Meet The Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2019

Artist’s rendition of Rowling Hall

In fact, McCombs improved in nearly every measure. The percentage of women finally broke the 40% ceiling – tying the program with Chicago Booth and UC Berkeley in this key demographic. McCombs also drew 27% of its class from 17 countries overseas. Academically, engineering replaced business as the largest segment of the class, though just by a 26%-to-25% margin – a difference of three students. The percentage of economics majors in the 2019 Class also dropped from 16% to 13%, with this three point swing made up by the humanities, which surged to 16%. In terms of professional backgrounds, finance and consulting remained 1-2, though each lost two points, falling to 16% and 13% respectively. Energy and technology again comprised 11% of the class each, followed by government and nonprofit (10%) and manufacturing (5%).


Looking over the previous year, Mabley is most excited about the approval of its MD/MBA dual degree program with the newly-opened Dell Medical Center. “The Texas MBA program has over 10 dual degree options,” Mabley notes in a statement to Poets&Quants, “and the MD/MBA will offer our MBA students meaningful curricular and co-curricular interactions with our MD students changing the future of health care.”

Mabley is equally bullish on new additions to the McCombs MBA curriculum, which she says “includes several new courses in key interest areas of analytics, fin tech, design thinking, and leadership.” Mabley adds that the school remains in growth mode. “McCombs will continue to build on its academic excellence as the business school and UT Austin launch a global search to grow faculty capacity by 10 percent — hiring five to six additional superstars with a minimum endowment of $3 million each. The continued focus on research, discovery and teaching will ensure our students are exposed to the latest in business best practices.”

However, the game changer remains the construction of Rowling Hall, which Mabley describes as a “state-of-the-art” facility that’s “poised to be a new and iconic gateway to campus.” Five stories high and taking up 458,000 square feet building, it will connect to UT Austin’s AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. And the bells-and-whistles are sure to spoil MBA students when it opens next spring. “[It will feature] graduate classrooms, study and breakout rooms, MBA program administration, interview suites, and research centers,” Mabley says. “The new building will also have a café, special event spaces, community boardroom, accelerator lab, and a large ballroom.”

Tina Mabley

Even more, Rowling Hall was designed with the foresight and flexibility to support McCombs underlying philosophies and long-term planning. “Years of thought about the future of business education has guided the building’s design,” Mabley adds. “Rowling Hall reflects the culture of the Texas MBA program by fostering collaboration, spontaneous connections, and purposeful interactions. A key focus is on creating a hub of activity that will attract thought leaders from both campus, the city, and beyond. Rowling Hall will have a variety of space geared for flexible interactions and brainstorming, with a goal of adapting to teaching pedagogy as it evolves in the future. There will be conference rooms, flat classrooms with adaptable seating, circular spaces, and casual areas for invention and personal reflection. Think of Rowling Hall as a laboratory where overlapping communities convene to learn and innovate.”


Community is a decided advantage at McCombs. For example, McCombs requires all first years to take the same core courses together. Rather than cleping out, first years mentor peers in their areas of expertise. This helps students build trust and relationships – all while enriching the classroom experience and keeping cohorts on pace. Although the University of Texas ranks among the top research schools in the world, McCombs take equal pride in teaching excellence. Eric Hirst is the school’s senior associate dean and a professor in McCombs’ top-ranked accounting department. He asserts that the goal of creating knowledge is to find ways of making it relevant and actionable to students. As a result, research is viewed as an extension of the teaching process at McCombs.

“While research is important at McCombs,” Hirst told Poets&Quants in a 2015 interview, it doesn’t come at the expense of the classroom.  “When it comes to hiring, we ask ourselves, ‘Is this person going to be successful in both their knowledge creation and classroom?’ If they’re having a hard time in the classroom, they’re not going to be able to succeed in any other part of their job. So we make very conscious decisions on the front end. It’s about your people fitting in with the culture.”

In fact, MBA candidates can look at McCombs as a more intimate program embedded within a business school that houses over 6,400 undergraduate and graduate students – and a university that boasts over 50,000 students. Hence, the business school maintains a deep bench of professors who teach in a wide variety of specializations. At the same time, MBAs are blessed with plentiful options to gain experience, connections, and knowledge outside McCombs as well.

It was an interdisciplinary surplus that set McCombs apart says Le, who studied political science at Stanford before moving into the nonprofit realm. “I loved that the full-time MBA at McCombs not only provided invaluable learning opportunities within the program, but also gave students a lot of flexibility to design and customize their own experiences. As a top research university, UT Austin offers so many resources, and McCombs encourages students to take classes in other fields such as policy, design, and energy.”


If Le has any doubts, she can easily talk to a satisfied customer – Sokolov, who earned his BBA from McCombs in 2008. He was so happy with the experience that he has returned to pursue his MBA there too. “The program offers opportunities to pursue diverse career and personal interests, and encourages candidates to question the status quo and achieve results,” he adds. “I am also very excited to return to my alma mater, a place that has already opened so many professional opportunities for me.”

Austin’s 6th Street

One avenue is the school’s MBA+ Leadership program. Working in 4-6 member teams, students gain practical experience by working on company-sponsored projects over a two month period. Most recently, the school has partnered with firms like McKinsey, Nike, Dr. Pepper, Starbucks, and Whole Foods. For Dyer, MBA+ provides another chance to test out industries and practice what they learn outside the classroom. And employers benefit from the partnership too, he adds.

“Companies want to work with the MBA candidates at McCombs because they know they are getting more than mere students to work on their problems, they are getting dedicated problem solvers, with a wealth of experience, who work very well together. That collaborative nature is nurtured at McCombs and continues to develop within each Longhorn far after graduation.”


In Diaz’s case, McCombs simply checked all the boxes and delivered the best value and impact. “All of the top companies I am interested in working for recruit from McCombs or have McCombs alumni working for them,” she asserts. “It was important to me to find a school that was strong across the board —academics, people, career opportunities, and location. I visited many schools during my research process and spoke to current students and alumni. While some schools may have had a culture I really liked, had strong recruiting from one of my top target companies, or was located in a great city where I’d love to live, none of them quite offered the complete package like McCombs did.”

The University of Texas’ motto is, “What starts here changes the world” – a call for graduates to step forward and make their companies and communities better than they found them. Looking to next spring, many class members are hoping to build their startup or develop a game plan. For David Reyes, a world-traveling West Pointer, the next year is about something larger. Success after my first year at McCombs will be defined by my ability to actively contribute and listen in the classroom, grow by learning from my classmates’ experiences, promote an inclusive community, and internalize key business fundamentals.”

For Maheshwari, the mission is simple: Get better. “At the end of first year, I want to be a more confident and a stronger individual than I was before entering business school.”



Student Hometown Undergrad School Last Employer
 Dan Ben-Nun  Austin, TX  U.C.-Berkeley  Adspace Agency
 Tingting Chen  Hubei, China  Beijing Forestry University  Shenzhen Harmony Technology Financial  Services Co.
 Kristen Diaz  Miami Springs, FL  University of Central Florida  General Mills Latin America
 Nathan Dyer  Bristol, ME  U.S. Military Academy  United States Army Special Forces
 Angelise Hadley  Dallas, TX  Notre Dame  EmbraceBox
 Rodrigo Lascurain  Mexico City,  Mexico  Universidad Iberoamerican  Grupo Financiero Actinver
 Jaclyn Le  Irving, TX  Stanford University  The Boston Foundation
 Mohit  Maheshwari  New Delhi, India  National Institute of Engineering,  MYSORE  JP Morgan
 David Reyes  Fort Lauderdale,  FL  U.S. Military Academy  Empirix Inc.
 Jacqueline Sigler  Westchester, NY  Lafayette College  MSCI
 Artyom (Art) Sokolov  Almaty,  Kazakhstan  University of Texas-Austin  ExxonMobil
 Taina Tebaldi Lajara  Porto Alegre,  Brazil  Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul  Schlumberger

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