Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Jocelyn Gutiérrez, Rice University (Jones)

Jocelyn Gutiérrez

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

“First-generation, multilingual Chicana. Lover of art, puns, tacos, and making the world a better place.“

Hometown: Sacramento, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: There is a picture of me in published book. It was during my high school years at an immigrants’ rights march I helped organize. The book is titled, 500 Years of Chicana Women’s History by Dr. Elizabeth Martinez.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, Santa Barbara, Double-major in Sociology & Chicana/o Studies, Minor in French

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: California Department of Health Care Services, Health Care Outreach Analyst

What has been your favorite part of Houston so far? Why? I moved to Houston only four months ago so there is a lot more to explore! So far, I love the diversity and great food options. Houston has a lot to offer in terms of innovation, art, health, science and diversity that made it the perfect place for me to pursue my MBA.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the Rice Business MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I attended Rice’s Diversity Preview Weekend prior to applying and it became a key deciding factor. The experience demonstrated that Rice Business is very intentional in selecting diverse students who contribute to the top-tier learning environment. In line with Rice Business’s slogan, “You Belong Here,” the Rice faculty and staff are purposeful and welcoming. In addition to my wonderful experience at the Diversity Preview Weekend, the small class size was important to me as someone that came from a large undergraduate institution. I was looking for more individualized instruction and deeper connections with peers. My undergrad class size was 23,000 so it is refreshing to be at Rice Business where the cohort is intentionally small, and professors know our names and wave hello in the hallways.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Rice Business? The Art Club offers excellent programming and has been a great way for me to learn about the Houston Arts scene and get to know the city through art venues such as museums and theaters. It also provides great exposure with opportunities to attend the opera and other art forms that I have not experienced before.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I had the privilege of creating and implementing a state-wide immigration legal services program during my time at the California Department of Social Services. My parents benefited from immigration reform in 1986. Because of that, they were able to create opportunities for my siblings and me. When individuals in the United States have an improved immigration status, they can be civically engaged and have better socio-economic outcomes through access to resources like education, health care, and solid employment. Because of my own family’s experience, establishing an immigration program has been very special to me. It has been my biggest accomplishment to work to improve outcomes for California’s immigrants and implement the pilot program that grew from a temporary project with $18 Million in funding into a permanent program of over $100 million in funding.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Rice Business Board Fellows is a year-long experiential learning fellowship program that places Rice MBA students on local non-profit boards. Non-profit organizations are champions that work to enhance communities through impactful work, so I was elated to have been accepted into the Board Fellows program this fall. Having worked for and with non-profits my entire career, I am excited to connect with my new Houston Community by serving on the board of Fresh Arts Houston, a non-profit that promotes local artists and community through its arts programming.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? My favorite MBA memory so far has been attending the Raíces a Ramas: Cincuenta Años Gala, an event that is organized by the Society of Latino Alumni at Rice in celebration of the Rice Latinx community. Being new to Rice and Houston, I was inspired to learn about the alumni who have paved the way for the Latinx community at Rice. It was a beautiful event filled with music from Rice’s very own Mariachi Luna Llena, a speech from National Medal of Science recipient Dr. Richard Tapia, and a keynote from Germaine Franco, an Oscar-winning musician—both Rice alumni. It was also great to meet Rice alumni and connect with other current students who are passionate about making Rice an inclusive space for all, making the gala my favorite MBA memory so far.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Rice Business MBA program? I recommend that applicants connect with the admissions team and take advantage of one of their preview events. The Rice Business Admissions Team is great and if you reach out, they can provide feedback about which of your experiences to highlight as well as tips for a strong application. A preview day is important so you can get a feel for the campus and culture to decide if Rice Business is the right place for you.


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