2022 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Juventino Uriarte, Rice University (Jones)

Juventino Uriarte

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

“Curious, inquisitive, problem finder with a growth mindset.”

Age: 37

Hometown: Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: I had a Forrest Gump moment – one summer in 2016, I decided to run to get in shape. Before this time, I had never run longer than a mile. I started enjoying running and started running 5K races, then moved onto 10K races. I started running half marathons until I eventually finished the 2018 Houston marathon. Unfortunately, I stopped running; however, I am wanting to run again.

Undergraduate School and Degree: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, B.S. Chemical Engineering and B.S. Chemistry

Where are you currently working? I work at Huntsman as a research engineer, supporting the development of high purity chemicals used in the semiconductor market.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In a former role, I supported the engineering design and process introduction of a chemical process that required 6 weeks to have chemicals ready for shipment. This chemical process was new, and required capital expenditure and manufacturing evaluation. In general, it can take 3-5 months for a new chemical process to be introduced at a chemical plant for safe manufacturing. To achieve this aggressive timeline, we worked as a team to tackle multiple milestones in parallel, which resulted in producing an in-specification product in exactly 6 weeks.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? At the time I was looking into business schools, I was looking at weekend MBA programs or online programs. I chose MBA@Rice because of Rice Business prestige and because I wanted to be able to complete my MBA journey from any geographical location.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I enjoyed the freedom to make travel commitments and still being able to attend class. One advantage of an online program is that you also get to learn from students and faculty not based in Houston.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I learned that I get more nervous talking to a screen than to a live audience. At the beginning of the program, we had to make an introductory video of ourselves. Surprisingly, it was difficult to me to talk to a camera lens, and it was even harder to watch my own recording. Eventually I became comfortable with online video presentations.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? My online experience was much different than my traditional in-classroom experience. For my undergraduate, classroom times were fixed, assignments were mostly on paper, and textbooks were large and heavy. For MBA, everything is now in digital format and made everything convenient – most textbooks, if not all, were digitally available and assignments can be saved in the cloud. This means that I could complete coursework material from a laptop, tablet or even my cellphone.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would not change anything about an online MBA program. Instead, I would add courses for both online MBA classes with traditional in-classroom MBA students. This would ensure cross-pollination between programs and would add further networking opportunities.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Online education has tremendously helped me with my current job. The online MBA program allowed me to understand the fundamentals of finance, accounting, marketing and strategy, which I was able to immediately implement in my day-to-day job.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? I am looking at a promotion after graduation.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 15 – 25 hours

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to be in a position where I can make an impact that holds for generations. Particularly, I would like to be involved with a non-profit that provides help to underrepresented groups.

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