Rice MBA Class of 2016
Congratulations, Jose! We are proud to have you as part of the Rice MBA family.
Jose’s path to the Jones School has been an unconventional and remarkable one. Here is his story…
My journey to business school began in a small Mexican village called de las Flores. Our village was made up of less than 500 residents and the school building consisted of two small classrooms, which housed every student from first through sixth grade. It did not have air conditioner, a school cafeteria, or a school bathroom. It was a very unconventional place to say the least!
At the age of ten, my family and I moved to Texas where I became the first person from my village to graduate from college, earning a BA in Political Science from Texas A&M University (whoop!). In 2008, I began my teaching career at Richey Elementary in Pasadena ISD as a fourth grade bilingual teacher and, in 2012, I accepted a teaching position at Pomeroy Elementary—a school that was ranked 35th out of 35 elementary schools in academic achievement scores.
My new principal put me in charge of leading and mentoring a group of third grade mathematics teachers. It was a difficult endeavor. Many children were several years behind grade level, and the teachers and I did not always agree on which strategies to use. Nonetheless, we worked through our disagreements together, understanding that we were all working towards a common goal. When the State of Texas released student achievement scores on the state assessment, Pomeroy ranked 1st place in mathematics achievement scores. Our hard work and team cooperation paid off!
This latest success gave me the confidence that it was the right time to transfer my leadership skills to the private sector. An MBA degree from an outstanding academic institution would help me achieve this goal. After gaining admission to several top MBA programs, I needed to choose the best program for me.
To do so I took a close look at different rankings and statistics—especially those dealing with salary increase three years after completing the program. This statistic was important to me because it provided insight on how employers valued graduates’ performance in the workplace after evaluating their work product for several years. The Financial Times ranked Rice 1st place in this category—a distinction that played a role in my decision making.
While rankings were an important consideration, they were not the deciding factor. I wanted to join a school where I could develop and grow close relationships with my classmates and professors—just like the ones that I developed as a child in my small Mexican village. I also wanted to join a program with an exceptional staff that would support me throughout the program. Rice offered me both.
Rice’s small class size allows me to foster the close relationships that I find valuable and that will help me create networking opportunities later in my professional career. When I spoke to current students and alumni, they all spoke positively about the cooperative culture that exists at the Jones school. They pointed out that even though students were often competing for the same job, each student did everything possible to help his or her classmate prepare for job interviews.
Jones’s staff has also been excellent. During the admissions process, Rice staff spoke candidly regarding the program’s strengths and weaknesses. They did not ignore my questions regarding rankings or starting salaries but instead provided me with the information necessary so that I could make an informed decision. Equally important, they made the process fun! Both the Preview Jones Diversity Weekend and the Admitted Students’ Weekend were filled with fun activities! (and I keep hearing about these so called partios!)