2022 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Melva Martin, Rice University (Jones)

Melva Martin

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

 “Hard-working, dedicated wife and mom that has a strong faith and loves to have fun.”

Age: 45

Hometown: Pearland, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I ran a marathon but I don’t love running long distances.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Texas A&M University in College Station, B.S. Chemical Engineering

Where are you currently working?  Shell, Pricing Systems and Strategy Manager                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have many proud moments. I am proud to have worked at one company for 19 years and have had interesting roles and experiences along the way. I have been challenged in all roles while working with great people. I have continued to learn new concepts and ways of working. I have juggled many things and kept them mostly up in the air.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose the online MBA program at Rice for the school’s reputation of excellence as well as the flexibility that an online program provides. There was flexibility in schedules and days of the week and that is what I needed as a working wife and mom.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of the online MBA program was the challenging assignments and working with peers. The class time was also invaluable and encouraged discussion and participation to get to a higher understanding.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The most surprising thing I learned is the amount of group work that I had so it didn’t feel like I was just online. I had so many opportunities to engage on Zoom or meet for working on assignments. There was also an opportunity to go in person for 4 days and that allowed a bit of classroom experience while getting to know students and professors on campus.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The online experience is different, but I think that I spoke up more online than in person due to smaller groups and the opportunity to engage while in the comfort of my home. It may not be for everyone but the online MBA program was my only option so that I could maintain balance in my personal and professional lives. I would not change anything about my decision. Great curriculum and great people.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? The best piece of advice that I have to offer is set time aside for doing the work. If it’s 2 hours a day on certain days in the morning or evening, stick to it. It’s very easy to get caught up in your daily life and then not leave enough time to learn the material and complete the assignments.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The only thing that I would change is I would have preferred that textbooks was part of the overall package. It was a task to find books at times. This is very minor, but that is the only thing that I would change. The structure and flexibility were what I needed, and my program met my expectation.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I have learned concepts and techniques that I have used and will continue to use as I progress in my job.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? I did not earn a promotion as of yet, but I was a successful candidate in a new role that allowed me to be on a leadership team. I also moved from an individual contributor to a manager role. This new role allows me to be in different spaces than before.

Did you earn a raise during the online MBA program? No

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 8 hours

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term goal is to open up a business that fosters a love of math in young children. The MBA program gave me the tools and confidence to attempt this goal.



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