Meet The Texas McCombs MBA Class Of 2022

Rowling Hall entrance

P&Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business school?

Tina Mabley: “Along with the rest of the world, we made a hard pivot in March to build out our remote learning community. After a year piloting our Microsoft Teams environment, we built an intentional structure in Teams to foster a connected community virtually. We utilized this community to build engagement with our class of 2022 over the summer. This proved to be a valuable point of connection for our staff and students in the months leading up to the start of the program. Building off of this connected community, we launched our 1st year career class over the summer so students could begin their individual career planning, while they had time to for introspection and research. This was a valuable way to keep everyone engaged and active on their MBA planning journey.

For classes, we are employing a combination of in-person, online and hybrid delivery. For our core classes, half of our first years come to campus on Monday/Tuesday and half on Wednesday/Thursday, attending remotely on the opposing days.  We have found this is a good balance for making connections in-person, while ensuring low density for a safe campus experience.”

P&Q: Tell us more about your MBA+ Leadership program? What is involved in the program? How is it a little different than other MBA leadership programs? What have students and graduates told you about it?

Deidra Stephens: “Texas MBA+ is an experiential leadership and professional development program with five components:

  • MBA+ Projects – Co-curricular, short-term, micro-consulting with client companies
  • Seminar & Special Events – community events and workshops designed to build leadership, communication and industry skills
  • Individualized Coaching – 8 hours of access yearly to a roster of approximately 40 leadership and communication coaches
  • McCombs Global Connections – Short-term academic study tours designed to increase cultural awareness and international business knowledge
  • McCombs Adventure Program – Pre-orientation adventure and service learning trip to support the needs of microbusinesses in rural communities in Latin America

Deidra Stephens, Director of the Texas MBA+ program

“MBA+ is available to all Texas McCombs MBA students. There is no application process, and students can opt into any offering. It is designed to be customizable to help students design their own path and get the most out of their MBA experience.

Many MBA programs have similar offerings, but none group them together as we do for a focus on experiential learning. By grouping the five components together, we leverage elements of each to bring new and innovative programming to students. For example, students may first participate in a McCombs Adventure Program doing hands-on building projects in Oaxaca, Mexico, and continue their work in the community with an MBA+ Project with a microbusiness in the region. The MBA+ Project team might then work with an MBA+ communication coach on developing their final presentation.

Many programs offer coaching, usually with peers or alumni, but none offer the depth of our program. Every Texas McCombs MBA student has access to up to 8 hours of coaching each year with any coach on our roster. Communication coaches have Ph.D.s in communication studies and are experts in the field. Leadership coaches have industry experience and at least five years of coaching experience with C-suite executives.

Another difference is student access to MBA+ Projects. We allow students to participate in these co-curricular projects at any time in their program, including their first semester. This has proven to be a game changer for our Full-Time students who are often career switchers. Students appreciate the ability to signal interest in a different career to recruiters early in their program. They also appreciate early access to the type of work they would be doing to make sure they really like it before making a longer-term commitment to an internship. Our Working Professional and Executive MBA students also participate in MBA+ Projects so they can get exposure to other industries and functional areas that would not be available to them otherwise.”

P&Q: How does McCombs take advantage of its Austin ecosystem to provide students with opportunities in the classroom and extracurricular activities?

Tina Mabley: “Our students are a major source of talent in the area which means we have strong community and corporate partners in Austin who turn to our students for projects, volunteering and an array of other opportunities. The business school is located less than 10 blocks from downtown Austin, which means that our campus and classroom extend into the city in a seamless way. As the capital city, Austin provides many opportunities for students to be at the forefront of major business challenges such as transportation, healthcare, education, and affordable housing.

This year, we have partnered with the Austin Mayor’s Office and the non-profit community to source projects for our new Leading for Impact Capstone course.”

THE BENEFITS OF A McCOMBS MBA

What are some additional benefits of the McCombs MBA program? This is what the Class of 2022 (and alumni) had to say:

1) Austin: “Austin is a special city that sits at the intersection of many different industries and attracts companies of all sizes. McCombs does a phenomenal job connecting students with local organizations through fellowship programs and MBA+ projects. For me, the ability to interact directly with business leaders and gain hands-on experience throughout the academic year offered a huge advantage in building a robust network and skill set. I’m also thrilled to be among the first classes to participate in McCombs’ Leading for Impact, a two-year leadership development course that culminates in a capstone project supporting local non-profits. I believe the coaching we gain through that program will pay dividends for decades to come as we embark to lead teams and organizations around the world.”
Caroline Peterson (’22)

Hybrid classroom with Professor Brian White in core Accounting course

2) Career Management: “In a recent Poets & Quants article from August 2019, the McCombs Career Management team was applauded for their outstanding tenacity in using market intelligence to inform adjustments to curriculum and services. As someone looking to pivot my career, I gravitated towards McCombs’ strong reputation for fostering company relations and alumni connections as this would be vital in my journey to beginning a new career in business. I am immensely happy with my decision to attend McCombs, and I know that I am being guided and taught by the best. McCombs Career Consultants, Hon Lam and Cara Polisini, were especially helpful in preparing me for summer recruiting through the Consortium Orientation Program in June.”
Angela Masciale (’22)

“Beyond the unbeatable Austin location and notoriously supportive students, the Texas McCombs program stood out to me because of its emphasis on career management and the vast alumni network. As someone interested in exploring career opportunities, the wide range of strategic tools, industry contacts, and one-on-one mentoring offered by the Career Management department are invaluable to me. The coaching begins early in the summer before first year and continues through the Strategic Career planning course. These efforts, complemented by an accomplished and proud network of “Texas Exes” eager to support students, were an important part of my decision to attend Texas McCombs.”
Catherine Post (‘22)

3) Fellows Programs: “I’m incredibly excited about Operations Fellows. Though I’m coming from an operational background, I’m eager to explore the world of operations across different industries. Through intimate speaker series and site visits, the fellowship program offers glimpses into the lives of business leaders and their organizations. I’m also excited to expand my expertise through micro-consulting projects and to explore real business challenges for organizations around the country, from expanding production capacity for a local CPG company, to increasing fulfillment efficiency for one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies.”
Caroline Peterson (’22)

“I am most excited about Marketing Fellows and McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC). Marketing Fellows is an application-based program that provides opportunities to develop marketing skill sets through in-class curriculum and external based projects. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn from top executives and strengthen my ability to think critically about real-world challenges. MAC is also an application-based program that serves as a student arm to the admissions team. Throughout my time at Rice and Deloitte, I constantly served in positions of recruitment, orientation, and inclusion – so I’m thrilled about the potential to extend a “virtual” embrace to those applying to McCombs this fall.”
Angela Masciale (’22)

McCombs hybrid class room with Professor David Harrison

“Being selected into Venture Fellows was a highlight of my MBA path. Venture Fellows began roughly 20 years ago to provide students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the venture capital and private equity industries by partnering with top firms around Austin and the country. Given the difficulty of breaking into the PE and VC space – and the tremendous growth of Austin’s private equity scene –Venture Fellows receive an unparalleled opportunity to intern with a partner firm for a full year during their MBA.

I had the privilege of working for CAVU Venture Partners, a leading consumer food, beverage and lifestyle focused VC employing ~$5-50 million early-stage and growth equity investments. Venture Fellows also hold a class once a week in which a diverse slate of speakers, from entrepreneurs to VCs and prominent CEOs, share their experiences. Admission into Venture Fellows is a selective and demanding application process that is controlled entirely by the Venture Fellows from the previous class. Once admitted, your Venture Fellows peers become some of your closest friends in the program and it was a privilege getting to know this stellar group of individuals. The program has been profoundly successful, as demonstrated by the over 100 PE and VC firms who competed for a Venture Fellow this year – despite only having 18 available members. McCombs was the first to create such a program that now serves as a model that other business schools have followed.”
Christopher Goff (’20)

4) International Night: “Every fall, the International MBA Student Association hosts “International Night,” where students share food and showcase traditional song and dance from their countries of origin. Students and faculty bring their families, and the entire community celebrates cultures and customs from all over the world. It is easily one of my favorite events of the year.”
Amie Harris (’20)

What led the Class of 2022 to pursue an MBA? What was the toughest question they were asked during the application process? What other schools did they consider? Check out the student profiles below for answers to questions and many more. 

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Alyssa V. Buchanan St. Louis, MO Howard University Mondelez International
Sarah Davison Toronto, Canada Queen’s University IMAX
Jhovany Duperval Brooklyn, NY CUNY Baruch College Major League Baseball
Siobhan Huslander Chesapeake, VA U.S. Air Force Academy U.S. Air Force
Angela Masciale Corpus Christi, TX Rice University Deloitte Consulting
Chaitanya Pawan Bangalore, India National Institute of Technology, Calicut WeWork India Managemen
Robert Pedrigi Bloomington-Normal, IL Michigan State University U.S. Army
Caroline Peterson Escondido, CA Stanford University Pared
Nathaniel Physioc Richmond, VA Virginia Tech Professional Poker Player
Catherine Post Lake Charles, LA Tulane University KPMG Argentina
Daniel Sousa-Lennox Panama City, PA Universidad de Navarra Banco General
Tian Yang Hong Kong, China Dalian University of Foreign Languages Fleur Hong Kong

Our Meet the Class of 2022 Series

The COVID Cohorts: Meet The Newest MBA Students in the Class of 2022

London Business School

UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management

University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business

University of Washington Foster School of Business

Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Emory University Goizueta Business School

Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business

 

Comments or questions about this article? Email us.