Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Eric Martinez, University of Texas (McCombs)

Eric Martinez

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“Optimistic, curious, and enthusiastic. I love finding commonalities with others and developing meaningful relationships.”

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: In 2017, I won a meet and greet with Britney Spears by reading the fine print of a sweepstakes’ official rules and subsequently flooding my name via their free, alternate method of entry.

Undergraduate School and Major: College of William & Mary, BS in Neuroscience

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Society for Neuroscience, Digital Experience Manager

What makes Austin such a great place to earn an MBA? As a Houston native and frequent visitor to Austin, I knew the city had everything to offer in terms of what I was looking for from my MBA experience. In addition to the presence of companies like Amazon, Apple, Dell, and Google – which, by proximity, helps us students get a deeper understanding of their different company cultures and opportunities for MBAs – Austin has just about anything one might need to unwind after class or recharge on the weekends. I’m always checking out new bars, restaurants, and coffee shops and, on nice weekends, I love to go kayaking on Lady Bird Lake.

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? When considering business school, I wanted to make sure the program I selected would have ample opportunities for experiential learning. Since I spent my entire career until this point at one company, I really wanted to expose myself to new ideas and perspectives, and learn from experts in different industries. With McCombs+ Projects, for example, students can apply for and take on a mini-consulting project as early as our first semester in the program. These projects then give us a chance to work with a small team of fellow students on a real-world business problem for one of McCombs+ Project partners. Not only can we get hands-on experience with a potential new industry or function, but we can also start to make personal connections with partner companies and grow our networks.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Texas McCombs? I’m most excited to take an active role on the McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC), as well as in Engaged Queer and Ally (eQual) MBAs and the Latin American and Hispanic MBA Association (LAHMBA). As a gay, Latino man, I make it a priority to maintain and celebrate my cultural identities. Through MAC, I hope to show prospective applicants that they, too, will be welcomed and embraced at McCombs.

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. Coming to McCombs, I expected both students and alumni to be kind, ambitious, and driven. That’s all been true, but the biggest (and most pleasant) surprise to me was learning how supportive everyone is and how open they are to either talking about their professional experiences or providing you with helpful resources. As you might have read in other students’ profiles, both classes of the MBA program come together on Thursdays for what’s called a “Think N’ Drink” at a different bar every week. I’ve only attended two so far. Although these events are intended to give everyone a break from classes and recruiting, I’ve already met so many second years who are quick to offer me advice or set up time with me to chat about what they learned in their first year and during their summer internship. I plan to pay it forward to the next class!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I think the biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been stepping into the first-ever product management role at my company and helping the web development team move from waterfall to an agile development model. Though I didn’t have any clear footsteps ahead of me to follow, in less than a year of being in that role, I was able to integrate user experience research into our product development process and help the team reduce our bug backlog by 80%. Although there was a lot of trial-and-error in the beginning, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to learn a new skillset, and I’m proud of everything I was able to accomplish.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? An oldie but a goodie, I always recommend reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Although the title gives the impression that its contents may be nefarious, the book is a gold mine of advice that I think anyone can learn from.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Texas McCombs’ MBA program? This is probably said over and over, but it bears repeating: do your research. Learn about every aspect of the McCombs MBA experience and don’t be afraid to ask current students about intricacies of the program that you can later refer to in your admissions essay and interview. It’s great to have an idea of what clubs or organizations you want to join while here, but mentioning your enthusiasm about the 5–6-person study team you’ll get assigned to during your core classes – or the Cohort Olympics you’ll compete in – shows to the admissions team you’ve taken the extra step to fully vet the program and visualize yourself here. Best of luck!

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