2016 MBAs To Watch: Jasmine Richards, Rice University (Jones)

Jasmine Richards Rice

Jasmine Richards


Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

Age: 27

Hometown: Lafayette, LA

Undergraduate School and Degree: Dartmouth, B.A. Psychology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Teach for America, four years, Houston HISD, Alcott Elementary, second and first grades

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? PepsiCo., White Plains, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? PepsiCo., White Plains, NY

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Jones Student Association, curriculum chair person; Educational Leadership Club, president; Board Fellows, Women’s Home; Admissions Ambassador

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Getting involved in the Women’s Home was my first exposure to being on a board. They are doing awesome things in Houston with women who are drug-addicted or homeless due to mental issues.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Pepsi Co. is implementing an idea I had during my internship last summer. The SoBe Love Bus is hitting the road! It’s really fun to watch this happen. It’s an old concept, very grassroots, that they had before Pepsi bought them that we’re reintroducing.

Who is your favorite professor? It is Brian Akins because he took accounting and made it as interesting as he possibly could. I’ve told him a million times that I think he’s a wonderful teacher.

Favorite MBA Courses? The Social Enterprise. Doug Schuler is so engaging. It’s a topic that I didn’t expect to talk about in business school. Corporate social responsibility. Asking questions that you wouldn’t expect.

Why did you choose this business school? The Crownover Scholarship tilted me toward Rice, of course. But besides that, every time I came on campus, I felt really welcomed. Everyone, the admissions team and current students, seemed excited about having me join the school. It’s a really small program. People support each other and I knew I would have people supporting me when I got here.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Bonding with my classmates. The program is so small. I feel like I know everyone in my class. We’re taking trips, celebrating engagements, watching milestones like weddings and kids. It’s been awesome. And I got to learn some things along the way.

What was the hardest part of business school? Getting comfortable. Not with being in a classroom, but with skills that I’m not the strongest in. Improving is why I came to business school in the first place with courses like Finance and Accounting. Also, it could be hard remembering not to compare myself with other classmates who might have more expertise in a certain subject than I did.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Fit is really important. At the end of the day, no matter where you go to business school, you’ll achieve what you wanted to, but you should do that where you’re happiest. Make sure it fits you and you’ll have an enjoyable two years. It’s about a lot more than the classes.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I knew I could no longer give 100% to the kids. If I couldn’t be of service to them, I didn’t need to be there.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… working for a nonprofit, probably related to education.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Can I say Beyonce? She’s incredibly talented, owns her brand, and has never been involved in scandal. She has a great network around her. She’s at a stage in her career where she can highlight issues that are important to her and she can make the decisions that she wants.

What are your long-term professional goals? I don’t know what they are yet. I’m excited about going to work at Pepsi Co. It’s going to be a great foundation. I’m really passionate about music. If I could do something in that realm, I think that would be really fun.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom. She was always an advocate for my education. When I was in kindergarten, the teacher told her to get me tested for gifted and talented and the district told her they didn’t test kids that young. But really it was because I was black. She pushed through and made sure I got tested. Also, the same for Dartmouth. She was really the one who fell in love with it and wanted me to go. And the same is true with Rice. She knew I was ready to leave teaching.

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve never been on a Ferris wheel. I don’t know how that’s happened. I’ve been to a lot of fairs.

Favorite book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I was a classics minor in undergrad and it is a beautiful story about love and friendship with the whole hero thing happening in the background.

Favorite movie: Millions

Favorite musical performer: Ryan Adams

Favorite television show: I watch so much TV, this is really a hard question. I’ll have to say “The West Wing.”

What made Jasmine such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Jasmine is an incredible leader. She had her fingers on the pulse of that class and has a very effective way of building consensus and making things happen. Jasmine demonstrated this several times in interactions — throughout the business school community — focused on making Rice a better place both now and in the future.”

Barbara Ostdiek

Associate Professor of Finance

Senior Associate Dean of Degree Programs



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