2017 Best MBAs: Caitlin Crotty, Rice University (Jones)

Caitlin Crotty

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

“Lifelong student, chronic volunteer, dog lover, traveler, hiker, musician, crossword puzzle enthusiast.”

Age: 33

Hometown: McLean, Virginia

Fun fact about yourself: I play the banjo!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Bachelor of Music; Northwestern University, Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Rice University, Career Management Center, Associate Director

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Deloitte Consulting, Summer Associate

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Jones Student Association, Vice President
  • Consulting Club, President
  • Communications Coach
  • Admissions Interviewer
  • Forte Fellow & Ambassador
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In the fall of my second year, I arranged Rice’s first ever Deloitte Case Competition with one of my classmates and fellow interns. I leveraged my summer internship at Deloitte to promote the idea and gather feedback from alumni, and by the end of the summer created a proposal that we circulated to senior leadership. They bought into the idea, and my classmate and I spent months working with two Rice alumni at Deloitte to get the competition off the ground. It was a resounding success with nearly half of the first-year class participating, and it also became a flagship recruiting event for Deloitte.

I’m most proud of this achievement because it gave students a chance to shine in front of a potential employer. When I went through internship recruiting, it sometimes felt difficult to stand out from the crowd, and so I’m happy that I launched an event that helped students do just that.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Before coming to business school, I worked in Rice’s career center helping MBAs explore career options, find jobs and internships, and figure out short- and long-term goals. I got to know some amazing students, and my proudest achievement is the fact that I got to play a part in their success. It was rewarding to coach someone from a resume review through interview preparation and then find out that they got the job. And while I didn’t know it at the time, in a way I was paying it forward to people who are now alumni and have reached out to help me in my personal career development.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? We’re lucky to have so many great professors at Rice – there’s not one favorite, but a few that really shaped my experience are Hajo Adam (OB) for challenging the way we perceive and interact with people and organizations; James Weston (Finance) for pushing all of us beyond what we thought we were capable of; and Balaji Koka (Strategy) for bringing the big picture into focus.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? One of my favorite courses was Operations Management, taught by Amit Pazgal. I enjoyed learning about how firms can be more efficient by managing their resources and solving operational problems. In fact, the class sparked my interest in Operations as a discipline, and I was able to work on an operations-related project for my internship. I also had a great team for the case studies in that class, which made it even more fun and highlighted how much I can learn from my classmates.

Why did you choose this business school? Throughout the application and admissions process, Rice’s sense of community was distinctive. It was important for me to choose a program where I would be academically challenged, but also surrounded by people who cared about each other. I couldn’t have chosen a better program for that than Rice.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It’s the people. My classmates continue to embody the sense of community that first attracted me to the school. They are ambitious, caring, friendly, and fun-loving; as soon as I began classes, I felt like I’d found my tribe. They have challenged me to be more and do more, and have made the experience unforgettable.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Know yourself and your goals; think about what motivates you and what you love doing, and how business school will help you fill the gaps and get closer to those ideals. The goal doesn’t have to be a specific job, but doing some introspection about what drives you will make for more interesting conversations throughout the admissions process.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think because it’s in Houston, Rice is often considered an energy school. We have some incredible professors and classes in energy, but the school offers so much more. I have only taken one energy elective during my two years (which I’m happy I did), but I also appreciate the diversity of class offerings I’ve been able to pursue.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I didn’t do any traveling my first year, even though there are multiple opportunities to attend case competitions or global trips organized by the program.  So I’m making up for it this year with trips to Hawaii over fall break (with my husband), Argentina over winter break (for a Rice class), and Morocco over spring break (with a big group of classmates, for fun) and hopefully India this summer!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my classmate Chelsea Greenwald for being one of the most results-oriented people I’ve ever met. She is on the Jones Student Association with me and always helps propel us past the point of recognizing issues to creating positive solutions, and then takes those solutions to the appropriate staff to find the resources we need. I also love being on class projects with her because she’s so thoughtful and a really hard worker.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I served on the board of the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs. (Yes, I was on the board pre-MBA, which is a little peculiar – but the board usually had a current Rice employee, which helped with school connections & communication.) The women I met on the board were inspirational; they were crushing it at work, taking care of families, creating a positive community for women, and building connections in the Houston community. Thanks to them, I first began to imagine what my life might be like if I pursued an MBA. I’m not sure if I’ve ever told them that – so thank you, NAWMBA Board!”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working at a business school, trying to improve the student experience.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? This is a bit of a loaded question, since Rice just got a new dean, Peter Rodriguez, who is amazing! I would love to see the day when women make up at least 50% of the student body. A lot of schools are working towards this, Rice included, but if I were dean for a day (and had a magic wand) I’d make it happen tomorrow. 

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I don’t make concrete plans that far ahead, but I aspire to be in a position of leadership where I’m influencing big decisions. I don’t know exactly what that will look like or what form it will take, but I hope that I can be an inspiration to other women in the same way that I’ve been inspired by female leaders.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My husband, Kevin, for being an unwavering supporter of my MBA and career pursuits; I couldn’t ask for a better partner. I also thank my parents for encouraging my love of learning at a young age and being my biggest cheerleaders, no matter what.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who was always up for a challenge or for a fun experience with friends.

Favorite book: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Favorite movie or television show: Game of Thrones

Favorite musical performer: Steve Martin (he plays and writes original songs for banjo)

Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii

Hobbies? Playing music, hanging out with my husband and dog, traveling, and hiking

What made Caitlin such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“After three years working at the Jones School as an advisor in our Career Development Office, we knew exactly what we were getting when Caitlin was accepted into the MBA program, and we were thrilled to be getting it! She has great style and knows how to make things happen. In her roles as president of the consulting club and vice president of the student association she showed first class leadership and execution skills. As a result, her classmates put their trust in her to make things happen.

Caitlin has contributed on so many fronts – always producing excellent results – it is difficult to isolate what her legacy at the Jones School will be. Most visibly, it may the Deloitte Case Competition. Caitlin owned the vision and supplied a good deal of the energy around this high-profile partnership. She created an opportunity to put our students in a great light and to add value to the learning experience and our reputation with peer business schools. Beyond that, Caitlin has both purposefully and simply as a result of her style, strengthened the proactive and inclusive culture of Rice MBA.”

Barbara Ostdiek
Senior Associate Dean of Degree Programs
Associate Professor of Finance and Statistics

DON’T MISS: THE COMPLETE HONOR ROLL: BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2017