OPEN - McCombs TODAY - The University of Texas at Austin
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PA I D
T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T E X A S AT A U S T I N
BURLINGTON, VT 05401
PERMIT NO. 19
McCombs School of Business
1 University Station B6000
Austin, Texas 78712
McCombs School of Business
TO BE FORGED.
’T S O
We’re launching a new campaign
to increase giving by our alumni network—
NOW 87,000 STRONG.
Engaging our alumni is crucial to staying
competitive with other top-tier schools.
WE ARE THE BUSINESS SCHOOL ALUMNI OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN.
GET INVOLVED: www.mccombs.utexas.edu/ourturn
MAKE A GIFT NOW: www.givetomccombs.org
belong in business?
HOW TO motivate
value from all
What would make you
happy NOW? My son
taking the joy in
From the Dean
Jeff Butler is Ready for Battle
On the court with a “murderball”
athlete. Infographic Portrait of
a CEO. Job Well Done Learn the
secrets to motivating employees.
Now with Vending Machines!
A look back at the amenities
touted when our building opened
50 years ago.
–Kristal Braley, BBA student
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: MATT WRIGHT-STEEL; SANDY CARSON; COURTESY UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS; BILL SALLANS
O P EN SP R I N G 20 12
Welcome to the big world of Big Data
From social media to supermarket scanners, Big Data touches nearly
every corner of our lives. Learn how alumni at three very different organizations are manipulating that mountain of information to change the
way they do business. Plus, a Q&A with Professor Anitesh Barua on the
future of big data. And is there such a thing as too much information?
Come on, Get Happy
Inside our obsession with happiness
Now more than ever we have rich insight into what really makes us
happy. But are we any closer to ﬁnding happiness, and is there room for
it in business? Marketing Professor Raj Raghunathan explains why he
thinks there is and offers ﬁve tips on how to be happier now.
Slowing down distracted drivers,
A McCombs “family tree”,
Flipping for a new alumni tradition
Regina Hughes, senior ﬁnance
lecturer and Business Foundations Program director, opens up
about her Elvis collection, being a
truck stop waitress and the song
that captures her business motto.
100 Years of Accounting
It’s even more exciting than you think
This fall, McCombs celebrates a century of educating accountants. And
it just so happens we do it better than anyone else. In this compendium,
we take a look at major school milestones, trivia, alumni and faculty
memories, and even our favorite pop culture accountants.
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
School of Business
is published biannually for alumni
and friends of the
McCombs School of Business at
The University of Texas at Austin.
you on our most
Our Turn to Shine
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Public Affairs
Mike Agresta, Courtney
Boedeker, Steve Brooks, Sarah
Seay Browne, Renee Hopkins,
David McKay Wilson, Sarah
Pressley, Julie Thompson, Rob
Walker, Danielle Wells
THOMAS W. GILLIGAN
I WANTED TO SEND YOU A NOTE ON HOW
great the Ofﬁce Intelligence article was. I
am a McCombs senior, and I have always
thought about general phrases like this
and how truthful they actually are. You
covered such a breadth of adages so skillfully and thoughtfully. The supporting evidence was very insightful too.
I WANT E D T O SAY HO W M U C H I L O V E D
[the infographic] and how impressed I am
by the design of everything you put out!
I love the magazine and I think the blog
is terriﬁc. Both are great fun to read, and
really help me to feel part of the McCombs
—Jan Boyd, executive MBA student
and questions to:
McCombs School of Business
1 University Station, B6000
Austin, TX 78712
comments on the
magazine or any
McCombs School of
Business issue at
“Letters to the Editor,”
McCombs School of
Business, GSB 2.104,
1 University Station
Austin, TX 78712.
Letters may be
edited for length,
style and clarity.
UT > H ARVARD ! S OUNDS LIKE YOU ARE
an incredible young lady. Enjoy your time
here, it ﬂies by!
For change of address, visit
OR call 512-471-3019.
I T ’ S GREAT TO SEE THAT THE GENDER OF
MPA students is equally divided 50 percent, 50 percent between male and female
students. We’ve really come a long way
as a society.
O P E N SP RI N G 2 0 1 2
PLEASE CONTINUE SENDING THE OPEN
publication to my address.
—Marvin Stichlen, BBA ’50
ON THE COVER
The Age of Big Data means we have more
information available to us than ever
before. But it’s useless unless you know
how to sort it. (Hint: It’s more complicated
than the imaginary illustrated machine.)
Illustration by QuickHoney
5.2 percent of McCombs
alumni contribute to the
school ﬁnancially. At other
top-tier schools, that number is at least 20 percent.
an alumni-driven thrust to raise ﬁnancial participation to 10 percent over three
years, and to encourage active participation in a vibrant offering of alumni activities and leadership opportunities.
To be clear, McCombs is financially
sound, despite the reduction in funds allocated to the UT System by the state of
Texas and pressures on tuition. But there
is more to be done to give future students
resources and programs equal to the intensiﬁed demands of global competition.
By giving regularly, even in modest amounts, you provide an invaluable endorsement of the education you
received and play a role in strengthening
the worth of your degree.
Will you join us with a gift? Reinvigorate your connection to your school and
your alumni network, and help us lift the
next generation of business leaders. This
is Our Turn to give, share and engage
at a level worthy of a “university of the
WE WANT TO
HEAR FROM YOU
F YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE BUSINESS
school rankings (and I know some of
you do) I imagine you’ve been smiling.
Your school’s reputation has a brilliant
luster of late, and the value of your degree
continues to be enhanced.
One gratifying acknowledgement was
the No. 1 rank out of 294 schools in the
“Best Professors” category in The Princeton
Review’s annual guide to business schools.
The survey authors reported that “students
love their professors, who are ‘very accessible and knowledgeable’” and “class content is nicely divided up between theory,
case and simulation.”
No matter how long it has been since
you’ve been in a classroom here, you
should feel proud of your alma mater—
it takes elite students, faculty, staff and
alumni to build a culture of excellence.
Yes, the McCombs School of Business is a world power in business education, but the university that changes
the world must continue to evolve. As
alumni you can help drive this productive change. Graduates of other top-tier
business schools are already there—at
Duke, UCLA, MIT, and Berkeley 20 percent of alumni contribute to the school
financially, funding new scholarships
and innovative initiatives to improve
and advance educational productivity.
At McCombs that figure is just 5.2 percent, a participation rate that does not
represent our alumni network’s loyalty
In January members of the McCombs
Alumni Network Advisory Board responded
to my call to engage McCombs alumni
who have not been active since graduation and to increase participation through
personal gifts to support the school. They
have launched the Our Turn campaign,
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
“The term ‘quadriplegic athlete,’
most people don’t even think of,”
says “murderballer” Jeff Butler.
Jeff Butler is ready for battle.
BY SARAH PRESSLEY
gloves to hide his raw, calloused
knuckles, and they’re wrapped
in duct tape—sticky side facing
out for a better grip. They push his wheelchair forward and across the court.
He uses the chair to block an opposing player from reaching his teammate,
a woman with short hair and a look of
don’t-mess-with-me determination. She
wears long sleeves to protect her arms
from the friction burns of the rotating
wheels. As she carries the ball toward
the other team’s key (like the end zone in
football), athletes on the sidelines shout,
“Use it!” They only have 12 seconds to get
across the court.
Meanwhile, Butler’s block has set off a
series of maneuvers by other players that
results in a loud crash—an aggressive double-amputee on the opposing team has
toppled to the ﬂoor. A referee runs to help
the fallen player, and the game of quad
It’s not called “murderball” for nothing.
“The term ‘quadriplegic athlete,’ most
people don’t even think of,” says Butler, a
junior accounting student and player for
the Texas Stampede, the quad rugby club
team in Austin.
O P EN SP R I N G 20
2 01 2
IS H A N D S A R E C O V E R E D B Y
S P RING 20 1 2 O PE N
After a decline in
coincided with the
2008 ﬁnancial collapse, Executive
Education revenues at McCombs
are up 40 percent,
with new clients
including Sinopec, ExxonMobil,
Oilwell Varco and
“Typically when people think quadriplegic, they think of someone who is paralyzed from the neck down, doesn’t have
signiﬁcant function in his arms and would
be really out of place on a sport court. People think [wheelchair rugby] is a feel-good
sport, but we aren’t going for, ‘Thanks for
participating.’ We want to win.”
Butler’s competitiveness dates back to a
childhood spent playing sports. At 13, he
was quarterback for his Fort Wayne, Indiana,
junior high school team. One night, driving
home with his family after a game, Butler
stretched across the back seat of his parents’
SUV, not wearing a seatbelt. As his father
drove through an intersection, another car
crashed into the SUV, colliding with the exact
spot where Butler’s head was resting. His
c5 and c6 vertebrae were broken and both
legs are now paralyzed. He has feeling in his
arms but they don’t function as they used to.
“Coming home for the ﬁrst time was
the weirdest thing,” says Butler, whose
hospital stay lasted three months. “Your
clothes are in the closet, your cleats are
on the ﬂoor, and the last time you were
in your room you were walking around.”
With the help of his parents, sister,
friends, a personal trainer and physical
therapy, Butler eventually began to regain
strength and mobility.
But he missed playing sports.
Two years later, a family friend who had
lost both legs due to injuries sustained while
serving in Vietnam introduced Butler to
quad rugby. After getting over his preconceptions that a wheelchair sport couldn’t be that
intense, Butler tried it out and quickly fell in
love with the intensity and competitiveness.
“To have an outlet for competition was
great,” Butler says. “Especially one as
rowdy as rugby, which is full con
very hard hitting.”
Butler joined the Indianapolis cclub team,
commuting every Saturday to practice
throughout high school and his freshman
year at Indiana University. Along the way,
he met James Gumbert, who coaches the
Texas club team and the U.S. national team,
and decided his future was in Austin.
Butler transferred to McCombs and
joined the Stampede, hoping for a better
shot at making the national team. He is
equally committed to rugby and his education. Eventually he wants to become a
CPA and run his own business.
“One of the things that set [Butler]
apart is that he’s a student of the game,”
Coach Gumbert says. “He understands
things that players who have been around
a lot longer don’t.”
In December, Butler tried out for the U.S.
Paralympic quad rugby team. The youngest
BY THE NUMBERS
player there, he advanced to the ﬁnal round
of cuts, falling just shy of landing on the roster. He’ll try out again next time.
“We have a lot of longevity in the sport,”
Butler says. “You can start when you are
15 and play until you’re 50. What other
sport can you say that about?”
Butler knows he wouldn’t have had a
career on the football ﬁeld, but now he’s
got a sport for life. “It’s an interesting situation that led to me [potentially] playing
a sport for the next 30 or 40 years.”
to watch video of Butler playing quad
rugby with his teammates and coach.
number ranging from .5 to
5 that corresponds with his
or her level of physical ability.
Butler, with his limited arm
function, is a .5.
Lower point players focus
on the tactical aspects
of the game, while the
higher point players focus
on the more aggressive
The ball used is similar
to a volleyball but is over
inﬂated to provide better
bounce. The game is played
indoors on a hardwood court
of the same measurements as
a regulation basketball court.
Age at which people
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Wh the MBA students in the Marketing Fellows program wanted more
realistic work experience, they reached out to McCombs faculty, and a unique
partnership called the McCombs Brand Management Experience was born.
Thanks to close ties with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, three full-time MBAs
from the 2013 class are now the brand team for a $30 million brand at the
company for one year. Stephanie Adams, Nicole Quesada and Ashley
Weber will be led by a DPSG mentor as they devise the brand’s marketing
strategy, analyze consumer insight and manage the budget. Next year, a new
team of three students will take over in a plan that will eventually expand to
include more companies and more teams each year.
13. Texas – 103 C EOs
1. Harvard – 722 CEOs
2. Pennsylvania – 240 CEOs
3. Stanford – 239 CEOs
Project Budget is $30 Million
N SP RI N G 2 0
TOP PAYING BY STATE (Annual mean wage)
THE NEW WORKFORCE
Quad rugby games are
played in four quarters,
lasting eight minutes each,
with four players from each
team on the court at a time.
Players score by crossing the
other team’s key line with
two wheels while holding
the ball. Only three defenders are allowed at the key at
one time, and they can’t stay
for more than 10 seconds, or
their team receives a penalty.
Once a player has the ball,
they have 10 seconds to dribble or pass, and 12 seconds
to advance past half-court.
Each player is assigned a
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S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
too easy or too
roles and responsibilities
ÌOffice decorated with
other signs of
will quit before
they fail, so don’t
give them impossible tasks
Secrets of Motivation
The promise of a raise or the threat of termination only go so far. Employees need
to know how their work furthers the company’s goals.
O P EN SP R I N G 2 0 1 2
employees make that connection.
“All motivation is conditioned by satisfaction of a need. That’s where it starts,”
Loescher said in a fall Knowledge To Go
webinar about employee motivation, sponsored by the McCombs Alumni Network.
“Unsatisﬁed needs create a tension which
pushes people towards that effort.”
According to Loescher, the threat of a
pink slip will help motivation only in the
short term; long-term effects begin to
wane. “The way fear works in the body is
that you wear out,” she said.
Likewise, rewards are motivating only up
to a certain point. Here Loescher cites psychologist Frederick Herzberg’s Two-Factor
© GLOBE PHOTOS/ZUMAPRESS.COM
VERY MANAGER KNOWS THE TYPE: HE
shows up 15 minutes late, leaves
15 minutes early, does 15 minutes of real work every week. He’s
Peter from “Ofﬁce Space,” the 1999 ﬁlm
comedy (pictured). This employee does
just enough work so that he won’t be ﬁred.
“It’s not that I’m lazy,” Peter says in the
ﬁlm. “It’s just that I don’t care.”
According to Kristie Loescher, senior lecturer in management, Peter’s admission
contains an important clue for managers.
Most unmotivated workers are not predisposed to be lazy. They just don’t see
how their personal needs relate to company goals. A good manager’s job is to help
Theory, which posits, “The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction.” Yes, managers should make sure that employees feel
they’re being rewarded fairly, or risk dissatisfaction. But handing out raises won’t
increase employee satisfaction.
Instead, managers should consider other,
more powerful motivators like autonomy,
feedback, purpose and the ability to identify closely with their task. For example,
Loescher suggested that assembly-line
workers be given the opportunity to see
the ﬁnal product they’re helping build.
Different personality types respond to
different motivators. High achievers, who
make up about 10 percent of the population, need achievable standards, timelines and feedback. “If I know someone is
achievement oriented, that tells me how to
light that inner ﬁre,” Loescher said. “That
tells me, give them a project. Put them in
charge. Make sure they get credit. Make
sure they get to present in front of the
board.” (See list at right.)
Loescher also urged managers to recognize which employees are learning new
skills and therefore need encouragement
and positive reinforcement, and which
exhibit mastery and therefore need challenging goals.
“Reinforcement takes a lot of management time. You have to be there,
you have to know the behaviors you’re
looking for, you have to reinforce those
behaviors,” Loescher said. A manager
with limited time should focus reinforcement efforts on those employees who are
just beginning the learning curve. Experienced and competent employees, on
the other hand, need clear goals but not
as much attention. Said Loescher, they
“are like cactuses. They don’t need a lot
JOB WELL DONE
for a recording and slides of Loescher’s
and other Knowledge To Go presentations.
those in power
with pictures of
´Don’t put two
high power types
on the same
know and trust
of family and
´If you have a
task you think
give it to them—
Who is Doing
a Good Job
In January, Finance
presidency of the
a prestigious honor,
considering most of
the past presidents
of the 72-year-old
come from private
universities, not state
colleges, and some
have been Nobel
is more of a wholeworld association, not
just American,” says
Titman. “It’s the main
for ﬁnance professors,” he says, “and
has the world’s largest ﬁnancial conference and academic
journal on ﬁnance.”
Titman’s plans for his
initiatives that would
“make ﬁnance professors more visible in
public policy debates.”
UCLEAR ENERGY JUST OUTRANKED COAL AS THE ALTER native energy source people feel worst about, while solar
was considered to be the best option among respondents
to the inaugural University of Texas at Austin Energy
Poll, developed by the Energy Management and Innovation Center
The biannual survey, which releases its second round of responses
this month, seeks to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. The online
poll rates leadership on energy issues, measures consumers’ energy
priorities, and tracks knowledge and energy consumption behaviors.
Last conducted in October, the survey disclosed a general lack
of optimism in regard to the nation’s future energy situation.
Only 14 percent of more than 3,400 respondents believed the
nation was headed in the right direction and a majority felt the
nation’s energy situation would be worse in 25 years.
“This survey shows that the public craves leadership on energy
issues,” said university president Bill Powers upon the poll’s release
last fall. “Through our analysis of the data, we hope to add an
authoritative voice to public debate on energy issues.”
Results indicate a lack of satisfaction with leadership for our
energy future. Participants were asked to rate their satisfaction
and dissatisfaction with the job that 26 entities were doing to
address energy issues. Respondents indicated greatest satisfaction with their own performance, followed by scientists and
engineers, academic and research institutions, and renewable
energy ﬁrms. The public overall was much less satisﬁed with
how government and big business are addressing energy issues.
Congress—with ratings of 8 percent satisﬁed, 71 percent dissatisﬁed—ranked dead last.
Future iterations of the poll—designed through a collaborative effort of academics and polling experts, nongovernmental
organizations, large energy users and energy producers—will
calculate a single number “energy index” that tracks consumer
opinions on energy issues over time and will explore topical
!! !! MCCOMBSTODAY.ORG/MAGAZINE
for the April 2012 poll results.
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
Born with a rare genetic disorder that causes hearing
and vision loss, Sarah Browne, BBA ’11, MPA ’11, sees
every challenge as an opportunity to prove her potential.
“I used to hear in black and white, but now I hear in color.” That was my
response when my left ear was “turned on” at 12 years old by a Cochlear
Implant [CI], acting as a digitized internal hearing aid. Born with severe to
profound hearing loss in both ears, I had previously known sound as a vat
of mufﬂed babble but now heard myriad tones and resonances. After this
immediate and dramatic metamorphosis, I was annoyed by the buzzing
of air conditioners, surprised by the intensity of every voice, struck by the
closing of doors, stumped by stomping footsteps in the hall, unhinged by
the mechanics of the elevator.
O P EN SP RI N G 2 0 1 2
no language skills. As painful as it was in
speech therapy, I learned that perseverance was key in life.
When I was 14, my optometrist noticed
a peculiarity and suggested I see a specialist. I was told I was going blind, and
should start learning Braille. The culprit
was Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that simultaneously causes deafness
and blindness.This was the worst news
COURTESY SARAH BROWNE
FTER THAT INITIAL HEARING loss diagnosis at the age of six
months, my parents felt spoken
language would give me more
opportunity as opposed to the widely
accepted sign language. As a result, my
childhood was composed of one speechtherapy session after another. Everything
from pronunciation to reading was excruciatingly difﬁcult for someone who had
FROM THE DESK OF....
possible because my eyes were my second ears. They were priceless when I had
hearing aids, and even with my CI they
were valuable tools when hearing failed
me. There is no cure for Usher Syndrome.
I try to slow the effects by eating ﬁsh two
or three times a week and taking vitamin
A palmitate. Thankfully, I have responded
well to this treatment and have had minimal progressive loss so far.
In the classroom, the difﬁculties posed
by these disabilities, particularly my
hearing, were not minor. Accents, mustaches and quick-moving classroom discussions posed problems. Help from note
takers and captioning made me feel singled out, and ultimately I chose not to
use them. Instead, I depended on my
own notes as well as other students’ and
either e-mailed professors or went to their
ofﬁce hours. Usually, I studied by myself
in quiet places—anywhere I could turn off
my “ears.” To say my time at McCombs
was not a struggle would be dishonest,
but I had phenomenal support from the
faculty and most particularly my advisors.
From my parents, doctors, therapists and
teachers, I have been blessed with wonderful help and that did not stop when I
entered business school.
Though my parents were told that statistically someone with my loss would not
move beyond a third-grade education, last
May I graduated with master’s and bachelor’s degrees in accounting and a minor
in management information systems. I’ve
proven my potential, but entering the
workforce presents a new set of obstacles,
like becoming familiar with strange voices
over different types of phones.
The reality is living with Usher Syndrome will be a constant challenge, but
the reward will always be learning from
my experiences—even when I don’t want
to. Although my future is uncertain, I
walked across that stage at Commencement afﬁrming that I will not live in black
and white but in full color.
Like many small business owners,
Ariana Vincent has struggled during
the recession. Business has been
slower at her Austin massage therapy institute, and fewer therapists
are enrolling in her continuing education classes. She knew outside
advice would be beneﬁcial, but she
didn’t have the budget for it.
That’s where McCombs’ Student
Consulting Initiative (SCI) stepped in.
Founded in 2007 by Brian Smiley,
BBA ’08, SCI has a simple mission:
Serve. Change. Inspire. Each year,
teams of McCombs undergraduates
partner with local businesses to provide pro bono consulting.
After nine weeks of work, the
teams present their strategy and
results, and guest judges choose a
winner based on who made the biggest impact. Clients have included a
dog-washing business, airport shuttle service and a sculptor.
Students Adibfar Itrat, Arthur
Wang, Holli Wertheimer and Leo
Zhang worked with Vincent for the
2011 competition, winning ﬁrst place
and an $800 prize.
They focused on improving online
strategy, promotional materials and
accounting methods in order to
reach a younger demographic and
shift Vincent’s business to focus
more heavily on educating therapists.
Vincent is conﬁdent the new online
strategy will reach the target audience and reports that Facebook
“Likes” have increased by 21 percent
and monthly users 227 percent.
“The experience of meeting the
members of SCI continues to have a
profound effect on me and my business,” says Vincent.
For students, it’s an opportunity
to contribute to the community while
getting a jump start on their careers.
Says junior Wertheimer, “The realworld experience of working with our
client, ensuring her success and delivering results is something I will carry
Read a good book lately? Find professional insight and inspiration
from new alumni and faculty titles.
When We Are the
by senior lecturer of
professor of marketing Orlando Kelm,
and Haiping Tang,
MBA ’00, is a collection of short case scenarios from mainland
China designed to
help readers assess
the cultural factors
that come into play
when North American
business professionals work with Chinese.
and vice president
of marketing for
MBA ’93, wrote his
new book, Relentless Innovation,
with a critical question in mind: Why
can some ﬁrms
(Apple, Google, 3M)
successfully innovate over a long
period of time, while
many ﬁrms fail to
innovate at all? Phillips details the key
capabilities that propel innovation and
what any company
can do to become a
In Digital Leadership, Erik Qualman,
MBA ’99, explores
ﬁve keys to success
and inﬂuence in the
digital decade. Qualman provides lessons drawn from
a wide variety of
of Psychiatry and
to Harvard Business Review and Dr.
best practices. Qualman’s 2010 book,
a ﬁnalist for the
of the year.
Though my parents were
told that statistically
someone with my loss
would not move beyond a
third-grade education, I
graduated with a master’s
and bachelor’s in accounting
and a minor in management
The Consultant Will
See You Now
Most local businesses
can’t afford consultants,
but one undergraduate
organization has found a
way to make it happen
In Managing Sup-
ply Chains on the
Silk Road: Strategy, Performance,
and Risk, operations management
supply chain practices from China,
India, Pakistan and
more, demonstrating how today’s
global supply chains
owe much to centuries-old Eastern
concepts. The book,
co-authored by Çagri
Haksöz and Ananth
Iyer, shares perspectives from across
regions and industries to examine performance, risk and
IN THE CLASSROOM
Summer Abroad—In Austin
This summer university students from Brazil,
Austria, China, Singapore, the Czech Republic and more will join McCombs students to
participate in the BBA Global Summer Business Program, hosted by the Center for International Business Education and Research
(CIBER) and aimed at enhancing students’
global adaptability. For more than 10 summers the program has brought students
from other countries together with McCombs
BBAs to run virtual companies—teaching how
to solve problems and manage conﬂict on
culturally diverse teams.
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
When the current McCombs building made its debut 50 years ago, it was something of a modern marvel on
campus. But that new building sheen has unquestionably worn off. Anyone who has dealt with the numerous
escalator breakdowns or read the school’s administrative emails explaining the building’s joint repairs and
“slight odor” can attest to that. To put it in perspective, we’ve returned to 1962, and—using real quotations
and descriptions from campus media then—imagined how our humble home may have been touted during
its ﬁrst days on the job.
COMPILED BY JULIE THOMPSON
Commonly referred to by students as
the Big-Enormous-Building, the B.E.B.
boasts advanced technology destined
to change the course of learning.
The fabulous building allows educators to use the most
modern teaching methods for their students. Professors may judge students’ performance in the laboratory
using one-way glass to observe without students knowing.
Special furniture design features can help educators teach
the future captains of business and industry how to hold
conferences as top management should. Professors who
prefer to lecture in person rather than before TV cameras
are also able to utilize brand new chalkboards!
FROM LEFT: DOLPH BRISCOE CENTER FOR AMERICAN HISTORY, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, IDENTIFIER: DI_07866, TITLE: PROPOSED
ADMINISTRATIVE - ECONOMICS BUILDING, SOURCE: UT OFFICE OF PUBLIC
AFFAIRS RECORDS; COURTESY UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS (2)
The BUSINESS ECONOMICS BUILDING—
a building for the ATOMIC AGE!
Visually, the B.E.B. achieves a clean, modern look and
features ﬂat roofs and structural clarity. In front of the main
entrance is a 15-foot gray-bronze statue of a man, a woman
and a child designed by sculptor Charles Umlauf to represent the smallest unit of business, the family.
P LU S
E R ASTYL
“The escalator moves
only in one direction—
up, but it moves fast,”
The Daily Texan says
“Before the building
was opened, amateur
that every day would end
up with all students in
place on the top ﬂoor.”
C LO S
“After sharing Waggener Hall with
four other departments for over
thirty years,” says an article in The
Alcalde, “business declared its independence and moved into a $4.1 million, seven story, stark, concrete, brick
and glass rectangular structure which
boasts, among other things, the only
escalators on the Forty Acres.”
UT publications have given the B.E.B. rave
reviews—aside from the occasional fall on the
terrazzo stairs and the rare case of a visitor being
lost in the expansive building.
ON CA M PU
FIR ST HIG
OP EN SP RI N G 2 0 12
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
mb s to
o d ay.org
c o mb s to d a
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
movement has inundated U.S. public schools with mounds of data.
But many educators remain perplexed about how to mine that information
to improve classroom learning.
Enter Sarah Glover, MBA ’00, executive
director of the Strategic Data Project at Har-
H E E D U C AT I O N A C C O U N TA B I L I T Y
BY DAVID MCKAY WILSON
vard University’s Graduate School of Education, where she heads up a $23 million
program that aims to transform the use of education data to improve student achievement.
The project, supported by the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, has taken on
increased importance as school districts gallop toward public education’s new frontier:
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evaluating teacher performance based, in
part, on data from student performance on
“Most would agree that our focus on student proficiency has moved us collectively
forward, but that’s not enough,” says Glover,
42, of Arlington, Mass. “We’ve outgrown it.
Now all the effort is connecting teacher eval-
uations to measures of student growth in a
way that’s appropriately attributed to teachers and does not account for what’s beyond a
Glover, who earned an MBA and a master’s
degree in public policy in a joint program at
the McCombs School and the LBJ School of
Public Affairs, joined the Strategic Data Proj-
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ect (SDP) in February 2010. That’s when
SDP began working with its ﬁrst cohort
of school districts in Fort Worth, Boston,
Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., and Fulton
and Gwinnett counties in Georgia.
In 2011 and 2012, the project expanded
its reach with partnerships in Philadelphia,
Denver, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Kentucky
SDP fellows—recruited from the ﬁelds
of public policy, economics, education,
statistics and business administration—
become employees of these districts for
two years and collaborate on data-driven
analyses that can have an immediate
impact on policy decisions that affect student outcomes.
For instance, data show that a student’s
eighth-grade achievement level can be a
substantial predictor. But a closer look
shows that eighth-grade performance is
not destiny because students with similar
eighth-grade scores at different schools
graduate at varying rates.
Glover’s team sifts through the data to
ﬁnd relevant factors—it could be a school’s
guidance counselors, its curriculum or the
standards it sets for its students.
“We want to see what practices are in
place and to reveal the variations in a
way that can be acted upon,” says Glover.
“Using a district’s own data to show the
reality of what is happening helps to illuminate some things and make a compelling case to act on it.”
Professor of Information, Risk, and Operations Management,
Center for Research in
Many analysts say we’ve entered the
era of Big Data—sets of data that
are too large for conventional database software to handle. Why is this
signiﬁcant for businesses?
In the past, when a limited amount of
data was available from point-of-sale
systems, most companies didn’t do
much with the data. About 2 percent of
data from checkout scanners got analyzed. Today, it’s like an avalanche. We’ve
changed the units by which we measure data. Suddenly, terabytes seem
small. There will be a big thrust on business analysis and business intelligence
for the foreseeable future. Today, businesses are realizing it’s a lever for competitive advantage.
How can data be a lever for competitive advantage?
If you and I start an online video rental
company, we don’t have data to start
OP EN SP RI N G 2 0 12
SDP has several standard analyses that
have provided insight into school district
recruitment, placement and retention
practices. One measures the relationship
between advanced degrees obtained by
teachers and student performance in their
classes. It’s an important metric, partly
because most teacher pay scales provide
increased pay for higher degrees.
However, SDP’s ﬁndings may cause districts to rethink their teacher pay scales.
“We call it the chart of nothing,” says
Glover, referring to the results in district after district that show no correlation between student performance
and advanced teacher degrees. “Having advanced degrees does not increase
Another analysis explores the relationship
between new teachers and low-performing students. Results in four of ﬁve districts
found that novice teachers were regularly
placed with low-performing students.
“It’s well-understood anecdotally, but
after we show them the data, it has been
a bit of a show-stopper,” she says. “If you
with. Whereas Netﬂix is sitting on billions of customer reviews that they
can mine. They have a huge advantage
over anybody starting out. The same
is true with Amazon. They can dig into
their database and pull out hundreds of
thousands of people like you and predict what you’re likely to buy. Smart
companies are leveraging the big data
they’re sitting on to make decisions at
every point in the value chain. Not just
on price, but they’re making operational
Can you give some examples of
using data to make operational
Harrah’s is one of the best-known
examples of a company that runs on
data. It’s in the casino business, which
is surprising. You don’t expect deep
analytics. Yet this company started analyzing its data. Now it can even answer
questions like, “Why were you playing that particular slot machine? Was
it because nothing else was available,
or did you ﬁgure you would have better
odds?” They can combine that with how
valuable a client you are. Then, when
they buy slot machines, they take into
account what kinds their valuable customers like to play at.
Or take Dell. What’s been talked
about is their just-in-time inventory, but
what’s equally amazing is how they sell.
Say Dell ﬁnds a great deal on some lessthan-stellar processor. They’ve bought
100,000 of them. Now they need to sell
100,000 boxes. Who should they target?
If you are a customer who’s bought from
strategically want to improve achievement, why would you disproportionately
place novice teachers with low-performing students?”
Leaders at the sprawling CharlotteMecklenburg district, which serves
141,000 students, used those ﬁndings as
part of an initiative to make principals
accountable for teacher assignments, to
better reach the district’s goal of boosting
achievement for low-performing students.
“Accountability became more nuanced,”
Glover says. “Teachers were asked to think
of [using] data as a strategic act. They need
to think how to place their teachers in ways
that would be best for student growth.”
Gathering good data isn’t always easy,
though. Cheating and gaming by test
administrators and the pressure of creating new, high-quality tests each year can
potentially cloud the data collected.
And as with any effective data analysis, comparing apples to apples is key.
Glover and her team are working to nail
down 10 to 12 indicators—such as a district’s high-school completion rate, college enrollment rate, and rate of college
persistence into the second year—that all
schools would measure. The result would
be ﬁgures like the price-to-earnings ratio
that stock analysts use to assess the ﬁnancial health of a publically traded company.
“Novice teachers assigned to teaching
low-performing students could be one,”
Glover says. “It would be easy to track,
and could potentially have high impact.”
them before, they categorize you. If you
are hankering for the latest and greatest,
they won’t send you an offer. Instead,
they say, “Let’s pull up a large number
of customers from our database who
are likely to buy a low-tech box from us.
Let’s send them an offer with a certain
price point and see how they react. If
the reaction is less than favorable, we
sweeten the deal. We send it off again
and again, until we hit the sweet spot.”
It’s a sales strategy happening in real
time based on customer data.
What role has social media played in
this explosion of data?
The amount of data now available just
went up several orders of magnitude
because of social media. But it’s not
really a brand-new concept. Companies tracking customer behavior online
were making smart marketing decisions before social media. But now we
reveal so much about ourselves in social
media, it’s a new opportunity for companies to tap into that knowledge.
Social media is interesting because
it’s not just one way. You can see interac-
TWEET, MEASURE, REPEAT
BY DAVID MCKAY WILSON
tions between individuals in humongous
groups. Before, we could collect your
browsing habits. Now, I suddenly get to
see you as you live through the day.
What’s ahead for Big Data?
The question is, how long will this competitive advantage last? Best practices
spread more rapidly today than they
did 10 to 15 years ago. As a result, we
see more and more companies making inroads with effective data analysis. I
don’t know whether 10 to 15 years from
now they’ll still have that competitive
advantage. But companies live for the
next 10 years. So for the next 10 years,
we’ll see a huge rush of investments in
The McKinsey Global Institute projects that U.S. companies will need
1.5 million workers with data analysis skills over the next few years.
What is McCombs doing to prepare
today’s students for these jobs?
One of the biggest challenges corporations will face is the shortage of human
capital in this area. We want to be one
of the premier suppliers of human capital. We’ve been offering courses relating
to business intelligence and data analytics for quite a while now, and we are
developing a master’s program in business analytics.
Where we differ [from other programs] is that our students learn how to
apply these ideas in a business context.
Our students have to do real-world projects and present the results to clients:
How can we retain 5 percent more customers? What levers do we push? Can
you tell us from the data?
Ultimately, it’s not about the software
that does the data mining. Every company can buy that. Where it makes a big
difference is in the connection between
the data and business performance, how
to create more value for my customers,
how to become more efficient operationally. We try to connect those dots.
These jobs cannot be offshored easily. You can offshore pure technology
jobs. What you cannot offshore is somebody’s job who’s a liaison between business decision-makers, technology users
and technicians. We want to position our
students in that space.
and Director of
Every day, investors
post millions of
notes on Internet
Konana studies how
those postings sway
their decisions to
buy, sell and hold.
Instead of looking at
a stock’s pros and
cons, he’s found,
investors tend to
read messages that
reinforce what they
already believe. Now
sentiments can be
used to beat the
market. He’s testing
that analyze message
board posts to
predict the directions
of stock prices.
C HO , MBA ’03, THE CO founder and chief strategy ofﬁcer of Spredfast, calls himself
the “Godfather of SMMS.”
That’s the acronym for Social Media
Management System, the analytics toolbox that empowers companies to analyze
their presence on the burgeoning number of online and mobile channels. Such
tools allow companies to listen to what’s
being said about them and provides the
data that lets them be both proactive and
reactive in the rapidly developing social
“Everything with social media is so
unstructured,” says Cho, 39. “We are pulling in data from Tweets, status updates on
Facebook, blog posts, online videos and
video comments. We suck out all the information that’s measured on each platform.”
Spredfast, which opened in Austin in
2008 with 16 employees, had grown to 75
by the end of 2011. Cho says he expects
to double his workforce by this summer.
Clients include IBM, Nokia, Wells Fargo,
CNN, Warner Bros. and AARP, the mediasavvy organization for Americans over
the age of 55.
“You wouldn’t think AARP would be
part of our target demographic,” Cho says.
“But AARP has at least 60 social-media
managers—one in every state and 10 in
Washington, D.C. They are ramped up
with multiple geographically speciﬁc campaigns and are one of the most forwardthinking organizations we work with.”
Spredfast’s success comes from its ability to scour the social web: aggregating
data from blogs and online forums and
presenting it to companies in useful ways.
Spredfast taps hundreds of data sources
to pull in all the conversations about a
company, using search engines such as
Such a search, for example, may ﬁnd
that postings about a given company are
65 percent positive and 35 percent negative. The company can then adjust its message to respond to the negativity. He says
the mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia,
has hundreds of employees on the Spredfast system, analyzing the data that comes
streaming in and using it to recalibrate its
presence in the public sphere.
Spredfast has also evolved into marketing. A client will launch an experimental
marketing campaign on Twitter and Facebook, and Spredfast will track engagement and aggregate the comments in its
“customer care analytics.” The client can
then respond directly from Spredfast to
the person making the comment.
“Companies may want to respond to
customer inquiries within 90 minutes, and
those metrics are measured by our platform,” Cho says.
From the early days of social media—way
back in the early 2000s—Cho had a sense it
would be an important new industry.
“I saw Facebook and MySpace getting
traction, and I knew I needed to get into
the social space,” he says.
Before Spredfast, Cho held leadership
roles at Enron, Lehman Brothers and
PriceWaterhouse. After earning his MBA
in 2003 he joined IBM, where he served
in sales and business development roles,
including managing the computer giant’s
VISA credit card account. He left IBM in
2007 to set up private-label social networks for the Special Olympics, Save the
Children and Oracle.
When he co-founded Spredfast with
Scott McCaskill, he was focused on the
growing popularity of Facebook, right at
the moment it expanded from the college community into the general public.
His bet was that Facebook would expand
beyond personal communications to
become a corporate platform as well.
His company developed an application
in 2008 that gave companies a presence
on Facebook. But that business model
crashed a year later when Facebook
changed its application protocol interface, broke Spredfast’s corporate applications and launched its own “Page” for
companies. Cho says he then realized that
Spredfast needed to go beyond Facebook
and develop a business involving multiple
“It feels like that was 20 years ago,”
he says. “But it was only yesterday. This
speed in this industry is just crazy.”
Spredfast’s new frontier is what Cho
calls “predictive analytics,” in which his
programs will develop a proﬁle for a company, based on what people in its target
demographic are saying about its products in social networks. The company can
then design a marketing campaign to target those users. He says the amount of
data about consumers that’s now available online is unprecedented. The online
public provides a treasure trove for those
who want to analyze and package it for
marketers with something to sell.
“It provides real-time information for
marketers,” Cho says. “There’s so much data
out there, and so much more to be learned.”
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
GOOGLERS HELP GOOGLERS
of Information, Risk,
What do dialysis and commodity storage have in
common? Muthuraman investigates
how to use mathematical models
and optimization in
both ﬁelds. He specializes in stochastic control, which
making in situations where random
outcomes. By optimizing the models, his research
can help a doctor decide the best
time to switch the
location of a dialysis
valve, or an investor decide the right
prices at which to
buy and sell oil.
OP EN SP RI N G 2 0 1 2
BY DAVID MCKAY WILSON
Data, using its well-tuned analytics to deliver consumers’ eyes
to the messages of its advertisers and ﬁnd answers for the hundreds of
millions of its search engine users.
That mindset also takes hold within the
company, with Google using data in novel
ways to increase productivity and enhance
the quality of a “Googler’s” work life.
Sudhir Giri, MBA ’96, global head of
learning technologies at Google, says his
company’s explosive workforce growth
has created a difﬁcult internal problem:
How does a Googler know who in Google
is good at what? Where can Googlers ﬁnd
the person they need for help?
“Skill-ﬁnding in a company gets more
difﬁcult the bigger it gets, as people look
to leverage each others’ expertise and skillsets,” says Giri, 43, who came to Google’s
London office in 2007 after managing
learning programs for consulting firms
Accenture and Deloitte for nine years.
At his previous employers, Giri says the
human resources ofﬁce would circulate a
survey, asking employees to complete a
skills proﬁle, then enter that information
into a database. But Giri says the surveys
were ineffective. Some employees didn’t ﬁll
it out. Others neglected to update their proﬁle as their skills improved. Yet others were
perplexed by how to benchmark themselves—they might consider themselves
great project managers, while their colleagues may have a more dispiriting view.
To help Googlers more easily ﬁnd the
right collaborators, Giri’s team used a
process called crowdsourcing to develop
a database nicknamed “GWhiz.” It was
sorely needed. As Google’s workforce grew
from 22,000 in 2010 to 32,000 by the
third quarter of 2011, it became increasingly difﬁcult to keep up with the huge
inﬂux of talent.
Through a simple online tool, Googlers
were encouraged to “tag” their co-workers
with skills they had. Googlers could also
Such tags could include workplace
skills such as project management or content creation. It also highlighted aptitude
in cheese-making, weaponizing ofﬁce supplies or ballroom dancing.
“It ended up being fun to see what people were tagged with,” says Giri, whose
own tags include learning technology,
chess and learning strategies. “As people
had more fun with the tool, we generated
more and more data.”
OOGLE IS THE KING OF
WHAT REALLY COUNTS IN THE AGE OF OVER-SHARING?
BY ROB WALKER ’90 (RTF)
If a Googler was looking for a project
manager, they’d type that phrase into a
simple search box and quickly see a list
of people identiﬁed by others with that
expertise. Those topping the list had been
tagged the most times for that skill.
Once tagged, an employee was notiﬁed
and asked if he or she knew others with
that skill. That created a built-in viral component, spurring the creation of more data
on skill identiﬁcation within the company.
“People really got into it,” says Giri.
“And people could look at an individual’s
proﬁle and get a rudimentary CV.”
Giri says Google has thrived by creating
a culture within the corporation that supports experimentation, knowledge sharing
and a dedication by its staff to engage in
learning. To foster what Giri calls “a learning ecosystem of teachers and learners,”
his team has created a program called
“Googler to Googler,” which links employees who want to teach with others intent
Employees are encouraged to share
their expertise through short videos, which
are produced with assistance from technical staff and go up on Google’s internal
YouTube channel. The online courses are
catalogued and made accessible through
a Google search engine. The project’s next
phase is developing a tool with the data to
recommend courses to Googlers.
“It could be a way for one’s peers to
suggest learning opportunities for me,”
Launching programs to train employees
can confound executives who understand
that one size does not ﬁt all. At Google,
Giri’s team is developing a system in which
employees are encouraged to create “learning paths,” which link together resources
to better one’s performance on the job.
It may start with a YouTube video on
presentation skills, and then be linked to
other resources, which could include an
actual class that Google offers.
“We’ve had Googlers publish a number of learning paths, which are ﬁndable
and discoverable,” says Giri. “You can join
them and get on that path.”
Once you’ve joined the path, the online
tool tracks your progress, and others on
that same path can see where you are on
your learning journey. If it’s a ﬁve-step
path and several Googlers ﬁnd themselves
on Step 2, Giri says they could form a
study group and do it together.
“The key is to create more useful content
and make it easier to share and track progress,” he says. “It has such interesting implications. In some way, you are annotating
the Web itself, taking objects on the Web—
unique URLs—and linking them together.
They might be resources that exist on other
learning paths that you could link to. We’re
working to put the basic infrastructure in
place to make it happen.”
H E G R E AT P R O M I S E O F
social networking is
that it connects us to
those we care about in
But even the most ardent
social-media enthusiast, actively engaging
through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
Foursquare, etc., has to admit that keeping up with it all is a major challenge.
We generally think of “information overload” in the context of the 24-hour news
environment—the challenge of sorting
through the noise to stay current on events
that really matter. As the amount of available information has proliferated, companies are developing tools to help them
manage the overload to their competitive
advantage. This abundance of statistics,
ﬁgures, preferences, demographics and the
a college pal in Austin has linked to an e.e.
cummings poem; another college friend,
now in Brooklyn, points to the latest post
on his blog; someone I went to high school
with has linked to a Mahalia Jackson
video on YouTube; and a buddy from my
New Orleans days who now lives in San
Francisco announces he’ll be “Facebookdark” for the next week.
You get the idea—but don’t get the wrong
idea. I’m not making the familiar complaint
that the Internet or social media is a useless
drain on my valuable time, and we’d all be
better off reading Thoreau in a cabin with
no electricity. The truth is I want to know
what these people are up to, and I’m okay
with that entailing some trivialities.
The problem: I don’t want to miss anything important. I remember being elated
that Facebook had re-connected me with a
long-lost friend in Texas. I also remember
A stark example of where we may be
headed is a newish Facebook application
called Shopycat. Created by Wal-Mart, the
app is designed to assess the activity of
your Facebook contacts (what they “like,”
what they discuss in their status updates)
and offer you gift-giving advice. “Since gifting is a practice humans naturally struggle
with,” the tech site AllThingsD suggested,
“maybe algorithms can do a better job.”
In other words, the premise of Shopycat is that it might understand the desires
of your friends more accurately than you
do. To the beleaguered social media participant, this sounds plausible. But is this
something we really want?
Maybe we can’t avoid being reduced to
data points by the info-crunching surveillance of big companies and other entities,
but that doesn’t mean we should adopt
their techniques to use on each other. I’m
If there’s a statistician’s version of a
Swiss Army knife, it
might be Bayesian
analysis. A technique
for ﬁnding patterns
in complex systems,
Carvalho ﬁrst used
it to pinpoint genes
that affect a cancer
patient’s chances of
recovery. Now, he’s
teasing out factors
that affect the prices
of ﬁnancial assets,
and that increase or
reduce risk in investment portfolios.
Practical applications could include
more secure management of a 401(k).
110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011 110110011011
like is known as Big Data. Social media has
brought us a somewhat different phenomenon: Let’s call it Big (Small) Data.
Here’s what it looks like. One morning
recently, I take a few minutes to see what’s
up with my 272 Facebook friends. Two of
them, in New York, have uploaded uncaptioned pictures taken with their mobile
phones—something from a museum exhibition and something involving people I
don’t recognize at a café. A friend in Colorado quotes from a movie review. Another,
in L.A. reveals, via Foursquare, that he’s
arrived at a studio building in Culver City.
A San Diego friend shares her “holiday
food prep agenda,” which involves “four
pies.” Spotify’s Facebook plug-in reports
that a friend in Boston has just listened
to “Yesterday and Today,” by The Field.
By now I’m zoning out, but in a fast
zoom down the page, a snapshot by a
friend here in Savannah catches my eye;
being really irritated, when I was headed
to Houston a year later and thought I
might visit her, to discover that in the
meantime she had moved to Africa.
That’s the tricky thing about mastering
Big (Small) Data. Businesses and trendwatchers mine social media and other
data sources to extract patterns. But it’s
particularity, not the pattern, that matters to the individual. That is, it’s not
about knowing that a lot of your friends
are buzzing about “Downton Abbey” heir
scenarios. It’s about not missing the one
crucial status update or tweet disclosing
that one of your friends is getting married.
I suspect that tools for coping with
Big (Small) Data will proliferate widely
in the months and years ahead. Indeed,
it’s already happening. Facebook’s latest
redesign gives users the ability to tag “life
events,” which friends can use as a ﬁltering device. But that’s just a start.
reminded of the old cliché that if all you
have is a hammer, every problem looks
like a nail: The more Big (Small) Data
tools emerge, the more we’ll be tempted to
believe that every challenge of interpersonal
relationships can be solved with algorithms.
But the cold efﬁciency of probabilistic
calculation, useful as it may be to business, has no role among “friends”—let
alone friends. If you really don’t know
what gift to give to someone you genuinely care about, consider that a signal to
set aside the techno-tools and make time
for that most analog, inefﬁcient and pleasurable of events: a conversation.
Rob Walker is a contributing writer to “The
New York Times Magazine,” “Design
Observer” and “Marketplace,” and is the
author of “Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We
Are” and “Letters From New Orleans.”
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
What makes you
There’s no denying it—
happiness is hot these days.
But has our obsession with
joy brought us any closer to
ﬁnding it? And does it belong
in business? New research
attempts to answer these
questions and more.
By Tracy Mueller
OP EN SP RI N G 2 012
Hair & Makeup by
Texas Dela Rosa
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
GDP doesn’t register “the beauty of our
poetry or the strength or our marriages
or the intelligence of our public debate.” It
measures everything “except that which
makes life worthwhile.” —Robert Kennedy
What would make you
happy NOW? Time
making money WHILE
helping other people.
–Jonathan Kaplan, MIS senior
THE LOFTIEST GOAL
Freshly graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with computer science and philosophy degrees, Nipun Mehta “The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life.” —Bertrand Russell
Associate Professor of Marketing Raj Raghunathan thinks it’s
found early success and plenty of money in his ﬁrst post-college
job at Sun Microsystems. But he quickly tired of dot-com greed about time. The youthful 44-year-old studies psychology, happiand, in 2001 at age 25, quit his lucrative job to become a “full- ness and consumer behavior and writes about happiness on his
time volunteer” and launch a website that organizes service proj- “Sapient Nature” blog for PsychologyToday.com.
“Happiness is, if anything, the loftiest goal there is,” Raghuects. Four years later, he and his wife sold all their possessions and
embarked on a 621-mile walk across India to do random acts of nathan says. He argues that business school is a natural, if unexpected, setting in which to study it, both as a counter to the focus
kindness and proﬁle inspiring people.
Mehta’s life mission statement: “Bring smiles in the world and on proﬁts and because examining what makes us happy could
dramatically affect our career choices and contributions to society.
stillness in my heart.”
If everyone devoted themselves to discovering and chasing their
What a hippie.
passions—instead of maximum power and money—we’d all be
Or is he?
Some might dismiss Mehta’s pursuits as touchy-feely, Miss- better off, he says. That goal is, he points out, the core mission
America-hopes-for-world-peace naiveté. But his proclivity for posi- of The University of Texas at Austin: “To transform lives for the
beneﬁt of society.”
tivity is part of a recent societal obsession with all things happy.
Raghunathan concedes that putting happiness above productivIn 2005 the tiny Himalayan country Bhutan began ofﬁcially
measuring its citizens’ “gross national happiness.” Amazon.com ity and proﬁt might slow the gears of business a bit, but the tradeoff would be quantity for quality.
lists more than 5,000 books published
“Maybe the number of gadgets that gets
in the last five years with the word
produced by the hour would come down, but
“happiness” in the title, with works
How Happy are You?
they’ll be of greater beneﬁt to society,” he says.
such as “The Happiness Project” and
To ﬁnd out how happy you
What about the almighty American value
Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s “Delivare just look at the ﬁve
of hard work, despite what makes us happy?
ering Happiness” among those landing
“To say that happiness is not important and
on best-seller lists. Job search website
statements below and
you need to work hard for the sake of being
CareerBliss.com publishes an annual
decide whether you agree or
productive, that’s nonsense,” he says. “Why
“Happiest Companies” ranking, and
disagree using a 1-7 scale.
do you want to be productive? People say, ‘To
the website offers a “BlissFinder” tool
Strongly disagree | Disagree | Slightly
uplift society.’ So that means you worry about
to help you ﬁnd the job that will “put
disagree | Neither agree nor disagree |
people’s happiness. At some level, that’s what
a smile on your face.”
Slightly agree | Agree | Strongly agree
makes you happy.”
Even our kids are in on the happiFor all his talk of meaning and fulﬁllment,
ness craze. In 2010 “Serenity” was the
1. In most ways my life is ideal.
Raghunathan is no slouch in the hard science
84th-most popular baby girl name in
2. The conditions of my life are
department. He sits on the editorial boards
the United States, following a steady
of three academic journals and has published
upward climb from 979th in 1997.
3. I am satisﬁed with my life.
multiple studies on things like how consumThe pursuit of happiness isn’t a
4. So far I have gotten the important
ers choose food products and the winning forwholly modern conceit. It’s right there
things I want in life.
mula employed by popular television ads (the
in our Declaration of Independence.
5. If I could live my life over, I would
latter study is co-authored by noted Stanford
And philosophers and over-caffeinated
change almost nothing.
professor and “Made to Stick” co-author Chip
grad students have been debating the
Heath). He holds an undergraduate degree in
nature of happiness for ages.
ADD UP YOUR SCORES.
engineering and earned his Ph.D. from New
But now more than ever we have
York University’s Stern School of Business.
rich insight into what really makes us
31-35 You are
“Growing up in India, you either could do
happy, thanks to the positive psycholunsatisﬁed
engineering or medicine,” Raghunathan says.
ogy movement that studies healthy
“I’d always been interested in happiness but
minds instead of sick ones.
didn’t quite know what to do with it, so I
Happiness is making waves in busi5-9 Extremely
ended up doing what I thought every successness, too. Marketers are learning about
ful person does.”
how it drives consumer choices. And
Now, along with his work on customer
in the wake of the 2008 ﬁnancial meltReasonably
insight and marketing strategy, he makes
down and recent high-proﬁle ethics
room for examining happiness. And that
scandals, individuals and companies
makes him, well …
are questioning whether our priorities
“I’m pursuing something into which I can
have been misplaced.
O P EN SP R I N G 2 012
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
What would make you
happy NOW? Filming
Happiness is the living,
practicing, and exploring
of my passions every day.
–Christine Chen, 2nd-year MBA
What would make you
being in a state of “no
want” and in absolute
peace with yourself and
–Michael Froehls, MBA ’90
OP EN SP RI N G 2 0 12
What would make you
happy NOW? Filming
making money WHILE
helping other people
Kaplan, MIS senior
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
lose my sense of self-consciousness,” he says. “This is my authentic self. I can experience what’s called ‘ﬂow’ moments with this. I
lose track of time. I love thinking about it anytime, all the time.”
In his teaching, Raghunathan tries to help students explore
meaningful questions about happiness in a scientiﬁc manner, discussing life’s calling with business tools such as SWOT (strength,
weakness, opportunity, threat) analyses. He wants students to
realize there are multiple career paths to explore and that even
exceedingly smart, ambitious people can devote themselves to
service. It’s why he invited Nipun Mehta—the guy who ditched
Sun Microsystems to walk across India—to be a guest speaker
in his MBA “Creativity and Leadership” class.
“The class purpose is about ﬁnding a life of meaning, to help
people ﬁgure out what would be the ingredients for a fulﬁlling,
happy life,” Raghunathan explains.
So far his approach is striking a chord. The class ﬁlls up, with
a waiting list, every semester.
What would make you
happy NOW? A beer
the feeling of being totally centered, when all
aspects of one’s persona,
including mind, body and
spirit are in harmony.
A LACK OF LOGIC
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do
are in harmony.” —Mohandas Gandhi
When researchers talk about happiness, they don’t mean that
temporary feeling of superiority because of something you’ve
accomplished, or the glee that accompanies the purchase of a new
pair of shoes. Raghunathan’s own deﬁnition is this: “a feeling of centeredness, of internal harmony, and a feeling of enthusiasm about
what life has to offer and that you’re connected with everybody.”
Sounds like a tall order, but research has identiﬁed what tends
to make us happy. Basic needs like food and shelter must be
met. A few close relationships and meaningful work matter. So
do trust and gratitude.
What Raghunathan’s research examines—and what marketers
How to be Happier
“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.”
are trying to understand—is how our feelings, desires and societal
beliefs inﬂuence our choices more than any logical data.
For instance, in one study, Raghunathan and his research partners presented people with two options—say, two types of jobs—
one of which would clearly give greater happiness than the other.
Participants were able to identify the happier, more meaningful option. But when asked to choose one for themselves, they
routinely picked the less happy option—say, the stressful job with
the higher salary. That’s because feelings of insecurity and greed
and a desire for self-importance override the knowledge of what
makes us happy, Raghunathan says.
In another study, Raghunathan found that we also trick ourselves
into justifying emotion-based choices by revising our values afterwards. For example, you enter a car dealership wanting an affordable, fuel-efﬁcient vehicle but get seduced into buying a ﬂashy gas
guzzler. After the purchase, you change your opinion of how much
fuel-efﬁciency matters to you in order to rationalize the choice.
In other words, our feelings heavily inﬂuence our choices, which
in turn can inﬂuence subsequent feelings. This, says Raghunathan,
is precisely why research and teaching about happiness belong in
the business world. To say that happiness and feelings have no
place at the ofﬁce is to deny how we really work.
And a lifetime of that approach may get you a successful career, but
little else—a guarantee for unhappiness in the end, says Raghunathan. He adds that while not everyone may agree, he’d “much rather
be a beggar in some third-world country who is extremely happy,
than somebody who’s achieved a lot but is an internal mess.” O
1. MAKE IT A PRIORITY
“If you want to win an Olympic gold medal,
you need to train, watch your health, get a
good night’s sleep,” Raghunathan says. “Why
should happiness be any different? People
think that happiness is going to magically
land in their lap, and that they don’t need to
work at it or think through things.”
In a recent study, Raghunathan and colleagues sent a daily email for a few months
to one group of employees, simply asking,
“Did you do your best to be happy today?” A
second group received no messages. Both
groups reported their happiness levels at
regular intervals. At the end of the study
the group that received the daily reminder
reported being happier than the other.
OP EN SP RI N G 2 012
by Carol Dweck
“Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance,” by Robert Pirsig
“Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of
by Ed Diener and Robert
Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing
by Herminia Ibarra
for Professor Robert Prentice’s op-ed on why business
schools should be ranked by their graduates’ happiness.
won’t sleep. Constantly worrying, ‘How
happy am I?’ is going to make you think
about things that don’t lead to happiness.
The key is to make decisions that are more
aligned with increasing happiness and then
let yourself be absorbed in that.”
Adopt a mindset of abundance and ﬂexibility. Someone with an abundance mindset
feels “their emotional bucket is overﬂowing,
and they’re looking for opportunities to serve
other people,” Raghunathan says. In contrast,
the person with the scarcity mindset always
wants more, for fear that resources will run
out, and is skeptical of others’ motivations.
Another happiness-producing mindset is
the ﬂexible mindset, the belief that you and
your situation are changeable. Most leaders
have ﬂexible mindsets, convinced they can
Finally, be a satisﬁer instead of a maximizer. A satisﬁer is relaxed and appreciative of
their surroundings, while a maximizer is constantly on the lookout for what needs ﬁxing.
Raghunathan acknowledges that sometimes
the maximizer mode is necessary—especially
in business—but it’s important to “snap out
of it” once the problem is solved. “The proportion of time we spend in the maximizer mindset is way over the limit of where we would be
most productive,” he says.
2. BUT DON’T GET DESPERATE
“It’s like sleep,” Raghunathan cautions. “If
you desperately want to sleep and you’re
constantly thinking about sleeping, you
by Daniel Pink
3. GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET
hile some people are naturally happier
or more optimistic than others, everyone has the capacity to change and to view the
world differently, Raghunathan says. Consider
these tips for seeing the brighter side of life.
books for the
4. IGNORE YOUR EGO
Imagine your spouse wants to lose weight,
but she never takes your suggestions about
diet and exercise. One day she comes
home, excited about a new book that has
inspired her to start a healthier lifestyle. You
can either angrily counter that you have
been telling her the same thing for months
or congratulate her on pursuing her goal.
One response will satisfy your ego, the other
will make for a happier marriage.
5. GO GUILT-FREE
When Raghunathan polls his students, he
ﬁnds that more than 50 percent say they are
less happy than they should be. One reason
for that, especially among wealthy Westerners, is because we feel we don’t deserve to
be happy when other people have so much
less than we do. This sounds noble, but it’s
actually hurting the less fortunate.
“Findings show that you would signiﬁcantly enhance the welfare of others around
you if you felt you were happy,” writes Raghunathan in a PsychologyToday.com blog
post titled “Wanted: Happy People!” He
explains that happy people are more generous, that their happiness is contagious to
others, and that happy people absorb fewer
resources because they are more productive and less likely to become ill.
“Would you rather be selﬁsh by thrusting your misery on others, or would you
prefer to be someone whose company others seek because of the joy you spread?”
One caveat—don’t force yourself to be
happy if you’re not up to it. Just don’t let
feelings of guilt get in the way.
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
“My employers seemed like
perfectly nice people …
until they were being led
away in handcuffs.”
DON’T CALL THEM BEAN COUNTERS.
THEY’RE REALLY THE STORYTELLERS OF BUSINESS.
DUTIFULLY RECORDING, ARCHIVING AND REPORTING
SO MUCH MORE THAN PROFITS AND LOSSES.
THIS FALL, MCCOMBS CELEBRATES
A CENTURY OF EDUCATING ACCOUNTANTS.
—Diane Kelly, BBA ’88, whose experiences with a handful of
corrupt professionals led her to write
“Death and Taxes
,” a mystery novel series.
LENDECKY, BBA ’99, MPA
’99, has played in the World
S i off Poker
P k twice
t i and
has made a World Poker
Tour ﬁnal table.
AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS WE DO IT BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.E.
LEFT: Ross Jennings,
Centennial Fellow in
the star treatment from
pends on how
effecctivvely I help
h you succeed.
ll tell yyou the truth
and I ex
he truth from
d myy best; I expect
you to do your
ur best. Help
nd I’ll help you.”
*IT’S EVEN MORE EXCITING THAN YOU THINK
OP EN SP RI N G 2 012
FROM LEFT: MC
C C OM
O MBS SCHOOL
SY BRIAN L
R E R A/
TII N A
M E R IC
o his classes
w w w ..m
m c c o m b s t o d a y .o
Professor in Accounting,
who moved to Austin in
1982 from California to
join the faculty.
—Michael Granof, Ernst & Young Distinguished Centennial Professor in Accounting,
in The Alcalde, November 2002. He went
skydiving in 1998 on a challenge from his
MBA students to raise money for hurricane
relief in Honduras.
Alumni You Should Know
“After graduating I joined Teach For America, a service organization that places recent college graduates in low-income schools.
Although my knowledge of capital assets, depreciation
audited ﬁnancial statements was not immediately required in
ed as an
my new role as a ﬁfth grade teacher, the skills I gained
accounting student turned out to be invaluable.
“More than 90 percent of students at the charter school
where I taught qualiﬁed for free or reduced-price lunch.
Students who entered my school were typically one to
consistently ranks in the
utwo years behind in reading and math. Setting my stuTOP FOUR for research
dents’ sights high and raising their spirits was my ﬁrst
productivity in BYU’s
priority. I placed Longhorn memorabilia around my
classroom, played the ﬁght song and used the ‘Hook
’Em Horns’ sign as a way to build enthusiasm. My stupable
dents needed to know that each one of them was capable
of being part of The University of Texas class of 2021.
“While I taught them about fractions, decimals and percentages,
I also told them stories about football games, college classes and
dorm life. One of my McCombs professors sent prizes my students
could earn after acing a quiz or staying after school for tutoring.
After two years, my students outperformed district and city averages
on the New York State Exam.” —Thomas Garza, MPA ’09
BBA ’81, MPA ’82,
named one of Time’s
Persons of the Year
Gary Kelly, BBA ’77,
chairman and CEO of
My years as a doctoral student can be summed up in three words:
‘Glad that’s over.’” —Kevin Jackson, BBA ’91, Ph.D. ’04
“The idea of training for business pursuits was not new in the country as a
whole in 1912 although it was new in
the State of Texas so far as colleges
BBA is offered for
ﬁrst time at UT.
—From The University of Texas: Its Origin
and Growth to 1928, W.M.W. Splawn
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: MCCOMBS SCHOOL ARCHIVES; COURTESY
“Such a study is made of general
business activities as will enable
women to understand business
transactions in which they are likely
to be concerned, and will assist
them in managing their own affairs.
Practice in the keeping of household and personal accounts is
given in the laboratory hour.
the topics considered
r banking and the bank
account; types of commercial
the management of investments; insurance; the rights of
married women; some of the common legal papers; the keeping of
simple accounts. Recommended for
students in Domestic Economy.
O P EN SP RI N G 2 0 12
“I started in
but found out
I was colorblind and
‘not creative’—each an
occupational hazard for
architects (but apparently not for auditors).”
—Sherron Watkins, from her 2002 commencement address.
—Bill Kinney, Charles & Elizabeth Prothro
nts Chair in Business
The original building
was an old ARMY
as “The Shack” (left).
taught by Associate Professor
John Edward Treleven, Chair.
“You will be faced with
numerous choices in
your careers that may
seem trivial at ﬁrst,
but can become huge
obstacles to you later
as you strive to be ethical business leaders.”
The ﬁrst professor in
the Department of
Business and Commerce is Spurgeon
Bell, who offers a
course in the elements of accounting
and another course
in banking practice.
Room and board at
the university is $18
and tuition is free.
E S (FOR WOMEN),
Class of 1921 BBA graduates
BBA ’77, MPA ’78,
partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP in Houston.
School of Business
Hall of Fame.
Kevin Hegarty, MPA
’79, CFO, UT Austin.
Turns out accounting is a stable career in television and
movies, too. A few of our favorite ﬁctional portrayals.
Will Ferrell, STRANGER THAN FICTION
Angela, Oscar and Kevin, THE OFFICE
er, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
ìì Cìììììì#Aìì #ìì"ììAì
“For a nonnative, the
a Texan can
“People may have thought of
[accountants] as lacking in
personality, or as being totally
humorless, but at least they
thought we were sound, we were
honest. Dull as dishwater, for sure,
but incorruptible. Enron, et al.,
has changed all that.”
The American Association of Collegiate
Schools of Business
(AACSB) is founded
with UT as a charter
its Tax Act and Texas’
ﬁrst CPA law in 1915.
The School of Business Administration
The ﬁrst Ph.D.
in accounting is
awarded from UT
Austin, the fourth university in the U.S. to
offer such a degree.
The now-College of
istration is departmentalized into ﬁve
Real Estate, and
New courses are
added to the department’s offerings,
including one on federal taxes and one
on CPA problems.
These courses grow
out of the passage of
the Federal Income
Tax Act of 1913, the
Federal Excess Prof-
Master in Professional Accountfessio
established in the
College of Business.
“…It does seem to me that in a very
e y real
sense this is a special
al age for accounting
education. Rapid and
nd important changes
upon us. The pace off d
has markedly quickened.”
—Charles Zlatkovich, professor emeritus (deceased), in
a 1958 article on accounting education.
The ﬁrst fellowship is
established by a Dallas accounting ﬁrm
called Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and
Co. They give ﬁve
awards of $1,000
each to students
specializing in petroleum accounting.
Professor William Cooper
once taught “A Beautiful
Mind” genius JOHN NASH
at the Carnegie Institute
Council is established, including
leaders from industry, government,
public accounting and other universities. Council
members report on
current trends and
changes that effect
business and government, as well as
provide faculty with
information, recommendations and
feedback regarding curriculum and
In the ’70s, the department pushed to become ITS
OWN SEPARATE SCHOOL,
like the School of Law, but
the university administration was against it.
S P RING 2 0
011 2 O PE N
Uh, Let's Ask the Vet
“When I taught intro tax, one of the things
we covered was like-kind exchanges, and
there’s a rule that says if you exchange
livestock of opposite sexes, that situation
doesn’t qualify for like-kind treatment. On
my exam, I had a situation of a taxpayer
exchanging a bulldozer for a piece of land. At
least six people raised their hands during the exam for
clariﬁcation, and their question was, ‘What’s the sex of
the bulldozer?’” —Anna Fowler, professor emeritus
Could a future A-lister
be walking the halls of
McCombs? These celebrities studied accounting before getting their big
break in decidedly more
Mick Jagger, Janet Jackson,
and Bob Newhart, who said,
Between 2005 and 2010, accounting faculty served in the employ of and on committees and boards with:
Board Advisory Council
FOR THE RECORD
10 of 11
School of Business
the most popular
major at UT
BELOW: Jack Robert-
son, professor emeritus, has a musical
side, playing trumpet
with the Chavez family band, Chinampas.
The Journal of
UT’s accounting department as
fourth in quality of
its faculty and third
in effectiveness of its
for details on the upcoming Centennial
book (June) and celebration (September)
and more memories, trivia and photos.
OP EN SP RI N G 2 012
The PPA (Professional Program in
Accounting) is initiated, where students receive both
the BBA and the
MPA in ﬁve years.
million to the
in his honor.
“When I arrived at [the Department
of Accounting] in 1990, I was the
third female to ever be on the tennure-track faculty. Anna Fowler and
Sally Jones were the ﬁrst two. Sally
left shortly after I arrived, but Anna
was at Texas until she retired about
15 years later. It took me about 20
years to realize the important role
that Anna played in the department
and how much she was my silentt
(yet strong) cheerleader. She wass a
woman way ahead of her time.”
—Lisa Koonce, Deloitte & Touche Endowed
Chair in Accounting
CLASSROOMS THROUGHOUT THE AGES
the top spot in the
graduate and Ph.D.
rankings in the Public
Survey for the seventh time in 10 years.
Accounting Department celebrates its
Students in the Accounting Practicum class volunteer
to help low-income families ﬁle
tax returns. They helped families
claim more than $50 MILLION
IN REFUNDS and credits
over the past six years.
FROM TOP: From the
tools to the rules, the
only constant is change.
!ìììBììì Cììì Cì#ì
BUREAU OF BUSINESS RESEARCH; MCCOMBS SCHOOL ARCHIVES; COURTESY JACK ROBERTSON
Number of most recent years the Texas
undergraduate accounting program has
been ranked #1 by Public Accounting Report.
Texas Tax Readings
students and faculty ffrom the Department
ments of Accounting
established to review
scholarly work, by
academics everywhere, prior to subwher
mission to journals.
Consultant for Internal
Fifteenth Biennial Report of the Board of Regents of The University of
Texas, Dec. 8, 1912
McCombs offers international summer accounting
HONG KONG, China
“Training for Business—The most important courses
given in a school of business training are those on
accountancy. The modern accountant must be a business
engineer, accomplished in the art of business design and business
organization, able to organize accounts and statistical data suitable to the use of the manager and the owner of concerns. He is
also required to have knowledge of business law and to understand the problems in such business organizations as railroads,
manufacturing concerns, public service companies, state, national
and municipal business. There is likewise no business relation
wher it is not highly important for businessmen to understand
the iinterpretation of ﬁnancial reports and business data.”
“My theory of
that as long as
you got within two
or three bucks
of it, you were all
right. But that
didn’t catch on.”
Percentage of MPA grads
that went to work with Big
4 ﬁrms. (2006-10)
Elijah Sells Award
winners from UT Austin
since 1944 (given to those
who obtain the highest
scores in the country on
the CPA exam).
65,000 Volunteer hours
worked by MPA
students in the Accounting Practicum class,
helping families ﬁle tax returns.
Total number of accounting degrees (BBA, MPA, Ph.D.)
Number of most
recent years the
accounting program has been
ranked #1 by
Percentage of MPA grads (2000-07)
that reported taking a full-time position within 12 months of graduating.
Number of current accounting
faculty who are also alumni
of years spent by current accounting faculty
on academic journal
Number of UT professors
who have served as American Accounting Association
president since 1917.
8 of 9
Number of most
Number of most
recent years UT
recent years the
Austin has had a post-graduate techTexas undergraduate
2010, there were three, a huge accomhas been ranked #1
plishment since only a dozen graduates
by U.S. News and
are chosen nationwide each year.
71% 49% 1,256,272
Pass rate of the CPA
exam by UT Austin
Pass rate of the CPA exam
by students from all other
Texas universities (2004-11)
Accounting course hours taught 1971-2011.
MATT POLZE, BBA ’99,
MPA ’99, and AMY TROUTMAN,
BBA ’97, MPA ’97, created the
Professional Program in Accounting at UT Dallas, modeled on
the McCombs ﬁve-year
The MPA Lyceum
Speaker Series gives students the
chance to interact with the pros.
Recent speakers include:
Professor Mary Barth, former member of
the International Accounting Standards
Board, senior associate dean of academic
affairs, Stanford University
Bill Gradison, former acting chairman, Public
Company Accounting Oversight Board
Thomas Linsmeier, FASB board member
David Cay Johnson, Pulitzer Prize–winning
business journalist, formally with the Wall
The Honorable David M. Walker, former
comptroller general of the United States,
Sharon Allen, chairman of the board of
directors, Deloitte & Touche
Professor Katherine Schipper, former
member of the FASB, Duke University
Barry Salzberg, CEO, Deloitte & Touche
Professor Emeritus Denise SchmandtBesserat, art and Middle Eastern Studies,
internationally known for her work on “The
History of Counting”
William Lively, founder and CEO, Dallas
Performing Arts Center
Andrew Hutson, Environmental Defense Fund
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
“When I see something
I think is right..., I just
don’t give up.”
MEET TODD FOLLMER
Putting an End to
inThinc’s software monitors unsafe driving and
alerts parents—and companies—to problems.
BY JULIE THOMPSON
O P EN SP R I N G 2 012
DEC. 7, 2005, RIANNA WOOLSEY WAS A 16-YEAR-OLD
varsity songleader at Tersoro High School in California. That evening she drove her Volkswagen Jetta to
a pep-squad event, with her boyfriend Austin Follmer
following in his pickup truck.
The teens were speeding on a winding road when Rianna
lost control of her car and hit a tree—she did not survive.
Rianna left behind her parents, three siblings and a wide circle of close friends.
Seven months later, when Austin’s dad, Todd Follmer, was
asked to become the CEO of inThinc, a company that created
crash-data recorders for NASCAR vehicles, the memory of Rianna’s death was painfully fresh in his mind.
“(The accident) was originally the whole driving force behind
my thought process [of joining the company],” says Follmer, MBA
’87. “I know that when my son’s girlfriend passed away, speed
was a contributing factor. I thought, ‘Why isn’t there technology
for parents to monitor their kids’ driving and the speed limit?
If that technology was in place could her life have been saved?’
The answer was easily yes.”
Now, six years later, Follmer has helped inThinc’s revenue
grow from $2.5 million to $40 million annually, overseeing
the creation of new software that works to prevent crashes and
unsafe driving. The software provides in-cab instructions (like
telling drivers to slow down or wear a seatbelt), GPS-based
maps, real-time incident notiﬁcations and more.
Based in Salt Lake City, inThinc now sells equipment to billiondollar companies in more than 10 countries, with clients including Schlumberger, Halliburton, the State of Utah and mining
company Barrick Gold.
While most of inThinc’s revenue is generated through sales
to big corporations, it continues to sell to families—especially
those with teenage drivers. Every 55 seconds a teen is injured
or killed in a car crash. InThinc’s tiwiFamily technology monitors unsafe driving behavior and can notify parents when their
teen is driving aggressively.
Follmer estimates the company’s software has prevented
hundreds of crashes and injuries, and saved companies millions in damages.
He adds that after adopting inThinc technology, clients have
seen a 73 percent increase in seatbelt usage, a 90 percent reduction in speeding violations, an 89 percent reduction in aggressive
driving behaviors and an 80 percent improvement in crash rates.
S P RING 2 0 1 2 O PE N
OP EN SPRI
SP RI N G 201
McCombs “Family” Tree
HE KNOWLEDGE AND IDEALS
instilled in McCombs students
go with them long after they
cross the commencement stage.
When alumni go on to hold university posts
around the world, the school’s inﬂuence
grows exponentially with each new stu-
dent they encounter. Even former professors take a bit of McCombs with them when
they go onto new opportunities. Here’s a
look at various McCombs-connected leaders in higher education and the universities they’ve added to the McCombs “family
tree.” Your network just got a little bigger.
Do you know
Nominate him or her
FORMER MCCOMBS FACULTY
Senior Associate Dean
Dean, Michigan Ross School of Business
Associate Dean for
Dean, Georgia Tech College of Management
Kar Yan Tam
Assoc. Provost, Dean of Students, Hong Kong University of
Science and Technology, Business School
Dean, Karachi School for Business and Leadership
President, University of Alabama
Name, Degree, Year
Paul Brown, MPA ’78, PH.D. ’79
Lehigh University, College of Business and Economics
William Carr, MBA ’68
Jacksonville State University, College of Graduate Studies
and Continuing Education
Hampton University, School of Business
Paul Danos, PH.D. ’74
Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business
Anna Dewald, BBA ’49
University of St. Thomas
Joyce Elam, B.A. ’70, PH.D. ’77
Florida International University, College of Business
Jack Griggs, MBA ’67, PH.D. ’71
Abilene Christian University, School of Business
Roy Herberger, BBA ’66
American Graduate School of International Management
Alicia Jackson, PH.D. ’97
Susquehanna University, Sigmund Weis School of Business
Hal Jenson, MBA ’03
Western Michigan University, School of Medicine
to see the official (and dramatic) coin check rules.
Learn more and
submit a nomination:
Attendees at the 7th annual Alumni Business Conference tweeted throughout the day. @RandyATX
was clearly happy to be back on campus:
“Smell of coffee & breakfast
tacos in air. I must be back at
McCombs! #utbiz #hookem”
for more conference highlights.
Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College
Jack Ladd, BBA ’73
University of Texas of the Permian Basin, School of Business
Byungtae Lee, PH.D. ’94
KAIST College of Business (Korea)
Indian School of Business (Hyderabad)
Donde Plowman, PH.D. ’88
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Business
Karen Schuele, MPA ’81
John Carroll University, Boler School of Business
Idaho State University, College of Business
Ira Solomon, BBA ’73, MPA ’74, PH.D. ’79
Tulane University, Freeman School of Business
David Stephens, PH.D. ’75
Utah State University
Hildy Teegen, B.A. ’87, BBA ’87, PH.D. ’93
University of South Carolina, Moore School of Business
James Thomas, PH.D. ’88
Penn State University, Smeal College of Business
Hamrock, MBA ‘08,
even carried his coin
on a trip to the Great
Wall of China.
Ramayya Krishnan, M.S. ’83, PH.D. ’87 Dean
M.S. ’72, PH.D. ’75
DON'T LEAVE HOME
WITHOUT IT: Jerry
Normally one coin isn’t enough to get you a drink, but for the lucky
Executive MBA alumnus, that’s all you need. Take Orlando Zayas,
a “coin check” champ from the Executive MBA class of 2011. His
strategy is simple: “I carry my coin in my wallet.” This particular coin
comes with a special power. The ability to earn a free drink. In 2007,
Tom Perkins, MBA ’08, and a West Point graduate, was inspired
by military tradition and suggested giving coins to the graduating
class. A tradition was born. Now ﬁrst-year Executive MBA students
present a McCombs-branded coin to their graduating mentors. With
the gift comes a challenge. At any time or place, a graduate can
brandish his or her coin in front of fellow alumni, initiating a “coin
check.” Everyone must then present their own coins. Forget your
coin? Get ready to buy the next round.
young alumni who
Jason Wilson is a North America
regional manager for Barrick Gold who
converted from inThinc skeptic to true
believer. Initially he considered the technology a nuisance, but soon noticed the
real-time coaching helped him decrease
speed and wear his seatbelt more regularly.
Now he’s an inThinc advocate, using
the company’s software to monitor Barrick Gold’s carbon footprint and tire wear
on its vehicles. Wilson says Barrick Gold
has saved more than $2 million in maintenance costs by using inThinc.
“There has been a huge reduction in
automobile-related accidents worldwide,”
Wilson says. “There has been a huge
decline in speeding tickets, and when
there is an accident, because inThinc generates records, we are able to know how
to change things in the future.”
It’s no wonder that inThinc’s scope has
expanded so broadly during Follmer’s tenure. As a 16-year-old freshman studying
ﬁnance and computer science at the University of Central Florida, it took him nine
years to graduate because he was so busy
launching new businesses.
By the time Follmer ﬁnished school,
he was married with a son on the way.
At the recommendation of a UCF professor, Follmer came to Texas for an MBA,
hoping to lay the foundation for a more
stable career. He taught a real estate class
and finished one semester early. After
graduation, he joined Salomon Brothers
on Wall Street, and then later worked as
vice president in the investment banking
division at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette in Dallas.
But soon he felt the pull to be more
“I’m very entrepreneurial,” Follmer
says. “I like to blaze my own trail, and
ultimately with my education at the
McCombs School and the work experience I got at Salomon Brothers and DLJ I
was able to go out on my own.”
Follmer relocated his family to California and formed Engles, Urso, Follmer
Capital Corp., a private equity concern
that acquired companies such as Vitality,
Electrolux and Florida Global Citrus. He
currently sits on the board of directors for
Aerus LLC and Tristar Enterprises.
And while Follmer didn’t found inThinc,
he maintains an entrepreneur’s zeal for
the company. He hopes to expand by
reaching out to insurance companies,
encouraging them to use the equipment
in their own vehicles and offer driver discounts to customers who install it.
But beyond the bottom line, Follmer is
proud that the company’s technology can
help prevent fatal accidents like Rianna’s,
whether it’s in a family minivan or a mining company truck. And that’s the motivation that he carries with him each day
at the ofﬁce.
“When I see something that I think is
right and that I think should win, I just
don’t give up. I don’t quit.”
1933 Pollok Jr., Lewis W., BBA
1935 Castille, Dorothea Anderson,
1938 DeBerry, Mary Lee, BBA
Toombs, Alton Monroe, BBA
1941 Thokey, James W. BBA,
1942 Goldfarb, William D., BBA
1943 DeFord, Harvey, BBA
Smith, William C., BBA
1947 Whitesell, Lois Lee, BBA
1948 Beall, Alex, BBA
Hardee, Jack Y., BBA
McAnelly, Betty M., BBA
McDonald, Jeanne B., BBA
1949 Biediger Sr., Lawrence J., BBA
Calhoun, Thomas, BBA
Carlisle, Pat, BBA
Fulton, Dan P., BBA
Walker Jr., Frank N., BBA
1950 Gibbons, George Alfred, BBA
Hatten, Frank, BBA
Lee, Robert C., BBA
Smith, Richard H., BBA
1951 Blake, Shirley B., BBA
Clarke Jr., Benjamin D., BBA
Hruzek, Bernard S., BBA
Lumbley Jr., John H., BBA
1952 Newman, Myron H., BBA
Nichols, Ruth A., BBA
Worsham, James P., BBA
Young, Mary A., MBA
1953 Sowell, Charles L., BBA
1954 Bowman, Nancy, BBA
Brewster, Allen, BBA
Crum, Lawrence L., BBA, MBA ’56,
Shawell, Randall S., BBA
Sweet, Arnold N., BBA
Varnado, Frederick L., BBA
1955 Williams, Walter, BBA , MBA ’56
1956 McNamara, Hank, BBA
1957 Higgins, William Michael, BBA
King Sr., John Taylor, Ph.D
1958 Roloff, Melvin Lynn, BBA
1959 Peck Jr., Joseph H., BBA
1960 Alexander, Jack M., BBA
Bouchard, Andre, BBA, MBA ’63
Williams, J. Rodger, BBA
1961 Dyke Jr., Richard B., BBA
Tinsley, John F., BBA
1963 Knight Jr., Leon, BBA, MBA
’68, Ph.D ’74
Rosas, Homer O., BBA
1965 Love Jr., Samuel W., BBA
White Jr., Alfred E., BBA
1967 Paul, Christopher A., BBA
Simmons, Bryan C., BBA
1969 French, Wilburn W., BBA
Townsend, R. Wayne, BBA
1970 Morrison, Gary L., BBA
Williams, Samuel McCormac, BBA
1971 Koenig, Larry F., BBA
1973 Trumbo, Gary Franklin, BBA
1974 Blum, Michael, BBA
Campbell, John Lorne, BBA
Gossen, Steven A., BBA
1975 Green, Kelton M., BBA
1977 Salak, Gordon H., MPA
1979 Hall, Marc Randall, BBA
Kilgore Jr., Daniel Edmond, BBA
1980 Rainey, John Stanley, BBA
1981 Daniel, Billy Earl, BBA
Pingaro, Mark A., BBA
Wolff, Jody H., BBA
1982 Brown, Margaret Ellen, MBA
1983 Stephens, Ellen S., BBA
1990 Olson-Smith, Karen, BBA
1991 Barge, Richard M., BBA
1993 Clayville, Holly, MBA
Floyd, Robert, MBA
1995 Hankamer, James Randolph,
2010 Lark, Kenneth J., BBA
P RING 2
0 1 2 O PE N
Vivek Menon, MBA ’07, is a manager
When we celebrate
the past accomplishments and future
hopes of graduates.
Also, best excuse to
listen to “Pomp and
repeat all weekend.
with the Ernst and Young Performance
Improvement practice and was recently
selected as a 2011 EY Corporate Responsibility Fellow. As part of the program
Menon spent seven weeks in Chile helping an entrepreneur expand his business.
Gov. Rick Perry appointed
Ivan Andarza, BBA, presiding ofﬁcer of the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation … Raj Mahale,
BBA, is a partner at Kelley Dye & Warren
LLP in Stamford, Conn., representing U.S.
and foreign entities on cross-border transactions. He lives with his wife, Monica,
and their children, Arya and Raya in New
Dick Evans, BBA , was
named the 2011 Community
Banker of the Year by American Banker
Magazine. Evans is chairman and CEO of
Ross Nager, BBA (MPA ’76),
joined WTAS as a managing
director in its national tax ofﬁce.
Stephanie Nelson, BBA,
was appointed director of
audits and analysis for Sul Ross State
University … Mike Sanders, MBA, is a
member of the board of directors for Delta
Dental of Kansas.
After practicing law in Houston for 30 years, David
Ivey, BBA ’77, returned to his hometown of Austin
to join UT as university export control ofﬁcer.
OP EN SPRI
SP RI N G 20
David De Marco, BBA,
was elected to serve on the
American Bankers Insurance Association’s
board of directors … Greg Simia, MBA,
joined St. Nicholas, St. Mary’s and St. Vincent Hospitals in Wisconsin as chief ﬁnancial ofﬁcer.
Blake Sellers, MBA, established the independent consulting firm Bystone Advisory, assisting
clients with planning for merger integration.
Paul Bartley, MPA, received
a Meritorious Presidential Rank award from President Obama
in October 2011. He is the director of the
Program Support Center, a federal shared
services operation hosted within the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services
… Susan Straub, BBA, was awarded
Communicator of the Year from the Dallas
chapter of the International Association
of Business Communicators … Rebecca
(Eddins) Szelc, MBA, joined Charles
River Associates in the ﬁnancial accounting and valuation practice in Dallas.
2011 Forbes Most Promising
Regan (Richter) Ebert,
MBA, is vice president of
marketing for the non-carbonated beverage portfolio with Dr Pepper Snapple
Group. Husband Todd Ebert, MBA, is
senior vice president of marketing at
Group Properties … Andrew Schmid,
BBA (MBA ’09), joined the investment
team at Tug Hill, Inc. … Paige Schnabel, MBA, is marketing director at North
Alyse Forcellina, MBA,
joined Egon Zehnder International, an executive search and leadership assessment ﬁrm … Jerome (J.D.)
Kern, BBA, MPA, was appointed head
of ﬁnance at General Assembly in New
York. General Assembly is a campus for
technology, design and entrepreneurship
… Terry (Kerr) Neyland, MBA, earned
her law degree in 2010 and is clerking for
a federal district court judge in the Southern District of Mississippi.
David Strahan, MSTC,
published his ﬁrst book on
architecture, titled “Contemporary Villas.”
Ben Pierce, MBA, and
wife Rachel welcomed
twins Asher Jude and Elliana Josephine
on July 18, 2011 … Matt Stone, MBA,
formed Arkose Capital Management,
which focuses on real estate investment
and asset management.
Bob Feiner, MBA, was promoted to vice president, Dell
Services, where he manages Dell’s global
deployment and ﬁeld services.
Aziz Gilani, BBA, was promoted by venture ﬁrm DFJ
Mercury to director following his graduation from the Kaufmann Fellows program.
BBA ‘01, MPA ‘01,
News in New Orleans
Robert S. Zlotnik,
BBA ‘75, MBA ‘80,
president and CEO,
MSTC ‘08, director of
National Oilwell Varco
Jonathan Gard (BBA)
and Natalie Schneider
(BBA ’09) were married on Dec. 10, 2011,
in Hallettsville, Texas … Will Lovis, MBA,
and his wife, Ryka, welcomed daughter
Neva Elizabeth Lovis on Aug. 5, 2011.
Joyce Carter, MBA, joined
technology startup Grinbath
as chief financial officer. She also continues her work directing the graduate
program in technical communication and
rhetoric at Texas Tech University.
David Hicks, MBA, recently
moved back to Texas and
accepted a job as vice president at East-
Scott Emley, MBA, was
appointed vice president
of marketing for the Ramtron International Corp.
Mark Lum, MBA, (See BBA
’93 in callout)
BBA ‘66, principal,
Overton Partners, LLC
Yanette Jimenez, BBA,
earned a master’s of science in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University’s
Medill School … Daniel Laufer, Ph.D.,
(See MBA ’94)
John L. Adams,
Rosa Flores Dee,
landed at number 86 on the
It’s Not Quite the Stars
and Stripes, But …
Andrew Schmid, MBA,
(See BBA ’04)
COURTESY CASEY BRADSTREET
Bette Ann Stead, MBA, was
honored as the first female
member of Lamar University’s College of
Business Hall of Fame. Stead, professor
emeritus at the University of Houston’s
Bauer College of Business, is the founder
of the Greater Houston Business Ethics
Roundtable and has endowed three scholarships at McCombs.
’99), is vice president and
Products in Houston, which
Daniel Laufer, MBA (Ph.D.
’02), joined the business
school faculty at Victoria University in
Wellington, New Zealand.
principal at Worldwide Power
Mark Lum, BBA ’93 (MBA
Sandeep Doshi, MBA ,
joined IBM Global Services
as a technical solutions manager in the
company’s Complex Engagement Services group.
Ayse McCracken, MBA, is
CEO at the Memorial Hermann Medical Group in Houston and
was recently honored as an inductee into
the Hall of Fame for the Greater Houston
Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
WHERE HAVE YOU
SHOWN OFF YOUR
SCHOOL PRIDE? Send
us your pics of wearing your “Texas Means
Business” T-shirt on
the beach or reading
OPEN on your next
We’ll print our favorites in the fall issue.
“Spirited” doesn’t describe most cubicles, but employees at
internet hosting company Rackspace are doing their best to
overcome that. It’s a “cultural right,” explains Casey Bradstreet,
MBA ’11, for staffers to demonstrate their allegiance to various
schools, teams or countries by hanging ﬂags above their workspaces. Not satisﬁed with merely showing off UT pride, Bradstreet displayed the ﬁrst McCombs ﬂag after contacting the
school’s Communications Ofﬁce for help in securing ﬂags for
her and a few business school peers. “I wanted something that
differentiated us from the rest of the university,” Bradstreet explained. “After all, it is McCombs!”
P RING 2
0 1 2 O PE N
Regina Hughes, senior lecturer
of ﬁnance. Hughes has been at UT
since 1993 and has won numerous
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
Discussing your grade. When you tell me this is
your best work and I overhear you tell others you
wrote it last night, I know we may have a difference
of opinion on your grade.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ANOTHER CAREER,
WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A truck stop waitress. I like the study of people, I
like to think I can make the world a better place
and I think I would enjoy the job.
WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT FRIDAY NIGHT?
Cards (or dominoes), friends and good strong libation.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS.
Vibrant, ambitious, reality-challenged.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?
Self doubt, and it comes at the worst times.
WHAT’S WITH ALL THE MEMORABILIA IN
Would you rather see Greek antiquities? I keep
those at home. My ﬁrst office had no window and
the novelty gave great distraction. Once I started
collecting, students and colleagues added to my
collection. Everyone who visits can ﬁnd something
they have a connection with, and it makes them
smile. Also, my husband asked that Elvis not hang
on our living room wall.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME A STUDENT
PLEASANTLY SURPRISED YOU?
Students who make me smile are the ones I hear
from after class is over, after the semester or graduation. Tell me something made you think of me
and our class, that’s what gives me juice for the
YOU RUN THE BUSINESS FOUNDATIONS PROGRAM AND THE HALLIBURTON BUSINESS
FOUNDATIONS SUMMER INSTITUTE. HOW
DOES TEACHING NON-BUSINESS MAJORS
AFFECT THE WAY YOU TEACH BUSINESS?
We all bring something different to the table. We
provide checks and balances to each other’s discipline; the combination beats a straight anytime.
Bold stripes project rigidity. A glen plaid is
a very compromising projection. Light gray
or tan projects a softness. Dark colors say
you’re serious about business.
WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE LOVE
BUT THAT YOU HATE?
I don’t watch cooking shows, dancing with hasbeens or reality shows.
OP EN SP RI N G 2 012
for more on Chasnoff.
WHAT CHARACTERISTIC IS ESSENTIAL TO
SUCCEEDING IN BUSINESS?
This is best described by a Guy Clark song. The lyrics, “Close your eyes, spread your arms out wide and
always trust your cape,” are great words to live by.