Commencement Spotlight: Daniel Amodio, Full-Time MBA

amodio tower_1-300x451Daniel Amodio, MBA ’13, is a baseball fan, born and raised. He spent childhood afternoons with his dad watching the Cleveland Indians, collected a variety of Little League trophies, and played second base for the Medina High School Bees, a team “about as fearful as it sounds.” Now, he’s using his Texas MBA to globalize America’s Pastime, starting with the Australian Baseball League. Continue reading


Delta CEO On Recovering From A “Billion Dollar Mistake”

Delta CEO Richard Anderson at the UT McCombs School of Business

Photo by Nancy Bonds

Richard Anderson’s road to becoming CEO of Delta Air Lines was unconventional. He doesn’t have an MBA; in fact, he’s never taken a business class, and his first job was as a busboy at an Amarillo steak house. But under his leadership Delta Air Lines topped Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Airlines list in 2011 and 2013, and won the Gold Stevie International Business Award for Transportation Company of the Year. Continue reading

Selling America’s Favorite Taco

Taco Bell Doritos Locos business strategy with Liz WilliamsTaco Bell has done it again.

From the “Yo quiero” chihuahua to its Fourthmeal campaign (encouraging those late night drive-thru runs), the company’s marketing tactics and menu have a knack for connecting with consumers. But nothing has created buzz like the Doritos Locos Taco (the chain’s normal taco with a hard shell made of Nacho Cheese Doritos). Since the taco premiered in March 2012, more than 250 million have been sold. Continue reading

What’s Missing in Modern Medicine?

A new breed of MDs thinks an MBA is the cure for an ailing healthcare system.

David Riley

“I think physicians should be more involved in management and administrative issues to allow those processes to be better aligned with what goes on at the bedside,” Riley says

Neonatologist David Riley was adept at placing central arterial lines for sick newborns. But navigating the inefficiencies within the healthcare system was a different story. Now, as a second-year student in the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program, he is learning the management skills to help keep his industry from flatlining. Continue reading

McCombs MBAs Win UNC Real Estate Development Challenge

A team of McCombs MBA students won this year’s University of North Carolina Real Estate Development Challenge on Feb. 15, taking home bragging rights in addition to the $10,000 prize. The tower will be lit on March 19 to celebrate their victory.

McCombs MBA Students Win UNC Real Estate Development ChallengeThe national competition, which took place Feb. 14-15 in Chapel Hill, N.C., brought together 16 teams from MBA programs across the country. Teams were given the real estate development case on the Tuesday before the competition and presented their plans to judges on Friday morning. Four teams advanced to the finals, where they presented again. Second place went to a team from Columbia University, and teams from Vanderbilt and UCLA tied for third place.

This year’s case was for the development of a 136-acre plot of land east of downtown Houston. The McCombs team, which included first-year MBA students Richard LongMason Gilmore, and Ziad Haddad, and second-year MBA student Courtney Blackburn, developed their plan to include a largely residential area with some parks along the bayou, anchoring the area with a large H-E-B grocery store.

The students had a mixed-income outlook for the development, designing townhomes and apartments that would attract tenants from various income levels.

The team attributes part of their success to their varied backgrounds in real estate. Gilmore worked in Houston and was familiar with the specific site, so he was able to contribute to the conceptual plan. Long had a background in development, so he contributed to the finance aspects of the plan as well as the modeling and phasing for the project. Haddad had previously studied architecture, and using his experience and software, the team created a visual of the entire development. Blackburn, a Houston native, acted as the student coordinator for the University of Texas National Real Estate Competition, and contributed her knowledge of the area as well as her experience on the other side of the competition.

Gilmore says that because the team had so much prior experience, they were able to work toward a goal easily and quickly.

“We worked really well together and we were all on board with our site plan vision,” Gilmore says. “We were able to come to agreeance early, which allowed us to make our presentation a little more detailed than our competition.”

The team worked on the presentation for several hours after receiving the case on Tuesday, and then worked from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday before boarding their flight to Chapel Hill. According to Blackburn, the time limitation was the team’s biggest challenge.

“I’d say the biggest challenge was the time crunch,” Blackburn says. “At a certain point, you worry if you’ll have enough time, but I think it ended up working out great.”

Despite the stress of the competition, Gilmore says the competition has given the team real-world experience across all areas of real estate development.

“It was a fun experience, and it was very helpful,” Gilmore says. “We were able to look at all aspects of the development process, the site plan, the phasing, the market, and the numbers. Usually you’re just able to look at one aspect as a part of your job, but having to balance them all was a fun learning experience.”

Blackburn agrees, saying that she believes the competition experience will benefit her in her future career.

“This is what I’m going to be doing in real life, and it definitely got me excited about going out in the real world,” Blackburn says. “I loved it, and it was easily the most rewarding thing I’ve done with my MBA so far.”

Reposted from McCombs Today