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Student Spotlight

100 Best Business Students Recognized

100-bestThe UTSA College of Business recognized the 100 Best Business Students during a reception last fall attended by university administrators, alumni and business and community leaders. With more than 4,900 undergraduate students in the college, the 100 Best Business Students epitomize the top 2 percent of all business students.


“Being named a 100 Best Business student is both an honor and an opportunity,” said Lisa Montoya, associate dean of undergraduate studies. “The students who take part in our 100 Best programming have an opportunity to bring very well-placed businesspeople into their professional network. These are contacts they might not otherwise develop for 3-5 years.”


Honorees were junior and senior business majors who were nominated by faculty and staff. The students were chosen based on their record of outstanding academic achievement, leadership and professional development. Each student received a lapel pin that denoted their honor and served as ambassadors for the college.


As a group, the 100 Best had an average GPA of 3.7. One third of the students were members of the Honors College, and 55 percent had international experiences. Seven percent of the students were veterans or served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, and 70 percent of the students completed an internship or held a professional position. The students worked 21 hours a week on average.


“My story exemplifies incredible focus and immense sacrifice,” said honoree Michael-Paul Grondel, an accounting major. “What I look forward to is seeing what impact we will have as the 100 Best Business Students in the future.”


“Leadership is my talent, and people are my passion,” said honoree Porcsha Presley, a management major. “I’m truly honored to receive this recognition.”


This is the second year that the college has recognized the 100 Best Business Students.

Students Selected for National Leadership Conference

Three business students were among only 30 students in the country selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants to participate in the 5th Annual Nestlé USA Leadership Symposium for Diverse Leaders of Tomorrow.


Participants were Michelle Banks, a senior majoring in human resource management; Victor Camino, a senior majoring in management and marketing; and Salma Mendez, a sophomore majoring in international business.[sws_pullquote_right] My experience at Nestlé USA is one I will never forget. It opened my eyes to so many possibilities for my future.  –MICHELLE BANKS” [/sws_pullquote_right]


“My experience at Nestlé USA is one I will never forget. It opened my eyes to so many possibilities for my future,” said Banks, who is active with Golden Key International Honor Society and the UTSA Society for Human Resource Management. “Along with the connections I made with my fellow participants and the executive leaders, my biggest takeaway was the Leadership Challenge course. It allowed me to look at my leadership skills from many different perspectives, and that’s something I had never considered until now.”


“The symposium taught me to have more confidence in my abilities and that I can do whatever I put my mind to,” said Camino, who is a UTSA Ambassador and member of the Global Business Club. “I also learned the importance of being thankful for the people who help us get to where we are.”


Held in California at the Nestlé USA Headquarters, the symposium was a four-day intensive business program where select minority undergraduate students had the opportunity to network with the Nestlé USA executive leadership team, take a customized course in leadership development and showcase their leadership skills by volunteering in the community.

Business Students Place First in International Business Plan Competition

Graduate and undergraduate students from the UTSA College of Business placed first in their respective categories in the annual Free Trade Alliance International Business Plan competition.


The UTSA students competed against 140 students from 23 countries and 30 universities. Students worked on cross-cultural teams with an executive mentor to write a 10-12 page business plan. Participants then presented their plan to a panel of judges who selected the winners.[sws_pullquote_right]”Our mentor met with us and helped us flesh out details on our project such as packaging, financials and tariffs. It was a big confidence boost for us. We know we can be competitive in the marketplace.” –ROBIN ROSALES [/sws_pullquote_right]


The event was created to help students develop their international business skills and compete and collaborate globally. Winners received their share of more than $20,000 in prize money.


At the undergraduate level UTSA team members were accounting majors Linda Campos and Monica Fiol. They were joined by Yishu Zhuo, a UTSA exchange student from Hong Kong, and two students from St. Mary’s University.


Working with their mentors at Rackspace, the team developed a business strategy for expanding Rackspace’s cloud computing products into Brazil.


At the graduate level the UTSA team was comprised of international MBA students Lucia Gonzalez, Vanessa Rogers and Robin Rosales and MIT student Aleem Ahmed. The students developed a plan to export and package Ethiopian millet in the United States. They were mentored by H-E-B executive Armando Flores, MBA ’08.


“Our mentor met with us and helped us flesh out details on our project such as packaging, financials and tariffs,” said Rosales. “It was a big confidence boost for us. We know we can be competitive in the marketplace.”

Summer Immersions Expose Students to International Cultures

student-immersionBusiness students visited Asia, Europe and South America as part of the international immersion programs. Seventy business students participated in six international immersion programs funded by the UTSA College of Business this summer.


These 10-day intensive immersion programs, led by faculty members, include academic presentations hosted by local universities, visits to business corporations and cultural experiences. Prior to the immersion experience, students study the history, culture and socioeconomic conditions of each country. After the experience the students complete a final project.


“The trip to Taiwan and South Korea was an amazing experience,” said Bernd Wurth, a graduate student in the management of technology program and Fulbright scholar from Germany. “The lectures and company visits gave us unique insights into the culture of both countries and first-hand impressions of how business works over there.”


This year’s trips featured excursions to Austria/Germany, Finland/Russia, Greece, Peru, South Korea/Taiwan and Uruguay.


“The immersion program teaches students the importance of thinking globally as business professionals,” said Daniel Tablada, lecturer in marketing and instructor for the Peru immersion. “They realize the opportunities that exist internationally, especially in the emerging markets.”

Doctoral Student Named Beldon Scholar

beldon-scholarMauro Gonzaga de Oliveira, MS ’13 has been named the 2013-14 recipient of the Louise and Michael Beldon Doctoral Scholarship at UTSA.


Oliveira will start his Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in finance this fall. His research interest is corporate finance, and he wants to focus on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, valuations, IPOs, financial restructuring, bankruptcy, and extend some of these analyses into the international arena.


Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he moved to the United States in 1996. After working for a few years as an engineer and project manager, he earned an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin.


Upon completion of his MBA, Oliveira worked in the private sector developing and managing a business unit and supporting executives with strategic planning. It was professionally rewarding work, but he desired a more sophisticated intellectual challenge–an academic career in finance.


In preparation for pursuing his Ph.D., Oliveira enrolled in the master’s of finance program at UTSA. He chose to remain at UTSA because of the dedication and quality of the faculty in the college. In particular, he was inspired by Fathali Firoozi, professor of economics, and Karan Bhanot, professor of finance.


“They were invested in their students’ success both in the program and in preparation for post-graduate careers. They are the reason I continued at UTSA,” he said.