Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Connor Hunerfauth, University of Texas (McCombs)

Connor Hunerfauth

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“I’m somewhere between Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat.”

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Fun Fact About Yourself: I went running with the bulls this past July in Pamplona, Spain and a bull went running into me! I managed to walk away with just a bruise and a memorable story.

Undergraduate School and Major: Royal Military College of Canada, BEng in Civil Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Canadian Army, Combat Engineer Officer

What makes Austin such a great place to earn an MBA? The people here are incredibly friendly and driven, it’s a motivating environment to be in! There is also so much to explore in your free time, from food, music, or getting out onto the water. Whatever else you may like, chances are Austin has it.

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? The great opportunities for experiential learning, such as McCombs+ Projects and the Longhorn Impact Fellowship at Texas, were a huge draw for me to the McCombs program. While I have had amazing experiences in the Army, my business perspective and knowledge are limited. To be able to work on real problems with real companies, as early as the first semester, will go a long way to confirming my intended career path of consulting is right for me as well as gaining valuable experience.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Texas McCombs? I look forward to connecting with other veterans in the Texas Veterans in Business (TVIB) organization. To learn from others who have successfully made the transition to civilian life and more importantly, to help mentor potential veteran applicants. The advice and perspectives given to me by other veterans during my transition and application process were invaluable and I want to pay that help forward.

What has been your first impression of the McCombs MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best McCombs story so far. The feeling of support amongst students, staff, and alumni here is awesome. Talking to students in the application process, attending a preview weekend, and completing first year orientation has repeatedly shown me that the McCombs team genuinely cares about fostering collaboration and community.

During the second-round preview weekend, we were introduced to not only McCombs itself, as a lot of effort was put into involving us with UT as whole. Part of that included participating in the Longhorn Run. As a Canadian, I was pleasantly surprised to see the distances listed in metric, 5 and 10 kilometers, and I assumed the volunteers running with signs indicating pace times would also be in metric. Normally I can comfortably complete a 10-kilometer run in under an hour and I was confused (and exhausted) during that run when I could barely keep up with the 8-minute marker. It wasn’t until I crossed the finish line and saw my overall time that I realized the pace markers were in minutes per mile, not kilometers. Through that experience, I met other runners at McCombs who I am excited to run the Ragnar Trail 2022 race with as a team, and I will make sure to confirm what units of measurement we are using!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It’s probably for the best. but I don’t have any inspiring stories of leading troops in combat. The most important moments in my career have been when I was able to help individual soldiers, whether that be with overcoming difficulties or pursing greater challenges. Most recently, a soldier felt comfortable enough to raise legacy harassment issues with my team. While we couldn’t see the issues fully resolved during my time there, we were able to take significant steps to help that soldier advance on their journey of healing and the gratitude they expressed for that is something I will never forget.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? The book Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer. It explores how individuals gain, hold, and lose power in organizations and how it impacts success (however you might define “success”). It is a subject I was not, and frankly still am not, comfortable with but Pfeffer makes a compelling case as to why you should at least consider the concept. Some of the perspectives in the book have helped me reflect on how I could have better advocated for myself in the past and provided actionable steps to do so in the future.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Texas McCombs’ MBA program? Be very deliberate with your time. Set SMART and scaled goals for how you will study for the GMAT or GRE, write essays, speak with current students and alumni, and even rest. Having a clear plan of how you will spend your time during the application process and holding yourself accountable to that plan is critical for success.

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