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Ernst & Young, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, ExxonMobil, and Charles Holley of Walmart Honored

On April 25, the McCombs School of Business honored Ernst & Young, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, ExxonMobil, and Charles Holley of Walmart for their exemplary contributions and participation with the school at the Annual Corporate Recognition Dinner.

The dinner was held to pay tribute not only to the four honorees, but also to the more than 70 companies that partner with the McCombs School by providing support for students, faculty, and key initiatives annually. Their continued investment and engagement with the McCombs School is what enables us to develop the future business leaders of tomorrow.

To view photos from the event, we invite you to visit the McCombs Alumni Flickr page.

Outstanding Corporate Partner: Ernst & Young

The Outstanding Corporate Partner award honors a company whose engagement reaches broadly across the McCombs School’s key areas for partnerships: priority initiatives, students, research and research centers, faculty, and executive education.


Gary Belske, chief operating officer at Ernst & Young

As one of the world's leading professional services organizations, Ernst & Young has a holistic and comprehensive engagement strategy with McCombs that supports diverse programming such as leadership development, diversity initiatives, and faculty support. The organization is also one of our annual top employers, recruiting many of our top BBA, MBA, and MPA graduates. With a cumulative giving total of more than $2 million to McCombs, Ernst & Young’s deep and longstanding involvement outlines a strategic partnership that helps advance key initiatives across the school.

Ernst & Young is a leader in annual giving through its corporate matching campaign to the Accounting Education Excellence Fund, the Distinguished Centennial Professorship of Accounting, and the Faculty Fellowship in Accounting. In 2012, Ernst & Young also supported the Accounting Centennial Gala as a platinum sponsor. The company’s demonstrated partnership also includes sole sponsorship for more than 10 years of the Discover Yourself in Accounting Majors and Careers Program, a leadership camp targeting high school students with an interest in accounting. 

Most recently, the Ernst & Young Foundation provided a seminal $500,000 grant to create the Ernst & Young Scholarship and Ambassador Program that will provide much-needed scholarships to fulfill the critical need of attracting and retaining a diverse accounting student population, while simultaneously developing leadership skills, creating unique networking opportunities with professionals and faculty, and peer-to-peer mentorships.

"We are pleased and proud to be an investor in the McCombs School of Business, and particularly to the Accounting Department. The school’s tradition of outstanding teaching and research has made an incredible contribution to the business community and the accounting profession. The success of the EY Texas alumni over the years is a testament of their outstanding results," said Tim Griffy, Ernst & Young’s assurance partner and campus coordinating partner for The University of Texas at Austin. "We are committed to the strategic collaboration with McCombs and sharing Ernst & Young’s best practices to further develop these important programs and initiatives."

We are deeply grateful to Ernst & Young for their long-standing partnership with the McCombs School to support our students, programs, and faculty which illustrates the large-scale impact a company can have on our mission to educate the business leaders of tomorrow.

Blazing Saddles: Dr Pepper Snapple Group

The Blazing Saddles award honors a company that has the most unique and innovative involvement with the McCombs school over the past year.


Andrew Springate, senior vice president of marketing at Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) has a brand heritage spanning more than 200 years and a portfolio that includes some of the most recognized beverages in the Americas. The company employs more than 19,000 workers in North America.

Working with the McCombs School’s Center for Customer Insight & Marketing Solutions (CCIMS) in 2011, Dr Pepper Snapple helped launch and pilot an innovative experiential learning opportunity for select McCombs Marketing Fellows, an elite group of top-tier MBA students dedicated to pursuing leadership in marketing. Two fellows worked as the brand team for Yoo-hoo chocolate drink for one year. Following the success of the initial partnership, the company recently pledged $300,000-$375,000 over the next three years to CCIMS to create the Dr Pepper Snapple Group Marketing Labs supported by McCombs Marketing Fellows and CCIMS.

This three-year partnership allows top-tier marketing students to participate in a hands-on real world work immersion project for the fall and spring semesters with Dr Pepper and other top brands. For DPS, the students are responsible for managing and strategically allocating resources for a consumer brand while delivering business results to the company. The program enhances the reputation of the McCombs School and its Marketing Department amongst peer schools, while positioning DPS as a groundbreaking leader in fostering experiential learning.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s pioneering support demonstrates how corporations and higher education can partner to promote unique and innovative opportunities to enrich our students’ educational experience, provide leadership development, and promote bottom line business benefit.

Outstanding Corporate Champion: Charles Holley of Walmart

The Outstanding Corporate Champion award honors an individual within a company who has made significant, ongoing contributions to the relationship between the school and their company.


Charles Holley, executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Dean Gilligan

As a global retail industry leader, Walmart has a history of successful recruiting with McCombs. Under the leadership of Charles Holley, executive vice president and chief financial officer, the company’s relationship with McCombs has grown through a strategic effort to target recruiting, diversity, scholarships, and sustainability initiatives.

Walmart recruits finance, marketing, MIS, and MBA majors at McCombs and a variety of other majors across campus, reflecting a clear commitment to The University of Texas at Austin. At McCombs, Walmart has supported the Center for Customer Insight and Marketing Solutions, Diversity in Business efforts, the Energy Management and Innovation Center, BBA and graduate scholarships, and numerous student organizations.

As a McCombs Advisory Council member, Charles has personally championed partnership opportunities with McCombs. Most recently, Walmart made a $300,000 commitment over three years from its Finance, Information Technology and Global Insight groups to McCombs’ Department of Information, Risk & Operations Management for the Master of Science in Business Analytics program, developed to help solve the shortage of talented modern technology business information analysts. Walmart believes the degree is good for the future talent needs of the company and will also provide much needed expertise in data analytics for the market.

This collaboration serves as a model for the importance of a strong corporate champion who personally advocates for and sustains the momentum between a company and the university over time.

Outstanding Executive Education Partner: ExxonMobil

The Outstanding Executive Education Partner award honors a company with a significant, impactful engagement with Texas Executive Education in the preceding year.

Russ Roberts, senior planning advisor at ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs.

ExxonMobil is our Outstanding Executive Education Partner for the depth and breadth of its programs. The Influencing and Advocacy Skills programs have been delivered to more than 350 public and government affairs professionals, and the Commercial Overview I programs have been delivered to over 600 commercial, geoscience, and engineering professionals at six different worldwide locations.

Both programs were jointly developed by The University of Texas at Austin and ExxonMobil. The Advanced Influencing Skills program uses professional actors in role-play simulations to test participants’ advocacy skills to try to secure a major energy project. Commercial Overview I uses innovative short videos as well as a team-based computer simulation to focus participants on the commerciality of their decisions throughout the value chain, from resource capture to production.

We are recognizing both programs for their innovative approach, borne out of the relationship between ExxonMobil and Texas Executive Education.

If your company is interested in exploring opportunities with the McCombs School of Business, please contact the Corporate and Foundation Relations team.

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