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Real Humans of Texas McCombs’ MBA Class of 2022

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Sebastian Gomez, Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2022

Age: 28
Hometown: New York, New York
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Harvard University; History and Literature
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Education and Social Science Research

Why business school? Why now?
I always knew that I would return to school but my decision to attend business school was not solidified until I connected with the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Through their webinars and outreach, I heard more about McCombs and was immediately drawn to the program’s rigor and structure. I wanted a versatile and generalist degree that would allow me to switch careers and job functions, so I viewed the MBA experience as a chance to broaden my skill set and gain exposure to other industries.

Why Texas McCombs? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Among McCombs’s, most compelling qualities were its focus on personal leadership development and the program’s room for academic curiosity through its customizable curriculum. I am pursuing the Brand & Product Management concentration, and part of why I chose McCombs was to pair my coursework with involvement in some of McCombs’s unique programming and community organizations. Programs like Marketing Fellows allow students to gain hands-on experience through weekly cases with companies looking for insights on actual issues they are facing. I was excited to connect with the Latin American and Hispanic Master in Business Association and my Consortium Cohort. I was drawn to LAHMBA based on my Latinx background and desire to network with other students and alumni from McCombs interested in advancing Latinx representation in business. Furthermore, as a Consortium member, I get to connect with classmates and uplift ways in which McCombs partners with the Consortium to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Finally, I knew I wanted to live in a city where I didn’t feel I needed to leave after my two years of school, and many of the companies I am recruiting for have offices here in the city. Austin has a vibrant community and I am excited to explore it in full once things return to normal, in terms of public health risks.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
My most differentiating contribution is my education experience. As a former educator and academic advisor, I have gained a unique perspective from working with students and their families to build relationships and connect them with the resources they need. It has been helpful for me to have built that muscle of clear communication while also clearly naming the challenges and needs that come with being a student again.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
Once I led a bunch of sixth graders through a “Fact or Fiction” activity where they had to guess truths and lies about my coworkers and me. When I showed them my set of facts and lies, they immediately thought, “Mr. Gomez was born in Columbia,” was the true fact, but I had fooled them and pointed out that “Columbia” spelled with a “u” is not a real country. The whole room, both children and adults, audibly groaned.

Post-MBA career interests?
I am interested in transitioning into the tech industry, specifically as a product manager. I’m hoping to leverage my professional experiences to pivot into a role where I will use my analytic and stakeholder outreach skill sets to generate insights on consumer demands. I excel at using data to tell stories, and I want to be able to explore how consumers interact with products to help drive product growth and innovation.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I benefited a lot from turning to trusted friends and colleagues for support and feedback while I worked on articulating my professional stories and goals. Not only did they graciously provide support with various essay drafts, but their moral support kept me feeling optimistic and hopeful amidst all the uncertainty of applying to school.

–One thing you would change or do differently?       
I would take more time to breathe and spend less time feeling freaking out about the GRE. I took it a second time and spent way too much mental energy agonizing over my studying, practice tests, and ultimate score. As a rational education researcher, I know these data points of psychometrics are not reliable indicators of future success or even of my skills in math and literacy. The high-stakes nature of the test certainly weighed a heavy toll on me emotionally but look at me now, I turned out fine!

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped through the narrow timeframe of visiting schools and arranging interviews as an applicant in the earliest round. It was so great to visit campuses and meet people, but quite stressful to plan and fit in my work schedule. And also, paying those fees! Would skip that in a heartbeat. Guidance from Consortium helped me get through both of those challenges.

What is your initial impression of Texas McCombs’ students/culture/community?
People are friendly, down-to-earth, and happy to have a good time. The staff has been approachable and supportive, even if mostly through virtual connection.

One thing you have learned about Texas McCombs that has surprised you?
Less of a “surprise,” but I have been impressed with the high-quality instruction in classes. All schools would talk up their esteemed faculty and valuable classroom experiences, but now that I’m living it, I appreciate the time and attention I’ve received from professors to support my learning.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Recruiting is stressful. My conversations with McCombs peers and staff have been helpful with assuaging my nerves for various interviews. However, the process in general can be quite nerve-wracking, as we all are exposed to opportunities with different timelines. I am glad the vibe among classmates is not competitive, but rather, supportive and understanding.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m doing an MBA+ project with the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. I have a great team, and I love airports. It’s a dream come true.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.