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Real Humans of Texas McCombs’ MBA Class of 2021

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Austin Price, McCombs MBA Class of 2021

Austin Price, Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2021

Age: 28
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Undergraduate Institution and MajorUnited States Naval Academy, History
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Marine Corps as an Intelligence Officer, 6 years

Why business school? Why now?
As an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps, I led teams in analyzing the crucial developments of technology and the broader international relationships in geopolitics. I really enjoyed both of these activities beyond the majority of my peers and realized that I was well suited to work within the tech sector pushing innovation or the finance sector, analyzing markets. I realized that while I had the interest and a unique background for both areas, I still needed to learn some of the fundamental skills required to work in either sector.

Why McCombs? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
For my MBA, I was seeking a great environment to learn, a program that places its graduates extremely well, and a location that I would enjoy, and have found all of those and more at McCombs.

During the research stage, I knew that I wanted to work within the tech or the asset management space. McCombs immediately leapt out as a clear leader in both areas, with the massive growth in the Apple, Google, Facebook, and Oracle presence in the area and the MBA Investment Fund, the first and one of the largest of its kind. In addition, after years spent in smaller towns, I felt drawn to a cool urban setting and Austin, ranked as the best place to live in America definitely fit the bill.

When I came to interview, I immediately connected with a fellow veteran in his first year in the program, and his description of the program and the amazing new facility completely sold me on coming here. Having now spent several months in Austin and in the program, I am so glad I came here. I would put our location, climate, job opportunities, and local affordability against any other MBA program.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
In my years in the Marine Corps, I was able to develop a deep knowledge about the geopolitical conflicts and motivations throughout the world along with the developing technologies that present a threat to every government. I hope to use this information to help provide a non-business perspective behind the international political environment and the factors that shape international markets in novel ways.

I will also play a very active role in helping veterans transitioning to McCombs. Having benefited greatly from Service2School (S2S), a free application service for veterans, I am now serving as an ambassador in the program, helping others with their application.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I am a podcast and audiobook addict. Every day getting ready and even while working out or running, I always have headphones in and am listening away.

Post-MBA career interests?
I am currently exploring both the tech and asset management space. I am excited pursue the McCombs’ Investment Fund and an MBA+ project to gain experiential experience in both areas.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I probably have well over a hundred different versions of my MBA essays, and am actually very glad that I did. It really can be a great time to find out what is important to you and what drives you. The process is tiring, but the result is a much clearer view of what you want. This process has made it a lot easier to prioritize different options while I have been at McCombs.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Like most students, I fixated on rankings far too early. Ultimately, applicants should look far beyond those to the much more important questions, such as where you want to geographically spend the next two years and beyond. Feeling established where you are and not feeling required to travel for every interview takes a lot of pressure off the MBA process.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Translating my resume from military specific lingo was very difficult, and my S2S ambassador was incredible at helping me through it.

What is your initial impression of McCombs’ students/culture/community?
Collaborative, diverse, and accomplished.

One thing you have learned about McCombs that has surprised you?
The passion with which every student seems to live their life. No matter what you want to focus on, from studies, to community impact, to the Austin food or outdoor scene, to just plain fun, it is easy to find someone who is willing to do something with. I can just drop a message into one of our Slack channels and be playing volleyball at Zilker Park a few hours later.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Personally, I have never had to recruit for a job, and I am trying to not fixate on the job search. Since I already had a military contract in college, I knew that I had a job, and it is nerve-wracking to experience the job search for the first time. Fortunately, McCombs has a great career management staff that excels at places everyone where they should go.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Building strong friendships with my classmates that I can enjoy for years.

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.