Go longhorns

Texas school excels in ranking of country’s best graduate schools while Houston schools lag behind

UT's grad schools earn top marks. University of Texas at Austin/Facebook

When it comes to the country's top graduate school programs, the University of Texas at Austin is at the head of the class.

A new ranking, released March 17 by U.S. News & World Report, shows UT Austin tied for third place among public universities for the most graduate schools and specialties (48) ranked in the top 10. Only the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan have more.

UT's top five graduate schools for 2021, according to U.S. News: School of Information (No. 5), Jackson School of Geosciences (No. 7), LBJ School of Public Affairs (No. 8), Steve Hicks School of Social Work (No. 8), and Cockrell School of Engineering (No. 10).

U.S. News, bases its annual rankings of on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence, and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research, and students.

Also making the grade is UT's prestigious law school, tied for 16th in the nation, and School of Nursing, which placed No. 24.

Meanwhile, UT's McCombs School of Business' full-time MBA program claimed the No. 17 spot, up one spot from last year. The school's part-time MBA program landed at No. 7, up from No. 8 in 2019, and the executive MBA program jumped from two spots to No. 12 this year.

For all three types of MBA programs, UT Austin leads the rankings for Texas schools.

A few Houston schools do make a few of the lists, but the universities from the Bayou City fall far down the ranking. Here are the schools that made it into the top 100 of the engineering, nursing, law, business, and medical lists.

  • Rice University's Jones School of Business ties at No. 25 on the best business graduate schools list
  • University of Houston's Bauer College of Business ties at No. 95 on the best business graduate schools list
  • The Law Center at University of Houston ties at No. 56 on the best law schools list
  • Baylor College of Medicine ranks No. 22 on the best medical schools list
  • Rice University's George R. Brown School of Engineering ties at No. 33 on the best engineering graduate schools list
  • The Cullen College of Engineering at University of Houston ties at No. 67 on the best engineering graduate schools list
  • University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston ties at No. 27 on the best nursing schools list for master's
  • The College of Education at University of Houston ties for No. 91 on the best education graduate schools list
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Growing Houston blockchain startup has raised $4 million to go toward supporting sales growth. Graphic courtesy of Data Gumbo

An industrial blockchain-as-a-service startup based in Houston has closed a series B funding round thanks to support from both new and returning investors.

Data Gumbo Corp., which uses its blockchain network GumboNet to optimize smart contracts for oil and gas supply chains, announced its first close in its $4 million series B funding round that was led by new investor L37, which has operations in the Bay Area and in Houston. The round also saw contribution from returning investors Equinor Ventures and Saudi Aramco Energy Venture.

The funds will go toward growing Data Gumbo's sales team, which has been busy with the company's growth. While providing their own set of challenges and obstacles, both the pandemic and drop in oil prices meant oil and gas companies are prioritizing lean operations — something DataGumbo is able to help with.

"The opportunity in all this is companies have got to cut expenses," Andrew Bruce, CEO and founder, tells InnovationMap. "What's happened to us is our sales have absolutely exploded — in a good way. We have a huge number of leads, and we have to be able to deliver on those leads."

Bruce says leading the sales growth is Bill Arend, who was hired Data Gumbo's chief commercial officer this spring. Data Gumbo also recently announced that Richard Dobbs, 30-year veteran of McKinsey and former director of the McKinsey Global Institute, has joined the board as chairman.

"Dobbs is a recognized strategic industry thinker," Bruce says in a release. "His distinct expertise will lend structure, support and validation to Data Gumbo as we experience aggressive company growth."

Of course, fundraising in this unprecedented time, isn't easy. Bruce says he and his team were able to succeed thanks to a new investor, L37, which came from an introduction within Bruce's network.

"Data Gumbo is the category leader for industrial smart contracts, which is an inevitable next step in digital transformation of the oil and gas industry," says Kemal Farid, a partner in L37, in a statement. "There is a lack of transparency, visibility and accuracy between counterparts of contracts that increases the costs of doing business and this has been greatly exacerbated by the current business landscape. We look forward to applying our experience to propel the company along its journey to bring transactional certainty and cost efficiency to commercial relationships."

Additionally, Bruce says he's very proud of his company's return investors, who are also clients of DataGumbo.

"[We also have] the continuous support by our original investors — Aramco and Equinor — they invested in us not just once but twice," Bruce says. "They have been tremendously supportive, not just from an investor perspective, but also proving the value. We've got multiple projects starting with both of those companies."

Bruce says he already has eyes for another venture capital round — perhaps sometime next year — for Data Gumbo, which has raised $14.8 million to date. However, the company isn't far from profitability and growth from that avenue too.

"We're going to have the luxury of choice," Bruce says. "We want to grow as aggressively as possible so we are probably going to go the venture capital route."

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