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McCombs Alumni Network | Connect

9th Annual Alumni Business Conference

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Ticket Price: $160

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The McCombs Alumni Network's 9th Annual Alumni Business Conference is February 21, 2014  in Austin, Texas. Be sure your contact information is up to date so you do not miss your invitation. See who is coming.

Preliminary Schedule

Friday, February 21st

 8-8:45 a.m.

Registration and Breakfast 

 8:45 a.m.


 9-9:45 a.m.

Raji Srinivasan, professor, Department of Marketing

How Flat is the World and Does it Matter?

Driven by dramatic social, political, and technological changes over the past few decades, the world has become a more level playing field in terms of commerce, where competitors from different countries have equal opportunities and challenges across countries in the flattened world market. Yet, rising nationalism has resulted in social and commercial entry barriers in many countries in emerging markets. This calls for a dramatic shift by countries, companies and individuals to remain competitive in a global market where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly complex. This talk will explores the opportunities, threats, and challenges for companies operating in this new global world.

 9:45-10:15 a.m.

Break and Networking Time 

 10:15-10:45 a.m.

Greg Hallman, senior lecturer, Department of Finance
Master of Science in Finance Student Panel

The Fed and the Great Recession

A review of Federal Reserve programs and responses to the banking crisis and stock market crash of 2008 through today, current economic measures and indicators, and thoughts on the Fed going forward under Janet Yellen.

 10:45-11:15 a.m.

Break and Networking Time

 11:15-11:45 a.m.

Tom Gilligan, dean, McCombs School of Business

 11:45-1:30 p.m.

Lunch, School Update, Keynote Address

Bill Powers, president, The University of Texas at Austin

Keynote Speaker:
Richard Fisher, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
“A Conversation about Longhorns, Longnecks, and Liquidity: The Economy and the Course of Monetary Policy.”

 1:30-2 p.m. Break and Networking Time
 2-2:45 p.m.

Laura Starks, associate dean for research; professor, Department of Finance

The Changing Nature of Retirement Investing and U.S. Financial Markets

The way in which Americans save for retirement has been changing over the last few decades and both the growth in retirement investments and the changes in retirement plans and their decision makers affect financial markets.

 2:45-3:30 p.m.

Brett Hurt, McCombs entrepreneur-in-residence 

 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Networking Reception

Hotels and Resources

Reservation Information

We invite you to stay at our premier hotel and conference center:

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
1900 University Avenue (at Martin Luther King Blvd.)
Austin, TX 78705
Map and parking information 

Reservations: 512-404-1900 or 877-744-8822 (toll free) or via internet
Room Block Dates: Nights of February 20 and 21
Special Conference Rate*: $174
Room Block Deadline: February 6, 2014
*Refer to the McCombs School of Business Alumni Business Conference to receive this special rate.

If the room block sells out, or if you prefer a different location, you can search this list of area hotels.

Restaurants and Entertainment

You will most likely want to visit your favorite restaurants, museums and music venues while you are in Austin. Here's a brief list of recommendations and resources.

Speaker Bios

Below are the 9th Annual McCombs Alumni Business Conference speakers. Each is a leader in his or her field, and we know their insight will be incredibly helpful as we discuss today's most pressing business issues.

Keynote Speaker


FisherRichard W. Fisher
President and CEO
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Richard W. Fisher is president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and is a member
of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee.

Fisher began his career in 1975 at the private bank of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. In 1987,
he created Fisher Capital Management and Fisher Ewing Partners. He served as deputy U.S.
trade representative with the rank of ambassador from 1997 to 2001. He was also vice chairman
of Kissinger McLarty Associates, a strategic advisory firm chaired by Henry Kissinger.

Fisher is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary fellow of the
Hertford College at Oxford University and serves on Harvard University's Board of Overseers.
In October 2006, Fisher received the Service to Democracy Award and Dwight D. Eisenhower
Medal for Public Service from the American Assembly. In April 2009, he was inducted into the
Dallas Business Hall of Fame.

Master of Ceremonies


PaulsonGaylen Paulson
Associate Dean and Executive Director
Executive Education Programs
McCombs School of Business

Gaylen Paulson is associate dean and executive director of Executive Education Programs at the McCombs School of Business. His research and teaching are focused on the strategic aspects of interacting with people, including negotiation, conflict management, persuasion and interpersonal communication. He has written about processes involving confrontation, resisting and overcoming resistance to persuasion, negotiation strategies, the impact of electronic communication on performance, and perceptions of threats and warnings in the workplace. Current projects include: "Determining When to Negotiate: Rationalized Conflict Management Systems"; "Systematic Planning in Negotiations: Implications for Performance and Satisfaction"; and "Time and Expectation Effects on Negotiation Behaviors and Outcomes".

Dr. Paulson has published articles, case studies and book chapters in outlets such as The Journal of Applied Psychology, The International Journal of Conflict Management, International Negotiation, Communication Research, and The Handbook of Language and Social Psychology.

Recent consulting and executive training programs have been sponsored by a wide variety of organizations such as 3M, Aegon, Bayer, British Petroleum, Dell, Inc., Ernst & Young, Genesis10, Guidant, Harcourt Publishing, HEB, Johnson & Johnson, KLA-Tencor, LG Electronics, The Merchants Consortium, Microsoft, PMI, the National Council of State Housing Agencies, NAVSEA, NPR, Ortho-McNeil, Pfizer, Shell, Standard Aero, the Southwest Women's Business Council, Texas Instruments, the Texas Nurses Association, the U.S. Army and VHA, Inc. Dr. Paulson teaches programs focusing on negotiation skills, managerial leadership and strategic influence. He has been recognized with a number of teaching awards, most recently being named to the "Faculty Honor Roll" by the UT MBA students and “Outstanding Faculty” by the Engineering Management Executive Master’s program.  

Additional Speakers


GilliganTom Gilligan
McCombs School of Business

In September, 2008 Thomas W. Gilligan became the tenth dean of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest and most distinguished business schools in the country. Prior to his appointment at the McCombs School of Business, Dr. Gilligan held several key administrative roles at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Most notable positions include his service as interim Dean, as the Vice Dean of Undergraduate Education, as director of the Ph.D. program, and as the Chair of the Finance and Business Economics Department. Dr. Gilligan holds the Centennial Chair in Business Education Leadership. He received his B.A. in 1979 at the University of Oklahoma and his Ph.D. in Economics at Washington University in 1984. He taught Economics at the California Institute of Technology (1984-1987) and during his tenure at USC he held visiting appointments at Stanford University (1989-1990 and 1994) and Northwestern University (1995-1996). He was the recipient of a National Fellowship at the Hoover Institution of War and Peace and was a staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House. He also served in the United States Air Force from 1972-1976. Dr. Gilligan has served as Coeditor for the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization and the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy. Currently he is an Associate Editor for the journal entitled Business and Politics as well as the Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting and Finance. Dr. Gilligan has also served as a referee for over two dozen other journals covering topics in management, economics and political science. His areas of interest and expertise include microeconomics, applied price theory, industrial organization, antitrust economics and public choice. He has served as a consultant to businesses in the entertainment, agriculture, service and construction industries, dealing with antitrust and contract issues, as well as pricing strategies.

HallmanGreg Hallman
Program Director for the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Program
McCombs School of Business

Greg Hallman is the Program Director for the MSF Program. Using his years of experience as a financial analyst, consultant, researcher, and senior lecturer, Dr. Hallman works to see that the MSF curriculum encompasses the breadth and depth of knowledge that students need to be successful. As the instructor for the first class that MSF students take, Dr. Hallman lays the foundation for the financial knowledge MSF students acquire over the following semesters. In addition, he works extensively with potential employers to increase awareness of the value that MSF graduates add to their firms and to ensure that the skill set our students acquire meets the most up-to-date needs of the industry.

HurtBrett Hurt
Entrepreneur-In-Residence, McCombs School of Business
Vice Chairman, Former CEO, and Co-Founder, Bazaarvoice

Brett Hurt, BBA ’94, is entrepreneur-in-residence at the McCombs School of Business and Bazaarvoice vice chairman, former CEO, and co-founder. His philosophy includes a passion for nourishing the employee culture of the companies he creates, thinking of the organization as having a brain, heart and soul. “At the end of the day it’s the people who are going to make the company successful.” Hurt’s credentials as a business-builder are stellar, capped by his leadership of Bazaarvoice to a successful IPO in 2012, with a subsequent follow-on offering and two acquisitions. He recently served at Austin Ventures as a Venture Partner, focusing on early-stage software investing, and recently announced his own seed-stage venture capital firm, Hurt+Harbach.

PowersBill Powers
The University of Texas at Austins

William Powers Jr., is the 28th president of The University of Texas at Austin. Before taking office on February 1, 2006, he served as dean of the university's School of Law, where he won recognition for recruiting a world-class faculty and attracting highly diverse and talented students.

One of the nation's leading scholars in personal injury and products liability, Powers joined the law school faculty in 1977 and has taught torts, products liability, jurisprudence, legal process, civil procedure, conflict of laws and contracts. In 1997, the university named him to its Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and holds the Hines H. Baker and Thelma Kelley Baker Chair in Law.

As president of The University of Texas at Austin, Powers has identified four areas of emphasis:

  • Building support for higher education throughout Texas
  • Elevating the university's academic standing to the best in the nation among public universities
  • Recruiting a diverse student body and faculty
  • Reforming the undergraduate core curriculum

As dean of the law school, Powers recruited leading law professors from across the country, instituted academic initiatives and built strong relationships with alumni and state lawmakers. His emphasis on diversity at the law school led to the quadrupling of the number of African American students and doubling of the number of Hispanics. Under his leadership, the law school was recognized by Time magazine as the national leader among schools working to broaden their traditional applicant pool and by Hispanic Business magazine for four consecutive years as the number one law school in the nation for Hispanics.

A native of Los Angeles, Powers received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed on Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf. Following his military service, he attended Harvard Law School, where he became managing editor of the "Harvard Law Review" and graduated magna cum laude in 1973. He taught at the University of Washington Law School before coming to The University of Texas at Austin in 1977.

In addition to teaching at the University of Washington, Powers has held teaching appointments at the Southern Methodist University School of Law and the University of Michigan School of Law. He is the author of dozens of articles on tort law and legal philosophy and of several books, including “Cases and Materials in Products Liability” (with David Fischer, Michael Green and Joseph Sanders), “Cases and Materials in Torts” (with David Robertson, David Anderson and Olin Guy Wellborn) and “Texas Products Liability Law.” He is a member of the American Law Institute, where he was co-reporter for the “Restatement (Third) of Torts: Apportionment of Liability” and is co-reporter for the “Restatement (Third) of Torts: Liability for Physical Harm.”

Powers has worked as a legal consultant with the U.S. Congress, the Brazilian legislature and the Texas legislature. In 2001, he chaired a special investigation committee that examined the financial transactions of Enron Corp. The resulting report, which has come to be known as the “Powers Report,” and his subsequent testimony before Congress, gained national recognition.

Powers was born on May 30, 1946. He is married to Kim Heilbrun, a commercial real estate attorney. He has five children.

SrinivasasRaji Srinivasan
Professor and Spurgeon Bell Centennial Fellow
Department of Marketing
McCombs School of Business

Raji Srinivasan is a professor in the Department of Marketing and a Spurgeon Bell Centennial Fellow. She received her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Srinivasan’s expertise centers on organizational innovation and marketing metrics, including such topics as new product development, market entry and exit strategies, and the financial performance of firms.

StarksLaura Starks
Charles E. and Sarah M. Seay Regents Chair in Finance
Associate Dean for Research
McCombs School of Business

Laura Starks is the Charles E. and Sarah M. Seay Regents Chair in Finance and associate dean for Research. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin and her MBA from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research and teaching interests include valuation of financial assets, portfolio management, corporate governance, the influence of institutional investors in financial markets, managerial incentives and environmental, social and governance investing.


Virtual Attendee Packet

School representatives will be tweeting during the conference. Be sure to follow us @UTMcCombsAlumni and join the conversation by using the #UTBizConf hashtag.

Conference Schedule (pdf file)

Attendee List (web page)

Speaker Bios (pdf file)

Welcome Slides (pdf file)

Speaker Slides:

Online Survey

Video from the presentations will be available 3-4 weeks following the conference.