Commencement Spotlight: Alan Trubow, Evening MBA
Alan Trubow is an award-winning sports reporter who writes about Longhorn athletics for the Austin American-Statesman and Hookem.com. He has been selected one of the top-10 newspaper sportswriters in the country three times in the past five years by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He plans on combining his writing and communications background with his McCombs MBA to pursue a career in management consulting, marketing, or public relations.
We asked him to share a first-person reflection on his time at McCombs.
I’ll never forget walking through the classroom doors at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the first day of my first Texas Evening MBA class.
The class was statistics. But I was thinking about "Sesame Street."
“One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.”
Those lyrics from the show’s famous song kept running through my mind.
All I could think about was that I was the outlier, the anomaly, the one person who didn’t fit. I was a sportswriter who had never put together a single PowerPoint slide, and I was sitting in a room full of brilliant engineers, consultants, and software developers.
That was three years ago.
Looking back, my thought process was 100 percent right and 100 percent wrong. (Admittedly, that might seem like sportswriter math.)
I was an anomaly, but that’s exactly why I did belong.
The past couple of weeks, people have asked what was the most valuable thing I received or learned in the Texas Evening MBA program.
Was it a deep understanding of accounting? Finance? Marketing? How to analyze and create a successful new business?
Was it the invaluable professional network of classmates and alumni or the deep friendships formed, including some that will undoubtedly last a lifetime?
Was it learning PowerPoint?
Those were all valuable.
But it was the combination of all those pieces that created the ultimate windfall. Together they gradually allowed me to form a different way to approach problems, a different way to analyze situations.
What I got from TEMBA is a different way to think.
It began in the classroom with the lessons and lectures from a world-class faculty.
But it really came full circle thanks to my classmates. TEMBA gave me the unique opportunity to work with and learn from smart, motivated people for three straight years.
It was eye-opening to work with someone like Dustin Hawkins, a software developer, as he solved a complex business problem with an easy-to-use application. It was fascinating to watch Kyle Henry, a former consultant, break down a problem and build a step-by-step solution.
I’ll actually miss working late into the night on presentations with guys like Niraj Patel (AMD), Matias Segura (URS Corporation), and Jeff Shih (InfoSys).
I hope they feel the same way. My classmates not only enhanced my experience, but they also helped me realize that a journalism background was a differentiating and valuable quality when it came to structuring presentations, writing papers, and communicating in an easy-to-understand format.
It used to bother me when people asked why a sportswriter would go to business school. I didn’t really have an answer.
I do now.
Three years ago, when it came to career opportunities, I felt like I was driving down a narrow one-lane street. TEMBA provided an entrance ramp to a six-lane highway.
I’ve had interviews for consulting, marketing, project management, and public relations positions.
There aren’t many journalists with MBAs.
Spending three intense years in a wonderful program with unbelievably fascinating people, I can honestly say that, “One of these things is not like the other.”
And that’s a good thing.