2017 Best & Brightest: Humza Tariq, University of Texas (McCombs)

Humza Tariq

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“Aspiring NBA player who recognized he had no talent and decided to study finance instead.”

Fun fact about yourself: The summer after my freshman year in college, I ate at the same Chipotle over 40 times. At some point, they stopped telling me that guacamole was extra. I have no regrets from that summer.

Hometown: Houston, Texas

High School: John Foster Dulles High School, The Kinkaid School

Major: Business Honors, Finance

Favorite Business Courses:

Valuation (Dr. Warren J. Hahn) – Dr. Hahn has an uncanny ability to break down complex concepts into very easy-to-understand terms. His lectures are very engaging, and he does a wonderful job of honing in on the most relevant topics in an extremely broad field of study.

Operations Management (Dr. Rayan Bagchi) – I struggled with understanding some of the concepts in this course, but Dr. Bagchi was so accommodating in taking time both inside and outside of office hours to help me. This course does an excellent job of sharpening students’ quantitative skillsets and illustrates the far-reaching effects that operations can have on businesses, especially from a financial perspective.

Business Law & Ethics (Dr. Robert Prentice) – Dr. Prentice, who is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met, selected such interesting cases that challenged us to understand that the same law can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the case at hand. The Supreme Court assignment in this class is one of the most thought-provoking projects I’ve ever been tasked with in college; I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it.

Dr. Prentice is also the Director of the Business Honors Program and the Chair of the Business, Government, and Society Department in the McCombs School of Business. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dr. Prentice for all 4 years I’ve been at the University of Texas, and I can, without a doubt, say that we are so lucky to have somebody like him leading our program. He truly is one of the most remarkable educators I’ve ever encountered.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Extracurricular Involvements

  • Texas Undergraduate Investment Team (TUIT) – Co-Head
  • Best Buddies – College Buddy (Fall 2014 – Spring 2016), Treasurer (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)
  • Texas Sports Analytics Group – Co-Founder (Spring 2015)
  • Honors Business Association – Philanthropy Committee Member (Fall 2013 – Spring 2015)
  • Texas Blazers – Male service organization at the University of Texas at Austin; Active Member (Inducted Fall 2015)
  • Texas Investment Banking Association – Independent organization run by students, not affiliated with the McCombs School of Business or the University of Texas

Extracurricular Involvement Associated with Business School

  • Business Honors Program Student Ethics Board – General Member (Fall 2013 – Spring 2016), Co-Chair (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)
  • Business Honors Program Steering Committee – Selected Class Representative (Fall 2013, 2014, 2016)
  • Peer Mentor, Business Honors Program (Fall 2015, Fall 2016)
  • University of Texas Financial Analyst Program – Selected Member (Spring 2016, Fall 2016)


  • University Honors (Fall 2013 – Fall 2016)
  • Distinguished College Scholar (Spring 2015)
  • College Scholar (Spring 2015, Spring 2016)
  • Texas Charity Pitch – Finalist, 3rd Place (Spring 2015)
  • Texas Undergraduate Stock Pitch Competition – Finalist (Spring 2015)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Goldman, Sachs & Co. – Investment Banking Summer Analyst – New York, NY
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co. – Realty Management Summer Analyst – Irving, TX
  • Virgo Capital – Research Analyst Intern – Austin, TX
  • Transwestern – Structured Finance Intern – Houston, TX

Describe your dream Job: Ideally, I’d love to be the starting Point Guard for the Houston Rockets someday. In the real world, I’d have to say that I don’t really have a “dream job,” but my dream is to have a job where I can create positive change and add value to the world.

Who is your favorite professor? While I’ve been so lucky to attend an institution where I’ve had the opportunity to learn from so many fantastic educators (any one of the professors I mentioned above for the favorite courses question could apply here), I really appreciated the time I spent with Dr. JJ Riekenberg, my business communications professor. I took Dr. Riekenberg’s course the second semester of my freshman year in college. Coming into college, I had always heard from upperclassmen that professors were very approachable and that students should take time to get to know their professors on a personal level, but I was still very nervous in introducing myself. Dr. Riekenberg, however, was the first professor who I met and got to know on a personal level, and she was an absolute pleasure to be around. Not only did I enjoy speaking with her and hearing her personal stories, her warmth and kindness gave me the courage to reach out to professors throughout college and chat with them about non-academic topics. Dr. Riekenberg taught me business communications, but she also taught me that our professors are wonderful people who are always willing to offer guidance and advice to their students. Her wise words on humility, motivation, and honesty were very important for me to hear at the beginning of my college career, and I still make an effort to visit with her every semester.

My favorite moment with Dr. Riekenberg was during the Pie-A-Professor event hosted by the McCombs School of Business. Professors volunteered to get a pie thrown in their faces in exchange for students donating to the BBA Legacy Campaign. After letting us know in class that she’d be participating, I made it my personal mission to throw a pie at Dr. Riekenberg. I appreciated how good of a sport she was through the entire ordeal, but I can’t help but think that she may still hold some resentment towards me as a result of my pie shenanigans in the spring of 2014.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? It’s important to question conventional wisdom. An application-based curriculum which analyzes cases allows students to understand that simply following intuition may or may not be the best route to take. Business classes teach students to think outside of the box and consider solutions which may go against the grain or popular opinion. Strategy is truly an area of great complexity, and a pedagogical approach which emphasizes historical analysis without falling victim to hindsight bias can really change the way that students tackle problems moving forward. Learning from successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) executives and entrepreneurs is a great way to equip students with an analytical mindset that seeks to challenge prevailing beliefs in an organization.

One of my favorite cases was a Harvard Business School case on General Electric, which I studied in my Organizational Behavior course. Learning about Jack Welch’s unique approach to solving problems and his precision in executing his vision was fascinating. I think that there was much to be gained from analyzing a case in which a business grew from under $100 billion to over $400 billion in value during the tenure of one chief executive officer and his unique approach to management.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After graduating, I will be joining Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Investment Banking Division in New York City. Being surrounded by such incredible people this past summer was truly a humbling experience, and I’m really looking forward to joining the firm full-time after having had the opportunity to complete two internships with them in college.

What are your long-term professional goals? While it’s impossible to know what my career will look like, I can say with absolute certainty that my most important professional goal is to use my career to enact positive change in the world. Lofty a goal as it may be, I really do think that businesses have the potential to create meaningful change in society through community building initiatives and positive externalities. One thing that I’ve really appreciated about the business school is that students are always encouraged to keep a broader perspective in mind as they progress through their college careers. I’ve always felt that McCombs has done a superb job of emphasizing ethics and community service through various requirements for graduation, in coursework, and in other areas.

This inspiration for giving back began a few years ago when I became more involved with community service in Austin. I really feel like students at the University of Texas are so fortunate to have the opportunity to attend an institution housed in a growing metropolitan area. As such, we have an obligation to treat local Austin residents with respect and give back to the community in positive ways. I made it a goal of mine in college to perform meaningful service activities, no matter how big or small the impact would be. I hope to continue that same mentality of giving back in positive ways to the communities within which I reside throughout my career.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I think it’s important to keep an open mind. As a Peer Mentor (and a former freshman in college), I think it’s very easy to come into the business school thinking that you know exactly what you want to do career-wise. And while some people certainly do have all of that figured out by the time they set foot on a college campus, I can say with absolute certainty that I, among others, did not have any idea what I wanted to do.

Thinking long-term is great, and it’s always nice to have goals that you aspire to. That being said, however, don’t be afraid to pivot and change your goals, major, or extracurricular involvements as you see fit. Keep an open mind and really take some time to explore all of the academic areas in the business school; doing so might lead you to something that you really find interesting and would not have necessarily considered before.

 “I knew I wanted to major in business when…the greatest teacher I’ve ever learned from is my Dad. In high school, I would often have long conversations with him about the latest business news or companies that he was interested in. I really enjoyed hearing his opinions on macroeconomic events and the way in which businesses ought to operate in dynamic industries and changing policy conditions. It was really interesting to learn more about how companies shifted their strategies in response to a variety of events, and I liked learning more about some of the largest companies in the world and how they were formed and changed throughout time.”

 “If I didn’t major in business, I would be…likely be studying computer science or electrical engineering. I think technology is a very interesting field, and I would have loved to use my time in college to learn more about the inner-workings of software and hardware.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…be true to yourself. People will really appreciate it. It’s no secret that business school is full of high-achieving individuals who are constantly exploring and trying new things. My freshman year, I felt like the only way I could make friends was by following the people I had met to the club meetings and activities that they were participating in, even if I wasn’t totally interested in those things. While doing similar things as people is a great way to find common interests, it doesn’t really work when you’re not as interested in something as the other person is. Be honest with yourself about what you like to do and what you find interesting, and don’t ever change who you are because you think it’ll make people want to be friends with you. To take it a step further, I really do think that having different interests than someone else can lead to an even stronger friendship.

I think this also applies a lot to interviewing. Earlier in my college career, I really felt like I had to give the answer to interview questions that the interviewer “wanted to hear.” The problems with that, though, are that you aren’t being yourself and you also may not even know what they “want to hear” even though you think you do. Now, I’m still a very young person and I’m definitely not really qualified to give interview advice, but I do think that the above advice was helpful for me to hear early in my college career. People will want to work with you because of who you are!

What was the happiest moment of your life? I think I’d have to say it’s a tie between the day when I first met my brother (I was 4 years old) and the day when I first met my sister (I was 11 years old). I really love my siblings, and being a big brother has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Spending time with family is very important to me, and the two moments when I finally met the new members of our family were moments that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. But, a close second to those moments was when I finally beat my brother in Madden NFL 16 after taking so many losses.”

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m very proud to have served as the treasurer for the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Best Buddies, a national non-profit organization which creates friendships between students and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).

I joined the organization as a “college buddy” after taking a class with the faculty representative for the UT chapter. My professor and I really connected, and he encouraged me to learn more about the organization. After joining my sophomore year, I was very excited to learn that I had been selected to be the organization’s treasurer for the following year.

While there were certainly things that I could have done better in that role, it was truly an honor to serve on the leadership team of an organization which I cared so much about. Best Buddies is such a positive group with a great mission and set of values. As the former Vice President of the organization so eloquently put it, “Best Buddies is considered a ‘service’ organization on this campus, but in reality, we students are the ones who are being served by our friendships with our Buddies.”

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? An elephant. Elephants are quite frequently seen playing in teams and forming close ties with those around them. Elephants also seem to not take themselves too seriously, and if some of my (not funny) jokes are any indication, I think I’m someone who can mix in a bit of humor and fun while maintaining a sense of professionalism.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Without a doubt, I’d like to thank my parents for everything that they’ve done for me; it all starts with them. I was so lucky to grow up in a household with so much love and support. I never felt forced to go down any one certain path. I feel so lucky to have two people who will always be there for me and give me a hug no matter what, and this desire to make them proud is what drives me every single day. I’ve never met more hard-working people than my mom and dad. Working multiple jobs, having a child, and going to school were just some of the characteristics that describe their lives early in my childhood. Their commitment to giving my siblings and me as much as they could was demonstrated in their tireless efforts. Watching everything that they’ve had to do throughout my life has made me feel like anything is possible, and they’re the two most inspiring people I know.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would hope that they’d say that I was genuine and a nice person to be around. As simple as that sounds, one of the most important things to me is treating others with kindness and respect, the same way that I’d want others to treat me.

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Favorite movie: The Prestige

Favorite musical performer: Drake

Favorite vacation spot: Dubai

What are your hobbies? Exercising, Reading, Cooking, Trying new foods, Stand-up Comedy (I’ve done it before, and I can confirm that I’m awful at it)

What made Humza such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017? “Humza Tariq’s energy, intellectual curiosity, and zest for owning his mastery development make him a very positive addition to the McCombs School of Business. In my class, his ability to motivate and work with his team mates strongly contributed to successful collaboration and project outcomes. Humza is a go-to guy, the kind of person that will bring a positive attitude and a thoroughly researched perspective to any task.  Mr. Tariq is an excellent ambassador for The University of Texas at Austin as he is among the best that McCombs School of Business produces.”

JJ Riekenberg
Lecturer, Management
The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


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