Ten Bauer Graduate Students Named Best in Class This Spring
On May 10, Bauer College celebrated more than 1,000 students graduating this semester during a commencement ceremony.
During the ceremony, the college recognized outstanding students, including 10 graduate students selected as the top in their respective programs.
Outstanding MBA Student
Dean Bendele earned a bachelor of science in petroleum engineering from Marietta College before working at ConocoPhillips for four years as a reservoir engineer in the Permian Basin.
As he began his MBA journey, Bendele focused on energy finance to build his economic forecasting experience. He is a member of the Bauer MBA Society, where he served in several positions, including president of the Energy Club.
Upon graduation, Bendele plans to secure a position as a financial or business analyst in the energy industry.
Outstanding MS Accountancy Student
Thu Anh Nguyen
Thu (Tracy) Nguyen began her college education at Bauer in 2013 when she moved from Vietnam to Houston. She was a part of the Professional Program in Accountancy (PPA) program, completing her BBA in accounting in 2016 and gaining valuable experience with her internship at a Big Four firm.
“I am truly grateful for an ocean of career opportunities that are offered by Beta Alpha Psi, PPA and Rockwell Career Services,” Nguyen said. “Without huge support from Bauer College, I would have not been able to successfully complete three internships and secure a full-time offer before her graduation.”
As an undergraduate, Nguyen worked as a statistics tutor for Clinical Assistant Professor Staci Smith for almost two years and volunteered to prepare tax returns for foreign students and scholars. In the MSACCY program, she has worked with Clinical Professor and Director of Accounting Programs Michael Newman as his teaching assistant for over three semesters.
Nguyen graduated summa cum laude from the university’s undergraduate program, was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma and completes her master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA.
Nguyen is now sitting for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination before beginning her career at a Big Four firm in their assurance practice this summer.
Outstanding MS Marketing Student
Vishi Agrawal is a marketing enthusiast with a strong academic background and more than five years of experience in consulting, e-commerce companies and start-ups. Her area of interest varies from quantitative analysis to creative projects. She pivoted from her accounting career to marketing through the Bauer MS program. She also has an MBA in finance from SPJIMR, Mumbai, and moved to Houston about two years ago with her husband, Siddharth Jain.
As a Bauer student, Agrawal leveraged her experience by actively participating in events and building lifelong relationships. She recently joined Xtreme Lashes, a global leader in eyelash extensions, as a marketing intern.
Outstanding MS Supply Chain Management Student
Prior to the master’s program, Jimmy Huang was a technical professional in an oil and gas company for five years, specializing in field engineering and operations for well production stimulation.
Huang started the MS program in August 2016 to expand his focus to business, now looking to become a professional in oil and gas supply chain and earning CPIM certification. He is a member of APICS and Beta Gamma Sigma.
He has his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the UH Cullen College of Engineering.
Outstanding Executive MBA Student – Global Energy Class 15
Marcos Martinez is currently an Associate R&D Director at The Dow Chemical Company. Martinez received his BS in chemical engineering in 1996 from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. His career with Dow has spanned nearly 22 years and has included many roles in both manufacturing and research and development.
Outstanding Executive MBA Student – Global Leadership Class 15
Dan Vigo is currently the director of Operations, Subsea Drilling Services and Fleet Assets, North
America Subsea for TechnipFMC headquartered in Houston and London. Prior to joining TechnipFMC in 2006, he was an Active Duty Officer in the United States Air Force.
Vigo has held numerous positions in various functions at TFMC, including project management, international service base manager in Ghana and general manager. He is an active Traditional Reservist in the USAF and is currently the commander, 512 Maintenance Squadron, Dover Air Force, DE.
He received his BA from The University of Georgia in 2002
Outstanding Executive MBA Student – Global Leadership Class 39
Sam Kelner is a business development, outside sales and marketing professional who has led a successful career building strong, trusting relationships with clients, investors and donors. He brings an incredibly unique array of experience spanning the public (local, state & federal government), private and non-profit sectors. He has worked as a research intern on Capitol Hill, as well as for the White House immediately following 9/11.
Kelner was the co-founder and vice president of sales & marketing for a small full-service staffing and recruiting company in Minneapolis. He was responsible for leading the development of the AIPAC Austin fundraising campaign.
As an Executive MBA student, he joined the Business Development & Outside Sales team at North Shore Steel. Kelner, along with his classmate Shelley Radabaugh, co-founded the UH Executive MBA Business, Investment & Philanthropy Club for alumni and current students.
Outside of work and school, Kelner serves on the Executive Board of Directors for CareerGear Houston (CGH) and is the founder of the Champions of Freedom Donor Campaign for CGH Mission Possible Program for U.S. military veterans.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studied government and political science. As an undergraduate, Kelner was awarded a full academic scholarship to study abroad at the University of Kent, Canterbury UK.
Outstanding MS Finance Student
Chris Dismuke earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M. Upon graduation, he began working as a process engineer where he designed and commissioned world class LNG facilities in Western Australia. After his time in Australia, Dismuke worked as a project engineer for PinnacleART, where he implemented mechanical integrity programs for U.S. refineries.
While at Bauer, Dismuke pursued opportunities to apply his classroom education to real world scenarios as an equity analyst in the Small Cap Growth team of the Cougar Investment Fund and as a student consultant in the Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship (SURE) Program. Outside the classroom, he has served as the vice president of Service for the Bauer MBA Society, where he coordinated Harvey Relief Efforts and other projects giving back to the city of Houston.
After graduation, he will work for ExxonMobil as a senior business analyst.
Outstanding MS Finance Student
Priyanka Saha is a certified financial risk manager, with an MBA from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, having nine years of international work experience in asset management, hedge funds, and custodian banking.
“Bauer enabled me to design my MS Finance program to suit my career aspirations, and gave me the right opportunities to hone my Finance skills, ranging from equity analysis, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance to investments,” Saha said.
Currently, she is an equity analyst in the Cougar Investment Fund, which is one of four student-run funds that manages money for individual investors rather than endowments, and this offers a practical environment to apply the principles of investment theory.
Saha secured the ninth position in the final leaderboard of the ETF Global Portfolio Challenge, which saw participation from students of 220 schools worldwide. In the CFA Institute Research Challenge of the U.S. Southwest Region (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma), Saha’s team was selected in the top 10 of 27 participating schools.
After graduation, she plans to study for her CFA exams, and aims to build her career in the financial risk area in the asset management industry.
Outstanding MS Global Energy Management Student
Barrett Baldridge is the Outstanding Master of Science in Global Energy Management student. After graduation, he looks forward to growing in his acquisitions career at Haymaker Minerals & Royalties, LLC.