Meet The Texas McCombs MBA Class Of 2022

McCombs MBA students on the first day of class


This cycle, Texas McCombs received 1,964 applications for a spot in the Class of 2022, up a nominal 23 applications from the year before. That said, the class size dipped from 260 to 242 students – a number explained by the 96 students who decided to defer joining this fall. Despite this, the program maintained a 37% acceptance rate, just a point lower than the previous year.

This ‘same numbers different year” theme applies in other measures too. Average GMAT, for example, held steady at 704, while average undergraduate GPA inched up .01 a point to 3.43. The percentage of female students fell a nominal point to 39%. The one big difference? The number of international students was cut in half to 10%.

The class profile remained relatively consistent as well. Academically, Business (24%) and Economics (11%) majors account for a third of the seats. STEM Backgrounds – Engineering, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, and Sciences – take up another 26% of the seats, down five points from the previous year. Humanities and Social Sciences (17%) and Other (22%) round out the rest of the class.

In terms of professional experience, the Class of 2022 is difficult to classify. After all, 43% of the class doesn’t fall into traditional categories. Among those who do, Finance and Banking tops the list with 20% of the class. They are followed by Government and Non-Profit (14%), Technology (12%), Consulting (11%), and Energy (8%).

McCombs MBA students during class


Recently, the big news at McCombs has been the opening of Rowling Hall in 2018. A 497,500 square foot marvel in downtown Austin, Rowling Hall provides students with access to the city’s bustling startup culture. The ‘Silicon Hills’ region itself consistently ranks the 10-best in the country for entrepreneurship according to outlets like Forbes and CNBC, thanks to its business-friendly regulation and taxation – not to mention deep reservoir of tech expertise and Fortune 500 might. That doesn’t even count the city’s “Keep Austin Weird” vibe – a call that combines the area’s forward-thinking spirit with its no-nonsense independent streak.

“The building was designed to host our wide array of overlapping communities including the MBA program, the university, the city of Austin and beyond,” explains Tina Mabley, who heads the MBA program, in a 2018 interview with P&Q. “Our unparalleled location places us at the intersection of The University of Texas campus and downtown Austin, which serves as a live and vibrant business laboratory right outside our doors…The University of Texas and the city of Austin have grown and evolved together. Austin has been the fastest-growing city in the country for three of the last five years and Rowling Hall allows us to capitalize on all the richness that growth has brought to the area. We appreciate a synergistic relationship with the city, which enhances the experiential applications and interactions we can offer our students every day. Being a major hub for tech, healthcare, energy and variety of other industries, we continue to find ways to bring these elements into our curriculum and community.”

By the numbers, 2019 McCombs MBA grads pulled in $147,418 in base and bonus, up $21,258 over the past five years. While 62% of the class remained the Southwest United States, it would be a misnomer to describe McCombs as a “Texas School.”

“McCombs has a vast and increasing influence in the Bay Area and New York for example,” explains Christopher Goff, a 2020 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “Our school has developed numerous pipelines to increase our presence and plug into our massive alumni network outside of Texas through organizations like New York for McCombs. There are over 100,000 McCombs alumni and over 500,000 UT Austin alumni in 176 countries around the world.”

By the same token, McCombs isn’t a finance school, even if it consistently ranks as the top MBA program for accounting according to U.S. News & World Report. The same outlet places McCombs among the Top 5 MBA programs for Information Systems and Analytics – and the Top 10 for Entrepreneurship. In addition, the school boasts one of the world’s best career services centers according to The Economist. And the McCombs School is highly respected within the university itself. Just this week, McCombs Dean Jay Hartzel was named president of the University of Texas-Austin, proudly known as “The Forty Acres.”


What new developments can McCombs MBAs expect in the coming years? What are the benefits of the MBA+ programming and the Austin ecosystem? How has COVID-19 impacted the MBA program? In August, P&Q reached out to McCombs leadership to learn more about these topics. Here is what Tina Mabley, assistant dean and director of the full-time MBA program, and Deidra Stephens, director of the Texas MBA+ program had to say on these and other topics.

P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?

Tina Mabley:

Leading for Impact

“Last year, we introduced Leading for Impact, our new capstone integrative course on leadership development. This unique course spans our two-year program and creates protected time for students to reflect, practice, develop and define their personal leadership style and how they will lead organizations. This course, conceived and taught by Professors Ethan Burris and Shefali Patil, utilizes a combination of four key elements of leadership development: education (introduction to evidence-based leadership frameworks), experience (personalize these frameworks through practice), exposure (access to mentors and faculty to personalize the journey), and evaluation (feedback on students’ development). The course objective states: As future business leaders, you are facing unprecedented levels of economic, social, and political uncertainty and unrest. To this end, our overall objective is to provide you with the frameworks to help develop you into complex, flexible leaders who are able to tackle difficult situations and impact your communities, organizations, and institutions in powerful ways.

As our first class enters the second year of this course, they will work on their capstone projects. These projects are intended to help students integrate and apply learning from across their curriculum and apply them in the context of existing community service organizations or new ventures. By developing a change plan or business plan for a community service organization, projects “highlight resource-constrained and mission-driven environments that challenge leaders to demonstrate sensitivity to the contexts as they help organizations and their employees to realize their full potential.” Students experience what we believe is the primary purpose of an MBA – to create value for society. Putting the skills and expertise that students have learned in classes to work in a holistic manner is the vision for the class and the capstone projects. Whether they are working with community service organizations battling the challenges of racial injustice, housing, education, healthcare, transportation, or economic segregation in our city, or they are on the forefronts with new ventures in technology, marketing, finance, or sports, students can apply learnings from their classes to help. These are the exact elements that are vital to the health of the business community.

Communication and Engagement

In an effort to continuously find ways to communicate and connect more efficiently, we piloted a Microsoft Teams environment last year. We wanted to integrate the skill of managing remote teams into the core and co-curricular experience. Little did we know at the time how critical our pilot would become as we faced an unprecedented real-world case study in remote engagement with the situation we faced after spring break due to COVID-19. In a matter of weeks, we had to find a proxy for our in-person communication and engagement, a critical element of our MBA experience.

Our 2019-20 pilot served us well as we embarked on a new academic year without the ability to meet our new class in person. There were three key areas that we focused on. The first was setting up collaboration teams for each study team where they can meet virtually to review their class assignments and share the diverse skill sets that we build strategically into the architecture of each team. The second was a custom app that we built to host our community calendar and student organization portal. This not only keeps our community on the same page but replaces many in-person information sessions and casual connections that were critical to our on-boarding of the new class.  The third is a place for the program team to disseminate key information, from COVID-19 guidelines to career management opportunities and announcements to financial aid deadlines.

In addition to these key areas, we use the space to create a student community full of interests and activities, an easy bookings system for scheduling meetings with our remote program staff and one-touch ability to turn a chat collaboration into a live video call. In addition to other tools, such as Zoom and Canvas, Teams has become an essential, virtual “home” for our MBA community. While our current environment showcased the necessity of remote management agility, we started with the belief that this was an essential skill for the future of work. This will remain a staple of our program even when we return to a full in-person experience.”

Rowling Hall exterior

P&Q: What are the two most unique or differentiating features of your full-time program? How do they enrich the MBA experience?

Tina Mabley: “One of our current differentiating factors is our innovations in talent development. This past fall, the Full-Time MBA Career Education & Coaching team began revamping our career education curriculum approach, developing core modules with 20 custom, tailored topics ranging from industry overviews to navigating startups, which launched in June through our online Full-Time MBA Career Hub.

With the shift to virtual fall recruiting and interviews, our career team redesigned our required core course, BA181 Strategic Career Planning – flipping the classroom by developing asynchronous video and online content to cover foundational concepts of an MBA level job search and utilizing class time for execution (for example, practicing virtual interview exercises with peers utilizing Zoom breakouts). The team also partnered with student organizations to further align and tailor how students receive industry and functional career prep content. For example, “Tech Week” was coordinated with the MBA Tech Club including these topics co-hosted by MBA career consultants and 2Ys: Big Tech Deep Dive, Midsize + Startups Overview, Breaking into Product Management, and a conversation with an alum at Google about non-tech roles in tech companies. This constant reimagining of strategies to address the career needs for our students allows us to create a nimble approach to helping connect our student talent with opportunities in an ever-changing landscape.

Another key differentiator of our program is the breadth and depth of the program, a unique complement to our close-knit class. I use the analogy with students of our program being like a test kitchen, with a fresh and robust set of ingredients.  No two students use the same ingredients and I am always inspired by unique and intentional combinations students curate to meet their unique career goals. With access to top-ranked programs at McCombs, UT and key partners, students can draw from a world of opportunity.

Based on the holistic strength of the McCombs School and the university, students have access to a broad range of courses, opportunities and experts. McCombs is one of only five business schools in the U.S. to be ranked in the top 20 in at least 11 of the 13 U.S. News business disciplines/specialties (Accounting, Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, International Business, Management, Marketing, Production/Operations, Real Estate and Supply Chain/Logistics). Additionally, we are one of only eight schools in the U.S. to have Full-Time, Part-Time, and Executive MBA programs ranked in at least the top 20 (part-time #8 & Executive #12). Taking advantage of excellence across campus, including 48 Top 10 ranked graduate programs, we partner on 16 Dual Degree programs and course collaborations where MBAs have the option to take electives outside of McCombs. Beyond UT, we have over 30 exchange partnerships with top peer programs around the world.”

* To read profiles of 12 first-years, go to Page 3.

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