Friday, July 18, 2014

The Rice MBA Class of 2016 is already making headlines!

Jose Munoz
Rice MBA Class of 2016

As the Rice MBA Class of 2016 prepares to begin two of the most exciting years of their lives in just a few short weeks, one student in particular is already exceeding expectations.  Jose Munoz has been awarded the coveted NSHMBA Conference Scholarship, an opportunity for Hispanic MBA students in the United States who are interested in looking for professional business opportunities in corporate America. This scholarship connects applicants to our network of corporate and other business partners through an experience that provides professional development, job-seeking skills, and face-to-face interaction with recruiters from top corporations.

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 CaƱada 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!)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Welcome Class of 2016!

Last night, the JGSB Office of Student Services (OSS) hosted the full time class of 2016 for a welcome happy hour at a 100% Texan bar & restaurant, Armadillo Palace.  For many 2016ers, this was their first opportunity to meet their classmates in person.

Food, drinks, and good times were had by all!  

Welcome, Class of 2016, and get ready for two of the best years of your life!

Friday, June 27, 2014

On Top of the World Again...Calling All Entrepreneurs!

Brad Burke
Managing Director
Rice Alliance

Yesterday, the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University, was named No. 1 among the top university business incubators globally for the second year in a row by UBI Index, a Swedish research firm.

UBI Index last year became the first to compare business incubators worldwide. For this year's expanded research, more than 300 university-affiliated business incubators in 67 countries were compared in three performance categories: the value to the “ecosystem,” the value to the client (startups) and the attractiveness of the incubation program. In total, more than 60 key performance indexes have been used to compare the incubation programs worldwide.
Rice University has had a long culture as an entrepreneurial university, having been founded by one of Houston’s most successful entrepreneurs – William Marsh Rice – over 100 years ago," said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance. "The Rice Alliance is proud to support the educational mission of the university in teaching entrepreneurship while providing mentoring and an entrepreneurial ecosystem for aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the university, throughout Houston and throughout the Texas region to create startups and jobs, and to help build a robust economy. We are honored to be recognized for our efforts by UBI Index."

The study highlighted some interesting conclusions, that simply being one of the world’s top universities does not guarantee the school will have the best business incubator. “This proves our hypothesis -- that creating a competitive business incubation program requires a clear focus from the university,” said Dhruv Bhatli, co-founder and director of research at UBI Index.

"Rice University combines many strengths that are essential to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem: a strong engineering school, a strong natural sciences program and a strong business school program," said Yael Hochberg, the Ralph S. O’Connor Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business and the Rice Alliance’s academic director. "Combining that with the resources available in Houston, the energy sector and the Texas Medical Center, the Rice Alliance has been able to build an extremely strong platform for helping to grow the next generation of innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. We are honored to be at the top of the UBI Index, and we will always keep striving for continued momentum and growth moving forward."

The Rice Alliance is host to the Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s largest and richest student startup competition with nearly $3 million in prizes. The Rice Alliance also hosts the flagship Technology Venture Forums (venture capital conferences) and is a co-host of the Rice OwlSpark Accelerator, a student-led startup accelerator, along with the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership at the Brown School of Engineering.

Over the past 14 years, the mission of the Rice Alliance has consistently been to support technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education and the launch of technology companies. During this time, more than 1,500 startup companies have benefited from Rice Alliance programs, and these companies have raised more than $2.9 billion in funding.

The Rice Alliance is a cross-campus entrepreneurship initiative and strategic alliance of the Jones Graduate School of Business, the Brown School of Engineering, and the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, along with the Rice Office of Research and Technology Transfer.

For more information about the Rice Alliance, visit

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another Successful Year

Last Friday marked a tremendous milestone for each student in the Rice MBA Class of 2014: Investiture.
Each year, on the day before Rice University’s commencement ceremony, the Jones Graduate School of Business celebrates Investiture, a two-hour ceremony that honors the graduating classes of all our programs. The ceremony is meant to formally invest students with the master’s hood and the authority of their new designation as MBA and Rice alumnus.

A Jones School tradition, Investiture is the last official function of the academic year prior to graduation. It gives faculty and staff, parents and children, spouses and friends a chance to wish the class well in an environment where the soon-to-be graduates have spent many – some would say most—of their waking hours over the past two years.  The ceremony also gives the school an opportunity to recognize those graduating student who, in a class of high achievers, stand out in academic distinction, in service to the school and fellow students, or in mastery of a particular discipline or skill.

Last Friday, when students heard their name called by the Dean and they walked across the stage to be hooded, their incredible journey becomes a part of the Jones School story.

The afternoon concluded with an outdoor reception in Woodson Courtyard at McNair Hall where friends, family, and the Jones School faculty and staff celebrated together and wished the Class of 2014 well in their new endeavors.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Advice from a First Year EMBA: How to make the most of your experience

Dr. Vincent Nelson
Anesthesiologist/Physician Partner
US Anesthesia Partners (USAP)
Rice MBA for Executives
Class of 2015

I am currently a practicing physician and partner at U.S. Anesthesia Partners, which is a single-specialty physician services organization that provides practice management services to anesthesiologists. It was recently formed by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) and members of management to identify and partner with leading quality groups of anesthesiologists who desire a strategic partner with the capital resources and expertise to invest in their practice support infrastructure and position them for continued success and growth within their markets.

My medical practice has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past five years to the point that it had become a complex corporate entity with many service lines: medical services, practice management, and billing and collecting. Because of the enormous changes in how our practice conducts business, we need more physician partners with business education so that they can help run the business. I have been fortunate to have been promoted to several leadership positions within my practice, and I felt that in order to perform at a high level, an executive MBA would help achieve my goals

How did I choose the Rice Executive MBA program? A couple of physician partners who are leaders in the practice have the Rice MBA for Executives degree, and I have always admired their business knowledge, decision analysis and analytical skills. In addition, the school is a wonderful campus experience filled with many opportunities to participate in student clubs and activities outside of class, as well as a tremendous number of networking events held on campus almost daily. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s close to the Texas Medical Center, where I work most of the time, so attending classes, team meetings and other Rice events are very convenient.

The one piece of advice I would give a prospective student would be to clear your calendar for the next two years prior to starting an MBA. You are going to need most of your former “free time” for classes, studying, team meetings, and other Rice-Jones School activities.  You want to make the most of this MBA experience so make sure you set aside the time to enjoy all that this program has to offer.