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G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

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Maddie Sepcic ('19)

Maddie Sepcic, a logistics and supply chain management alum, recently launched her own swimsuit and activewear company Cabo Couture. Before diving all-in as an entrepreneur, however, she was employed at logistics company Expeditors International as an order management agent.

"I had my own clients at Expeditors International, including Dillard's," says Sepcic, who credits UNT with helping her develop her logistics skills and land the job at Expeditors International during a career fair. "I helped Dillard's see what was being exported from its suppliers and what was being imported to the U.S. It was cool."

After a year of putting her logistics skills into action, Sepcic decided to start her own company. For quite some time, she had been dreaming of doing her own thing and launching a women's apparel brand. During her lunch breaks, she'd work on Cabo Couture, making purchase orders and designing her packaging.

"You know, it sounds kind of crazy to quit your job in the midst of a global pandemic," she says. "I walked away from a career I would have probably gone really far in. But I knew in my heart that I needed to do something more."

Starting a small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has offered new challenges for Sepcic to overcome. So far, she's been trudging through them with a positive outlook and hard work.

"I'm the type of person that takes challenges and turns them into factors of motivation and change," says Sepcic. "I think the pandemic challenges me to be able to pivot when necessary and allows me to relate to my customers more.  Also, if COVID-19 hadn't occurred, I don't think I would have found the courage to take the chance and start my business."

The idea behind Cabo Couture was originally inspired by the city of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, Sepcic's favorite place. She wanted the clothing to represent Cabo's fun and vibrant culture while keeping function in mind. She chose colorful yet premium fabrics that were comfortable enough to lounge in, yet strong enough to endure high-intensity workouts.

"My business was created out of my feelings on the pandemic in that I wanted to feel the way I did while traveling no matter where I was. I wanted the pieces to evoke the same feelings I feel while in Cabo," Sepcic says.

With the help of her blog, The Dallas Heiress, and Instagram, she was able to reach several costumers, but she's not solely online. Already, Sepcic's products are available in shops around the world, including The Glass Box -- a boutique in the Cape Hotel in Cabo San Lucas -- and House of Mo in Dallas.

"It's super rewarding to see my clothing on a rack and to know that someone is going to wear them," Sepcic said. "Strangers wearing my stuff? That blows my mind."

Sepcic has some big goals regarding the growth of Cabo Couture, such as becoming bicoastal, getting her products into a big retail store like Nordstrom and having her own physical store. Her biggest goal, though, is to inspire people.

"One of the hardest things about launching this business was taking that risk of leaving my job and going into something I had skills in but had never truly done. I had never designed clothing, so there were a lot of risks involved," Sepcic says. "The whole thing was hard, but I think that's what makes it more rewarding in the end."


Published by Brittney Dear in UNT North Texan Fall 2020



Brint Ryan (BS/MS '88)

Brint Ryan and his bandmates were grooving at Big Spring High’s senior talent contest. But near the end of their five-song set, the amplifiers suddenly quit, and the music died. Maybe the hard rock was too raucous or the lyrics too suggestive for the Bible Belt community—“We’re gettin’ funny in the back of my car; I’m sorry, honey, if I took you just a little too far… By morning you’ll be mine, yes, all mine…” Whatever the case, a government teacher named Tommy Adams cut power to the mics and Ryan’s rhythm guitar, as the class president and his garage band covered Van Halen’s 1978 hit, “Feel Your Love Tonight.”

It’s hard to silence Ryan now.

The Washington Post calls Ryan a Republican mega-donor with outsized influence. He made a news-grabbing run for the Dallas City Council and built his Ryan LLC into a thriving tax consulting firm with nearly 3,000 employees in 50 countries, generating an estimated $630 million in revenue for 2020. In one notable case, the firm clawed back more than $100 million in taxes overpaid by Texas Instruments. The goal is to make Ryan LLC globally branded “as the Amazon of tax,” the company’s founder says over iced tea at his 20,000-square-foot home, an estate on Strait Lane that’s tax-appraised at $17.9 million.

Last year, Ryan was the recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, which recognizes “personal initiative and perseverance, leadership, commitment to excellence, belief in the free-enterprise system and the importance of higher education, community service, and the vision and determination to achieve a better future.” Cited was Ryan’s overcoming a difficult, working-class upbringing.

His teenage parents had eloped to Mexico to marry. Both abused alcohol, which led to arguments and physical violence, states a remarkably frank company biography. Ryan and his sister picked up the drinking habit, too. A DWI accident would leave her wheelchair-bound—a wake-up call for Ryan that was tragically reinforced when his mother was run over and killed by a drunk driver. Sober since November 1990, Ryan says, “I felt I was headed down the same path.”

A seventh-generation Irish-American, George Brinton “Brint” Ryan was the eldest of four children. His mother sold insurance. His father, a gas plant worker, had played on a state champion basketball team and pushed Ryan into sports. But he was never the athlete his dad wanted. He loved music, and when he asked for a $145 eight-track stereo, Ryan was told to get a job, sparking a tireless work ethic. He threw papers for the Big Spring Herald, then sacked groceries at Safeway. He worked 20 hours a week at a Piggly Wiggly in college, getting hired as a bag boy and ending as an assistant manager.

Ryan attended North Texas State (now the University of North Texas), which would change his life trajectory. But it wasn’t an easy transition. “I was scared to death, I mean absolutely scared to death,” he says of arriving in Denton as the first in his immediate family to attend college. “It was 1982, and I didn’t know a soul. I was sitting there, a kid from Big Spring in this new world, looking at the backgrounds of other people.” Not until then did Ryan realize where his family stood on the socio-economic ladder. “It was truly intimidating,” he says. “I was so focused; I poured myself into my work. When I got a 3.9 my very first semester at North Texas, I was so upset because—you know what?—I made a B in Phys. Ed. That blew my 4.0. I got a four-point my next semester.”

When he left for college, Ryan couldn’t wait to put Big Spring in the rearview mirror of his secondhand Buick. (“I wanted to get out of there; I wanted to get away from my dad,” he says.) But the prodigal son returned decades later to restore the Hotel Settles, a 1930s, 15-story edifice that towers over the city. 


Published by Barry Shlachter in D CEO January-February 2021


Anthony Curtis ('19)

Anthony Curtis, 2019 BS accounting and MS taxation graduate, describes himself as an “underdog”—but to everyone that knows him, he is anything but that.

As a student, he spent his time actively involved in every professional opportunity that presented itself—from elected both Vice President and then President of The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), to serving as both a college and campus ambassador—all while working two jobs.

“Learn to recognize that there are opportunities right in front you. Every person you meet, every hand you shake, and every networking event you attend holds great opportunity,” explained Anthony.

His positive outlook, tenacity in the classroom, and extracurricular involvement ultimately led Anthony to an Ernst & Young (EY) private networking event, while attending UNT. From there, he was able to capitalize on the opportunity and land a sought-after full-time position at EY.

Now, Anthony is paying it forward by creating opportunities for other first-generation college students transitioning from the classroom into their respective career paths.

“The opportunities and choices made during my formal education changed the course of my life. One of my highest professional career goals is to invest every resource I can afford into the advancement and preservation of the Department of Accounting at the University of North Texas,” said Anthony.

He made his first commitment as a UNT alumnus this past December—a generous testament to his appreciation of the college and his experiences.

“Countless professionals, myself included, are very proud of the leadership that guides the Department of Accounting at the G. Brint Ryan College of Business. The height of my academic success, in all accounting courses, was drafted, molded, and strengthened specifically by the mentorship, patience and steadfast vision of academic experts, and many others who hold an earned position within the department,” said Anthony.


UNT professor honored with award for work with graduate students

University of North Texas G. Brint Ryan College of Business professor Bob Heere has been honored with the 2020 Stotlar award by the Sport Marketing Association.

The award recognizes a sport marketing educator who excels in the promotion and advancement of graduate students by having an established record of mentoring graduate students; serving as an advocate at an institutional, national and/or international level; demonstrating a commitment to the professional development of advisees; or contributing to the growth of a graduate-level sport marketing curriculum.

“I was a doctoral program director at my former university, University of South Carolina. Here at UNT, I’m really focused on the MBA and BBA programs,” Heere said. “It’s always been very rewarding. To be recognized for that, that’s very special. I’m very honored by this recognition.”

Heere said he was nominated by one of his former doctoral students.

Heere was hired as the director of sport management at UNT in August 2018. He was also responsible for the launch of the innovative 36-credit-hour professional online MBA in sport entertainment management that was announced in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys in February 2020.

Most years, the Stotlar award is presented during the annual SMA conference. However, due to COVID restrictions, the award was presented during a virtual ceremony.

Heere is the first winner from Texas. Previous winners have hailed from Colorado, Oregon, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada and Georgia.


Micro grant accepted to help students find purpose

UNT’s Office for Faculty Success has accepted a micro grant proposal put forth by Madhuri Bandla, senior lecturer in the Department of Accounting.
Bandla’s proposal, titled “Mentoring with a Purpose,” outlines a partnership with Project Wayfinder to develop a mentoring program that fosters meaningful relationships with students.
Project Wayfinder was founded in 2015 by Stanford University’s Design School and targets educators who interact with students, aged 14 through 24. The goal of the organization is to use design thinking and creative exploration to help students navigate through their academic career, and beyond, with purpose.
As the current faculty mentor for the Department of Accounting’s Accounting Scholars Program, as well as the co-faculty adviser for The Association of Latino Professionals for America chapter at UNT, Bandla is well-suited to spearhead the initiative.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Ryan College of Business among top online MBA programs in the country


U.S. News & World Report has announced UNT among its list of top MBA programs in the nation. The online MBA ranked 51st overall, and 30th on its list of Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans.

In Texas, the college ranked number one for Online MBA Programs for Veterans and fourth for its online MBA.

In addition to U.S. News & World Report, recently ranked the online MBA marketing concentration second in the nation for affordability, ranked the online MBA 12th in the nation, and ranked UNT first in Dallas for its MBA.

Offering exceptional online programs to help students advance their professional goals is one of the college’s top priorities in today’s climate.



Invitation extended to join inaugural Dean's Circle of Excellence 

This month kicked off the inaugural Dean's Circle of Excellence - an initiative to bring awareness and support toward the Dean's top priorities for the college. 

Members of the Dean’s Circle are integral in closing funding gaps and providing the necessary support for program growth and institutional excellence. Membership gifts enable the college to attain its strategic goals and fulfill its mission as one of the largest business schools in the nation. 
To join this circle of change-makers, an annual commitment of at least $1,000 must be made to the Dean’s Excellence Fund. Visit the website to learn more and become a member today.


Business Conversations: The (data) science behind COVID

Looking for something to listen to? The Ryan College of Business has released another episode of its Business Conversations podcast, featuring Dr. Vess Johnson. 

Dr. Johnson, assistant professor in the Information Technology and Decision Sciences Department, joins the podcast to discuss the latest trending data as it relates to COVID-19.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Johnson has produced weekly reports that track the pandemic, both state-wide and across the world, by using a variety of datasets and sources.

Tune in to Business Conversations as he delves into the (data) science of COVID and reveals some of his most interesting findings.




The McNatt Emergency Fund was established in 2019 by Jim ('66) and Linda McNatt to provide Ryan College of Business students facing financial crisis with the necessary funding to keep them enrolled and progressing toward their degree. Awards as large as $3,000 are granted to students to alleviate the financial stress they may be facing. 


A $5,000 gift will support UNT's presidential initiative to provide financial support to students who have immediate and pressing needs related to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Funds will fulfill short-term needs and help students achieve their long-term educational objectives.


The Dean’s Excellence Fund also provides immediate, essential support to our students. This fund serves as a vital resource to help our students and campus respond to opportunities and challenges as they occur. When you support the Dean’s Excellence Fund, you support the strategic vision of the college by allowing the Dean to have flexibility in directing the use of resources to the priorities of the college during this difficult time. If you commit to as little as $1,000 per year (for five years), you will now also be eligible to join an elite group of change-makers: The Dean's Circle of Excellence. Learn more:




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