Meet The Rice Jones MBA Class Of 2021

Joe Louis Williams III

Rice University – Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

A passionate leader committed to helping improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to run because it is an opportunity to push beyond my comfort zone.

Undergraduate School and Major:

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

I majored in Psychology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

6th Weapons of Mass Destruction Team in the U.S. Army

I served as the Medical Operations Officer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I spent nine months installing, operating, and maintaining information systems throughout the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The advancement in communications led to lives being saved and accidents being prevented. My efforts were later recognized, and I was awarded the Army’s Meritorious Service Medal. The award was nice, but the greatest aspect of this accomplishment was knowing I played a major role in improving our ability to track all military and government members around the city.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Supportive. Everyone that I have met is willing to go out of their way to assist and support you.

What makes Houston a great place to live and earn your MBA? Whether you’re single or married with kids, Houston always has something for you to enjoy. Houston is also a diverse city and it is reflected in the people you meet, the food you eat, and the career you choose. Earning your MBA in Houston grants you access to some of the largest companies in the world. After a few weeks of school, I have witnessed this first-hand.

Aside from your classmates and location, 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? Community. Coming from the military, I have learned the value of community. I wanted a program that consisted of staff and students that want me to succeed as much as I want them to succeed.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward to the entrepreneurial Club and related activities. I’ve visited the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and am excited about spending time with other innovators on campus.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After launching a software company with my co-founder, I accepted the role of running all of our business operations. I didn’t know much about business, so I read almost any business book I could get my hands on. Two years later, I discovered two significant findings: I found that I truly appreciated the challenges and rewards of successfully doing business and I found that I knew absolutely nothing about business. This led to me seeking an opportunity that would help me learn the fundamentals of business, while presenting opportunities to practice them afterward.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?

Mays Business School at Texas A&M

McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas – Austin

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I gauged the quality of my interactions with faculty, staff, and students from each program. I also gauged the responsiveness of any contact I collected while visiting those programs. Rankings were important, but I judged rankings by what I considered to be significant metrics.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The moment I found out I was having twin daughters, I began to morph into a different person. My daughters helped me become a more patient and deliberate man. They challenge me to stand behind the advice I give to them, which causes me to continue to pursue my full potential.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I will have a successful software company, providing solutions to businesses working toward improving the quality of life for everyone.