Imagine the perfect place to live. Chances are, it would overflow with jobs, offer a balmy climate and first-class educational system, and feature a vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. For some, this may describe the Bay Area (or Seattle and Boulder – sans the precipitation). If you live in the southwest, you know this can only describe Austin, Texas.
Known as “Silicon Hills” for its teeming tech startup ecosystem, Austin has become the go-to destination for Millennials – and for good reason. During the economic recession, Austin’s GDP grew by nearly 22% according to Forbes (with unemployment currently hovering near 4%). Housing costs are low – 15% below the national average according to PayScale –and residents don’t pay a state income tax, either. The city is renowned for its artists, festivals (including the celebrated SXSW in March) and music scene (It’s called the “Live Music Capital of the World” for a reason). And the city’s ethos – “Keep Austin weird” – is a progressive twist on Texas’ fiercely independent “Don’t mess with Texas” mantra that reminds Austinites to be themselves and challenge convention.
And in the heart of it all is the University of Texas – and the McCombs School of Business, in particular.
APPLICATIONS UP AS MCCOMBS CONTINUES TO DRAW OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS
Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the top MBA accounting program, McCombs has also emerged as a force in entrepreneurship, buoyed by the Texas Venture Lab – a five year-old accelerator that has helped startups raise over $304 million dollars in funding. Following the university dictum that “What starts here changes the world,” McCombs is opening its doors to the full-time MBA Class of 2017, described as “change agents” by Tina Mabley, the school’s assistant dean and director of the full-time MBA program. Based on early returns, Mabley has high expectations for the incoming class.
“In our admission process, we look for students who are engaged in the community, take risks and fit our “leave the place better than you found it” culture. Seeing the energy and involvement of the Class of 2017 from the early weeks of the fall semester, the Texas MBA program is in good hands.”
This year, McCombs drew 2,293 applications, up from 2,130 apps a year earlier. According to Mabley, the 265 member class – similar in size to California Berkeley Haas, North Carolina Kenan-Flagler, and Cornell Johnson – “allows for a diverse class with broad experience while still fostering an intimate MBA community.” Like the 2016 Class, Mabley notes, “women make up 32% of the class, 22% are U.S. minority and 28% are foreign nationals. This class also marks our largest veteran population with 9% being current or former military.”
Even more, Mabley adds, the majority of students arrive from outside Texas. “With economic growth in Texas outpacing the national economy and Austin being one of the fastest growing cities in the US for several years running, it’s no surprise that over 70% of the Class of 2017 joins us from outside the state of Texas. The Class of 2017 represents 19 countries and 33 states…and speaks a total of 38 different languages.” In fact, 28% of the class comes from overseas, with another 22% being U.S. minorities (with half being underrepresented minorities).
MAJORITY OF STUDENTS IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS CAREER SWITCHERS
Academically, the 2017 Class at McCombs brings a 694 GMAT to the table (700 median), with scores ranging from 640 to 740 in the middle 80% range. GPA-wise, the incoming class averaged 3.4 – the same as the University of Michigan’s 2017 class – with the range being 2.95-3.8 in the 80th percentile.
The class features a wide range of experiences. “[Our] students hail from over 60 unique undergraduate majors,” Mabley tells Poets&Quants. “Of those degrees, 27% are in business, 21% in engineering, 18% in humanities and social sciences, 10% science, math and computer science, and 9% are in economics.” What’s more, as Mabley proudly points out, “no pre-MBA industry makes up more than 16% of the incoming class.” Overall, consulting and financial services make up the largest segments of the 2017 Class at 16% each, followed by technology (15%), petroleum and energy (10%), government (9%), and manufacturing (5%).
Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.