Executive Director, Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, PC
At Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, Gillis works closely with the firm’s CEO and board of directors. He provides leadership on the firm’s overall business, specifically focusing on oversight of financial analysis and reporting, risk management, pricing, revenue and expense budgeting, performance management, financial planning, internal controls, profitability analysis and leadership of administrative departments. He is an active Jindal School alumnus, returning to campus frequently to speak to students and attend events.
How your degree has impacted your career?
I would not have my current position without the skills I obtained at UT Dallas. The UTD MBA prepared me to handle complex analysis, which is necessary in my job.
How do you see your profession changing in the next five or 10 years?
Technology and an evolving mindset about work-life balance is completely changing the legal services profession. I expect to see significant disruption to the traditional private practice law model within the next 10 years.
Why did you come to UT Dallas?
I wanted to attend the school with the smartest people. Having attended other institutions prior to attending UT Dallas, I am confident I made the correct choice. I frankly think attending a university which focuses a lot of attention on sports is great if you aspire to sit around and watch a lot of sports. If you want to excel in business or change the world, you need to be surrounded by innovation and the smartest people you can find. I found those people at UTD.
Has something about your UT Dallas education surprised you since graduating?
UTD’s brand awareness has expanded globally – faster and farther than I imagined. Every year it grows and adds additional assets, programs, professors and incredible facilities. I live nearby and UT Dallas has become a huge asset to the area.
What advice do you have for college students hoping to succeed professionally?
Make decisions or they will be made for you. Honor your commitments. Admit when you don’t know the answer. Measure your success against the achievement of your own goals, not by anyone else’s standards. Be a builder and recognize that what you do now will lay the foundation for your future.
What makes an effective leader?
Good leaders understand the impact of their decisions. Emotional intelligence is a big part of it. There are many managers in the business world but not all are true leaders.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I am completely obsessed with Nova Scotia, Canada, and own some land there. Having traveled quite a bit, I have determined that this my favorite place in the world. If you catch me daydreaming, I’m definitely thinking about our place up there.