2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Indra Gutierrez, University of Texas (McCombs)

Indra Gutierrez

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Age: 37

“Fearless, resilient, authentic, curious, and caring individual striving to make an impact in this world.”

Hometown: Born in Morelia, Mexico and raised in Houston, TX

Family Members: My husband, Michael and our Golden Retriever, Nicolas (1)

Fun fact about yourself: I was named after Indra Devi – the first female to have been taught yoga and the first instructor to bring yoga to the West. Indra Devi was my grandmother’s instructor (my grandmother was also a yoga instructor and owned her own yoga studio in Mexico) and introduced me to her at the age of 6. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with yoga and am now a loyal student.

Undergraduate School and Degree:  

University of Houston, B.A. – Political Science

Houston Baptist University, M.S. – International Business

Where are you currently working? Gutier, LLCGeneral Manager

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I received the Legacy Fellowship Award and the Dean’s Leadership & Service Award for the Class of 2021, Executive MBA Program.

I was an active member of the Class Coordinating Committee, Graduate Women in Business, Real Estate Society and Founder and President of the EMBA Consulting Club.

In addition, I participated in an MBA+ Consulting Project (Spring 2020) and two Real Estate Investment Competitions – The Van Berkom Small-Cap Case Competition (Spring 2020) and the Miami Herbert Impact Investing Case Competition (Spring 2021).

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The extracurricular achievement I am most proud of is founding the EMBA Consulting Club. I founded the EMBA Consulting Club as I realized many of my classmates were interested in pursuing careers in management consulting. However, I quickly realized this consulting club had to be different as the needs for executives were very different than the needs of the full-time or working professional students. Overall, the consulting club has catered to students who were interested in following the traditional path of working for a management consulting firm after graduation, but it was also for students who were interested in starting their own consulting firms. I personally really enjoyed the intersection of combining entrepreneurship & consulting into one club.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being a small business owner has been my greatest achievement. My husband and I started our construction company seven years ago, with no capital investment and have now grown the company to over 85+ employees, doubled our revenues within the last year and are very excited for the future growth of the company.

This achievement means the most to me because of my background. I’m an immigrant, raised by a single mother, and a first generation college student who’s worked since the age of 13. I’ve encountered many challenges throughout my career, but I pride myself in having the confidence to believe in myself, even when others do not. I believe my personal experiences have shaped me to become a successful entrepreneur and comfortable taking risks.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Associate Professor of Strategic Management, Puay Khoon (PK) Toh, was my favorite due to his teaching style. He did an excellent job teaching us how a rigorous and responsible strategy formulation can enhance our ability to lead our organizations effectively and with integrity.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? The university’s culture, prestige, and strong Longhorn network were the factors that contributed to my decision to attend the Texas McCombs Executive MBA Program.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson I gained during the EMBA program was learning how to strategically plan and communicate the vision of the company throughout the entire organization. I was able to apply this during the growth and stabilization period of the company. I have been able to communicate the vision to our employees, letting them know the why before implementing the changes and motivating them to work with us to achieve the overall company’s goals.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Foremost, I could have not completed this program without the support of my husband, Michael. He encouraged me to enjoy the experience and assured me the company would be taken care of while I was away, every two weeks, Thursday – Saturday. In addition, when I joined the program, I quickly realized I could not do it all by myself, so I hired a group of individuals to help me lead the business operations. My core team did a tremendous job performing the day-to-day tasks while I was away studying or attending class.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Be prepared to delegate at home and in the workplace and be ready to fully immerse yourself in the program and commit as it is very time consuming. However, the experience is very fulfilling and challenging; it will help you develop your leadership skills. Also, make sure you take the time to get to know your classmates. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help. Lastly, remember that the person you should be competing against is yourself and not others.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth about going back to school is that there is no need to go back to school because of the years of work experience you may have or because you have already obtained a master’s degree. This could not be further from the truth as business school will provide you with a basis of knowledge that will allow you to understand best management practices and help you feel confident making business decisions under uncertainty.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was not attending the global trip and sharing the experience with my classmates due to the global pandemic.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Sarah DiCicco. I worked with Sarah on several projects for most of the program. She’s an intelligent, humble, caring, and collaborative individual. She led our study group for the majority of the program and was committed to excellence in all parts of her life. Sarah not only produced excellent work in our projects, but she also held a full-time job at a consulting firm and participated in MBA+ Consulting projects, all while being a mother to her son, Jagger.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Based on my years of work experience, I felt that I could grow as a leader if I surrounded myself with other people who were already executives or were pursuing executive roles within their organizations.I felt that by being amongst such individuals, I would learn from them and acquire some of their skills. In addition, this program offered classes in person and on campus, which in my opinion, provided a more valuable classroom experience.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to build a $100M+ company and eventually run for political office.

What made Indra such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Indra Gutierrez has shown a lot of personal initiative and engagement. She founded the Executive MBA Consulting Club and organized various activities and learning opportunities for club members. Indra also volunteered on the McCombs Ambassador Committee, sharing her experience as an Executive MBA and entrepreneur with prospective students at recruiting events in Houston and on campus in Austin. Indra received the Texas McCombs MBA Dean’s Leadership and Service award for her service to the Executive MBA Class of 2022 and program.”

Rebecca Gutierrez
Managing Director of Student Affairs

Sharon Barrett
Director of Working Professional & Executive MBA Recruiting & Admissions

Alma Moore
Career and Talent Development Consultant, Executive MBA Program

Joe Stephens, Sr.
Assistant Dean & Director, Working Professional & Executive MBA Programs

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