Bauer College Recognizes Outstanding Graduates

Published on May 11, 2017

Special Recognitions Planned for May 14 Convocation Ceremony

The C. T. Bauer College of Business will celebrate more than 600 students graduating this semester at its convocation ceremony NRG Stadium on May 14.

During the ceremony, the college will recognize outstanding graduates, including 10 master’s students selected as the top in their respective programs. The college will also recognize undergraduates who earned cumulative 4.0 grade point averages during the course of their degree programs.


Outstanding MS Accountancy Student

Phillip Arvanetakis

Phillip Arvanetakis earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Bauer in Fall 2015 before entering the MS Accountancy program in Spring 2016.

Throughout his experiences at Bauer, he was an MSACCY Ambassador, a teaching assistant for the department, and core assurance intern at PwC. Despite his busy schedule, Arvanetakis maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his graduate career.

After graduation, he will join PwC.


Outstanding MS Global Energy Management Student

Ammar Ali Baig

Ammar Ali Baig has worked among a variety of companies including Hilton Worldwide, Aimbridge Hospitality, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

While enrolled at Bauer, Baig was actively involved in the Energy Club and the Energy Association. He has conquered many projects, including creating a financial model for an independent company and a successful simulation through OilSim.

Upon graduation, Baig looks forward to furthering a career in the energy industry.


Outstanding MS Marketing Student

Laura Palmira Garcia Mendoza 

Laura Palmira Garcia Mendoza is a native of Mexico City, Mexico.  After she graduated with her BBA, she worked at the Luxottica Group, leader in premium and luxury eyewear. There, she was a brand manager for Ralph, Vogue and Ray-Ban. In the United States, she has been a marketing intern at Xtreme Lashes, where she coordinated a charity campaign in partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, raising more than $10,000.

Palmira had always a passion for helping others and empowering women. She is a food lover and likes spending time with her loved ones.

She is joining Blue Buffalo, in Mexico, as a marketing coordinator upon graduation.


Outstanding MBA Student – Leadership Class 38

Hector F. Miranda

Hector F. Miranda is currently the director of Marketing and Trading for Mieco, Inc., a division of Marubeni Corporation, one of Japan’s largest commodities trading company. He began his career in energy trading with oil and gas companies in the Northeast as a natural gas analyst, after receiving his BSBA in Finance from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1998.

Since then, Miranda has transitioned into oil and natural gas trading positons with Cargill Inc., Cargill Petroleum, Florida Power & Light/NextEra Energy, and United Energy Trading before assuming his current position.

His future plans include transitioning into positions in the renewable energy marketplace.


Outstanding GEMBA 14 Student

Michael Murray

Michael Murray is currently a reservoir engineer for Chevron working Deepwater Gulf of Mexico properties.  He has worked in upstream functions of increasing responsibility since joining Chevron, including production engineering, operations, and reservoir engineering related to onshore and offshore U.S. properties as well as offshore Angola.

He graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with a degree in petroleum engineering in 2006.

Murray is married to his wife Liz, and they have an infant daughter named Amelia. Outside of work and school, he enjoys watching college football.


Outstanding MS Supply Chain Management Student

Negar Nikpour

Negar Nikpour sought to combine her interest in mathematics and management and knew this pairing would serve her well in her college career. With those interests in mind, she chose to pursue a degree in industrial economics at Shahid Beheshty University where she received her BA in 2010.

From there, Nikpour proceeded to obtain a master’s degree in environmental economics, an innovative and challenging major, from Allameh Tabatabai University. In graduate school she met her now husband, Amin, and they married in 2013 just before coming to the United States.

In 2015, Bauer offered a master’s degree in supply chain management for the first time and Nikpour was among the few to receive entrance into the new program.  Upon completing her first year as a masters student, she began her career as a professional service intern at PROS Inc. in the summer of 2016.

After graduation this May, Nikpour will start full-time at PROS Inc. in her new position as business operation analyst.


Outstanding MBA Student – Leadership Class 14

Nick Petersen

Nick Petersen is currently a lead project manager at CenterPoint Energy, a Fortune 500 electric and gas utility headquartered in Houston, Texas.  He has compiled a diverse energy background, including experiences at an interstate natural gas pipeline company and a deregulated natural gas marketing firm.

In his career, he has created national client engagement programs and is currently developing a state-of-the-art field level mobile application. In addition, Petersen also owns three businesses where he is able to flex his philanthropic interests having raised over $100,000 for great local causes during the past 15 years.

He was recently nominated to compete in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year fundraising campaign responsible for over $1 million raised in 2016 for advocacy, awareness and to fight blood cancers.


Outstanding MBA Student– Woodlands 2

Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana joined Willbros Group on January 2015 as an operations & compliance audit manager, bringing over 10 years of internal auditing experience in various industries such as construction for oil & gas, waste management, and life insurance. Prior to joining Willbros, Quintana was an audit supervisor at KBR, Inc. leading SOX 404/ICOFR, anti-corruption (FCPA & UK Bribery), operational, joint venture, and special investigation audits around the globe.

Quintana’s major accomplishment at KBR, Inc. was leading and executing effective and efficient anti-corruption audits to help the company pass the DOJ monitorship from past FCPA violations. From 2008 to 2011, he worked as an internal auditor II at Waste Management Inc. performing operational and financial audits throughout the Midwest USA region. Previous to this, Quintana worked as an internal auditor at Pan-American Life Insurance Company in New Orleans, conducting operational and financial audits for its Latin American subsidiaries. Quintana has been promoted four times throughout his experience.

He holds a BSBA from Louisiana State University and completed the LSU Center for Internal Auditing Program. He is a certified fraud examiner (CFE) and working towards his certified internal auditing (CIA) designation with one part left.

Quintana is fluent in both English and Spanish, and is an active member of the Institute of Internal Auditors and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. His latest pursuit is the EMBA program from the University of Houston (The Woodlands, TX) focusing on global energy.


Outstanding MBA Student

Alejandro Sanoja

Learning and sharing ideas are Sanoja’s passions. He is a knowledge and personal development addict. He has been able to face challenges in different environments: He was born and raised in Venezuela where he attained a BS in economics. His professional career has been focused on finance, and he has experience in financial consulting, investment banking, and commercial planning.

During his time at Bauer, Sanoja learned how to break the barriers of being an introvert and a non-native English speaker. He was chosen to participate in competitive courses such as the Cougar Investment Fund, where students manage a $10 million equity portfolio. He also participated in the Cougar Venture Fund, the Google Online Marketing Challenge, and was part of a team that conducted an independent research study called “Giving Power to Bauer.”

Upon graduation, he will be joining Elisha Consulting, a Bauer alumni-owned company.