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McCombs Alumni Network | Get Involved

Rising Star Award

Each year, the McCombs School of Business is pleased to present two young alumni with the Rising Star Award. Honorees are acknowledged at the annual Hall of Fame ceremony. We present this award to alumni who have been successful professionally, and have helped strengthen the McCombs Alumni Network. These are graduates who have presented themselves as consummate professionals and dedicated business people. Congratulations to this year's honorees!

2016 Rising Stars

Mark WhatleyT. Mark Whatley

MBA '04
Senior Managing Director

T. Mark Whatley is a Senior Managing Director in Evercore's corporate advisory business in New York. He is a highly experienced advisor to companies worldwide and has significant experience representing corporate clients and special committees on mergers and acquisitions, capital raising alternatives, and restructuring transactions.

Since joining Evercore, Whatley has helped to develop a global, industry leading Transportation and Infrastructure investment banking franchise and has primarily focused on the shipping and aviation industry verticals. At Evercore, he has advised on many large corporate M&A transactions, and global business and capital structure restructurings. In addition, he continues to advise clients on capital raising transactions and has extensive capital markets experience representing clients on over 50 public and private transactions for equity, equity-linked and high yield, including providing structuring advice on many of the existing shipping Master Limited Partnerships.

Whatley began his career at Merrill Lynch & Co. and joined Evercore in 2009.  While at Merrill Lynch, he helped develop the Gaming, Leisure and Transportation Group into a market leader of advisory and underwriting services across industry verticals. Over his 10+ year career he has advised on over 100 successful transactions aggregating more than $50 billion in transaction value.

Whatley is a Board Member of The 52nd Street Project, a NYC non-profit organization, and a Member of the Advisory Board for the University of Texas at Austin’s Masters of Science in Finance Program at the McCombs School of Business. He received his B.A. in Economics and Finance from Trinity University and his M.B.A. from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ashish GuptaAshish K. Gupta

BBA '00
Founding Partner and Portfolio Manager
Areté Investment Group

Ashish Gupta, CFA is the Founding Partner and Portfolio Manager of Areté Investment Group, a long / short equity fund focused on investing in the Energy and Industrial sectors.  The firm was founded in 2013 as an exclusive external fund within Millennium Management.  Prior to this, he was a Partner at Vollero Beach Capital Partners, joining in early 2009 at inception.  In addition, Gupta co-managed equity investments in the energy sector and was a Senior Analyst at other Texas and New York based investment firms.  He began his career at Trilogy Software where he incubated a new online business focused on financial advisory services, and subsequently, worked as an Associate Analyst on the top ranked Energy Services research team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Gupta graduated summa cum laude with a BBA in Business Honors / Finance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. 

Gupta serves on the board of iTexico, a near shore IT services company, Pratham USA, a non-profit organization dedicated toward children’s literacy where he founded the local chapter, Amom Charity, another education focused non-profit, and the Business Honors Program (BHP) at UT, where he chairs the fundraising committee. As part of the Advisory Board of the BHP, Gupta helped the development staff in successfully raising three million dollars as part of the Woody Hunt Challenge. He is married with two children and resides in Austin, Texas.

Rising Star Honorees


David Busker
MBA '07

Jack Nelson
BBA '98


Scott Mattei
MBA '95

Vivek Shah
BBA '03


Jeremy Smitheal
BBA '94, MBA '03

Cindy Lo
BBA '98


Ryan Oliver
MBA '06

Dominic Sung
BBA '03


Matt Chasen
MBA '04

David Anthony Murrell
BBA '01


Daniel B. Nelson
B.A. '96, MBA '06

Matt Polze
BBA '99, MPA '99, J.D. '03


M. Christina Clayton
BBA ’02, MBA ’06 (University of Oxford)

Gregory H. Johnson
BS ’84 (Air Force Academy), MBA ’05


Holly Goodrich McMullan
MBA ’04


Tony Rogers
BBA ’90, MBA ’97


Ted Wang
MBA ’96


Jeff Hoogendam
MBA ’95