Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Justin Rose, Rice University (Jones)

Justin Rose

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

“Growth-minded leader, committed to helping people and organizations in creating solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.”

Hometown: Houston, TX

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love experiencing other cultures. I’ve visited 13 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe, including the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.

Undergraduate School and Major: Texas Christian University ‘12, B.S. Political Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Houston Independent School District, Program Administrator

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? Rice has the #1 Graduate Entrepreneurship program in the country and is internationally recognized for producing talented entrepreneurs. For example, the Rice Business Plan Competition (the richest and largest of its kind) is just one of the unique opportunities Rice Business creates to maximize its MBA’s growth. I look forward to being a part of the next generation of entrepreneurs to improve the way we live and work, our standards of living, and to create social change.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? Rice Business Board Fellows is another opportunity that really made Rice standout in my eyes. The opportunity to give back and gain experience at the board level is something I will pursue throughout my career and the ability to start while pursuing my MBA is exciting!

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Rice? What makes you most nervous about starting business school?  Besides the privilege of attending one of the premier institutions in the country, I value Rice’s small class size because it allows MBA students to build strong relationships with classmates. As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who…”

As far as what makes me most nervous, I think COVID-19 has disrupted all our lives in some capacity. That unknown probably brings about the most anxiety for me, but focusing on the things I can control has helped a lot!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment has probably been leading the Urban Leaders Fellowship in Denver. I fundraised and negotiated $60k in funding and led 30 mid-career professionals through a seven-week fellowship focused on community organizing and leadership at non-profit organizations.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After eight years in education I was ready to take my career to the next level. Experiences like leading the Urban Leaders Fellowship and learning how our partner organizations were doing powerful work in communities allowed me to see business as an impactful pathway.

I knew grad school was in my future, but guidance from MBA alums and organizations like The Consortium helped make the pathway of business education a reality.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  McCombs School of Business – University of Texas at Austin

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The “Tell me about yourself” question was so important for me to refine as a “non-traditional” business school applicant. It took a couple of iterations to translate my education, political, and the non-profit experience in ways that highlighted my transferable skills adequately.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? As a Consortium Fellow, I had the opportunity to attend a diversity recruiting conference with some of my classmates, which was a great opportunity to meet, learn, and even interview with some top-tier companies. Our Career Development Office at Rice was so supportive before, during, and after the conference which just confirmed why I chose Rice.

I also spent a lot of time reaching out to current and former MBA students and business leaders to better understand their experience in business school and explore different business functions and industries.

Finally, I spent some time on to brush up on business related quant skills.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? One of my defining moments was immediately after undergrad when I committed to serve as an educator in low income communities through Teach for America.  

The five years I spent in the classroom prepared me for business school by grounding my professional experience in a fast-paced, high-stakes, relationships-first environment. I look forward to applying the interpersonal communication and organizational development skills I learned in education to the business world.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? Why? Professional growth through opportunity and mentorship. I want to work for an organization that prioritizes challenges and is committed to my growth as well. As I think about the long-term trajectory of my career, opportunities to grow professionally excite me and also bring out my best work.

Pretend you have just graduated from business school. What will you need to have done to make your experience successful?  I have found that the most effective way to approach big daunting challenges is to lean in and embrace the climb. Specifically, for business school, this approach will require leveraging the many resources Rice provides to MBA candidates.

Also, I have taken a big step outside of my comfort zone. This means embracing my weaknesses and seeking out challenges that address these areas before I arrive at my post-MBA employer.


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