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UT Austin McCombs MBA - Lily Trieu '19 (USA)


Name: Lily Trieu
Nationality: United States
Pre-MBA Education: The University of McCombs at Austin, BBA Marketing
Work Before MBA: Consumer Packaged Goods/FMCG, Account & Category Management
Work After MBA / Post MBA Goals: Non-profit Management, Policy

I have 9 years of experience in the CPG/FMCG industry, ranging from operations to trade marketing to various functions in sales and sales strategy. I’ve worked with Kimberly-Clark, Reckitt Benckiser, and most recently a mid-sized pet food company called Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.

Why did you pick McCombs? My favorite thing about McCombs was the flexibility to customize your learning experience. You have the backdrop of a large, research oriented university - giving you access to electives in the law, public policy, education, and many other subjects that bode well for non-traditional post-MBA careers. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s in a great, vibrant city like Austin.

Best part of program? While I haven’t started yet, I’ve already had many interactions with current students, staff, and alumni. It’s an amazing network and everyone is so friendly and willing to help.

In your opinion, McCombs provides the most opportunities for MBAs entering which industries/functions/geographies? Because Austin is such a tech and entrepreneurially focused city, it’s great for those who are interested in start-ups or work in the tech industry. McCombs also has quite a number of recruiters from oil and gas as well as finance roles from the Houston and Dallas region. Lastly, many students find opportunities in consulting as there are offices for all the major consulting firms in the Texas area,

Feel free to ask me about…?
Why I chose McCombs
My experience during the admissions journey
Career Services
Global exposure and international travel
Campus life and residences on campus
Student Associations and activities
Life in Austin, TX

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What other schools were you looking at? My post MBA goal is marketing/brand management and I’m stuck on 6 schools seemingly unable to shorten the list by a single school. Curious what led you to McCombs perhaps over other programs you may have applied to?


Hi Cam!

I think that’s a great question. Choosing a school definitely was not easy - I ended up applying to 4 schools. Below are some of the things I considered as I was making a final list:

  1. Geography - where do you want to be after your MBA? If you want to be in NYC, I’d pick some great schools on the east coast. If you want to be in the Bay area, I’d look at schools in California or the Pacific Northwest, etc.

  2. Who recruits at that school - think about the top 5-6 companies you’d love to work for after your MBA. Do any of them recruit at the school? You can always do your own off campus recruiting but if ALL of your prospective companies don’t recruit at your program, that’s a lot of effort you’ll have to put in.

  3. How big of a class is ideal - some people like to have massive classes of 500-600. Others want an intimate class where they know their classmates well and have a lot of opportunities to build networks with professors.

  4. What skills are you trying to focus on - maybe you already have some marketing background and want to focus on refining your data analysis or finance skills to market yourself as a great brand manager. Does the program have this? Or maybe you come from a non-traditional background and want to have access to diverse classes across law, government, communications, etc - does the university offer cross functional courses?

  5. Finances - this was a big consideration of mine. What is the cost of living in that city and what is the anticipated tuition/books/etc. that is forecasted? I didn’t want to end up with a ton of debt after grad school.

I chose McCombs for a few specific reasons…

  • As a Texas resident, I had in-state tuition
  • The University of Texas has phenomonal graduate programs in public policy, law, education, communication, etc and I want to be able to leverage those courses
  • The class size is around 270 - with cohorts of 60-70. It felt like a great number where I could meet a lot of diverse and talented people
  • Texas has a great economy with growth in healthcare, oil & gas, education, and technology - this gives me the ability to explore a lot of new career options

Hope all of this helps!


Thank you so much for your answers. Actually your geography point is really important to me. My ideal long term plan is to settle down in either northern or southern California. I’ll be applying to USC and UCLA, but since I live in Texas I’ll also be applying to some schools here as well. If I don’t make it into any of the west coast schools, what is the post MBA hiring like for UT Austin? Did you see any of your colleagues move to the west coast after completing the program?


There is definitely a lot of movement from Austin to other regions of the country. The biggest markets outside of Texas we’re seeing people post-MBA tend to be Northern California and New York City - primarily because of the tech and finance industries. These two cities also have a large number of companies who hire from McCombs (banking, consulting, etc.) so that naturally draws a lot of people there after their MBA.

Aside from location, you may want to see how your target industry plays into the equation. Certain industries will make for an easier transition to California. Hope this helps!