Bauer College Recognizes Outstanding Graduates for Spring 2013
Commencement — a time when students have reached the end of their academic careers and transfer into the world of professional careers. Students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston will receive conferral of their degrees during a ceremony on May 11.
During the commencement, six Bauer students will receive special recognition for extraordinary achievements and leadership during their tenure in their respective programs.
Outstanding MBA Student
Misbah Khatri came to the Bauer College at the University of Houston to attain an MBA and find her place in business. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of St. Thomas and a background in student activities. After coming to Bauer, she joined the MBA Women International (MBA-WI) UH Chapter as director of strategic partnerships before becoming president of the organization. She is now part of the MBA-WI Houston Professional Chapter’s board. She also served on the Bauer Advisory Board and worked as a peer advisor for first-year MBA Students at the Rockwell Career Center. After graduation, she will join Alvarez and Marsal to work in her dream job as a consultant.
Outstanding MS Accountancy Student
Nikki Skupnjak started at the Bauer College in the fall of 2007, and graduated with a BBA in accounting in the fall of 2011. She has been fortunate to have student organizations such as SHRM and Beta Alpha Psi to help her gain leadership experience and participate in community service. She wouldn’t have made it to where she is today without the program here at Bauer. Skupnjak received the Leon B. Stinson Memorial Scholarship and the Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs Scholarship during her time as a graduate student. She served as a teaching assistant and tutor for Financial Reporting Frameworks and Intermediate I as a graduate student. She completed internships at Newfield Exploration, KPMG, and Protiviti. She is excited to start her career as a process consultant at Protiviti this summer and finish her progress towards a CPA.
Outstanding MS Finance Student
Being a young immigrant who is honored to call Houston home, Wayne Nguyen has developed a special bond with the city and its vibrant communities, of which Bauer College is an integral part. Nguyen holds a strong conviction that success is a function of hard work and determination. Not having been content with his degree in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from Texas Christian University, he decided to engage in a more academic life. At Bauer, Nguyen found the perfect fit. From participating in the selective Cougar Investment Fund, to becoming a peer advisor that consults and mentors MSF students in their career development process, he has tremendous opportunities to learn and excel both at the personal and professional level. He’d like to give special recognition to Professor Thomas George and Lindsey Honari for providing guidance and support, without which his UH Bauer experience would not be as gratifying. He is striving for completion of his CFA curriculum as well as GARP’s Financial Risk Management certification program.
Outstanding GEMBA 10 Student
Don Johnson is graduating in the spring of 2013 from the Global Energy Management Executive MBA program at the Bauer College of Business. Johnson’s decision to pursue his MBA at Bauer was driven in part by his unconventional career path in the energy industry and his undergraduate roots, receiving his bachelors in music performance from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. After graduating, Johnson started his career with a software development firm and eventually found his calling in the energy industry, working for Financial Times Energy as an analyst in the electricity industry and then at Platts, where he provided supply/demand and pricing analytics for domestic and international petrochemical markets. Johnson’s career took flight in 2007 when he made the move to Enterprise Products, a midstream energy company, providing analytics, modeling and strategic assessment for the company’s portfolio of midstream assets.
Having learned the energy industry “from the trenches” and continuing to be promoted through the Enterprise organization to the corporate fundamentals group, he was eager to expand his knowledge base – the GEMBA program at Bauer was a natural choice. “Learning the ropes from seasoned energy executives at the Bauer College of Business alongside classmates with a broad base of experience from across the energy value chain has been intellectually stimulating and rewarding,” Johnson said. During the program, he was promoted to manager, Petrochemical Assets and most recently, he was promoted to director, Petrochemical Marketing and Supply. “The GEMBA program has given me the tools I need to succeed in the evolving Energy Industry,” he said.
Johnson enjoys music, golf, traveling and camping with his wife Erika and two daughters. “There are a lot of people that have helped me through the GEMBA program, but the real support came from home.”
Outstanding Leadership 10 Student
Mark Holly is graduating with an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business. Prior to attending the University of Houston, he earned a Bachelor and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida. Holly served several years in the United States Coast Guard as an aircraft mechanic before working for some engineering companies around the country. Holly was drawn to the Houston area to apply his engineering background to the Oil and Gas industry and is currently working for Halliburton.
He would like to especially thank his wife for her support and sacrifice throughout his time at Bauer. He would also like to thank the outstanding faculty and friends here in the MBA program, he believes that without their guidance and support the experience would have been much less enriching.
Outstanding Leadership 34 Student
Ali Abdalla has been working as a business systems consultant at Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) for the last five years. In order to design better business solutions for the community he supports, Abdalla enrolled into the Bauer EMBA program at University of Houston to acquire expertise in the area of finance, accounting, and leadership. The EMBA program prepared Abdalla with skills necessary to take up more responsible roles within OXY that will allow him to better contribute to the company long term success.
He was recently invited to join, and is now a proud member, of Beta Gamma Sigma. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at California State University, Bakersfield.
He would like to express his gratitude for the support received from his wife, children, and extended family. Additionally, he appreciates the support from his company, colleagues, and the staff at C. T. Bauer College of Business. The contribution received from all mentioned is invaluable to Abdalla’s successful completion of the EMBA program.
By Amanda Sebesta