Category: Mc Combs Today

Six Summer Activities to Boost Your College Application

Summers are the only extensive blocks of free time students have. But summer is also an excellent time to up your odds of getting into your dream college. Instead of sitting around during the summer like you used to, you need to consider summer activities that translate to a well-rounded college application.

Are you looking to give your college applications a bit of a boost this summer? Here a few activities that will make this summer memorable, productive, and impressive.

Take a College Class

Taking college classes in high school can boost your college admission chances. When you take college classes while in high school, you reduce the number of classes you will take when you join college. Also, these programs introduce students to the rigors of college coursework early.

Many community colleges allow high school students to take certain classes. With such a vast pool of classes, you can take courses at night, online, or even on the weekend. Most teenagers can easily take classes in fields such as English composition and linear algebra. However, many of these programs require a specific academic standing to participate. Similarly, not all colleges will grant credit for all classes taken.

Volunteer in your community

More and more high school students have taken up volunteering projects in their community in the recent past. One of the reasons for this upsurge is because high school students who volunteer may have an advantage when headed off to college.

In general, there are tons of volunteer opportunities for teens in the summer. Some of the benefits of volunteering include increased happiness and health, professional growth, new global connections, and having a positive impact on the community. You might even learn a new language or improve your second language skills. After summer volunteering abroad, you’ll expect to have a few good stories to tell.

Get a Summer Job

Working during the summer months helps you build an attractive resume. A summer job can be something as simple as babysitting the neighbor’s kid. You’ll have the opportunity to see how businesses work. In addition, you’ll be enjoying the benefits long after your paycheck is spent.

Experiencing new things can make you more productive, and you might even have fun. Even after you go to college, summer jobs will continue to provide crucial life-skills training. A summer job’s paycheck can also be useful to help you in autumn.

Apply for Internships

Interning in high school is a smart idea, no matter your career path. The essential advantage of internships is that they integrate classroom knowledge with practical application. Interns are often portrayed as the coffee-carrying gophers of the workplace, but interning is a great way to prepare for a promising career after high school.

Internships do not offer decent paychecks. But the main point of internships is to gain experience. This is an experience that you can include on your resume and college applications. Thus, internships present unique and meaningful opportunities for career exploration.

Start Your SAT Test Prep

You know you need to take the SAT. But how do you prepare? Early preparation can be the key to making those scores work in your favor. That’s because SATs are coachable exams that you can crack through practice.

It would help if you started your test prep the summer between sophomore and junior year. Students who start studying earlier do better on the SAT and strengthen their college application.

Go to Summer Camp

Summer camp offers one of the most effective learning environments and can be the place where you learn environmental awareness, leadership, and other skills that prove beneficial long into adulthood. Throughout the program, you will have the opportunity to explore academic interests and interact with professors. As a result, you will understand how these individuals have accomplished their goals of becoming successful. If you plan to stay long at the summer camp, buy a massage chair available at a decent price point that won’t break the bank.

Students who go to summer camps meet a whole other group of people in a different environment. This can open a whole new world of friendship, interests, skills, and independence.

Bottom Line In today’s competitive college admissions market, students are faced with the task of demonstrating their continued commitment to academic and extracurricular activities. These tips can help you to get started.

Why Students Should Learn How to Play Table Tennis

Table tennis is one of the world’s quickest games.

And…

Playing table tennis has become a lifestyle for many people worldwide.

You need constant lateral movement and good cardiovascular health to play the game.

The game raises heart rates during a match for all players ranging from Olympians to amateurs.

Just like any other sport, table tennis improves children’s health and quality of life through positive vibrations. It distracts players from their stressful life atop being fun.

Students develop physically and mentally.

Other benefits of playing table tennis include:

  • Improves eye-hand coordination and reflex
  • Enhances movement speed and mental alertness
  • Reduces the risk of injuries and falls
  • Improves balance
  • Slows cognitive decline process
  • Lengthens lifespan through development of bonds and social skills

Table tennis is rewarding to strategic players.

To be successful, players must think ahead of their opponents and determine what they’re trying to do. You must plan your shots and execute a particular strategy to become a successful player.

Additionally, you need to practice to hone your gaming skills. The game is weather-friendly, meaning it can be played any time all-year round, day or night.

Students can play table tennis casually for social interaction or competition. The fun nature of the game means students can easily keep playing to enjoy its health benefits.

Here’re a few reasons students should play table tennis:

6 Reasons Table Tennis is a Fun Game for Student Players

1. Easy to learn

Table tennis is a safe sport that’s easy for students to learn because no contact is involved.

The game is easy on the body and students of all ages can learn to play it. Ranging from developing keen accuracy to focusing on hitting the ball hard to developing varied spin balls, the game can be played in different ways.

With enough commitment and practice, any student can easily learn how to play table tennis.

Although a human coach can train students on how to play table tennis, a robot is a good choice for teaching the game.

Investing in robots can help students learn and sharpen their gaming skills.

2. Physical exercise

An individual’s health is directly related to the possibility of achieving life’s purpose and goal. The pillar of a successful life is good health.

The playground is critical to the health of students just as a library is for mental health. Equipment for indoor table tennis are required for students to improve their mental and physical health.

The unique physical benefits of the game renders it ideal for students to develop their mental and physical health.

Moreover, table tennis helps students reduce the risk of common injuries during tournaments.

3. Better ability to deal with adversities

Generally, life is full of adversities.

Consecutive misfortunes can affect the motivation level of individuals.

But…

Table tennis enables students to experience, practice and overcome various adversities as often as they play. The practical experience gives students the hope and determination to do better next time.

A table tennis player, just like any other sportsman, keeps trying until they attain success. Students can replicate the hope and determination obtained through table tennis in real life.

Students who play table tennis are better prepared for life.

4. Develop social skills

Students have receptive minds that assist them in learning.

When children interact, they improve their communication skills and confidence levels.

A competitive gaming environment enables students to engage fully in the mental and physical activity. This helps them to find their reserve talent that makes them unique.

The students make friends and share with them their unique experiences and feelings. They get a chance to explore the good sides of life, making them feel better and happier.

They develop a social life through gaming.

5. Boosts self confidence

Each child is born with a unique talent.

But…

It takes hard work and exploring deep into students’ hidden talent reserves to find out their unique talents.

With table tennis, you can easily figure out a students’ best talent through knowledge of what boosts their self-confidence.

With self-confidence, students are driven to accomplish almost all their tasks or activities in life.

Teamwork and appreciation from teammates, coaches and parents polish students’ self-confidence.

6. Fosters determination and hard work

Table tennis involves players backing up their teammates post each wasted or unsuccessful attempts. This enables players to go back to the game and try harder to perform better.

The process is continuous until success is attained.

The daily experiences build students’ ability to strike back harder, simultaneously and more accurately to develop a solid foundation of hard work and determination.

Self-confidence, determination and hard work go a long way to foster success in the students’ lives.

Conclusion

Sports is an integral aspect of learning because students don’t just play but also learn in the process. With reasonably-priced yet top quality table tennis equipment in the market, schools can easily invest in the sport for their students.

Investing in table tennis is investing in the future of students.

Effects Of Having Cool Office Amenities

The beauty of office space has an impact on companies and their people since at some level it depends on the success of the company as employees determination to work hard depends on the environment that surrounds them. Cool companies provide offices that are well maintained and up to the standards bringing about a spin and smooth atmosphere leading to a positive impact on the company’s success. Below are the positive end results of cool companies.

Employees spend quality time there. Office’s design matters to the employees’ wellbeing. Workers who work in offices that are darker, noisier and older have high levels of stress as compared to those who work in cool, newer, sunlit spaces which have a spin design with smooth structures. These encourage the employees to work hard and see the success of the company since the company has designed a place that not only makes them happy but also meets their needs.

Good lighting Lighting plays a crucial role in the worker’s rate of production and attitude. Cool offices have good lighting. The analysis shows that good lighting improves moods and energy greatly impacting focus and productivity to the success of the company. If natural lighting through the windows cant be incorporated other options such as blue-enriched light bulbs may reduce weariness and increase gaiety in work performance. The offices with good lighting thus have workers working with less stress, therefore, leading to the success of the company.

Comfortable Offices. There are always tremendous positive effects on co-workers and managers relationships when they work in tidy, clean and appealing offices. Providing a relaxing atmosphere with comfy furniture, efficient working equipment makes the situation better as it provides a spin and smooth environment. When employees choose a space that brings comfort and gives them the freedom to customize their area it will give them free space to customize their own setup thus helping boost success of the company.

Breaks Monotony. Cool developed offices have table tennis in their companies. The big successful companies have incorporated the pole of table tennis for their stuff which is a very useful factor in the place of work. The major role of having a table tennis in the workplace is to break the monotony of working all through. Playing table tennis helps the workers break from what they were doing to helping them think about something else other than work. Whilst playing they clear their heads and help them unwind hence when they get back to work they will be solving issues from a relaxed angle. Playing tennis also helps them brainstorm together about issues they were not able to handle alone thus helping them getting different ideas on how to tackle different issues. This helps create a good relationship among the stuff thus working together towards the success of the company.

Potential working in the company. Imminent employees will be in search of employment in high standard companies so as to much up with their capabilities and to also get a visualization of what it would feel like to work there. And it is a big successful company they will only want to hire prospective employees. Thus the highly talented employees will look for any nuance to help slice off applications list so that they can stand out and them standing out will showcase the company’s image. This will, therefore, cause the company’s business to expand. This showcases how big companies with cool companies are at an advantage.

$6 Million Gift Will Fund Expansion of Texas Venture Labs

Jon Brumley, BBA ’61 Startup accelerator Texas Venture Labs at the McCombs School of Business is now the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, in recognition of a combined gift of more than $6 million from Fort Worth businessman and entrepreneur Jon Brumley, BBA ’61, to fund the growth of the program at McCombs. “This investment is a game-changer that enables us to expand the scale and accessibility of the Texas Venture Labs model. It’s a vote of confidence as well, because of the reputation of Jon Brumley as an entrepreneur, a business builder and a distinguished graduate of McCombs and the Wharton School of Business,” said Dean Tom Gilligan.

Brumley founded six oil and gas companies, all of which listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2005, Forbes magazine named Brumley and his son, Jonny, “Entrepreneurs of the Year.”

Brumley said his gift reflects the reality and the potential of Texas Venture Labs.

“Texas Venture Labs is a gem in the Texas entrepreneurial ecosystem. It provides critical, hands-on experience for aspiring entrepreneurs who learn as students the effort required to get a new venture through the financing process,” he said. “For me, this gift is an opportunity to build our capacity to grow the economy of Texas, while giving a leg up to young entrepreneurs, who remind me a lot of myself at that age.”

Since it was established two years ago, Texas Venture Labs has worked with 40 companies that have raised more than $25 million in investment capital, while providing direct entrepreneurial experience to graduate students in business, engineering, law, and natural sciences. Texas Venture Labs also sponsors the annual Venture Labs Investment Competition, which is being held May 2-5 on campus.

“Our theme for the investment competition is ‘Investor Ready,’ which reflects why graduate students from around the world flock to Austin every spring for the chance to launch their business as they finish graduate school,” said Rob Adams, director of Texas Venture Labs. “With this generous gift, Jon Brumley has signaled to the entrepreneurial community that Texas Venture Labs is also ‘Investor-Ready.’”

Do You Make Buying Decisions Based on Logic or Emotion? A Tale of Two Chickens

Let’s consider a popular consumer question you’ve likely thought about. Is the iPhone or the Android better for you? There are more than 97 million results on Google for that question, with lots of data points to consider. Which platform has the most advanced multitasking capacity? Which has better applications? You likely have a list of logical reasons in your head why one or the other is the best choice.

Raj RaghunathanYou may be disappointed to know two researchers at The University of Texas at Austin suspect those rational reasons may have little to do with your decision.

The fundamental question is whether consumers make their choices based on logical comparisons of performance, or are they emotional creatures who gravitate to products that appeal to their senses, feelings or moods?

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McCombs marketing professor Raj Raghunathan and Ph.D. student Szu-Chi Huang point to their research study that shows comparative features are important, but mostly as justification after a buyer makes a decision based on emotional response.

The case of the attractive chicken and the unattractive chicken.

In one phase of their study, Raghunathan and Huang showed participants two photos. One was a nice looking, plump chicken. The other was a chicken that looked thin and sickly. Participants were told that the plump chicken was a natural chicken, and the thin chicken was genetically engineered.

The researchers informed half of the participants that natural chickens were healthy but less tasty, and genetically engineered chickens were tasty, but less healthy. The other half were told the opposite.

Overwhelmingly, sets of participants expressed a preference for the nice plump chicken, but their justifications were different. The first group claimed it was because they valued health above taste, and the second group said it was because taste was more important. Neither group seemed to justify their choice based on how they felt about the chicken’s looks. They felt compelled to justify their emotional choices with non-emotional reasons, to the point that the two groups found completely opposite ways to justify the same decision.

Post-hoc rationalization in marketing, politics, religion and life in general.

Ragunathan said that the researchers tested the same hypothesis using political candidates. Participants were asked to rate the effectiveness of certain work styles displayed by two politicians. Not surprisingly, Republicans tended to value the work style used by the Republican politician, and Democrats valued the work style used by the Democrat. Like the chicken example, different groups were told opposite work styles for each candidate, but each group made their decision based on their pre-conceived political preference, and then justified their decision by whatever trait they had been told “their politician” used.

“This is called post-hoc rationalization,” said Ragunathan, “and it is found in every aspect of our life, whenever we made decisions. We are ruled by our emotions first, and then we build justifications for our response. You can see this happening in hiring decisions, dating, you name it.”

Logic and reason are valued, emotion is mistrusted.

“In our society it is generally not considered justifiable to make a decision purely on an emotional response,” he said. “We want to be considered scientific and rational, so we come up with reasons after the fact to justify our choice.

“This process seems to be happening somewhat unconsciously, people are not really aware they’re coming up with these justifications. What is even more interesting is that people who claim that emotions are not that important, who consider themselves to be really rational, are actually more prone to fall into this trap.”

Szu-Chi HuangRagunathan and Huang [pictured right] believe this is because once someone has denied the possibility of making a decision based on emotion, there is no other option but to come up with justifications. “You paint yourself into a corner,” he claims. “You want to portray yourself as this rational decision maker, but in reality, you’re the one who’s most likely to show post-hoc rationalization.”

Brand image first, rationalization later.

What does this mean for marketers? Ragunathan suggests it confirms the importance of brand image advertising and marketing activities, particularly in the early stages of an introductory campaign. “The earlier you make the emotional connection the better, because once consumers have decided they like a particular option, the more difficult it is for them to backpedal. Their thinking falls in line with the emotions,” he said.

Which brings us back to the question of the iPhone or the Android. Which is best for you? Hey, if it feels good, go for it.

In Their Own Words: 2012 Commencement Speeches

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What did the 2012 McCombs commencement speakers say to graduates? Take a look at these word clouds based on their speeches for an at-a-glance summary of their themes. The largest words were used the most frequently.

BBA

In a speech titled, “Cheers, Tears, and the Five P’s,” John AdamsBBA ’66, encouraged 791 BBA graduates to build their careers on the values of Plan, Perform, Persistance, Principle, and Positive.

“It takes a lifetime to build your reputation but [it’s] something you can lose very quickly,” Adams said about being a person of principle. In terms of positivity, he shared that when he was CEO of Chase Bank of Texas, he would drive around the block before parking if he wasn’t in a positive mood.

Read the complete speech (PDF) or see the video of the ceremony.

Adams is the retired vice chairman of industrial manufacturing frim Trinity Industries and former chairman and CEO of Chase Bank of Texas. Adams is currently on the board of directors of Dr Pepper Snapple Group and is a member of the McCombs School Advisory Council and chairs the McCombs Scholars Program.

 

MPA

Television journalist, photographer, and author Rosa Flores, BBA ’01, MPA, ’01, began her speech to the 182 MPA graduates with a top-10 list of why her friends say she is not an accountant. (#7: As an accountant, you wouldn’t be able to say “Rrrrrosa Florrresssss reporting.” #1: You wanted to work nights, weekends, mornings and holidays for half the pay.)

Flores also shared three quotes from her lifetime that have inspired her:

From an accounting professor: “Go for the sexy accounting assignments.” That encouraged her to pursue her dreams and change careers to journalism, where her goal is to “give a voice to the voiceless.”

From a state budget office: “Honey, it’s too complicated.” Flores heard this while on assignment in Oklahoma City, after requesting a copy of the state budget. She ignored the statement and broke a story about a $5 million discrepancy.

From a high-school teacher: “You’re this close.” Even when she was far from the right answer, that gave her the confidence to keep moving forward.

Read the complete speech (PDF) or see the video of the ceremony.

Flores covers enterprise and breaking news stories for the New Orleans NBC affiliate and is the author of “Progreso,” a history book about her hometown. Prior to her journalism career she worked for KMPG, where she earned the firm’s National Award for Community Service.

 

MBA

“In a sense, as morbid as it sounds, I planned how I wanted my obituary to read,” said MBA commencement speaker Robert Zlotnik, BBA ’75, MBA ’80, president and CEO of StarTex Power.

Zlotnik shared his four-part “strategic life plan” with the 494 assembled graduates, outlining intentional steps he took to find happiness and success in his family life, career, community service, and health. “You should treat your life as an entrepreneurial venture,” Zlotnik said.

Read the complete speech (PDF) or see the video of the ceremony.

Zlotnik founded StarTex Power in 2004 with his wife, Marcie Zlotnik, BBA ’83. The company’s customer service has been ranked #1 in Customer Satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates and in 2009 StarTex was named one of the 40 Best Places to Work by Inc. magazine. He is a member of the McCombs School of Business Advisory Council, the Pro-Vision, Inc. board of directors, and the advisory board of Casa Esperanza.

 

MSTC

2008 MSTC alumnus Trey Mebane spoke to this year’s graduates about a tool they may not have realized they picked up during their education: the power of story. “The story which has brought us here today is known as ‘The American Dream,'” Mebane said, but he likes to think of it as “Our Shared MSTC story of creating value and wealth … one which can change the world we live in, one of value and one worthy of sharing.”

Mebane spoke about sharing his MSTC experience and lessons learned to help a coworker create a safer hard hat and to connect a Bulgarian businessman with the City of Austin to help him build an innovation ecoystem back home. He encouraged graduates to share their stories, saying, “You will be creating and expanding new connections, new communities, with new purpose and value. You will be motivating others to create a better tomorrow.”

Read the complete speech (PDF) or see the video of the ceremony.

Mebane is the director of business development at National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and is an engineer by training. After completing the MSTC program, he realized that the principles and skills it taught could address the challenges facing NOV, and he helped create a yearlong certifcate program at McCombs for fellow employees called NOV Ventures. 

 

Louise Epstein Named Entrepreneur-In-Residence

“Louise continues a tradition we’ve established at the university to link our research expertise in innovation and creativity with real-world entrepreneurship practice,” said Dean Tom Gilligan.

From 1997 to 2008, Epstein ran Charge-Off Clearinghouse (COC), a distressed debt company that valued, purchased and sold $1 billion of charged-off credit cards. Distressed debt is debt for which no payments have been made for some time and which the lender has written-off (or “charged off”). Because banks and credit card companies are more efficient at lending than collecting, they sometimes put their charged-off credit card portfolios out to bid.

Epstein developed a proprietary model to value hundreds of thousands of charged-off credit card accounts. At the same time she created a market of ready buyers. Once she predicted a portfolio’s value, Epstein bid on the accounts. If she won the bid she then outsourced the accounts to a “scrubbing” company that identified accountholders that were dead or had filed bankruptcy.

“My objective was to sell a clean portfolio of accounts that were ready to collect,” said Epstein. She then uploaded the accounts to her Web site where interested collection law firms and collection agencies could manipulate accounts and obtain analytical reports on the portfolios that they created. Epstein’s Web site sanitized account-holder information so that no private information, such as Social Security numbers, telephone numbers or addresses, was released until after a sale closed.

Epstein now lends her expertise in debt valuation as an expert witness on behalf of major banks and the Securities and Exchange Commission. She is also a member of three think tanks. Epstein graduated from UT’s Plan II Honors program with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1980 and earned her MBA in 1985.

“I studied management information systems, database management systems and systems analysis during my coursework in the early 1980s,” Epstein said. “Although those were the days of punch-cards, the theories were the same—start out with what you know and build from there.”

“The entrepreneur-in-residence is a particularly valuable position for our students, who are looking for mentors and models that can help them link their business education with the realities of the startup,” Gilligan said. “Her proven coaching approach will be refreshing and relevant—I’ve already heard great feedback from students.”

“It is time to give back to the university that made everything possible,” Epstein said. “Mentoring students is a joy. I want every student to know that my sole purpose here is to help them identify and realize their dreams.”

She said she hopes to be a sounding board for students as they begin to develop their career plans.

“It’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “There are lots of needs; we have lots of tools. Let’s match the tools to the needs.”