Winning in Business

Texas McCombs
Texas McCombs News
Published in
3 min readMar 19, 2024


What auto racing can teach leaders about how to compete and win in today’s dynamic business world.

The 22-story Circuit of the Americas Tower captures the racing energy of the country’s only permanent Formula One track. Texas Executive Education plans to channel that energy in an inspiring new course.

Texas McCombs is giving business leaders a unique opportunity to learn from the school’s world-class faculty on campus and at a Formula One racetrack in Austin this summer.

The track at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is part of the leadership accelerator program “Winning! What Auto Racing Teaches Us About Success in Business.” The McCombs School of Business Executive Education course, set for June 3–5, is for executives and rising business leaders interested in new ways to drive success at their companies.

“Winning!” is inspired by the amazingly competitive landscape of the United States Grand Prix and its teams, said Gaylen Paulson, associate dean and executive director of Texas Executive Education. The program instructors will include current and former executives who are passionate racing drivers or instructors, racing industry leaders, and faculty members from the Cockrell School of Engineering and the McCombs School of Business. Among them are such people as Don Ruse, a McCombs assistant professor of instruction.

“Don Ruse is a boundary spanner, bringing great business and faculty experience, along with a passion for racing,” Paulson said. “And his enthusiasm is contagious. You can’t help but get excited about what he’s built with the ‘Winning!’ program.”

Ruse has witnessed successful business strategies at racetracks since childhood and believes C-suite executives and emerging leaders can learn new approaches — and taste some excitement — at the track. “I’m either going to scare the heck out of you or excite the heck out of you,” he said. “I hope it’s the latter.”

The “Winning!” program is coming at the right time for business leaders to learn how to pivot with grace and speed, Ruse said.

“We’re living in a period of time that’s extremely volatile and uncertain as well as complex and ambiguous,” he said. “What that requires us to do is move with a level of speed, adaptability, and resilience that, in my 40 years in business, has never been required. We can learn a lot from auto racing where these competencies are essential to winning.”

The philosophy behind the program is: Winning in professional auto racing and in business requires leaders to execute their plans flawlessly. That means being able to harmoniously align strategy, organization, and talent and make objective decision making a core competency.

The program aims to teach business leaders the necessary knowledge and skills to:

  • Develop strategies to win in a dynamic and competitive world.
  • Incorporate decision-making as a core competency.
  • Build and sustain high-performing teams and a winning culture.
  • Drive execution through organization and operating model design.

At the Circuit of the Americas, learners will sit in the driver’s seat. Guided by industry professionals, participants will take part in racing simulations, a pit-stop challenge, and driving at speed beside an instructor in a race car.

“We can learn some really great things by looking at people who are performing at the highest levels, perhaps especially if it’s outside our own industry or area of expertise,” Paulson said.

The program will be capped at 20 participants, he said. Tuition will be $14,500 per student and will cover the expense of on-track driving in a supercar and operating at the COTA, including staffing and access to specialized equipment and services. Attendees can save $1,200 if they apply before April 19.

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Texas McCombs
Texas McCombs News

News, business research, and ideas from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more at