Real Humans of Texas McCombs’ MBA Class of 2021
Alice Xue, Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Chicago, Public Policy and International Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Technology, 6 years
Why business school? Why now?
I really enjoyed my pre-MBA job as a product manager, but I felt that I had reached a personal ceiling. Having come from a social science background, I was in my element when talking about users and teams, but much less so in the world of budgets and funnels. The future of work is only going to get more analytical and data-driven, so I wanted to take a break to broaden my perspective and focus on filling in any knowledge gaps before getting into more senior roles.
Why McCombs? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
From the first time I stepped foot in Austin, I’ve been amazed by the energy and vibrancy of the city. Although all great business schools offer tons of resources, Texas McCombs’ seamless integration with the surrounding city was a huge factor in my decision. There’s nowhere else I could experience being at the nexus of equally amazing academic, technology, and entrepreneurial communities, all whilst eating some proper Texas barbecue. Finally, the incredibly welcoming and genuine UT staff and students I met made me feel right at home on campus.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
One of the careers I tried out after my undergrad was social services. Although I didn’t wind up going the social work route, I have always taken opportunities to mentor and develop others, or to just be supportive through tough times. There are no truly individual victories in life, so I want to bring out the best in my peers, especially in the moments of doubt we all have during big changes.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I once visited Fargo, ND in costume as Marge from the movie Fargo for a scavenger hunt road trip. All photo evidence has since been destroyed.
Post-MBA career interests?
Technology has always been an interest for me, and it’s where I want to build the rest of my career. I’d love to be any place where I can leverage tech to improve the human experience, whether it’s how we work, shop, learn, or otherwise engage with the world.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Use your support network! I had an amazing group of friends who volunteered themselves for essay editing, resume reviewing, and even recommendations. Their insight helped me so much, not only in getting stuff done, but also in helping me see my own story in a new light.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I applied to eight different programs! I felt so much pressure (arbitrarily) to apply in Round 1, and had I spent more time reflecting on what was the best fit for me, I might have had a much smaller workload.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The math portion of the GMAT was a struggle for me after being over a decade removed from my last standardized test. My quant-minded friends would remind me every day to do some practice problems and tutor me when I couldn’t remember anything from high school trigonometry.
What is your initial impression of McCombs’ students/culture/community?
Enthusiastic, optimistic, and humble. I love that everyone I’ve met so far hustles with purpose, and the energy is infectious.
One thing you have learned about McCombs that has surprised you?
I was surprised by the depth of resources McCombs has dedicated to entrepreneurs–from pitch parties to programs such as Texas Venture Labs, you can really be deeply involved in the UT community while pursuing your own idea. There’s even a class dedicated to new venture creation.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Meeting tons of new people.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Making tons of new friends.