2018 Best EMBA: Kim Schaerges, University of Texas (McCombs)

Kim Schaerges

University of Texas, McCombs School of Business

“I am a determined individual who makes deliberate choices professionally and personally.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Kelseyville, CA

Family Members: Laura Larson (mom, Texas) Tom Schaerges (dad, California) Robert Schaerges (brother, California)

Fun fact about yourself: I diffused bombs in the US Army for 5 years.

Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Military Academy at West Point, Civil Engineering and Management

Where are you currently working? BTX Global Logistics, Director of Sales

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Workout groups (Stronghorn Fitness, CorePower Yoga) Austin Sports and Social volleyball league

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am very proud of stepping outside the executive program and taking a full time MBA program elective. It was incredibly interesting to sit in class with the full-timers, understand their thought processes, and learn more about the differences between both the students and the course material.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career, I am most proud of my accomplishments as an EOD tech in the Army. The training and camaraderie in the EOD community exposed me to some essential team components that I have found incredibly useful in my civilian career this far.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Badalato was my favorite professor because he respected each student individually, joined in on the class banter but was able to maintain the classes respect while ensuring we all left the room with an understanding of his material.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite course was Operations Management. I had taken a few courses like this at West Point, but this time it was actually applicable and the material made sense. I look at every business program differently after this course, it enables me to ensure the process is sound, efficient, and clear for all to understand.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I choose McCombs because of the programs focus on having a diverse community and courseload. After spending 10 years around military personnel, I thought it was important to get exposure to as many different thought processes as possible and McCombs was the best fit for this.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I loved meeting my classmates and learning from them. Everyone comes from such different backgrounds and cultures and it was truly a pleasure to meet them all and make some friends for life along the way.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Getting my MBA has provided me with a better understanding of the entire business model. I apply what I learn every single day at work, it is impossible to pinpoint the biggest lesson because there are so many changes I have made within my organization through my learnings but none would be successful alone.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Second semester of the first year, I was incredibly stressed and knew I had to take some time to myself to reset. I booked a two week trip to Thailand mid-March and was able to time manage properly so no homework was due and I was prepared for my test when I returned. I am a huge advocate of taking care of yourself and knowing what your limits are, and Thailand definitely was the right choice at that time!

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I would tell any student looking to enter an executive MBA program not to hesitate to do it. I think it is nearly impossible to have any regrets from doing so.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth about going back to school and especially entering a weekend program was that you would be living your life weekend-to-weekend and have no time for fun or yourself. It turned out that living weekend-to-weekend was not for my weekends off, but for class weekends because I was so excited to see everyone and learn the course material.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret would be not taking advantage of some of the schools other programs and offerings available to the students. We are all incredibly busy during school but McCombs offers some amazing coaching services and other opportunities that I wish I made time for.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Chris Fierro. After losing his leg in Iraq and nearly killing himself from depression during recovery, he is one of the most sincere and loveable individuals who is moving up the corporate ladder so fast with so much support from everyone he meets and an incredible family behind him.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I knew I wanted to go to business school when I took the role as the director of sales and had the ability to make more business decisions autonomously.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…if I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be very bored at my current job and would likely feel a little lost on my future goals.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to be the COO of an operations focused business.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to know that I am always willing to help them in the future whenever I can. I am a strong believe in strong networks.

Favorite book: The Hunger Games

Favorite movie or television show: Game of Thrones

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel to Greece and Argentina

What made Kim such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

Kim attacked the learning opportunity with the same determination that led to her successful athletic career at West Point, and the attention to detail and fearlessness of someone who defused bombs for five years. She has also selflessly recruited other veterans to join the program.”

John W. Burrows, PhD
Director Executive MBA Program / Faculty, Department of Management
The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018