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Meet Our Class of 2018 Fellows: Brandon Valdez

University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Hello! I live in Houston, TX, and have been working in the energy industry doing technology consulting, accounting/finance, and natural gas logistics. Before undergraduate studies, I took a couple of years to “find myself” and was a full-time preacher, but soon found that that would not allow me to live life openly and freely as a gay man. After completing university, I came out and have been enjoying my life to its full potential. I am seeking an MBA to refocus my career to consulting, working with companies on sustainability issues. I will be relocating to Austin with my partner and two cats.

What made you consider business school?

I am seeking to leave the energy industry, but I know that doing so will require the additional skills and knowledge that business school will provide. Additionally, I grew up in a household where higher education was frowned upon. I put myself through undergrad despite my parents' objections, and because I was working full-time throughout it, I feel like I lost out on opportunities to excel and become involved with the school community. I am looking at business school as my second chance to complete school on my own terms.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

I am really looking forward to joining LGBTQ groups, as I have not had an opportunity as of yet to be involved with any. Beyond that, I am looking to make new friends and enjoy the exciting, intense two-year learning experience.

Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, and Harvey Milk.

What's one thing everyone should know about you?

Before graduating with my bachelors, I worked as a used car salesman, full-time preacher, and bank teller. I love cats, dance music, and the cartoon show Bojack Horseman. Also, I'm vegan, but I try not to be annoying about it.