2015 Best MBAs: Kevin Bentley


Kevin Bentley

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

Jeremy Grace, Jones’ full-time MBA director, quips that “If an MBA can be said to stand for a Master’s of Being Anything,” Kevin certainly embodies this mantra.” Indeed, Bentley is known around Jones for his infectious energy and thoughtfulness. A former NFL linebacker for 10 years, Bentley says he knew he wanted to go to business school when he was only seven years old. His aspirational image for himself: “A three-piece suit and a corner office.” This first-generation college grad is well on his way after serving as the vice president of the Black Business Association, as well as actively participating in the Consulting Club, Finance Club, and Marketing Club. Outside of school, Bentley is also involved in the Boys and Girls Club and Make a Wish Foundation.

Age: 35

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Undergraduate School: Northwestern University

Undergraduate Degree: Communications

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? National Football League: Professional Athlete

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Brand Management at Johnson & Johnson: Skillman, New Jersey

Where will you be working after graduation? Infosys: Senior Consultant

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was seven years old. Unlike many other children, my childhood dream was to be a CEO of a company. Growing up my slogan was: ‘three-piece suit and a corner office.’ I was blessed to have an illustrious career in the NFL, but business has been my true passion since I was a little kid.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school” I would be…a full-time snowboard instructor at Vail. The mountains are my place of peace and everyone who works in Vail is happy despite not making a lot of money. I love helping others and seeing the joy they get when snowboarding clicks for them. I love living life to the fullest and chasing my dreams and the things I’m passionate about. Snowboarding happens to be one of those things.”

What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term goals are to open my own company. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and would love to start my own company after gaining experience in Corporate America. While I am not yet sure what type of business it will be, I do know that I have a strong desire to be a business owner.

Favorite Courses: Finance, Marketing Research, Futures & Options, Decision Models, Customer Relationship Management and Corporate Investment Policy, Marketing for Small Businesses, Finance

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? The professional achievement I am most proud of is playing in the National Football League for 10 years. The average career is only three years, but through hard work, dedication, and many sacrifices I was able to last a decade playing a game that I love at the highest level. I believe this achievement really speaks volumes to the type of work ethic I have.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mom because she showed me that anything in life is possible if I worked hard and committed myself. She raised a family of nine on her own after she and my dad split. She was a true inspiration, and I did not want to let her down. She instilled values in me that I hold dear to my heart and continue to strive to be a better man every day because of her.

Why did you choose this business school? After visiting 13 business schools, I chose Rice because of the connection I had with the faculty and staff as well as the current students. Everyone was so helpful and willing to go out of his or her way to lend a hand to me during the process. It really felt like family to me and I had a gut feeling Rice was where I belonged.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Outside of learning, the thing I enjoyed most about business school was building long lasting relationships with my fellow classmates. The struggles we went through during our two years together are invaluable. We built character together. We leaned on one another in the good and bad times. Without my classmates I would not have made it through business school. They helped me develop into the individual I am today.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? My most memorable moment has yet to come. However, it will happen on May 15th when we, as a class, walk across the stage as graduates of The Jones Graduate School of Business. This moment will be so memorable for me because I am the first and only of a family of nine (five boys and four girls) to not only graduate from undergrad, but also to attain a master’s degree. I know my family will be so proud of my accomplishments that we will all share together.

Fun fact about yourself: I am a fully certified snowboard instructor at Vail Resorts

Favorite book: 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The Art of War

Favorite movie: Notebook

Favorite musical performer: Jill Scott

Favorite television show: Martin

Favorite vacation spot: Cabo San Lucas, Vail

What are your hobbies? Snowboarding, reading, skateboarding, wake boarding, surfing, hiking, cycling, fly-fishing

What made Kevin such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

  1. “You stated in your call for nominations that you sought students who exemplify the best of your school, who evidenced not only academic prowess and extracurricular involvement, but also personal excellence, and a striking personal narrative. Mr. Kevin Bentley fits all of these things. Specifically, when considering our individual nominations, I thought of those individuals who have made the most significant contributions to the JGSB during their time as students and those who displayed extraordinary leadership across a number of areas, above and beyond expectations. I asked myself this question: ‘Can I have imagined the Class of 2015 without this individual?’ In Kevin’s case, the answer was a clear no.”

-Jeremy Grace, director of the Full-Time MBA

Best of 2015

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Katie Benintende: Making A Difference At UC-Berkeley’s Haas School

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