2018 MBAs To Watch: Thomas Dowlearn, Texas A&M (Mays)

Thomas Dowlearn

Texas A&M University, Mays Business School

“A friendly chocoholic topped with positive energy, compassion, and patience.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I had a herniated disc when I was 17 years old and became infamous in high school for having to sit on a “donut cushion”. The cushion helped ease the nerve pain running down the back of my leg. However, Craig Biggio was my baseball coach at the time and was not pleased that I had to take a break from baseball (I think he was jealous of my donut cushion).

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Texas at Austin – Bachelors in Business Administration (Management)

Texas A&M University – Masters in Business Administration (MBA), currently pursuing my Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Apollo Endosurgery (Bariatric Medical Devices Company) – Quality Management & Regulatory Affairs Assistant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Arocha Hair Restoration in Houston, TX (for my MBA Capstone Consulting Project)

Where will you be working after graduation? Medical student at Texas A&M College of Medicine

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


  • Best Presenter Award at Texas A&M’s 2017 Venture Challenge
  • Second Place Team Award: $3,000 prize at Venture Challenge

Leadership Roles:

  • Student Ambassador for MBA Recruiting & Admissions (2017)
  • Teaching Assistant for Accounting 421: Business Communications in Accounting (Spring 2017)
  • Aggies in Business Student Consultant (2017) – provided consulting services to the Texas A&M College of Medicine on rural healthcare initiatives
  • Intramural Basketball & Dodgeball Player (2017)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the Best Presenter Award during Texas A&M’s annual Venture Challenge event is my proudest achievement during business school. At Venture Challenge, students are divided into teams of four to assess startup companies’ business plans, make a pitch, and deliver a presentation. The stakes are high at this stacked event since we present in front of judges, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and all of our classmates. I tend to get anxious at the thought of speaking in front of crowds. However, winning the Best Presenter Award marked a clear shift in my confidence on stage, and was tangible evidence of my growth through Mays’ MBA program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Three years ago, I volunteered at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX. My primary role was entertaining sick children to help them manage their ailments. Often, I brought them toys or played hide-and-seek with them. But there was one patient who stood out. For patient privacy reasons, I will call him Jorge. He was 16-years old and fled from Mexico with his family to seek refuge after members of a drug cartel violently killed his uncle. Shortly before I met him, Jorge was told his kidneys were failing and that he would likely depend on dialysis for the rest of his life. My proudest achievement was spending hours with him a week just talking, pondering, and learning to appreciate every moment we have to live. I made a difference by helping him cope with his bleak prognosis, and in return, he reaffirmed my passion for medicine.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Leonard Berry, my Services Marketing professor. When Dr. Berry speaks, you listen. He is full of deep insights and wisdom. He is even revered nationally for his work in healthcare and his book Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic. He transformed the way I think about business. Dr. Berry taught me how to do business ethically and respectfully, so I can stay true to myself.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite course was Services Marketing. The greatest insight I gained was how acts of generosity can impact a business’ culture by inspiring employees to put their company, fellow coworkers, and customers’ needs ahead of their own. Mayo Clinic’s founding depended on the generosity of Dr. William Worrall Mayo and his two sons, who gave nearly all of their time and own money to the clinic. It thrives today because of this continued standard of generosity and the organization’s core mission to place the patient first.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Texas A&M because the people there welcomed me in like family. The students and admissions committee were by far the most supportive out of all the schools I applied to, and they believed in me. Everyone at A&M, from the students and faculty to the maintenance staff, have a deep sense of pride in the community seen by all the maroon attire, thumbs up, smiles, and warm greetings with a “Howdy!” and “Gig ‘em!”

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Ask yourself “Why?” every day. This will help you discover yourself and find purpose in your decisions (plus, this will significantly help with your interviews).

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Texas A&M is that we are a bunch of country folks and rednecks. Yes, you will see quite a few pickup trucks and hear some strong Texas accents in College Station. However, our full-time MBA program was incredibly diverse with students hailing from 13 different countries outside of the U.S. including Belarus, China, Ghana, Haiti, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Needless to say, our class brought together a wide range of opinions and ideas.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was not spending more time goofing around with friends. The time we had with each other was precious, and I already miss many of my friends from the MBA program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Jana Soares, the President of Aggie Women MBAs, because she had the courage to face any type of challenge head on. Not only was she the President of Aggie Women MBAs, but she also served as a teaching assistant for an accounting course, participated in case competitions, created and shared countless hilarious puns, and planned fun social activities like a “Texas Two-Step” dance lesson for MBAs. She taught me not to fear failure. She also showed me that challenges in life are inevitable, so we might as well be bold and have fun with them.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My decision to pursue business in college was most influenced by Dr. Sean Blackwell, a maternal fetal medicine physician at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX. I had the privilege of working under him one summer during college. I admired his ability to confidently make decisions that improved care for patients and saved lives. He showed me the importance of understanding business in healthcare.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a Spanish teacher. Porque me encanta el idioma (Because I love the language).”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would create the activity “Invent Yourself” where students could showcase their own entrepreneurial ideas to promote creative problem-solving. Then, students and judges could vote on their favorite ideas. The three ideas with the most votes would win cash prizes.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Skydiving and improving the patient experience in healthcare.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone they can always trust and lean on.

What is your favorite movie about business? It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey, the protagonist, taught me that people are what matter at the end of the day, not dollars and cents.

What would your theme song be?

The Man – Aloe Blacc

When I need a confidence boost, nothing beats this song.

Favorite vacation spot: Wimberley, TX. If you like relaxing with a peaceful view from the hilltops, then Wimberley is the place to be. I also enjoy tubing down the Blanco River, visiting the beautiful Blue Hole Regional Park, sampling local craft beers at Middleton Brewery or Twisted X, sipping wine at Driftwood Estate Winery, and capping it all off with mouth-watering barbeque at Salt Lick BBQ.

Hobbies? Practicing Spanish, throwing around the baseball or playing pickup basketball, yoga, watching TV shows (especially Fargo, Forensic Files, and Westworld), exploring new restaurants or cuisines, reading and listening to podcasts

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

“Thomas Dowlearn was a joy to have as a student in my MBA “Services Marketing” course because he so clearly loved to learn. Having been accepted to medical school prior to completing his MBA, Thomas is smart. But what made him a member of my all-time favorite students club is his zest for learning. Numerous times during the course, I would see Thomas furiously taking notes based on the discussion underway, head nodding, a smile on his face. It thrilled me to see a medical-student-to-be so enjoying learning something new. I don’t think most students realize how much their in-class behavior, including their body language, can energize their professor.  There was no way I was going to come to class and let down a student like Thomas.”

Dr. Leonard L. Berry

University Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor

M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership

Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence

Department of Marketing

Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Co-author of Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic





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