Jones Graduate School of Business
Rice University sits in the middle of Houston on a 285-acre campus less than 5 miles from the corporate headquarters of ConocoPhillips
, Baker Hughes
, and EOG Resources
MBA candidates at Rice's Jones Graduate School of Business make up a quarter of the university's graduate population. The school offers full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs and has about 570 students enrolled across the three. The university has a total of 2,275 graduate students and 3,485 undergrads.
Jones also offers an undergraduate business minor. No business major is offered. Economics narrowly beats out psychology as the most popular undergraduate degree.
Jones was founded in 1974 and is Rice's first graduate professional school. Since 1978, the school has run a series of executive education courses that today attracts employees from the 23 S&P 500 companies headquartered in the city.
Photos provided by Rice University. Caption information provided by the school and Bloomberg Businessweek
Rice (Jones) MBA Profile
Slide Show: Top U.S. MBA Programs
School Facilities In 2002 the Jones school moved into McNair Hall, a 167,000-square-foot building designed by the dean of the Yale School of Architecture.
McNair houses the El Paso Corporation Finance Center, where students can conduct trading simulations in currencies, commodities, equities, fixed income securities, and real estate markets. The center is also the base of operations for Jones's student-managed investment fund.
Classrooms, a cyber-commons, a business information center, and the Shell Oil Company Foundation auditorium are also inside McNair.
Academic Concentrations The average number of students in an MBA core class at Jones is 54. Students can enroll in classes in 11 academic areas, ranging from energy to health care to organizational behavior. Real estate was the most recently added academic concentration.
The average elective course has 26 students. Recently added electives include a class on carbon and electricity policy and another on health-care marketing.
The leading areas of study in the MBA program include entrepreneurship, health-care administration, accounting, finance, marketing, general management, and international business.
Team Projects Students come to Jones with an average of more than four years' industry experience and draw on their classmates' backgrounds for two key projects: the Action Learning Project (ALP) and the Intensive Learning Experience (ILE).
The ALP at Jones places teams of four to six students on a semester-long consulting assignment with a host company.
The ILE consists of workshops that last one to two days. In those, students participate in simulations related to crisis management and negotiation, among other skill areas.
Marketing Practice in Rwanda For the past three years, Jones has sent a group of second-year MBAs to Rwanda. The students' goal is to create a manufacturing, distribution, and marketing plan for devices or computer programs created by undergraduate engineering students at Rice.
In the past, students have incorporated a social-enterprise element into the trip. For example, one year the MBAs marketed a battery-powered IV monitor. Between hospital visits, where students pitched the device to doctors, they visited rural areas to learn about the barriers to medical care in those communities.
International Exchange Jones partners with INCAE Business School in Costa Rica and the Institute of Technology and Higher Education at Monterrey in Mexico. MBA candidates are able to study abroad at those locations for a semester during their second year.
Other international trips include visits to corporate offices, U.S. embassies, and plant sites in India, China, and Argentina.
The Houston campus also has an international presence: About 26 percent of Jones's most recent incoming class came from outside the U.S., and international business is one of the most popular MBA concentrations.
Career Coaching Jones offers career counseling for full-time and part-time MBAs. Students can sign up for mock interviews, drill sessions on how to make a two-minute introduction, and job-researching seminars.
About 53 percent of MBAs received a job offer by graduation, and another 31 percent received offers within the next three months. Eighty percent of graduates said they found their jobs through a school-related activity.
Families at Jones Students with families are not uncommon at Jones. Graduate family housing is available nearby, and the Rice Children's Campus provides child care. A recreation center adjacent to McNair Hall hosts a children's summer camp.
Outside of class, Jones helps organize a summer festival, softball tournaments, and an annual international party that highlights different cultures represented at the school.
Focus on Diversity Women and minority MBAs made up 36 percent and 47 percent, respectively, of Jones's most recent incoming class of full-time students, about average for most top MBA programs.
Houston is the national headquarters of the National Association of Women MBAs. The school sponsors the local chapter of that organization as well as those of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the National Black MBA Assn.
Jones was the inaugural academic sponsor of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs conference. The school also hosts preview weekends for minority and women MBA candidates.
Entrepreneurs Compete Jones is one of three schools that make up the Rice Alliance, an organization that awards money to entrepreneurs and new technology companies. The university's engineering and natural science schools also participate.
The alliance puts on a series of technology-related forums throughout the year and hosts an annual business plan competition. Teams from the University of Michigan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Louisville competed in the most recent business plan contest, which awarded about $1.3 million to new ventures.
Jones invites business leaders to speak to students each year as part of the Dean's Lecture Series, Undergraduate Lecture Series, and Thought Leadership Lecture Series. Of the three, the Dean's Series tends to bring in the most high-profile speakers. Organizers of that program often book guests using the connections that executive MBA students have built throughout their careers.
Drayton McLane (shown above), owner of the Houston Astros baseball team, recently spoke to students as part of the Dean's series. Other speakers have included Southwest Airlines
CEO Gary Kelly; Robert McNair, founder and CEO of the Houston Texans football team, and former ConocoPhillips Chairman Archie Dunham.
Out-of-Class Learning Jones hosts student and alumni networking functions throughout the year. In one recent event, representatives from the New York Stock Exchange visited campus, and students got to pretend, at least, that they rang the exchange's opening bell.
The visit included more serious components, of course, such as a discussion on the future of capital markets. Other school-organized events have ranged from an energy finance summit to a series of business incubator workshops.
Recruiter Connections Houston is a city highly concentrated with S&P 500 companies, many of which recruit Jones graduates into their ranks. Eighty-one percent of those who recently completed the full-time program said they took jobs in the Southwest.
The most popular industries among recent graduates include financial services, consulting, energy, and consumer products. The average base salary of those graduating from the full-time program was $91,068, and the average signing bonus was $19,908.
Alumni Contributions Jones alumni continue to interact with the school after graduation. Twenty-two percent of MBA alums donated to the school in the past year, giving an average gift of $485. Former students also return to campus to recruit job candidates and mentor students.
Both the university and the Jones school run alumni networking websites. Jones counts 4,200 living alumni in its network as well as clubs in five countries. Local alumni groups meet for events as casual as wine tastings and as formal as an annual reunion and awards dinner.