Meet The Texas McCombs MBA Class Of 2020

Bryant Buraruk

University of Texas, McCombs School of Business

“Native Texan. 50% Thai, 50% Mexican, 100% American. Dependable friend. Mediocre golfer.”

Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself:

Growing up, I played ice hockey. I also participated in sports typical for your average student growing up in Texas, but ice hockey was my primary focus. Showing up to tournaments in Canada or the Northern U.S. was a shocker to a lot of local teams. Most people were surprised that Texas even had ice.

Undergraduate School and Major: Texas A&M University, Petroleum Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Halliburton, Drilling Engineer

Halliburton, Wellsite Supervisor

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Drilling a record-setting well for Halliburton in Saudi Arabia. As a new Wellsite Supervisor, I was tasked with improving operational performance. I had to completely breakdown and analyze a mature project and become the leader of a team that had been together for several years. It was an iterative process of procedural implementation and innovation that required full team buy-in. Setting the record was the culmination of the entire team’s work, but knowing that I was able to rally the team behind a common goal and be an effective leader was the real accomplishment.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Unconditionally supportive. I was fortunate enough to attend the Consortium OP Conference with some classmates in early June. Throughout the conference, classmates were encouraging one another, facilitating introductions, and assisting in interview preparation. We were each other’s biggest advocates and wanted to see one other succeed and excel at the conference.

Aside from your classmates, 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? The key factor that led me to McCombs was the ample opportunity to participate in experiential learning in the form of Fellows Programs. I am a firm believer in putting theory into practice, and McCombs has programs tailored toward numerous specific functions or industries. The Fellows Programs provides the perfect platform to apply what you learn in the classroom to real world problems while underscoring the value and importance of the theory.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Venture Fellows

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I decided to pursue an MBA because I wanted to make a career switch from an engineering role to a business role. I want to pivot from a role that requires a specialized, narrow focus to a role that will allow me to approach problems from a broad, strategic point of view.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I approached the situation of leaving my job and returning to school full-time from a long-term point of view. I looked at my current career and determined the steps and time it would most likely take me to achieve my goals. From my assessment, it would take far longer than two years to transform my career and I would still have critical gaps in my skillset. An MBA was worth the investment because I could focus all my attention and effort on placing myself in the best position to achieve my long-term goals. Additionally, I knew that should my passions change an MBA would provide multiple avenues of career exploration.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Dartmouth College (Tuck), Duke University (Fuqua), Rice University (Jones), MIT (Sloan)

How did you determine your fit at various schools? When applying to business school, I placed an emphasis on class size and school culture. I wanted to attend a program that gave me the opportunity to get to know all my classmates and plug into a tight-knit, collaborative environment.

I evaluated schools through recruiting events, admissions webinars, reading program blog posts, and visiting campus. This allowed me to see what different schools valued and determine if that aligned with what I prioritized in my life.

The best way to get a true look into a school’s culture is by interacting with the people associated with the program. Visiting campus allows you to meet and talk to people at every level of the program. I would talk with admissions, faculty, current students, alumni, and career development. The personality and culture of those you interact with is a reliable reflection of the school’s culture.

I also looked at where schools placed their graduates and the career paths of their alumni to determine if it was a good fit with my career goals. I looked at top employers and industries where their school had strengths. Most importantly, I looked at the academic and professional preparing schools provided and what they emphasized.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was hiking the “O” Circuit in Patagonia. I was not much of a hiker before going on this trip, but I could not pass at the opportunity to visit Patagonia. My group set an aggressive pace to complete the circuit, and I was under-trained and under-prepared for the task at hand. The hike took a major strain on me physically and mentally. There were numerous times when I did not think I could finish, but the only way off the trail was to continue to push myself and complete the circuit. Checking into the last campsite was a huge accomplishment and rewarding experience.

This moment was a realization that the biggest limitations in our life are self-imposed, but with perseverance and determination these limitations can be overcome. I learned that I can endure more than I think mentally and physically. Most importantly, I adopted the mentality that comfort and complacency are the hindrances to improvement and growth.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I would like to return to the oil and gas industry, particularly in acquisitions and divestitures. The strategic aspect of evaluating and allocating oil and gas assets from both short and long-term views is fascinating.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I envision myself acquiring oil and gas leases, working interests, and mineral rights and redeveloping these reserves in an economic, sustainable way.  The oil and gas industry has undergone major changes in the last several years. I want to solve the industry’s challenges, assist in redefining its place in the global economy, and properly steward the reserves and assets under my responsibility.