Edward A. Banner III
“Business-oriented engineer who loves energy and learning from amazing people; car, airplane, and Tex-Mex enthusiast.”
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Fun Fact About Yourself: I got my pilot’s license when I was 18!
Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Texas at Austin – B.S. Petroleum Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Gulfstream Capital Group – Co-Founder & President
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Starting a company and raising capital for our investments. It all starts with an idea!
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? There is no one quality for which I can describe this MBA class. Personally and professionally, each of my classmates brings something very special and unique to the room – background, experience, ideas, hobbies, accomplishments – whatever it may be, the list is infinite. It is truly an incredible group, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.
What makes Houston a great place to live and earn your MBA? If you ask an MBA student on the first day of school what their dream job is, 9 times out of 10 you’ll probably get a response that is along the lines of “I’m not sure.” As a city, Houston offers an array of professional resources and overall diversity, allowing students to learn and explore multiple career paths before making a final decision. It’s a city that helps you discover what you really love to do.
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? The size of the class. I wanted to be in a program where I could get to know all of my classmates on a personal level. I believe this is extremely important in formulating lasting relationships and building a professional network. It is truly something that makes the Rice program unique.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m very excited to be a part of the Energy, Finance, and Private Equity/VC associations… but that’s only half of the answer. I plan to join the Wine and Beer clubs as well!
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What experience can you bring to the class?” – Being 25 years old going through the admissions process, I struggled with this. Most of my future classmates would have 3-5 years more work experience than I did. However, I felt my pre-MBA experience was unique and would allow me to bring value to my classmates. I found that crafting and conveying that narrative was very difficult, and it took a lot of hard work. You’re never too young to get an MBA!
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My undergraduate degree is in engineering. While we spent lots of time deriving equations that one might associate with a NASA spacecraft, we did not cover any accounting, marketing, management, etc. I believe having knowledge in each of these topics is fundamental to one’s success in the business world. So, I decided to go back and do some learning myself!
What other MBA programs did you apply to?
McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Fundamentally, the location was a big deal for me. I knew I wanted to remain in energy – and Texas is my home – so naturally, that narrowed down my list of options. I wanted to be in a place that would surround me with a diverse and accomplished class that I could truly learn from. I researched numerous message boards (Poets and Quants!), signed up for a class visit and tour of each school I was applying to and used my network to reach out to a number of students that had attended each program. It was evident to me that Rice was the place that best fit both my personal and professional goals.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? For my Eagle Scout project, my team and I constructed a boardwalk to allow wheelchair-accessibility on the primary trail at the Houston Arboretum. It was the first time that I felt I had truly made a positive, tangible impact on my community. I realized the importance of trying my best to do so in my career.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Professionally, I see myself somewhere in the investment banking realm. Maybe I’m with a large firm or running an alternative investment firm with a few classmates from Rice! Personally, I’d love to be spending time with an outstanding group of old and new friends and family!