My father started a small business in the 1980s that was beginning to thrive when I was in grade school. He has a strong financial background, so by following his work for the business, I developed an interest in the world of finance at an early age.
I was originally a bit upset that I did not make it into McCombs out of high school. I was at the top of my high school class and had worked hard, so the news initially came across as negative. I met with my advisor in UGS, Jay Guevara, and he made it clear that I was actually in a great position. His take on the situation turned out to be very accurate; I had an exceptional opportunity to get all of the university core classes completed while further exploring my interests, largely made possible by the many resources made available by the School of Undergraduate Studies.
I encountered too many setbacks to even list here. Perhaps the greatest was working hard my first year in UGS and still failing to gain admission to McCombs in my second year. This was a turning point that made me question my abilities. Once again, my UGS advisor met with me frequently and helped me plan a final attempt to achieve my dream. He introduced me to the First-year Interest Group (FIG) Mentor program, which was one of the most phenomenal experiences I have had at UT. I was admitted to McCombs in my third year, and will be graduating on time this May.
The best thing about being a finance major is the depth of knowledge and experience of the professors. For example, I have finance professors with such experiences as owning and operating large hedge funds, working at the top level for major corporations, and operating an array of other businesses. This allows them to bring real-world experiences into the classroom which support the financial theories and concepts in the curriculum.
Most Rewarding Class
The most rewarding class I have taken at UT is BA 324 Business Communication with Jan Starnes. While interning with a large bank over the summer, it became clear to me that the ability to effectively utilize all forms of communication will infinitely increase one’s success in the workplace. The numbers and theories are essential, but the “real world” of finance revolves around communication just as much as the numbers. Starnes defines “excellent” in terms of teaching this type of class, and I would not trade the experience!
Favorite Study Spot: Reliant Productivity Center
While in UGS, I became very active in several organizations. I joined both the University Investors Association and the University Finance Association. These allowed me to establish several connections within the business school and begin learning about the world of finance. I was a mentor for the entrepreneurship First Year Interest Group in my second year of UGS. This provided me with the opportunity to connect with several first-year students and help them successfully adapt to college life.
I interned with Goldman Sachs in the Summer of 2013.
UGS Experience and Advice for Undecided Students
The School of Undergraduate Studies was an exceptional opportunity that had a very positive effect on my experience at UT. It allowed me to stay “up to date” with all of those students that were already in McCombs by taking the same core classes that are required of all UT students. It also gave me some time to explore all of interests and decide to further pursue finance. The advisors in UGS are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and the overall atmosphere is one of support which I consider to be vital in my own journey at UT.
My greatest advice, by far, would be to keep a positive attitude and realize that you are in complete control of where you transfer after UGS. Think of UGS as an additional tool that you are getting to benefit from; those who came into the university with a declared major will not enjoy this advantage! Above all, focus on your grades and be as active as possible in the area which you plan to pursue.