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Students Win Texas MBA Scholarships in Business Pitch Competition

AUSTIN, Texas — Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (TVL) and the Texas MBA program announced two 2015 TVL scholarship recipients, Tenaj Ferguson and Omar Garza, at the TVL Scholarship Competition on February 20. Ferguson and Garza will both receive a scholarship for $10,000 per year as well as in-state tuition.

Omar Garza and Tenaj Ferguson smile toward the cameraThe TVL Scholarship Competition is a unique business pitch competition where potential graduate students pitch their business plan for a scholarship to the McCombs School of Business Texas MBA program in a ‘Shark Tank’ like environment.

"We created this competition because we wanted a different way to evaluate potential entrepreneurs in the admission process," says Tina Mabley, assistant dean of the Texas MBA program. "It has been more successful than we imagined at helping us attract and evaluate future students interested in starting their own business, and the quality of the competition gets better every year.”  

Ferguson pitched her business plan for Lady Epicure Gourmet, a natural food brand dedicated to creating quality food products inspired by local and global influences. Ferguson also received the competition’s Best Presenter award.

Garza pitched his business plan for YouRefund, a mobile application designed to make it cheaper and easier for foreign shoppers to recover their Texas sales tax, while also helping identify and avoid tax fraud.

“The Texas MBA program has exceeded the expectations that I had for my graduate school experience, says Justin Key, MBA '16, a 2014 TVL scholarship recipient. “Before the scholarship competition I had my doubts that an MBA was the right investment to make as I was trying to get a business off the ground. After the amount of support and encouragement that I’ve received from the Texas MBA program and the UT community as a whole this past semester it’s hard to imagine doing it any other way."

The judges panel consisted of Rob Adams, TVL director; Tina Mabley, Assistant Dean of the Texas MBA program; Jaime Sutton, BBA '06, MBA '13, director of marketing and operations for Tech Ranch; and Lauranne Jarrett, BBA '90, MBA '97, Herb Kelleher Center Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

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