Meet the MBA Class of 2024: David Dossett, University of Texas (McCombs)

David Dossett

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“Striving to live a purpose-driven life, filled with faith, family, and continuous improvement towards my goals.”

Hometown: Cleveland, Mississippi (It’s a real place.)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m the only MBA candidate you’ll meet who is a former military rock-climbing instructor and a father to toddler twin boys.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Mississippi, Liberal Arts Major, Business Minor

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Marine Corps, Captain, Infantry Officer

What makes Austin such a great place to earn an MBA?  Austin is a great place to earn an MBA because of the immense growth underway and subsequent professional opportunities across a wide range of industries.  Whether you’re looking to get into industries like tech, healthcare, energy, or anything in between, Austin has something for you. Also, companies starting here and moving here brings a mix of startup and more mature companies. Whether you are a career switcher, career explorer, or just trying to accelerate your current path, there will be organizations and professionals here to support you. Outside of school, Austin is a wildly fun place to live in regard to entertainment, outdoor exploring, dining and sports. It has a unique southern hospitality feel with big city opportunities.

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? There is no school quite like The University of Texas at Austin that blends academic prestige with incredible school spirit within the students and the alumni. The 500,000+ alumni base is immensely prideful and loyal, which makes it a special organization to be a part of. I also appreciate the value that Texas McCombs puts on their veteran base. McCombs provides some great resources for veterans, and their support is very obvious from the start. My class has a great group of talented veterans that are all looking to make an impact in the business world upon graduation, and I am confident that McCombs will facilitate that.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Texas McCombs? So far, I am most excited about the Real Estate Investment Fund class. This unique course combines MBA and undergraduate students (juniors) in a class to discuss public traded and private equity real estate investments over the course of two semesters. MBA candidates and undergraduate students collaborate to make assessments on real estate investments on behalf of the University’s REIT fund of approximately $10 million. I am excited to hear guest speakers from the booming real estate market in Texas as well as researching real world investment opportunities.

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.  I love the camaraderie that McCombs fosters by placing us into cohorts and study teams, and the emphasis on working together to achieve great results. It has allowed me to learn from other team members with different backgrounds and given us a hands-on approach to learning. We are able to pool together our individual strengths to make a really great collective product. My favorite McCombs experience so far was the “Executive Challenge” competition during orientation. Each of the members within our study team were assigned an executive role within a simulated tech company. Teams competed to maximize the growth and revenue of our company over several quarters. Throughout the simulation, business decisions, complex ethical issues, or external emergencies were presented to the members of the team; and we have to work together to make decision to help the company succeed. Ultimately, the results over time were compared and analyzed, and it was a great introduction to our study teams and our cohorts. It really made McCombs feel like home.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Becoming a Marine Corps Infantry Officer is my greatest accomplishment to date. Leading Marines and watching their dedication to their craft and their development as leaders was an experience I will truly cherish. I learned more from them than they could have ever learned from me, and I am incredibly grateful for that opportunity. Additionally, serving with and learning from the officers in the Marine Corps was the most humbling and enlightening experience I’ve ever had. I was able to grow so much as a leader and was so inspired by the hard work and commitment of my fellow Marines that I will always look back on my experience with pride and gratitude.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? It would be the book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. It is a great book based on a story involving questionable business ethics.  Throughout the core curriculum, several of the classes will have discussions on the importance of sound business ethics within an organization. Additionally, the book shows the importance of communication and transparency across the business departments in order to provide a sense of accountability and teamwork. The leadership within this company did not share insights across the different business functions, ultimately leading to some significant lies and deceit in the organization. It’s also just a great read!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Texas McCombs’ MBA program? Have faith and confidence in yourself. Gain advice and insights from people that have walked this path before you and be willing to change course based on the direction received. Put value on this opportunity by dedicating time and resources to bettering yourself prior to submitting your application. There are so many great resources to prepare you for the standardized tests and the application process, so be sure to take advantage of those. Ultimately, the work that you put in will be a direct reflection of the outcome that you get. Lastly, to my fellow veterans exploring the possibility of pursuing your MBA, don’t undervalue your experience in the military. Many of the skills that you have learned over the course of your career translate well into the business world, and a great MBA program is way to formalize those skills. Be confident that you can be a benefit to any program you choose to join.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.