Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
“Raised in a loving, Mexican-American family with deep-rooted work ethics, I am energetic and driven.”
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Fun fact about yourself: I left high school when I was a junior and got my GED through Seaborne ChalleNGe Corps (now known as Texas Challenge Academy), a residential military academy sponsored by the National Guard.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, BBA Accounting
Where are you currently working? NS Controls, Inc. Vice President (40-person company with two officers)
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my current position, I worked my way from a part-time accounts payable clerk to vice president and became a trusted advisor to the president. The path to get from an entry-level clerk to an officer involved me switching my major to business, finishing school while working full time, passing the CPA exam, and earning the respect of employees – including some who had decades on my tenure. The achievement I am most proud of in my professional career is building up efficient departments and developing best practices, including handbooks, manuals, procedures, work instructions, and employee development plans. Enhancing and standardizing safety, quality, accounting, and human resource practices set a strong foundation for the company to scale effectively. Also, bringing in a 401k program allowed the company to be more competitive in tight labor markets. NS Controls is owned and staffed by amazing good-natured people, and it has been an honor to strengthen the company to provide a secure home for many lifetime careers.
Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Growing up in Houston, I have always admired Rice University. I have friends and colleagues who went through the on-campus MBA program. Every person I have ever met who is associated with Rice University strikes me with their brilliance and civic-minded kindness. In other words, Rice University was a no-brainer. I also liked that it was close to home, and there was an emphasis on making the program a blend of on-campus and off-campus learning experiences.
What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? It was more rigorous than I expected, and even though it was mostly online, I formed long-lasting relationships with some of the most incredible professionals.
How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The way the program used asynchronous content in tandem with individual reading and critical thinking made the online class meetings so much more productive and engaging. In this setting, you can learn the material at your own pace, and if you have extra time, you can go even deeper; you are not held back or left behind by the speed of anyone else’s learning.
What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Understand that while it is online, you will need to devote 20 or more hours a week to keep up with the material; however, you can extend the length of your program, which will cut down on the amount of time you need to study. That is the baseline, but you will be learning so many practical business skills that you will want to spend time thinking through how to apply the skills to your current work environment, which gets you even more value from the program.
What would you change about an online MBA Program? This suggestion is probably not unique to the online program. More real-world virtual consulting experience would be beneficial, especially in the age of COVID-19, where working remotely may be the future. Consulting is a great way to round out the skills learned in any MBA program.
How has your online education helped you in your current job? Working full-time while going through the program allowed me to take ideas back to my job continuously. I could get immediate feedback from my work and bring it back to my group, which allowed us to explore the ideas further and bounce additional ideas off each other. It became a positive reinforcement loop.
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal will be to translate the skills I have learned in business into a path that either provides wealth generation for non-profit ventures or directly provides non-profit services to the elderly or other underserved populations.