Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Dallin Bud Scruggs, Rice University (Jones)

Dallin Bud Scruggs

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

“Believer in empathy. Dedicated to making myself and the world better than it was yesterday.”

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Fun Fact About Yourself: Outside of work and family the two biggest ways I spend time are playing chess and powerlifting.

Undergraduate School and Major: B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Flint Hills Resources, Hydraulic Engineer

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Selecting between business schools was almost as stressful as applying. My main focus was going to a school that would assist me in becoming a leader who will be able to make an impact in the energy and petrochemical industries. When on campus, Rice was able to do something that no other program was able to: introduce me to alumni, benefactors, and other who had the same professional goals that I did and had gone the path I wanted to go. I knew right then that Rice was the program most dedicated to creating a custom experience that would best shape my future.

What club or activity excites you most at this school?  Consulting and Energy clubs. I hope my future career will be centered around strategy in energy and natural resources and these clubs are a great place to start.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Rice? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am excited about the diverse student body that Rice attracts, building new friendships and learning from a variety of experiences. I am most nervous about the barriers of forming those new relationships in the age of COVID-19, but this is something I am sure my classmates and I will overcome.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Hydraulic modeling is an odd combination of art and technical engineering. I took a previously un-modeled system of 600 miles of propylene pipeline that spiderwebs throughout South East Texas and made it possible not only to model but also to optimize for efficiency and profitability.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Throughout my career, I was excited by – and good at – implementing innovations that led to incremental changes in petrochemical plant performance. However, I realize that the industry will need more than incremental improvements to survive. I strive to be a leader that will shape petrochemicals to better serve local communities, society at large, and the environment.      

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I was accepted at Booth, Darden, Tuck, and McCombs –and rejected by plenty of others.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What was my greatest achievement professional or otherwise? I spent so much time thinking about professional successes, but when I practiced answering I felt my answers were shallow and insincere. This was because my greatest achievement was not professional but profoundly personal: the successful relationship my wife and I have developed. It took time to be able to speak about this success in a thoughtful, sincere, and applicable way.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I am ready to dedicate 100% of time and effort to my MBA program, and important part of preparing to do this was to take some meaningful time off. I spent July with family in Utah and camping in Colorado and Idaho.  

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Early in my career I was given an opportunity to present to some executives about an initiative I was working on. I viewed this as a make-or-break experience and was devastated when the presentation went terribly. I was given the advice to approach a few of the executives and ask for feedback. I was hesitant to take more of leadership’s already stressed scheduled but eventually met with everyone in the room. The feedback I received was humbling but informative.

I later learned that asking for criticism and actively seeking to improve was more defining than the terrible performance in the eyes of the executives, and I realized that I would not have known as clearly what to improve upon had I not gone to others. Humbly and constantly seeking feedback has become central theme in my professional and personal life, it has made me a better MBA candidate and will allow me to continually improve and grow throughout business school.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? Why? A culture that encourages and allows innovation to be tried and tested and sees failures in innovation as learning experiences and part of the process rather than a mark against challenging the status quo. In today’s age, it is easy to pay lip service to innovation. Where firms fail is by being too risk-averse to venture toward the new and unknown and how they react to failure. I want to work for a company that is willing to take educated risks because that is how we will change the world for the better.

Pretend you have just graduated from business school. What will you need to have done to make your experience successful?  I will need to have become a better leader that will meaningfully impact teams and firms of all sizes.


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