Michael Heldebrandt BS’93

Austin, TX
Executive Vice President, Country Manager

What do you do?

I currently run the North American office of a digital marketing company based in Austin, TX called OneAffiniti.  We specialize in supporting the largest IT brands in the world market their goods and services.

After graduating from UTD with a BS in Economics and Finance, I joined a business valuation company in Dallas. It was 1993, and the overall market was not in good shape. The president of the company told me later that I was selected because of my econometric/statistics abilities.

However, I quickly realized the world of finance was not that fun for me. After a couple of years there, I decided to pick up and leave Dallas – landed in Hawaii and worked in the government doing the State budget (again economics/finance).  I continued “West” and landed in Japan where I signed on with FedEx in their Marketing department. The initial job was heavy in analytics and writing code to extract data to develop market analysis but over time I moved into more general marketing roles and management.

I spent 10 years with FedEx in Asia, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong.  I left FedEx and joined Dell back in Japan. I was with Dell for about 10 years – all in marketing.

The common thread remains a good understanding of how markets work and the diligence around the math.

How do you use your EPPS education in your current profession?

The broad understanding of economics combined with the statistics knowledge has supported me in the business world and I continue to use these skills today.

What value has your EPPS education brought to your life and/or work? 

The UTD experience was enormously valuable for me. The professors combined the textbook learning with real-life applications of the information being taught. Several of the professors also held jobs in the “real world” and were able to bring that knowledge into the classroom. Dr. Murdoch and Dr. Seeger were very influential.

What advice would you give current and future EPPS students?

You may not end up in a career that is purely devoted to Economics but the understanding of how the markets work and the “math” that supports the theory can assist you in building a rewarding career. Work hard and do great things!