Meet Rice’s MBA Class of 2017

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business


What’s striking about Jones is how it appeals to so many different constituencies. Take Annie Hsiao, a third year med student who is pursuing a dual MD-MBA degree with the Baylor College of Medicine. She chose Jones to better absorb the best management practices. “Being a member of the world’s largest medical center gives Rice a strong and dynamic connection with the medical community.  Specifically for its health care administrative programs, there are exceptional opportunities to learn from educators who have extensive experience and are often pioneers in their field, along with having unparalleled access to witness first hand how the theories and techniques we learn in the classroom can be directly applied in a medical setting.”

Will Lyles, a Green Beret who was wounded in combat in Afghanistan, wants to pair his military leadership experience with an understanding of how to run a business. He was drawn by the school’s hand-on learning methodology and deep roots in Houston’s business community. “The experiential learning opportunity offered through the “Action Learning Project” would enhance my educational experience by helping me apply the new skills I learn in class to a real-world consulting project. Rice’s location also plays an important role in my decision. As an oil and gas professional, it would help me leverage the strong ties that Houston has with the energy industry.”

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston

And Iman Houston Farrior, who is transitioning from being an attorney to a real estate expert, values the program’s strong quant flavor. “Having already gone to law school, I didn’t want to spend another two years reading cases and spotting issues; I already possessed that skill set. I was looking for a program that would challenge me in the areas of finance and accounting, where I knew I was deficient, and expose me to a well-rounded array of business concepts that I had not already encountered and mastered in my previous career. Rice is known to have a rigorous technical curriculum. That was right up my alley.”


Graduation day may be a long way off, but several members of the 2017 have already established a clear picture of what they want to achieve – and who they want to be. “I envision myself to be a leader,” writes  Natalie Smith, “who is not intimidated to hire individuals who are smarter than myself to fuel a more creative workplace; persistent in pushing forward through the varying obstacles; vulnerable enough to establish a relationship and connection with employees and customers to foster a successful company and life; courageous in promoting a brand that is beneficial for society, and proclaim optimism to change the perspective of “this is the way the world is” to “I see an opportunity from this crisis.”

Jones GSB Interior

Jones GSB Interior

And Lyles plans to be a strong representative for veterans, as well as paying forward all the blessings he is receiving at Jones. “Like every other student beginning an MBA program I would like to achieve excellence in the classroom, improve my leadership traits through involvement in the school’s different organizations, and enhance my business acumen with the goal of someday running a company. I hope to be a positive ambassador to the Rice community, while adding value to the program and upholding the traditions that have made Rice a great institution…I am extremely fortunate to be where I am today, and I hope to use this education to put myself in position to do for others what was done for me.”

To read profiles of incoming Jones students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below.

Charles Cotey / Colorado Springs, CO 

J.R. Gibbens / Houston, TX 

Tiago Santos de Sousa Mendes / Lisbon, Portugal 

Annie Hsiao / Houston, TX 

Iman Houston Farrior / Houston, TX 

Will Lyles / Hampton, VA 

Elliot O’Glasser / Portland, OR

Reno Simon Philip / Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

Natalie N. Smith / Pearland, TX

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