Francisco J. Alvarez Rincon
“Optimistic advocate for things well done with a passion for the development of healthy environments.”
Hometown: Born in Caracas, Venezuela; grew up in the Canary Islands, Spain.
Fun Fact About Yourself: Back in high school, I won a national competition (Spain) for the best cartoon depicting a misleading translation from English to Spanish.
Undergraduate School and Major: I graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a professional Bachelor of Architecture in 2015.
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: For the last three years, I’ve worked as a designer at Woodhouse Tinucci Architects in Chicago, participating in every stage of the architecture process, from schematics to construction administration.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Bringing lasting value to the firm by incorporating virtual reality panoramas to our portfolio of services, teaching myself how to produce them, and leading their implementation. Now, our clients can submerge themselves into their projects and experience in them before the foundations are poured.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? If I could only pick one word to describe my classmates it would be “Accomplished.” Our team has a rich and diverse experience including, but not limited to, early advancement in consulting and finance, years of volunteering in the United States and abroad, and graduate degrees. The overwhelming part is that I have only met about a dozen of my classmates so far, so one can only imagine how outstanding and diverse our collective experience will be when we add to the mix the 120+ other backgrounds.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? There were several attributes that attracted me towards Rice, but location and size were the two that set it apart the most.
Location: After living in Chicago for eight years, I knew I wanted to live in a big city filled with opportunities to develop personal and professionally. Houston, being both the 4th largest city and most diverse city in the States, seems like the perfect place to continue my professional journey. Also, Texas is the state with the fastest population growth in the nation, bringing plenty of opportunities in the world of real estate development.
Size: My undergrad class was composed of 110+ students, which means I was able to connect with everyone at a personal level. This is something I want from my MBA program as well. The Rice community finds pride in its size, as it results in a tighter network where all members know each other. Additionally, the Jones School has managed to rank among the top MBA programs in the nation, even though it’s competing with schools with a student body twice or even three times as big, finding a perfect balance between size and reputation.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? There is a wide variety of professional and affinity clubs at Rice, and I am planning to join a few of them. However, I am especially interested in the Real Estate Club. As a REC member I will have opportunities to connect with classmates interested in the field as well as Houston professionals through networking events. Additionally, I will gain a better understanding of the potential professional opportunities within the field.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My experiences in the field of architecture have given me the skills needed to follow a client’s agenda and help them transform their vision into a reality. Now, I want to bet on myself and be the one that formulates an agenda and pushes it into existence. My decision to pursue an MBA lies on a desire to look for opportunities, have a vision and take risks to bring prosperity to underdeveloped regions. In the long term, I intend to help rebuild Venezuela. After years of corruption have left its institutions and infrastructures crumbling, I hope to be one of the many to bring the skills and the means to make this once rich and beautiful country shine again.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? During architecture school, I was constantly challenged to come up with solutions for the design problems we were presented. However, in practice, our clients already have a solution in mind which we help to formalize. I realized I wanted a bigger role in the earlier stages of a real estate projects, before the schematic design even takes place. But for that, I need to gain knowledge it the financing and strategizing of projects. Business school is the place to acquire these skills in an intensive and controlled environment, and this is why an MBA makes sense to me.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Apart from Rice, I applied to USC Marshall, Vanderbilt and Emory.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I contacted alumni and current students from all schools I applied to. Each school puts together a list of student ambassadors and even subdivides them into their areas of concentration. These students are eager to share their experiences, not only regarding academics and career services but also the school culture. Additionally, I made an effort to visit all the schools during the application process, mostly to interview on site. I was able to sit in classes and interact with current students. Experiencing the program on first hand made the decision easier. I visited Rice during their diversity event, which lasted three days, and made the program and the school’s values appealing to me.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I have overcome multiple challenges, but none has been as tough as when I left Venezuela at age 11 and moved with my grandmother to the Canary Islands. It was a hard time since I had always lived with my mother and now she was, just like the rest of my life, a whole Atlantic Ocean away. With time and help from my family, I came to understand that the drastic change in my life was not going to disappear, so I had to overcome it. Today I am grateful to have gone through such drastic change. It helped me become adaptable, stronger and fearless.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? In the short term, I plan to build on my experience in the construction field by joining the development team of a real estate firm. Soon after, I hope to apply the skills I will develop at Rice to gain experience on the other end of the real estate process, increasing my involvement on the acquisition and financing of projects. My goal is to gain more responsibility and eventually oversee the development of projects as a whole. In the long term, I intend to help rebuild Venezuela. After years of corruption have left its institutions and infrastructures crumbling, I hope to be one of the many to bring the skills and the means to make this once rich and beautiful country shine again.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I hope to be bringing lasting value to an underdeveloped territory through brick-and-mortar. More specifically, to continue learning: I hope to be responsible for one or more stages of the development of a real estate project while having some level of involvement on the other phases, further developing my understanding of the field towards greater challenges.