RAISE Podcast: Juan Garcia, UT Austin


On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent chats with Juan Garcia, Assistant Vice President for Advancement Strategy and Campaign Director for the University of Texas at Austin. Juan went from industrial engineer (Purdue) to MBA grad (UT Austin) to Global Consultant (PricewaterhouseCoopers) to Senior Manager (Arthur Andersen and BearingPoint) before landing in his current role at UT Austin. Needless to say, he has a lot of wisdom and lessons learned to share with our podcast listeners.

Brent and Juan tackle some big topics on this episode, including portfolio purgatory, how to cut through higher ed silos, and the huge (untapped) opportunity for using rules-based loyalty automation to build a better donor experience. Juan took the best ideas from his years in global consulting and has woven them into his plan to make UT Austin the most successful, innovative, and impactful advancement shop in the country. 

Read on for some of the episode’s best takeaways, or tune in here for the real-deal. 



Highlights of this episode

As one of Brent’s HBS mentors told him, one of the best ways to cut your teeth in the business realm is to put in a few years in investment management or consulting. After completing his MBA from UT Austin, Juan spent over 10 years earning his business stripes in the consulting industry.

From Juan’s experience at PwC, Arthur Andersen, and BearingPoint, here are some things that a successful global consulting company does really well:

  • Values: The mission and values are clearly understood and embodied by everyone at the company.
  • Incentive alignment: Metrics and revenue sharing are standardized across the company, regardless of geographic location. 
  • Productivity: Even entry-level associates are expected to deliver big results immediately.
  • Big data analysis: Employees regularly synthesize data from months- or years-long projects into one-hour hard-hitting presentations to guide major business decisions.
  • Training: Every training session includes employees from all over the world, but the content of the training is standardized. 
  • “Remote” collaboration: Global consulting companies have been communicating effectively across time zones for decades, well before video conferencing and team messaging systems.
  • Embedding local experts: Consulting firms establish on-the-ground teams in key markets to reduce travel costs and build more authentic local partnerships. 
  • Flattening of silos: Silos inhibit the firm’s progress, so everyone is incentivized to be actively “anti-red-tape.” 

So, Juan took some of these best practices from the world of global consulting, and brought them to UT Austin. Here are some of the projects he’s currently working on:

  • Cutting across silos to accelerate tech advances such as updating UT’s giving page;
  • Focusing on People, Process, and Performance (here’s looking at you, Dori Sonntag!) to “flatten” UT, grow the bottom line, and make more impact;
  • Moving from Oracle to a cloud-based Gifts & Records system;
  • Automating 60+ data integrations with UT’s alumni database;
  • Bringing an analytical and data-driven approach to the sector;
  • Establishing the Texas Advancement Analytics Symposium;
  • Creating the Journal of Advancement Analytics;
  • Keeping portfolios fresh. If a UT gift officer hasn’t engaged with a prospect in their portfolio in 12 months, Juan’s team will move them to another portfolio.

About Juan

Juan is the Assistant Vice President for Advancement Strategy and Campaign Director for The University of Texas at Austin. His experience includes previous campaign and advancement leadership positions with Texas Athletics, Wake Forest University, and Arizona State University Foundation. His experience includes campaign planning and goal setting, case statement development, analytics modeling. business intelligence, and process optimization.

Prior to joining the development community, Juan spent eleven years as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Arthur Andersen and BearingPoint. His client experience focused on strategy formulation, merger integration, revenue growth enhancement, and operational improvement projects.

His education includes a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin.

Get in touch

Want to work with Juan? UT Austin is hiring! Connect with him on LinkedIn or by email at jmgc@utexas.edu. 

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