2017 Best & Brightest: Katherine Magee, University of Texas (McCombs)

Katherine Magee

University of Texas, McCombs School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m a vegetarian Black Belt who believes that global citizenship is serious business.

Fun fact about yourself: I was the Quidditch World Champion of Salt Lake City Utah of 2007.

Hometown: Austin, Texas

High School: Westlake High School (Austin, Texas)

Majors: Business Honors, Plan II Honors (an interdisciplinary liberal arts major)

Favorite Business Courses: I loved my class on International Trade taught by Professor Linda Gerber because it allowed me to combine my interest in business with my love of global affairs.

Additionally, I loved my class on Law, Ethics, and Business taught by Professor Robert Prentice because it truly challenged me to think critically about ambiguous legal cases. The class instilled in me the believe that corporate social responsibility isn’t just an opportunity for good publicity, but a necessity in today’s world that also that has the power to deliver significant business benefits.

Finally, I love the Business Honors Program capstone in Management. This course focuses on business strategy, and is really challenging me to grasp what truly constitutes success for a business. In today’s rapidly changing world, success can’t simply be profit. Success must be solving a problem for your customers in a unique and value creating manner. To me, this is what is interesting in business—solving problems.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Central Texas Model United Nations – Officer, Board Member                                       

  • Critique foreign affairs policies at collegiate conferences to develop strategies to solve complex international issues.
  • Developed a strategic plan to transform the 501(c)-3 non-profit from negative to positive margins.
  • Managed an annual budget of ~$30,000 and provide fiscal reports for the Board to ensure continual success and growth.
  • Led a successful recruiting program with over 80 new members.

Business Honors Program Steering Committee – Chair                                                    

  • Lead a committee of 15+ students in biweekly meetings to improve the curriculum of the

Business Honors Program (BHP).

  • Created and implemented new professor reviews, mental health programs, and diversity

programs within BHP for student success.

  • Execute events to promote integrity, academic excellent, and professional development within BHP.
  • Manage and annual budget of ~$1,000 for Steering Committee and BHP events.

Chicago International Model United Nations – Deputy Director of the Historical Simulation

  • Design a historical simulation for a conference with ~1,000 attendees.

Management Consulting Association – Board Member                                                                

  • Mentor 24 students on the consulting recruiting process with a ~78% offer success rate.

The Senate of College Councils  Academic Integrity & Academic Policy Committee Member        

  • Met with Deans, administrators, and students to create a new technology education program at UT.
  • Created a student survey about current technology education and ideas for improvement.

Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law – Next Generation Scholar          

  • Studied Security Council Resolutions pertaining to the relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law.
  • Authored a research paper on the Security Council’s view on human rights law & humanitarian law in cases of armed conflict.

Student Government – City Relations Agency Member                                         

  • Host a mayoral forum with over 50 attendees for students to speak with mayoral candidates for the 2014 city election.
  • Meet with city leaders to convey student opinions on relevant topics such as bike safety and student housing.

Center for Energy Finance Education and Research – Data Analyst                         

  • Analyzed poll tabs from the UT Energy Poll for response variances in the public perception of the energy issues.
  • Completed an analysis that examined the trends as they relate to business in the energy industry.

Awards and Honors

  • President’s Endowed Scholarship Recipient
  • University Honors (all semesters)
  • Dean’s Honor List (all semesters)

Where have you interned during your college career?

Bain & Company – Associate Consultant Intern / Dallas Texas

  • Identified and analyzed 6+ transformational markets & 10+ acquisition targets for an industrial company.
  • Detailed a strategic results delivery and change management plan for a food services company.

Upland Software – Acquisitions Intern / Austin, TX

  • Performed due diligence, financial analysis, and market research on target companies
  • Created a list of over 200 tasks to complete by department for due diligence and acquisition integration
  • Analyzed SaaS Metrics and built 10 financial models on targets to submit to the Board of Directors

Texas State Capitol – Legislative Intern / Austin,TX

  • Analyzed bills by preparing summaries and questions over the proposed policy.
  • Addressed constituent concerns by navigating resources and maintaining contact.

Describe your dream Job: I would love to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as it combines the efficiency, practicality, and the results-oriented approach of business with altruistic endeavors to better the world.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I enjoyed that my business studies enables me to develop both hard skills and soft skills. So often, people emphasize the hard analytical or technical skills required in today’s business world. But there is also great value to softer skills like teamwork, leadership, creativity, and emotional intelligence. I firmly believe that both categories of skills are necessary to be successful. I am grateful for the fact that the breadth of my business classes has taught me skills in both areas.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned from studying business is the importance of teamwork. Through teamwork on difficult problems, we developed better solutions to group projects than I could have thought of individually. Each person brings their own knowledge, experience and ideas to the table. By combining the insights of each team member, we always reached a better solution than any one of us could have alone.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I’m looking forward to returning to work for Bain & Company in Dallas as an Associate Consultant.

What are your long-term professional goals? I would love to explore all that Bain & Company has to offer. I absolutely loved my summer there due to the strong, positive, and inspiring culture. Perhaps one day I will look to combine my interest in global affairs with my business knowledge, but I will see where the cards fall.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would tell them that regardless of what business-related field they study, they should always remember to think of people. Businesses aren’t simply made of assets; businesses are run by people and businesses serve people. You must think of people first.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I realized that business has the potential to be about more than simply making money. Business is about solving problems and creating value. With this mindset, business can have a real impact in the world.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…an engineering major, as it similarly emphasizes analytical thinking to solve problems. I actually entered UT as a mechanical engineering major, but transferred into the Business Honors Program after my first year because I realized that I wanted to learn to solve more than just technical challenges.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that it is acceptable to ask for help. In the beginning, I was nervous to reach out to my peers if I was having difficulties in a class because I was afraid my peers would think I was stupid. Pretty quickly, I abandoned my pride and asked for help. Sure enough, I learned a ton from my peers—and not just about subjects related to our business classes. The intelligence, creativity, and talents of my peers consistently astound me. I never would have learned as much about business or about life if I hadn’t been willing to ask for help from my peers.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? When my mother was found to have “no evidence of disease” after a year of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery for pancreatic cancer.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m proud to have earned my black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. This is a traditional style of martial arts, largely inspired by the Shaolin monks, and earning my black belt was no easy task. I trained for over nine years, and suffered through a nine hour black belt test in which I was the only woman (and the only person under 120 lbs.) My training in martial arts taught me not only about the importance of living a healthy life style, but it also helped me develop mental strength and self-confidence that I carry into other aspects of my life.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose to be represented by a dolphin. Dolphins are incredibly intelligent animals, but they are also very social and altruistic. They have been known to care for not only sick or injured members of their own species, but also for sick or injured members of other species. I would want my professional brand to be similarly recognized for intelligence and compassion.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?  My mom, no doubt about it. She has been my biggest supporter, my biggest cheerleader, and my rock to lean on when times are hard. Her kindness, work ethic, and passion for making positive change around her have inspired me throughout my life. If I am half the woman she is, I will be thrilled.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like for my peers to say that I was kind, and that they enjoyed spending time with me. It sounds so simple, but when I think of the people that have truly touched me, it was due to their kindness. Intelligence, work ethic, and creativity are all important too, but kindness is paramount.

Favorite book: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Favorite movie: All of the Harry Potter movies (and books)

Favorite musical performer: Beyoncé

Favorite vacation spot: Our family’s cabin in Salt Lake City Utah—I love the mountains!

What are your hobbies? Martial arts, cooking, running with my dogs, paddle boarding on Lake Austin

What made Katherine such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“A couple of days ago, I watched Katherine Magee make a presentation (with no notes) to a group of faculty and staff on behalf of the McCombs’ Business Honors Program (BHP) student steering committee and marveled to myself regarding her confidence and polish. I shouldn’t have been the least bit surprised, for I have had Katherine as a student in two different honors classes and, as faculty director of the BHP, have had many opportunities to watch her in action. She is always poised, prepared, and articulate. She perfectly represents the type of graduate that any business school would love to produce.

No moss grows on Katherine. She is about to graduate with a 3.98 GPA from two honors programs—BHP and UT’s famed liberal arts honors program—Plan II. While at UT, she has also done three internships (consulting firm, software firm, state legislature) and been involved in activities all over campus (chairing the BHP steering committee, serving on the board of the Management Consulting Association, and serving on the integrity committee of the Senate of College Councils, etc.). While doing all this, she has been remained actively involved in a passion of hers — Model United Nations, where she has raised funds, recruited new members, and helped organize conferences in Chicago and (soon) Rome. And she has done research at the Robert Strauss center on human rights law.

Katherine is a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, so I don’t give her any crap. But I do give her my admiration. Her dream job is to run the Gates Foundation and she’d be a good choice because she is as dedicated as any student could be to taking her substantial intelligence, creativity, and drive and putting them to good use making the world a better place.”

Dr. Robert Prentice
Director – Business Honors Program
Professor – Business Law
Chair – Business, Government, & Society Department
University of Texas, McCombs School of Business


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