Top 10 Reasons to Get Your MBA at Texas
By Morgan Brown, MBA '12
Adapted from a post published on Texas MBAs Talk
These are my top 10 reasons, not the administration’s. I’m also not necessarily a representative sample of the student body. I did ask about 50 current students what their top 3 reasons are, and used that to inform some of my recommendations.
# 10: You get to be a Longhorn
When you look at anyone’s list of the top mascots in college sports, Bevo (the real Texas longhorn that attends football games and other university events) is always in the top 10. But Bevo himself is just the tip of the iceberg – the Longhorn brand is so universally recognizable and unique that in the college football hall of fame, every school but one has letters representing their school’s logo. Texas has the longhorn logo, as that’s all that’s needed to identify the university.
The power of the brand is evident – Texas is the #1 school in terms of raking in licensing royalties, according to Collegiate Licensing Company. The new Longhorn TV Network should only increase it.
After the first semester, we were mostly done with our required courses. And that means more electives over the next three semesters. Required courses are good – employers expect newly minted MBAs to have certain skills, after all – but it also means you have less time to take the classes you really want to take.
Overall, what I found most refreshing about my liberal arts undergraduate experience was the opportunity to take classes I was interested in, rather than having to take a prescribed list of courses that were necessary to get a certain degree. It’s been nice to know that I can continue that experience in business school.
#8: Leadership opportunities per capita
With over 40 clubs and organizations but just 260 students in your class, there’s an outsized opportunity to take on leadership opportunities at McCombs.
Our clubs range from the industry/professional clubs to affinity clubs like Latin American and Hispanic MBA to purely networking clubs like the MBA Golf Club. Students have the opportunities to join as many clubs as they like, but most find it difficult to take on leadership in more than two clubs.
For a listing of the organizations on campus as well as more details about each of them, see http://new.mccombs.utexas.edu/MBA/Full-Time/Student-Life/Student-Organiz....
#7: Grade disclosure
McCombs discloses grades - this means you are free to put your GPA on your resume, and recruiters can demand to know your GPA. When I first starting looking into schools, I thought grade non-disclosure was better; after all, there was a certain utopian feel to the concept that everyone was there to learn. Several top MBA programs (Stanford, Haas, Booth, Ross, Wharton) do not disclose grades, and I thought that it was a bummer that Texas did.
I think grade disclosure is good for three primary reasons:
1. You’ll learn from studying for tests more
Studies have shown that cramming for tests actually enhances retention of the material. So since caring about your grades means you’ll study for the tests, you’re going to retain more of the knowledge after school.
2. You’ll get more out of your prepared classmates
Since your classmates care about grades, they’ll be prepared for class as well, meaning you’ll get the most out of their contributions, anecdotes, and thought-provoking comments.
3. For banking or consulting internships, hard workers can distinguish themselves
If you’re interested in starting your own company, grades may not be as important. But for students that do want to work for banks, consulting firms, or other companies that do care about grades, they have the opportunity to stand out.
#6: The UT network
A huge benefit of going to a school like Texas that also has a strong undergraduate business program is that your network isn’t limited to the 260 MBAs that graduate each year. There are over 85,000 McCombs alums alive today. The BBAs (undergraduate business students) indeed end up growing up to be successful business people, and as an MBA, you get to be part of that network as well.
#5: It’s the economy, stupid
My operations management professor told us that since 2008, 80 percent of the jobs created in the United States were created in Texas. California politicians made a recent trip to Texas to try to understand why we were taking their jobs.
Fifty-seven of the Fortune 500 firms are headquartered in Texas; that’s tied with California for the most in the country. And they’re not just big oil and energy companies; there’s a wealth of different industries that are big in the Lone Star state.
#4: UT sports
It’s not just football here – our basketball team was ranked in the top two in the country each of the last two years; our baseball team [advanced to the World Series], and our varsity sports teams across the board are incredibly competitive. Because Texas has relatively fewer varsity sports, they can be competitive in all of them.
Football had a down year last year, but everyone around campus is very excited about the top coaching talent that Mack Brown was able to recruit to campus and is expected a big turnaround from last year’s disappointing 5-7 season.
#3: Real world work opportunities
McCombs’ MBA+ projects - opportunities to get hands-on work experience with local and regional companies like Deloitte, Foursquare, or the Houston Rockets – give students a way to build some core skills that complement their classroom learning and can help them to show recruiters that they’ve learned more at business school than accounting and finance.
While I didn’t have a chance last year to do a MBA+ project, I did get to participate in Texas Venture Labs, which gave me the chance to work with entrepreneurs to help build their businesses towards critical stages of fundraising. And there are a ton more opportunities as well, such as Board Fellows, where you can sit on a board of a company.
#2: Austin itself
It’s hard to pin down what’s the best thing about Austin. Between the near-year round great weather, the Mardis Gras-like atmosphere on the bar and restaurant-lined 6th street, the laid back attitude of a socially aware, locally proud citizenry, and the influence of the university on the culture here, Austin is a great place to be in business school.
There’s lots of great outdoor activities like renting a party boat on beautiful Lake Travis, rock climbing or hiking the Green Belt, or simply running around the “lake” (it’s really a river). But there’s also lots of culture, great festivals like Wurstfest or ACL, and great food (except for maybe pizza – we’ve yet to find a great place for a pie).
After spending eight of the last nine years in the northeast, Austin has been a very welcome diversion.
#1: The People
I really didn’t want to end on “the people” because it seems so cliché, but I sent a survey to classmates and it was hands-down their #1 favorite thing about McCombs. For me, I really loved the fact that although people here are competitive, smart, and well-rounded (like any other business school will tell you), they are also legitimately nice.
It must have something to do with the type of people that are attracted to Texas and Austin; there just aren’t any jerks around. I’ve been really happy with everyone I’ve met here and am proud that I’ll be able to count my classmates in my network after I graduate.