Meet The Rice Jones MBA Class Of 2022

Rice University from the air


The Rice MBA’s location also ranks high among the program’s biggest benefits according to the Class of 2022 and alumni. Here are five areas that make the school so special.

1) Houston: “I moved to Houston about two years ago thinking it would be a stopover before attending business school. I was looking at schools mainly in the Northeast (where I’m from). I fell in love with Houston. It is the 4th largest city in the US, yet due to its vastness feels like a collection of neighborhoods each with their own personality rather than a large city. It’s also exceptionally diverse. I’ve loved living here and was excited that Rice checked all my boxes and meant I could stay in Houston.”
Sophie Randolph (’22)

2) Small Size: “I am what is fondly known as a Rice Twicer. I attended Rice as an undergrad, and when I decided to pursue my MBA, Rice was at the top of my list. I think that the combination of exceptional academics and focus on maintaining a supportive and kind community is what makes Rice so unique compared to other peer schools. I wanted a program where asking questions is encouraged, and succeeding is a collaborative undertaking. I knew from experience that Rice was that kind of place.”
Rachel Garforth-Bles (’22)

“I love being part of tight-knit communities. I was looking for a program with fewer than 200 people per class to ensure I’d be able to really get to know my classmates and build a strong network. I also love how much intentionality Rice puts into composing its class. Communities with a rich diversity of experiences and perspective challenge you to grow and define your own belief system. Folks come from so many different backgrounds and the international representation is impressive.”
Sophie Randolph (’22)

“I chose Rice because of the close, tight-knit community, class size, academic rigor, and entrepreneurship program. Everyone talks about community and culture, but I could literally feel it at Rice. The great part about having a small class size is that you can immediately step into leadership positions and begin to make an impact on the program and your personal experience.”
Doug Fiefia (’20)

3) Global Business Experience: “Rice Business has a slogan about being a global business school and some of my favorite events revolved around obtaining an international business perspective.  I started this past summer in Lima, Peru as part of the Global Field Experience where I performed market research and customer services for an American company that was exploring to launch there. Next, I flew to Frankfurt, Germany where I studied the German market and visited companies for two weeks at our partner school (WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management). My urge to understand the global perspective led me to spend a semester abroad in Spain at IE Business School where I learned about mergers and acquisitions in the EU. During my time there, I traveled to 18 countries where I learned about the intersection of business and policy. To finish off, I traveled to China with 40 of my classmates to learn how China has been able to escape extreme poverty in the 1980s to become the second-largest economy in the world.”
Norma Torres Mendoza (’20)

Rice MBA Professor Jing Zhou

4) Board Fellows: “During my first conversation with the Rice Admissions team I learned about the Board Fellows program. It is a program that matches current MBA students with local non-profits, and allows them to serve as board members. When I worked in the arts, I saw the amount of manpower it takes to sustain non-profits, and I wanted to help! I never imagined myself having the power to impact organizations at the board level, and I am thrilled at the thought of what is possible. I also have recently begun playing golf (after a very lucky purchase of some great clubs on Facebook Marketplace for $20), and I hope to pick-up a few pointers from my fellow classmates in the Golf Club.”
Rachel Garforth-Bles (’22)

“I loved my experience serving as a Rice Business Board Member at the Houston Art League. I was able to participate as a non-voting board member and learned about a beautiful community that strives to bring diverse art to Houston. As part of my tenure there, I helped develop their strategy for selecting, training, and onboarding their new board members. I also attended their holiday party where I made meaningful connections to local artists.”
Norma Torres Mendoza (’20)

5) Partio: My favorite MBA event is International Partio. Partio is short for Party on the Patio, a gathering of students, faculty, staff, family and friends which takes place in our courtyard every Thursday evening. Dinner and drinks are always served, but one Partio each year, we have the most spectacular food, drinks, and performances representing the various cultures that make up our student body. We have classmates from all around the globe, and I love getting to experience a little piece of everyone’s homes.”
Ashley John (’20)

“My favorite event at Rice Business is the Annual International Partio. It is a huge event where the entire Rice Business community comes together to celebrate the different parts of the world we all come from and represent. Whether it is India, Mexico, China, or Texas, Rice realizes that everyone has unique differences and cultures that make you who you are and that it is worth celebrating. It is a full night of local and international foods, music, and dancing. The night starts off with visiting booths tasting amazing food from 20+ countries or states. Then once everyone has tasted all they can, the night ends with an evening of performances.

For this event last year, nearly my entire family flew in from Utah to support me in giving my classmates a taste of the Tongan culture and heritage. My mom and grandma did all the Tongan cooking, and my brother, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came to help serve the food and perform a couple of Tongan musical numbers. It was a special event where I was able to mix both of my families: my immediate family and my Rice family.”
Doug Fiefia (’20)

Rice Jones classroom

MBA students in the classroom at Rice University’s Jones School of Business


What should the next wave of applicants do to earn a spot at the Rice MBA program? Here is what the most recent graduating class had to say.

Take time to get to know Rice above and beyond what you can find online. I understand campus visits may be difficult for some, but phone calls and coffee chats with alumni or current students is a great alternative. I think you will be surprised at the willingness of the Rice community to answer prospective students’ questions. Doing this will not only help your application and interview, but it will also help you identify if Rice is the best fit for you.”
Doug Fiefia (’20)

Really take the time to learn what makes Rice unique, what you want from the community, and what you’re going to contribute in return. We are located in the 4th-largest and one of the most diverse cities in the country, but what will that mean for you as a student and future business leader? Our class sizes are small and our community is tight-knit? Why should this be important to you? Being able to communicate your answers to these questions demonstrates that you understand what makes our program unique and plan to make the most of your time here.”
Ashley John (’20)

What led the Class of 2022 to pursue an MBA? How did they prepare for business school? What made them nervous about returning to campus? Check out the student profiles below for answers to questions and many more. 

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Elaine Dong Houston, TX Harvard University Baylor College of Medicine
Leo Flores Tulare, CA University of California, Berkeley Informed K12
Rachel Garforth-Bles Sherman, TX Rice University Hallmark Channel
Takeya Green Chicago, IL University of Illinois Dow Chemical
Pedro Martinez-Berrios Caracas, Venezuela University of Miami Hertz Corporation
Sophie Randolph Richmond, MA Harvard University Crescendo Management
Justin Rose Houston, TX Texas Christian University Houston Independent School District
Dallin Bud Scruggs Salt Lake City, UT Brigham Young University Flint Hills Resources
Raisha T. Smith Houston, TX Texas A&M University Colonial Pipeline
Christina Tamayo Houston, TX United States Military Academy U.S. Army
Nigel Tarr Brisbane, Australia University of the South Pacific AEC Group Ltd

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