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Alumni Bragging Rights: Top 30-Somethings, Outstanding Tax Education, $11 Million for Cookies, and More

McCombs School of Business alumni accomplishments help make The University of Texas at Austin's business school so impressive. Recent alumni achievements include the expansion of a cookie business, company launches, and award wins.

Marching to Their Own Beat(Box)

Beatbox Co founders on "Shark Tank"BeatBox Beverages co-founders Aimy Steadman, MBA '13, and Justin Fenchel, MBA '13, appeared on an episode of "Beyond the Tank," the television series that follows entrepreneurs after their appearance on "Shark Tank." Their crew of co-founders also spoke at the Startup Success: Stories from Startup Veterans panel at the 2016 SXSW festival in Austin last March.


Outstanding Tax Educator Award Win

Ben Ayers, Ph.D. '96, dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, was awarded the Ray M. Sommerfeld Outstanding Tax Educator Award. The award, presented by the American Taxation Association in cooperation with the Ernst & Young Foundation, recognizes and rewards outstanding contributions by a faculty member teaching taxation at a recognized academic institution. Ayers is also taking on the role of president of the American Taxation Association.

Best and Brightest Texas Exes 

Woody HuntGov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott, BBA '81, Woody L. Hunt, BBA'66, MBA '70, and Bobby Stillwell, BBA '59, LLB '61, all received Texas Exes Distinguished Alumni Awards. Of the seven UT grads who received the award this year, three are McCombs alumni. The awards, which were presented in October, have been given since 1958 and are the Texas Exes' highest honor.

Top 30 Under 30

Adam Jacoby, BBA '09, Ricky Johnson, BBA '10, Dominik Stein, MBA '11, and Stephanie Hansen, BBA '09, were among 26 "20-somethings" named Top Texans Under 30 by CultureMap, a website that focuses on local lifestyle news in Texas cities. CultureMap solicited nominations from the public, with the profiles of finalists then submitted to a panel of judges.

Money for Cookies

Austin-based cookie company Tiff's Treats received $11 million from a Dallas-based private equity firm in order to expand. Co-founders Tiffany Taylor Chen and her husband, Leon Chen, BBA '01, started their business in 1999 while still in school at UT. With the funding the company plans to open 12 new locations next year and more stores every year after that. Tiff's Treats is located in four cities across Texas, and has three locations in Atlanta. 


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