Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Addie Olsen Rasche, University of Texas (McCombs)

Addie Olsen Rasche

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“Go-getter who does it all with gumption, grace and gratitude. Former entrepreneur and large-scale festival producer. In the business of making people smile.”

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Fun Fact About Yourself: My friends and I started our own Mardi Gras Krewe — we fabricated a multi-level steel dragon float and paraded annually during New Orleans’ carnival celebration!

Undergraduate School and Major: Tulane University, Double Major in Political Science and Communications

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: C3 Presents (subsidiary of Live Nation), Business Development and Project Manager

What makes Austin such a great place to earn an MBA? I moved to Austin in 2018 when I landed a role with C3 Presents, where I led strategic growth and new projects across the company’s festival division. I can confidently say that Austin lives up to its motto of ‘Live Music Capital of the World’. With nightly concerts, SXSW, and my C3 team’s homegrown ACL Festival, there’s truly never a dull moment. But Austin’s thriving music scene isn’t the only thing I’ve come to love about this city. Austin offers a unique mix of southern hospitality, progressive ideology, and its own dash of “weird”. The tacos and hill country hangs can’t be beat. As home to some of the top companies in the nation and a thriving tech hub, Austin is a verified petri dish for MBA students seeking both experiential development and post-MBA work placements.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Texas McCombs’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Outside of the unmatched Austin location and down-to-earth student body, what attracted me to the Texas McCombs MBA program was its incredible reputation as a bastion of support and innovation within the community. McCombs’ “Human Centered, Future Focused” mission is far more than a platitude, it is a reality that I experienced first-hand as I got to know the program. As I was deciding to apply, I spoke with dozens of students who were not only willing but eager to give me advice and encouragement on the process. It was clear that this support would extend lifelong with McCombs’ vast and proud alumni network. On top of its people-first culture, I also witnessed McCombs’ enterprising spirit. As an intimate program situated in one of the largest research universities of the world, McCombs is an incubator of talent and new ideas. Just look to the numbers — McCombs boasts 6,000 venture-backed founders with over $5.8 billion raised and 4,600 alumni in venture capital or private equity.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Texas McCombs? Entrepreneurship is deeply ingrained at McCombs, and it’s one of the aspects of the program that most attracted me. I’m especially looking forward to participating in the Texas Venture Labs (TVL) Practicum, an experience that pairs students from across UT’s various Master’s and Ph.D. programs with local Austin startups for a semester-long, hands-on consulting project. It’s a rare opportunity to work alongside other entrepreneurial students in law, engineering, and natural sciences programs while also being side-by-side with company founders to solve a meaningful problem.

The Austin startup ecosystem is on fire, fueled by what seems to be a weekly influx of new founders and established VCs flowing into the city. TVL offers a unique peek into this world, with the ability to network, receive funding guidance, and apply MBA coursework — market validation, competitive analysis, price modeling, and more — in a real-world setting.

I was very lucky to work for TVL’s Executive Director, Mellie Price, in my pre-MBA internship (albeit on another project) and was so inspired by her commitment to Austin’s forward-thinking founders. I hope to match her energy and dedication in my contribution to the TVL Practicum!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My proudest professional moment occurred when our once three-person startup was acquired by the world’s second largest live entertainment company, AEG Presents. While attending undergrad at Tulane in New Orleans, I helped found a concert, festival and event production startup. We dove headfirst into a trial by fire in the zany world of concert promotion and taught ourselves the business. We built up to promoting and producing 150+ events per year ranging up to 40K attendance as well as ownership of a large-scale festival and venue supporting hundreds of staff and vendors. After six years, we were acquired by AEG Presents and became the company’s 16th regional office. It was rewarding to see our hard work pay off — and to finally have access to the financial and resource support we needed to continue growing our dreams and supporting our people.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I’ve been fortunate to have not had a close friend or family member suffer from COVID-19, and I’m very thankful for that. At the same time, the pandemic has had a substantial and altering impact on my life since March of 2020. My industry shut down completely — revenues for my company (Live Nation) were down over 95% and the live entertainment industry at large experienced a crisis of shuttered venues and mass layoffs. Being out of work and with our lifeblood (music) depleted, my entire support group was in emotional disarray. I had built up a large share of my “sense of self” through my career and dedication to live music, so the shutdown sparked an acute feeling of identity loss and sadness over my lack of agency to turn things around.

Despite these struggles, I made an active choice to look for the silver lining and trust in the marvel of human adaptability. I decided to detour from a successful career in a niche industry in order to better my skill set and gain new experiences, with the hopes of making even greater impacts in my future. I committed to pursuing higher education through an MBA. I dedicated my time to consult for a non-profit supporting local musicians. I reignited my passion for entrepreneurialism by helping to launch an early-stage impact investment firm. In many ways, the pandemic both drained and invigorated me. I will always look back at COVID-19 as a transformative moment in my life, and I’ll be proud of myself for the way that I adapted and persisted with optimism despite my circumstances.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I charted my early career around my passions for music, but what I discovered through the process was an equally matched passion for business and for launching and growing new ideas. I thrive when I’m working across diverse functions and teams to pilot complex ventures — people don’t often recognize the nuanced and high-stakes nature of large festivals! But my experience was industry limited. This is what led me to pursue an MBA. I want to extend my passions beyond the event experience and make an impact on a larger scale.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Only McCombs!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Texas McCombs’ MBA program? My top piece of advice is to be genuine. Take the time to reflect on your unique experience and how it has shaped your strengths, goals, and values. Truly understand why McCombs is the right place for you by doing your research and talking to students and alumni. Be your authentic self, own your story, and show your enthusiasm. Hook ‘em!


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