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Real Humans of Texas McCombs’ MBA Class of 2021

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Alexis Murray, McCombs MBA Class of 2021

Alexis Murray, Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2021

Age: 29
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Undergraduate Institution and Major: The Ohio State University, Strategic Communication and Spanish
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Healthcare Marketing, 6 years

Why business school? Why now?
I worked in marketing for 6 years, but felt very limited in having worked in one industry for my entire career. I want to pivot into product management or product marketing in the technology space given its focus on customer-driven, challenging, and innovative work. Business school provides me with the opportunity to learn more about this industry and have exposure to leading companies in this space.

Also, I am really passionate about pursuing roles that will lead me to management/leadership positions. I spoke with managers in my organization who were able to move into these roles because they understood the overall business and how each department worked together towards the larger goal. I knew that I needed deeper knowledge on functions outside of marketing if I wanted to move into leadership roles.

Lastly, I hope to use this knowledge to support my entrepreneurial passions. I’d like to leverage my marketing expertise and business school education to launch my own marketing and brand management consulting firm in the future.

Why McCombs? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose to attend McCombs because it has a strong academic component, a focus on the tech industry, and a collaborative student community. McCombs also has a strong focus on experiential learning through various fellowship programs and MBA+ projects. These projects prepare students looking to pivot into different industries and functions. Given the fact that I have no previous experience in the tech industry, this was a huge draw for me!

We’re also surrounded by the city of Austin! Austin is a growing city that attracts top companies and has a great culture and I feel lucky to have it as the backdrop to my MBA experience.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
My most valuable contribution is my ability to build meaningful connections, bring teams together and manage projects. I worked for a small company where I often served as a project lead and managed a team of my peers, with very different backgrounds, to accomplish a goal. This has been helpful for the team projects that we work on and I hope to use these skills to help advance different student organizations I plan to join.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
A fun fact about me is that I am obsessed with interior design and HGTV. I recently redesigned my apartment and helped my parents and sister design their homes. I’d like to make it a full-time hobby after I retire.

Post-MBA career interests?
Post-MBA, I hope to work in product marketing or product management for a large tech company.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I spent a lot of time reflecting on my ideal business school experience. My list included participating in marketing-specific organizations, traveling, gaining exposure to the technology space, and being a part of a friendly and collaborative community. Then I ranked these factors and used this list as my guide when I was researching and speaking with students. Business school is time-intensive, so it is important to pick the school where you can achieve your goals AND enjoy yourself at the same time!

–One thing you would change or do differently?
If I could do it again, I would have been better about managing my time. Applying for an MBA can feel very time-consuming considering the amount of time you spend studying, writing essays, and chatting with students. It is important to prioritize each of these while also finding time to still enjoy your personal life to hopefully avoid burning out. Plan ahead and make sure to find time for family and friends!

What is your initial impression of McCombs’ students/culture/community?
My initial impression of the McCombs community is that everyone was very friendly and genuine. Everyone that I met was open to speaking about their experience and providing resources that could help me learn more about opportunities at McCombs. The community was a huge part of the reason that I chose to pursue my MBA here.

One thing you have learned about McCombs that has surprised you?
One thing that has surprised me is the diversity in my class. I feel fortunate to go to classes with and learn from students who are teachers, veterans, small business owners, athletes, etc. My classmates from a from a variety of countries, states, and backgrounds. Each person provides a different perspective that has helped me think about problems in a different way.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am anxious about managing my time! Everyone tells you that business school is busy, but you don’t truly understand it until you start your core classes. You have to pick and choose what is important to you because there are so many student organizations and events you can attend. I am still working on finding the right balance but going through core classes definitely has helped me learn how to plan my time.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited about the opportunities for experiential learning and combining what I’ve learned from my career and business classes to solve real-world problems. There are great opportunities to work with top companies and help them address real business problems. Pivoting to a new industry can be exciting and intimidating, so it is nice to know I’ll have the opportunity to build my resume and industry knowledge across the next year to hopefully secure a great internship!

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.