2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Ahmad Tipu, Rice University (Jones)

Ahmad Tipu

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

“An extrovert with a battery who cooks for stress relief and survives off midday naps.”

Hometown: Wappingers Falls, NY

Fun fact about yourself: While working at Swarovski, I was asked to shoot photos at two New York Fashion Week shows in which Swarovski crystals were featured.

Undergraduate School and Degree: State University of New York at New Paltz, B.A. in International Relations

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Fiscalnote, Client Support Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? Deloitte Consulting, Houston

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I currently serve as the vice president of the Rice Business Student Association, where I work to enable a better student experience for full-time MBAs and advocate for our needs to the Rice Business administration. I’ve also been fortunate to be able to help the Rice Business Consulting Association as their VP of Education and Development by taking charge of preparing our students for casing, networking, coffee chats, and the grind of the recruiting season. Apart from these two roles, I’ve also been involved at Rice Business as a team captain for national case competitions, the 2024 Rice Alliance Ignite Trek Fellow, and a Rice MBA Admissions Ambassador.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my trio of top 3 finishes at top level MBA competitions like the Vanderbilt Human Capital Case Competition, UT Austin National Energy Finance Case Competition, and UC Davis Financial Times Biz Quiz. These were the result of countless long nights as well as a community wide effort from peers, professors and staff to promote Rice Business and compete with the very best. The consistency, effort, and drive required to achieve this was cultivated, in no small part, through a combination of academic rigor and an unyielding support network. This achievement was a particularly poignant point of pride as it enabled us to represent Rice and compete on a national level with other esteemed institutions.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While working at an early stage rideshare/mobility startup back during the COVID years, I was sent to Chicago to help open a new outpost only two weeks into the job. This turned out to be one of the most chaotic assignments of my professional career. We faced issues ranging from Uber/Lyft registration issues for drivers all the way up to asset seizure because of a driver committing crimes in our vehicles. As a relatively recent graduate with limited experience, this was a huge ask. Through a week of 12+ hour days and plenty of trips across the city, we were able to set up shop successfully with an 85%+ fleet utilization rate in a week. I’m most proud of this accomplishment because it was an instance where I was dropped into a new environment with no experience and an ask that I logically couldn’t complete. Through a concerted effort, a commitment to learning, and a collective-minded team I was able to deliver.

Why did you choose this business school? Rice’s focus on entrepreneurship and a rich ecosystem for innovation and collaboration with the Liu Idea Lab and Rice Alliance drew me to the school. In my prior work experience, I had the opportunity to work in an early series A startup, an IPO stage firm, and a private legacy fashion company – but never a venture at the very beginning of its journey. The risk-free environment of Rice Business’s nationally-ranked entrepreneurship program, the plethora of top tier professors and practitioners, and the rich ecosystem of PhDs at Rice provided the perfect space. It was here that I felt I could best explore the genesis, scaling and lifecycle of startup ventures and thus I picked Rice Business as my destination.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Utpal Dholakia in the Marketing Department is by far my favorite professor. His enthusiasm for the subjects he teaches is second-to-none as he constantly integrates current events and students’ interest areas into class sessions and materials. The way he encourages students to learn and think by pushing the limits of the case method and in class discourse is exactly what I had hoped for out of an MBA classroom. He is also constantly in a state of curiosity, as he genuinely wants to learn as much from students as he teaches them, providing a fascinating symbiotic partnership. To top it all off, Professor Dholakia is razor focused on providing skills MBA students can use tomorrow instead of in ten years, which I appreciated immensely as I embarked into my internship right after his course.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I really enjoy Follies, an unofficial Rice Business sketch comedy show held a month before graduation. This is an opportunity for a comedic cast of MBA students to poke fun at all things Rice, from our classes to the professors and even infamous events throughout our two years. We’ve seen everything from a Rice Business version of SNL’s The Weekend Update to dramatic re-enactments of pop culture moments and even superlatives for outstanding individuals in each cohort. The event is a communal tradition attended and hosted by 1Y and 2Ys and reflects our sense of community and belonging. By coming together, we’re all able to bond and relate to each other through comedic relief.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I think if I were to do anything differently, I would have tried to bring my own startup idea to fruition. I’ve been able to work with some brilliant folks on their ideas to help scale and operationalize, but never have I worked on my own idea. After taking courses like The New Enterprise, interacting with the Liu Idea Lab, and completing a VC internship at Mercury Fund, I believe this is only piece of the entrepreneurial journey I’ve missed out on. The additional challenge of being in such an uncomfortable and new space is something that would have been a huge growth opportunity given the resources available at Rice Business.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Houston’s food scene is elite, and I can confidently say, as a native New Yorker, second to only New York City. Any cuisine can be found at any price point all the while providing world class quality. The food really helped with my transition down South and will keep me visiting Houston for years to come.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was extremely surprised by the level of support and collaboration I experienced at business school. My initial impression was that it would be a competitive environment with small pockets of helpful folks, but the reality was quite the opposite. From day one, I was able to reach out to anyone across the program from fellow students to professors and even the deans. This proved to be an amazing feature of the program, as it really helped to navigate through recruiting and some of the tougher core courses. This is something that 2Ys at Rice have worked to maintain, so that the 1Ys are also provided that same sense of belonging and openness.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my fellow MBA student David Jaurrieta Hinojos most out of all my peers. David and I met early in the first week of orientation as we lived in the same dorm on campus and have remained friends since day one. I admire David’s drive and concrete dedication to serving our cohort in any way possible. During the throes of consulting recruiting, David made time for anyone who needed help, a case buddy, a shoulder to lean on or even a listening ear. After receiving an internship offer to McKinsey, which he converted to a full-time position, David was elected Consulting Association President. He immediately got to work establishing a board and enacting a vision for the next year which he delivered on by helping bring about a fantastic recruiting year. David is a true friend, a tireless advocate for Rice students, and someone I hope to be swapping stories with over good food for years to come.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1) Take a venture from initial idea to VC funded and eventually to an IPO.

2) Work in the fashion/luxury goods industry again supporting a creative I admire and truly believe in

What made Ahmad such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend Ahmad Tipu to you for inclusion in the Poets and Quants Best and Brightest 2024. As an associate dean with almost twenty years of service at the University of Rochester, Chicago Booth and now Rice University, I have had the good pleasure to work with tens of thousands of students as well as student leaders. I can say that Ahmad is in the top 2% of the category.

Academic and Competitive Excellence 

Ahmad has distinguished himself through exceptional performances in highly competitive arenas, securing Top 3 finishes in the prestigious Vanderbilt Human Capital Competition, UT Austin National Energy Finance Case Competition, and UC Davis Financial Times Biz Quiz. These achievements not only underscore his analytical prowess and financial acumen but also his ability to thrive under pressure and stand out among their peers.

Leadership and Initiative

Beyond his academic prowess, Ahmad has demonstrated remarkable leadership and initiative. As a pivotal figure in the Rice Consulting Association, he spearheaded a comprehensive overhaul of the education content being provided. This endeavor included developing and teaching new content weekly to association members, creating engaging PowerPoints/videos, and introducing innovative learning formats like mock coffee chats and half-moon sessions. These changes significantly enhanced the learning experience and resulted in an outstanding recruiting year for those seeking consulting positions. Ahmad’s new content and method of delivery made a huge difference and will result in a great impact for years beyond his time at Rice Business.

Likewise, in his role as the VP of the Rice Business Student Association (RBSA), Ahmad has been instrumental in creating a suite of living documents aimed at preserving institutional memory and streamlining leadership transitions. This strategic initiative, set to be integrated into the Academic Programs and Student Experience and the Dean’s Office, is a testament to his forward-thinking approach and commitment to sustainable leadership.

Community Contribution and Vision

Perhaps most commendably, Ahmad’s efforts extend beyond accolades and leadership roles. He is deeply motivated by a vision to foster a supportive and vibrant community at Rice Business. His initiative to establish a support network for Rice MBAs to excel in case competitions and the crafting of resources to uphold our unique culture is indicative of his dedication to not only succeeding personally but also uplifting those around him.


Ahmad’s blend of academic excellence, leadership and community-mindedness makes him a standout individual who not only represents the best of Rice Business but also embodies the qualities essential for future leaders. I am confident that Ahmad will continue to make significant contributions wherever his path may lead, and I wholeheartedly support him being considered for your recognition as one of the best and brightest our esteemed academy has to offer.”

George Andrews
Associate Dean of Degree Programs
Jones Graduate School of Business
Rice University


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