2018 MBAs To Watch: Michael Massad, University of Texas (McCombs)

Michael Massad

University of Texas, McCombs School of Business

Living life with enthusiasm and purpose, striving to be a critical thinker and super connector.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I wrote and recorded an album on iTunes my senior year in high school – needless to say I have spent more hosting the album than I received in royalties, but it was certainly a fun experience!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Wake Forest University

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Stonelake Capital Partners, a real estate investment firm, in Dallas, Texas, as an Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Microsoft in Seattle, as a Product Marketing Manager for US Windows & Devices

Where will you be working after graduation? Elsewhere Partners, a software venture capital firm, in Austin, Texas, as an Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of PitchTexas @ SXSW for Entrepreneur Society – Hosted annual graduate startup pitch competition and raised over $15k for future student entrepreneurs.
  • Social Chair for Graduate Business Council – Planned and organized all McCombs social events, tailgates, formals, and other fun activities to bring our class together!
  • Vice President of Recruitment for Venture Fellows – Led the selection process for the next Venture Fellows class. Interned with Elsewhere Partners during the semester, and landed a full-time offer!
  • Member – McCombs Ambassador Committee, Graduate Women in Business, Epicurean Club, Wine Club, and Graduate Business Technology Group.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Two weeks into our first semester first year, I organized a float trip on the Guadalupe River as an opportunity for us to have a fun afternoon together outside of scheduled orientation activities. I thought I would get maybe 15 or 20 people to sign up. A few hours later, we had over 120 sign-ups (approx. 50% of the class), and the stage was set for an awesome afternoon to not only build friendships, but also to set the precedent that we don’t just go to class together, we live life together too!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I led the development of Domain Flatiron, a mixed-use property in Austin, Texas that included a new office tower, luxury apartments, and retail. It is so powerful to see how previously unutilized parking lots can transform into a destination where people could truly live, work, and play. Commercial real estate development is an impactful, tangible way to create lasting value for a community or neighborhood.  

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It was John Doggett because he encouraged us to think before we speak and to logically support our reasoning when discussing cases with our classmates. He was always well-prepared and brought in fresh cases, which made coming to class every week something to look forward to!

What was your favorite MBA Course FinTech with Cesare Fracassi. Now more than ever people throw around technology buzzwords like “blockchain,” “IoT” and “machine learning.” Because of our FinTech class, I both understand and can explain these concepts through real world applications. P.S., I now know how to mine Bitcoin – and I can prove it!

Why did you choose this business school? The people. Generic answer, I know. I joke with my Dallas buddies that I totally upgraded friend groups coming to McCombs! All of our classmates are hard-working, driven, smart, down-to-earth, fun, come from totally diverse backgrounds, and have great character. I am so fortunate to have lifetime friendships with this crew. If you visit campus, you can immediately get a sense for the open, collaborative, and supportive culture that McCombs fosters which is what attracted me initially. The fact that McCombs was in Austin, Texas was an added bonus! 

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Understand exactly what it is about McCombs that makes you so excited about the program, and how you will contribute to the business school community. After conducting well over 25 interviews of prospective students, it is obvious which applicants did their research and which applicants didn’t. We want students to make sure we McCombs better than we found it, in a meaningful way!

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the biggest myths about McCombs is that all the students are from Texas. This is certainly not the case! Over one-third of our class is international, and some of my closest friends were born outside of the United States. It has been so rewarding to build relationships with individuals that come from such diverse geographic and ethnic backgrounds.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I had dedicated more time to building relationships with professors outside of class. They are so generous with their time and energy and are great resources for career guidance or otherwise. I hope to schedule a few lunches or coffee chats with my favorite professors before graduation.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Erik Huckle. Erik is truly a Renaissance Man. He served in the Marines before business school, and along the way has managed to become a Minnesota state chess champion, an extreme sports expert, a savvy technologist, and reads at least 5 books per month. He’s the kind of guy that has more hours in the day than anyone else, and I count him as one of my closest friends.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My boss before school, Kenneth Aboussie, showed first-hand how a Texas MBA and an entrepreneurial mindset can create a meaningful career and huge community impact. Kenneth founded Stonelake Capital Partners and has had massive success so far. He has been, and continues to be, a mentor for me and is always willing to give his time and effort to help others.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…developing commercial real estate across Texas to help revitalize neighborhoods, build homes for families, and create destinations that foster community and innovation.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Start “Breakfast Taco Breakouts” where groups of first and second year students would be chosen randomly to get together for breakfast tacos once a month. This would ensure that students are consistently meeting new classmates and getting to know individuals in the other class.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? First, recruiting over 300 students for the 2018 relaunch of Lemonade Day Austin, a program that teaches entrepreneurship to middle school kids through a lemonade stand business. Second, giving and earning the respect of friends, colleagues, and people I have yet to meet.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Tirelessly dedicated to making friends, building community, and giving back, with plenty of opportunities for fun along the way!

What is your favorite movie about business? Smartest Guys In The Room – Goes to show you that financial savvy and ambition are not the only ingredients for success. Now more than ever, it’s important to do business the right way with a focus on outcomes other than the bottom line, such as impact, mission, culture, and purpose.

What would your theme song be? “Twist And Shout” – The Beatles

Favorite vacation spot: Any different place with family or friends that has plenty of opportunities for activities (I’m not one to sit idly on the beach all afternoon…).

Hobbies? One of my favorite hobbies is cooking for a big group of friends at my apartment. This hits on pretty much all of my passions – cooking, organizing and hosting events, connecting people (and I might even break out an acoustic cover of “Yeah!” by Usher after dessert!).

What made Michael such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Michael Massad’s enthusiasm and energy are infectious, and MBA program staff and students have witnessed his positive influence first-hand through his involvement with the McCombs Ambassador Committee. Michael is never too busy to talk to a prospective student, proven by the number of times the admissions committee has seen him named-dropped in application essays or during admissions interviews.

Senior Admissions Officer Stacey Kammerdiener was once in New York for student interviews and had three applicants — on the same day — describe how their conversations with Michael positively impacted their view of our program and their decision to apply.

Michael is also incredibly driven. Upon applying to the Texas McCombs MBA program, he told Finance Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Jim Nolen, that he wanted to be in the Venture Fellows program — a highly competitive program at McCombs — and he wants to begin a career in venture capital after graduation. Well, Michael achieved all his goals becoming the Vice President of Recruitment in Venture Fellows, interning at AVX Partners, and accepting a job offer at Elsewhere Partners.

I would also like to highlight Michael’s deep dedication to community in all senses of the term. From his pre-MBA experience, Michael highlights how his work allowed him to see the tangible, positive social impact that real-estate can have on a community. During his time at McCombs, he fell into a role as a social chair because of his penchant for bringing people together and always making his invitations open to the whole community. Michael is a gift to any community because when he chooses a community, he is all in. And you are definitely invited to join him.

Michael Massad is a perfect embodiment of the Texas McCombs MBA culture: friendly, down-to-earth, welcoming, supportive of his fellow classmates, and an incredibly hard worker.”

Tina Mabley
Assistant Dean

 

DON’T MISS THE FULL LIST:

100 MBAS TO WATCH IN THE CLASS OF 2018