Posted on December 8, 2020 by Wendy Frost

Understanding the relationship between the human and technical elements of a problem has been a unifying element of Jacob “Jay” Reyes’ studies in the UTSA College of Business.

Jacob Reyes“Economics is not just about policy, but ultimately it is the study of trade-offs—how humans and organizations respond to those trade offs,” said Reyes, who will graduate this December with his bachelor of arts in economics and a minor in management science. “And, with management science, you apply statistics to business problems to figure out where the issues are and how to solve them.”

Given this passion, it is understandable that one of Reyes’ favorite class was behavioral economics. Looking beyond just the numbers and models, he learned how to also approach problems from a more humanistic perspective.

Taking advantage of as many opportunities as he could while at UTSA, Reyes participated in the Honors College Citymester program, was an officer with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) and joined the Rowdy Thespian Association.

“While it was not a traditional business organization, I thought the Rowdy Thespians helped me develop my presentation skills and learn how to tell a story through that presentation,” he said. “My work with this organization has been really beneficial.”

Through CEO he was instrumental in hosting three Startup Grind events on campus in partnership with Geekdom. The events were overwhelmingly popular with over 300 participants in total.

Reyes also actively explored his career interests through a variety of internship experiences—five in total. One of his first professional experiences was with The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in Washington, D.C. As an economics policy intern, he assisted with market research and authored policy commentaries.

Intrigued by that work, he completed an independent study research project in developmental economics with Don Lien, the Richard S. Liu Distinguished Chair in Business, which led to a research scholar position at Purdue University last summer. Most recently he completed a remote internship with Dell this summer in Global Procurement.

“I was working with the global procurement team on an aging inventory strategy,” said Reyes. “Working with teams in India, Ireland, Singapore and China we needed to create solutions that not only worked in the U.S., but internationally as well.”

Utilizing skills from econometrics and Six Sigma classes that he took with former economics faculty members Long Liu and Jacob Dell, lecturer in management science and statistics, Reyes was able to apply the knowledge he learned directly to his internship.

“I was tasked with finding a better way to forecast demand and increase visibility for Dell’s inventory,” said Reyes. “We built a dashboard that could identify products that need to be moved quickly. We also built a machine learning model to increase the accuracy of the global demand forecast by 5 percent.”

Impressed with his skills, he was offered a position in Dell’s Supply Chain Development Program. Reyes will begin work in February in Austin and begin the three-year rotational program in May.

“I am really fortunate to have a job during this time,” said Reyes.

Looking back at his time at UTSA, Reyes is glad that he chose to attend UTSA and is grateful for the opportunities that he had to directly interact with the business community.

“There is no real way to learn what skills you are going to use on the job, but there are ways to learn how you should interact as a professional and a person,” he said. “The college’s Center for Student Professional Development has done an awesome job with my professional development.”

— Wendy Frost