Meet The Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2019

Artyom (Art) Sokolov 

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A polyglot by day, a pianist by night, and a race car driver by weekend.

Hometown: Almaty, Kazakhstan (through high school) and Houston, TX

Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak four languages: Russian, English, French, and Spanish. Also, I once built a race car, which I drove on multiple occasions at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin and around Texas.

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Texas at Austin; BBA Finance and BA French.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: ExxonMobil — I held five diverse assignments with significant international reach.

  • Global Operational Expenditure Senior Analyst for all corporate functions (2015-2017)
  • Production Financial Reporting Lead for Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Russia (2013-2015)
  • Lead Auditor responsible for auditing major global engineering, procurement, and construction contracts (2011-2013)
  • Drilling Controls Analyst focusing on Kazakhstan and Africa (2010-2011)
  • Drilling Capital Spend Analyst covering Europe and Russia (2008-2010)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am proud to have earned many opportunities to visit and work with people in more than 20 countries where ExxonMobil operates. Each trip had a profound effect on who I am as a person and played a role in the formation of my MBA candidacy. This broad international experience has also allowed me to develop leadership skills, especially in influencing without having formal authority. I am also extremely proud of promoting diversity recruiting as a key long-term strategic driver at ExxonMobil. The efforts of our small team have played a major role in ExxonMobil’s achieving the highest HRC Corporate Equality Index in the history of the company.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  I think that if one is truly authentic in his or her application, the interview prep occurs almost without any effort. As I prepared my application, I found that it was essential to stay consistent with what is important to me as an individual and a candidate — be it professional or personal aspirations or certain attributes you are looking for in an MBA program.  Since I had that lined out in advance, the interviews flowed very naturally even with minimal prep time. This approach also helps with answering questions that are off the beaten path.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? McCombs is the ideal program for me because it not only offers a concentration in strategy and innovation, but also includes hands-on consulting experience through micro-consulting projects as part of the MBA+ Leadership program. In addition, the McCombs community aligns well with my goal of making a positive change. The program offers opportunities to pursue diverse career and personal interests, and encourages candidates to question the status quo and achieve results. I am also very excited to return to my alma mater, a place that has already opened so many professional opportunities for me. Lastly, I am proud to continue the Longhorn tradition, which I share with all my sibling.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I would like to take every opportunity McCombs offers to me in order to grow as a leader and transition successfully to management consulting. In a year’s time, I would like to secure an offer after an internship at a company like BCG or Deloitte and be on the track to focus on consulting in the automotive sector.

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