Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Taylor Thompson, University of Texas (McCombs)

Taylor Thompson

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“A free-spirited Texan with a love for design, disco, and diversity & inclusion work.”

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: During my time in DC, I worked part-time as a programming director for an art gallery highlighting artists of the African Diaspora. This work inspired me to create my own jewelry line that focuses on combining art with African American history.

Undergraduate School and Major: Spelman College, Economics Major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Accenture, Management Consultant

What makes Austin such a great place to earn an MBA? Beyond the best breakfast tacos and BBQ in the world, Austin is currently a city in the midst of a grand transition. Austin is currently positioned to become a leading city in the tech and cultural space. Now, more than any other time, McCombs students have the opportunity to shape and claim equity in the formation of this emerging landscape. While large tech giants like Apple, Facebook, and Tesla have announced plans to build major offices in the Austin area, I believe the real excitement lies in the auxiliary institutions that will follow. The once quaint Texas capital has already started to see the influx of conferences such as AfroTech and certain VC firms that previously did not leave the confines of the Bay Area. McCombs students have the opportunity to flourish in a robust educational environment and a thriving city in the process of responding to high growth.

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? It was the opportunity to join the McCombs+ experiential learning program was a huge draw for me. As someone who hopes to transition from strategy consulting to marketing, I love the idea of being able to test theories learned in the classroom in real time through micro consulting projects. The McCombs+ program also pairs students with seasoned business coaches that help them navigate pressing issues and refine skills needed to stay competitive in today’s world. I am looking forward to participating in the program and using what is learned to impact future ventures.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Texas McCombs? I’m super excited to get involved with the Marketing Fellows and the Graduate Business Adventure Team (GBAT). As someone looking forward to pivoting into the Brand and Marketing space, I hope to join Marketing Fellows to diversify my marketing knowledge and leadership skills. I hope to work on real-life issues alongside different corporations and learn from industry leaders. I hope to lead the adventure club in planning the annual McCombs ski trip and other excursions with my class.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During my time in consulting, I helped lead a client through the process of improving patient care for those affected by HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Through this process, I learned to understand the different political environments, health care infrastructure, and policies around the world. This project was immensely rewarding as we ultimately developed an approach to streamline data collection to improve health system monitoring, and drastically improved patient retention and the process of maintaining patient records for clinicians.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 has truly changed my outlook in more ways than one. The pandemic allowed me to take a step back and examine what is truly important in life. Working remotely gave me the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones and explore interests I would have never had time to pursue with the usual constraints of day-to-day life, which is something I hope to continue during the rest of my life.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I was led to pursue an MBA to embark on a career transition and gain a deeper knowledge of business practices. After four years of working in management consulting for federal clients, I gained a deeper understanding of how technology works and therefore developed the strategic problem-solving skills to drive products from the idea phase to production. During my career in consulting, I was able to cultivate my long-time passion for design and developing branding for events, new products, and even personas through personal projects outside of work. Working on those projects made me realize I wanted to pivot into brand management full-time.

During my tenure in business school, I hope to refine the skills I have developed the past few years and secure a role in Product Marketing in the Tech Industry or a role within CPG Brand Management.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Fuqua, Stern, Jones

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Texas McCombs’ MBA program? Reach out to as many Alums in your prospective industry and function as possible. LinkedIn is your friend. You will be surprised how many people are willing to share their experiences and journey with you. It is also helpful to begin mapping what your entire MBA journey will look like, from application to admission to matriculation and on to post graduation. Begin with an end in mind.