Section Image: Brendan Hartman with fellow cowboy actors

Frog by Day, Cowboy by Night: Neeley MBA student Lassoes Business Success While Wrangling his Childhood Dream

Brendan Hartman is a Full-time MBA student and part-time cowboy. He regularly heads just six miles from the TCU campus to the historic Fort Worth stockyards to share a slice of the old west with locals and tourists through cowboy culture.

January 29, 2024

By Kelly Kjetsaa

Brendan HartmanBrendan Hartman first arrived on the TCU campus as an undergraduate student in 2014. Now, he has returned to Fort Worth and TCU to pursue an MBA from the TCU Neeley School of Business and land his dream job upon graduation, while simultaneously fulfilling a lifelong childhood dream.  In between classes as a full-time MBA student at Neeley, Brendan is also a part-time cowboy at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

To continue fulfilling those dreams, following his graduation from the TCU Neeley MBA program, Brendan has accepted a two-year Finance Leadership Development Program position at AT&T in Dallas. Setting goals and achieving them started early for Brendan.

My folks raised me watching old western movies and TV shows,” Brendan said. “When I saw The Legends of Texas do their cowboy performance [in the Stockyards] at the age of 12, naturally I asked if I could join.”

The Legends of Texas is a group that stages live performances and re-enactments of Western culture and cowboy life in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Their shows bring the spirit of the Wild West and preserves history through gunfights, comedic banter, and other cowboy stunts.

Unfortunately, Brendan was informed that he had to be an adult to be one of the actors.

“Not dissuaded,” he said, “I bided my time and auditioned for the group 10 years later.”

Brendan Hartman with fellow cowboy actor in the Fort Worth Stockyards“Being a cowboy actor in the stockyards dovetails perfectly with my full-time MBA at TCU. I spend my weekends bringing smiles to tourists’ faces, and, since I reside on campus, my proximity to the stockyards makes for a convenient commute. Moreover, I experience the joy of living my childhood dream to be a cowboy,” Brendan exclaimed.

Brendan earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice at TCU as an undergrad. Now, as an MBA candidate, he has focused on business analytics and finance industries.

Dr. Zain Ali, assistant professor of professional practice in the Information Systems and Supply Chain Management Department, spoke about his admiration for Brendan.

“Brendan has impressed me by getting the maximum value from the MBA program at TCU,” he said. “He excels in all of his classes and leveraged career center relationships to secure his ideal post-graduation job at AT&T, all while nicely balancing extracurricular activities,”

When he’s not in the classroom or in the stockyards, Brendan can likely be found at CorePower Yoga, partaking in his favorite hobby.

Brendan Hartman doing yoga next to a longhorn“The flexibility of the full-time Neeley MBA enables me to engage my other passion — yoga instruction,” Brendan said.

Brendan teaches three classes a week at the yoga studio, which is less than two miles from campus.

This semester, Brendan experienced what he called a “cross-over episode” between his TCU academics and his yoga hobby. Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs Anne Rooney asked him to teach yoga to her freshman University Life class for the week focused on health and wellness.

Brendan serves as an inspiration for classmates, too. Fellow Neeley MBA candidate and friend, Katie Matson, recalled meeting Brendan for the first time and being impressed by his many diverse interests and the tenacity he demonstrates.

“Since then, he has really leaned into what he’s passionate about outside of school. Aside from that, he is very determined and will stop at nothing to do what he has to, whether that means meal prepping or hopping on a call after class to connect with a friend,” Katie said.

After graduating with a second TCU degree, Brendan plans to continue his extracurricular pursuits in the stockyards, as well as in the yoga studio.

If you are interested in learning more about an MBA or other graduate opportunities in the TCU Neeley School of Business, read more about the program offerings.