Meet The TCU Neeley MBA Class Of 2024

TCU Neeley’s MBA Class of 2024 gathers around the Neeley fountain, a signature campus icon that is located at the front entrance of the Spencer and Marlene Hays Business Commons, which is home to the TCU Neeley School of Business. TCU photo

P&Q: How does the Full-Time MBA program leverage the resources of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in general and Texas Christian University in particular? How does that create more opportunities for your students?

Rooney: Our location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation and a growing hub for companies across industry that call DFW home for their corporate headquarters, is a tremendous asset. TCU is intentional about fostering partnerships in the business community, and those result in a wealth of meaningful student opportunities that span mentoring, networking, access to top industry leaders who visit campus as guest speakers, opportunities for on-site company visits, student consulting projects, internships, and post-grad career opportunities.

Many people don’t realize that Fort Worth is the No. 3 fastest growing city in the nation (U.S. Census Bureau) and the 12th largest city in the nation. TCU is embraced throughout the city of Fort Worth and beyond, and our reach extends far beyond our alumni base.

TCU also has longstanding relationships with organizations such as the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Fort Worth, which has led to new scholarship opportunities for our Full-time MBA students at the Neeley School of Business. Each year, we work alongside these organizations to identify the smartest, most ambitious minds in the Fort Worth community with the goal of helping multicultural professionals advance their careers. Our partnership portfolio continues to expand in the community, now partnering with the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce to develop additional student scholarships. These partnerships are a testament of TCU and the Neeley School’s commitment to fostering an inclusive, scholarly community composed of individuals who, through their diverse and sometimes competing perspectives, contribute to a free and intellectually challenging culture where students, faculty, staff and alumni have equitable opportunities and can forge paths toward personal and professional growth.

MBA students put their creativity and knowledge to the test during hands-on, immersive case competitions, through TCU Neeley’s partnerships with some of the strongest brands in the world, such as PepsiCo and Raytheon Technologies. This year, the entire Full-time MBA cohort traveled to Austin, Texas, to present to the senior leadership team at Dell Technologies, showcasing their insight into a real-world business issue. (Location: Dell Technologies in Austin, Texas)

P&Q: Who is a standout in your faculty or administration — the kind of person who graduates talk about a decade after they leave? How does he or she personify your school culture and the best of your MBA program?

Rooney: In regard to unleashing human potential — a key part of our Neeley Promise — Ed Riefenstahl, our long-time director of graduate experiential learning, is known for his dedication to preparing students to achieve professional transformation. As the founder and leader of Neeley & Associates Consultants, a semester-long experiential learning opportunity in which students develop and demonstrate MBA-level skills, Ed has cultivated meaningful learning opportunities for hundreds of TCU Neeley students and alumni. Many alumni credit his programs for equipping them to succeed in professional opportunities not just at the point of graduation, but at later points in their careers as well.

P&Q: What is the most underrated part of your program that you wish students knew more about? How does that make your graduates more valuable to prospective employers?

Rooney: I wish more MBA students realized the power of leveraging our incredible TCU Neeley global alumni network. Faculty and staff facilitate a number of student/alumni interactions, but some of the most compelling outcomes are achieved when students individually approach alumni with similar backgrounds or career aspirations. Horned Frog alumni genuinely enjoy supporting the success of current students and fellow alumni, providing tailored mentorship, broadening networks, and connecting students with opportunities that align with their goals. Because we think it’s important for prospective students to experience elements of the TCU Neeley MBA program, we invite them to connect with alumni through our Ask an MBA initiative.

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Van Nguyen Binh Dinh, Vietnam Foreign Trade University, Ho Chi Minh Campus Cathay United Bank Co., Ltd.
Brendan Hartman Lewisville, Texas TCU Cervello
Josh Grant Birmingham, Alabama Auburn University Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Sarah (Pluff) Barwinski St. Louis, Missouri TCU Neeley ISN
D’Angalo Jackson Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mississippi State University Park Place Dealerships
Jennifer Castillo Los Angeles, California Pepperdine University MONEY INC and MONEY HAUSE
Adam Bowling Marietta, Georgia University of Georgia DLA Piper LLP
Ishita Mathur Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India University of Delhi Ernst & Young
Irene Kwihangana Kigali, Rwanda TCU CIMERWA Plc
Emily Donald Carthage, Texas Texas A&M University Daisy Brand
Busayo Omopariola Lagos, Nigeria Oxford Brooks University Shell Nigeria
Hongjian Liu China China Agricultural University Beijing Municipality Civil Service