The McCombs School of Business is undisputedly the most highly-ranked business school in the very vast southwestern region of the country. Quite simply, there is no comparable school within quite a large radius of Austin, Texas.

Amongst the business school’s many advantages are its Plus program, market-driven specializations, and student-run investment fund. The school has an undergraduate program, a part-time MBA program in Austin, and Executive MBA programs in Austin, Dallas, and Mexico City. And this fall, they will be adding a new Executive MBA program in Houston.

Below is the three-page transcript of our interview with Daniel Garza, Assistant Dean of the MBA Program.

This past summer, you were named the new Assistant Dean of the MBA Program at the McCombs School of Business.  With this new role, in addition to your responsibilities as Director of Admissions and Program Director, how do you see the school evolving?

Well I think one of the main things is, under the strategic plan from our dean that was rolled out about a year ago, we have been able to move toward two major areas or initiatives.  One is enhancing the student experience and the other is connecting students with their professional goals and career objectives.  There are many other aspects, but these two are the most relevant to the MBA program.  We are planning on decreasing the student/faculty ratio by increasing the number of faculty hires.  We also admitted a smaller class this year.   Traditionally we have entered a class of around 400; this year it will be closer to 325.

Do you just have this full-time MBA or do you have other variations of the MBA like an Executive MBA or part-time MBA?

The school has an undergraduate program and it has an Executive MBA program here in Austin, another one in Dallas, one in Mexico City and then we have a part-time or evening MBA program here in Austin.

What general advice would you like perspective applicants to know about McCombs School of Business?

I would like to stress two things.  One is that they understand the resources and opportunities at our school and in our program, everything from our Plus program which is our professional development program, and other aspects like our investment fund or customer insight program.  The second is that they should understand what we are about and then try to match that to the professional objectives they are seeking.

When is the best time to apply to the program?

We have a rolling admission process.  The actual application will become live somewhere in mid-September.  The first suggested deadline is November 1st.  For international applicants, the deadline is February 1st, and then the final deadline for our domestic applicants is April 15th.

When you are reviewing an application, are there specific characteristics in the applicant or in the application itself that you target to identify a “best fit” candidate?

Sure.  I think two things are sort of the initial filters or the initial pieces that we seek.  One is definitely academic potential.  How will that person fare in the classroom.  Then the second piece is around the professional career objectives and why they are getting the MBA.  We want to make sure those dimensions are squared away with an applicant and then beyond that it becomes more of the qualitative aspects of the applicant, everything from their personality and fit with the program to their personal reasons about why it makes sense to get an the MBA and what certain aspects about the McCombs MBA interest them.  All these aspects are very important.

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