success at Iconixx, a computer software corporation. Tom Wilkinson, BBA/MPA ’92, was named CEO of Xplore
Technologies, a computer manufacturing company. Wilkinson originally joined the company as CFO, and continues to serve in both roles. Previously, he was CFO of Amherst Holdings, a financial institution.
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Maria Luna, MBA ’93,
co-founder of Bravo Tip or Pay, pitched her app on Shark Tank in November, and received a $150,000 offer from two of the sharks. Bravo uses proprietary technology to allow users to tip or pay people from a mobile device without exchanging personal information, such as phone numbers or email addresses. Brett Hurt, BBA ’94, founder
of Bazaarvoice Inc. and CEO of Data.world Inc., won the Legacy award in the Austin
Street Journal on the topic of crisis contagion. Laufer is an associate professor of marketing at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and is a former head of the school of marketing and international business. His research interests are in the areas of marketing communications, consumer behavior, international marketing, and crisis management. Josh Friedman, BBA ’96, EMBA ’03, was named vice
Madrid previously served as president and CEO of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Prior to serving in nonprofit executive roles, Madrid had a career in banking that began on Wall Street at J.P. Morgan in 1995.
2000s Leon Chen, BBA ’01, and his
wife, Tiffany Taylor Chen, BS ’01, announced a $25 million investment to help grow their Austin-based cookie delivery company, Tiff’s Treats. In the past three years, Tiff’s Treats has raised $50 million in investments. The couple started the company in 1999 and today have 36 stores nationwide, adding 10 in the last year. Ryan Maynard, BBA ’01, was
named to the Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list for 2018, which spotlights top-performing advisors across the country. He has been a wealth management advisor and senior vice president for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, a division of Bank of America. Anne Golenternek, BBA ’02,
president of digital commerce for Neiman Marcus. Previously, he was vice president of digital commerce for J.C. Penney Co., vice president of e-commerce for Radio Shack, and a director and manager for Dell.
was promoted to vice president of Quorum Software, a software platform for oil and energy management, where she oversees engineering and development teams. During her tenure at Quorum, she has held a variety of leadership and executive roles.
Mark L. Madrid, BBA ’95,
Megan Yunker, BBA ’02,
chief executive officer of the Latino Business Action Network, was appointed to the honorary advisory board of the National Veterans Opportunity Coalition.
was promoted to vice president of product marketing for Quorum Software, a software platform for oil and energy management. Previously, she was the
S P R I N G 201 8 tory affairs from Johns Hopkins University. Ravin Singh, MBA ’07, pub-
lished a children's book called My Scientist Friends in November. A father of two, Ravin shared his love of science by creating simple rhymes for his young children that introduce new concepts and build a scientific vocabulary. My Scientist Friends is his way of helping other parents and educators inspire children to enjoy science from a young age. Surya Desiraju, MBA ’08, was
Jay Kleberg, MBA ’13, is co-producer of The River and the Wall, a documentary chronicling his travels along the length of the Rio Grande in Texas to investigate the potential impacts of building a border wall with Mexico. Kleberg is the associate director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and a co-founder of a Brazil-based Amazonian travel company and conservation organization.
marketing vice president for both Zimbra and Telligent software platform companies. Matthew Thomas, MBA ’05, was named an entrepre-
neur-in-residence at UT’s Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Renewal for the 2017-18 academic year. He is the founder and chief product officer of AcademicWorks, a scholarship management platform for students, and is also an active member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global business network. Lisa McQueen, MBA ’06, and Wendy Pursch, MBA ’06,
opened a third location of their
upscale Austin nail salon, Embellish. Prior to opening their first salon in 2008, they both worked for business research firm Hoover’s, where McQueen was a strategic accounts marketing manager and Pursch was a business operations manager. Ana Ward, MBA ’06, was ap-
pointed senior vice president and general counsel for Ovid Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on rare neurological disorders. Ward received all her degrees from UT, including a bachelor’s in French, a master’s in molecular biology, and a JD. She also holds a master’s in bioscience regula-
appointed CEO for Great Lakes Management Services Organization. Desiraju brings more than 20 years of operational leadership and process improvement experience to his new role. Most recently, he served as senior vice president at Adeptus Health, the largest operator of freestanding emergency rooms in the U.S., where he was responsible for 103 locations and more than $500 million in revenue across four states. Prior to joining Adeptus Health, he served as regional operations director at DaVita for one of its fastest growing regions in the country, managing 22 dialysis facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Lindsey Goodgion, MBA ’08,
was promoted to executive vice president and chief sales officer of Quorum Software, a software platform for oil and energy management. She is responsible for all sales, account management, and commercial activities worldwide. With 15 years of oil and gas industry experience, Goodgion has held a variety of roles within Quorum.
Nikki Hallgrimsdottir, BBA ’08, vice president of customer
success at Algomus, was featured in a fitsmallbusiness.com article, “How To Save Money Fast: 32 Tips From Finance and Business Experts.” Hallgrimsdottir shared advice on how to reduce expenses and preserve resources. Steve Perlow, MBA ’08, is
the author of the Vampires and the Life of Erin Rose series of novels. The latest book, Choosing a Master, was published this winter. Perlow is a former technical project manager at Spredfast, a social media marketing and management software company.
2010s Lisa Seacat DeLuca, MSTC ’10,
was inducted into the 2017 Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. She was recognized as the most influential woman in the internet of things, the most prolific female inventor in the history of IBM, and second on LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Technology list. She is also a TED speaker and a self-published author. Jeffrey Pao, BBA ’10, became a
partner in Austin’s Sixth Street bar Pour Choices, which was established by his friend, Jay Lee, BBA ’12. Pao is a senior solutions consultant for Blackstone Technology Group, a consulting and software firm. Earlier, he was a senior consultant for software company Quorum Business Solutions. Christine Chen, MBA ’12,
is an award-winning director whose recent short Ya Albi (My Heart) was Oscar qualified. The film tells the story of a Syrian refugee who must adapt to life in
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C O M M U N I T Y: A LU M N I N O T E S an unfamiliar country after her husband’s immigration visa is unexpectedly rejected. Her past films have won top honors at the Austin Revolution Film Festival and the Deep in the Heart Film Festival. She is also a recipient of the Louisiana Film Prize. Michael Daehne, BBA ’12, was
named the chair of the BHP Advisory Board of Texas McCombs. He is a senior program manager at SenseCorp, a management and technology consulting firm. During his six years there, he has worked on more than 30 projects across half a dozen industries.
in the U.S. Air Force while he was a student at McCombs. Lisa Corless, MBA ’14, president
of AF Group, has been named one of Business Insurance’s 30 Women to Watch in 2017. The award is the only recognition program that celebrates leading women in the commercial insurance industry. In her role at AF Group, Corless is responsible for operations across AF Group brands and for developing strategies to diversify the company's portfolio. Prior to her current position, Corless was a member of the executive team, serving as senior vice president, chief administration officer, and chief of staff.
Joel Peabody, BBA ’09, started
the company Vomo last year with his brother to help connect employees in different workplaces across the country with volunteer opportunities in their communities. Peabody is an entrepreneur who earlier applied his degree in the nonprofit world.
Andy Bossley, MSTC ’16, was
Jay Lee, BBA ’12, opened the
percent — in the Democratic primary election for Texas’ 31st District’s U.S. Congressional seat. She will face an opponent, who received 34 percent of the primary vote, in a runoff for the nomination. Hegar is an Air Force veteran and the author of the memoir Shoot Like a Girl, which is being optioned for a film adaptation with Angelina Jolie in talks to play Hegar.
bar Pour Choices on Austin’s Sixth Street, after winning the grand prize in a poker tournament. After graduation, Lee focused on helping manage his family’s restaurant business, and with the help of his friend and business partner Jeffrey Pao, BBA ’10, he’s pursuing a lifelong dream. Joel Neeb, MBA ’14, was a con-
testant on the television program American Ninja Warrior in April. He is the president of Afterburner, a professional training and consulting firm, and the managing partner of PCSgrades, a military-focused real estate consulting firm. Neeb continued to serve as a chief instructor pilot
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promoted to head of performance marketing for IBM’s collaboration business unit. He was also included in Forbes “30 Under 30” for marketing and advertising in 2017. Mary Jennings Hegar, MBA ’16, won the most votes — 45
Lisa Richardson, MBA ’14, teamed up with her mother, an Italian pastry chef, to open a specialty coffee and biscotti shop in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood. They pair biscotti with various coffee drinks, and have created "biscot-teas" which have loose tea leaves baked into the dough to pair with premium teas.
Commission for Women, which promotes women’s opportunities in areas such as business and STEM education. Joshua Lawton, MSTC ’17,
was featured in an article in Sputnik ATX on his experiences as an Army medic. Lawton and his partner, Michael Dougherty, started a health care business called Health Hat, which features a web-based software data collection and analysis tool that helps hospitals and clinics discover inefficiencies and correct them.
Dhruv Bansal, MBA ’17 and Joe Kelly ’08, founded
Ruth Stedman, MBA ’16, has
Unchained Capital, a firm that offers loans to U.S. businesses and individuals that can post Bitcoin as collateral. The co-founders set out to build financial products to help longterm crypto-investors get more value from their assets.
launched a new business called Grocery Pup, a subscription dog food delivery service offering 100 percent human-grade meals. While still in school, Stedman entered the business plan into
Walker Drewett, BBA ’17, founded NuWash Car Wash, which brings professional car washers to the driver at whatever time and location they desire.
Liza Willmore, MSTC ’16, was
promoted to project director for the Railroad Commission of Texas, a state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry. She is also the chairwoman of the State Agency Council Executive Board of the Governor’s
the Texas Venture Labs Scholarship Competition. Grocery Pup won second place out of 50 projects, and she used the prize money to hire a veterinary nutritionist to help create the food's formula.
entry hall comes to life via a 4,000-square-foot mural entitled “Amistad América” by celebrated artist José Parlá. The painting was commissioned by UT’s Landmarks public art program.
T H E Z L O T N I K FA M I LY B A L L R O O M ’ S
NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE
T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T E X A S AT A U S T I N
McCombs School of Business 1 University Station B6000 Austin, Texas 78712
BURLINGTON, VT 05401 PERMIT NO. 19