2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: S. Ryan Newcomb, Rice University (Jones)

S. Ryan Newcomb

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

Collaborative Business Operations Leader, Team Builder, Optimizer, and Negotiator within the Energy Sector.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Born in Tyler, Texas raised in Victoria, Virginia. Got back to Texas as soon as I could.

Fun fact about yourself: When I was training for marathons a few years ago, I put 1,100 miles on one pair of tennis shoes in a year.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Hampden Sydney College, B.S. double majoring in Physics and Applied Mathematics (Honors in Physics, magna cum laude); The University of Texas at Austin, M.S. Mechanical Engineering (Thrust Fellow)

Where are you currently working? Audubon Companies, Project Director

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It’s probably a toss up between a recent large cap mega project where my company built the largest O&G processing plant in the Permian in the middle of the desert and in record time and being on the startup team that formed two multi-hundred thousand acre Utica shale startups within two years early in my career.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I travel extensively for work and everything in my business is becoming virtual. This was an opportunity to practice growing deep relationships at a distance while working almost entirely virtually. If this last year’s pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that Zoom is the future of work. I was lucky to have been able to choose this program because – over the last two years and for an indefinite time looking forward – many programs have been shifted to virtual across the board.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I worked as the Cohort Representative for my class, which is a similar role to a Class President. I had the fantastic honor to help my class coordinate with all of the wider Rice University community and to advocate on their behalf.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The depth of the relationships and reality of the networks formed. Hands down, it’s been one of the best networking experiences of my life.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I think the difference is in the intentionality, level of commitment, and the additional degree of planning required to work together with others

What would you change about an online MBA Program? Rice Business is making great strides in building their community such that it is able to link in all of the OMBA students as well through a series of virtual tools and venues, and in-person events around the country. I am actively helping Rice Business to accomplish this along with a small team of others from our program.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Immensely, I can tell you that it has given me new quantitative and theoretical tools I never imagined I would be overlaying into my current work.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: Roughly 25 hours a week.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? COO of a private equity backed venture.


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