Ian Hernandez

Rice MBA for Executives Class of 2011


A variety of elements led Ian Hernandez to pursue an MBA. As Vice President of Consulting Services - Americas for O'Brien's Emergency Management, Hernandez leads development resiliency programs on a local, national, and global basis. He sought a program that matched his personal and professional goals, and the Rice MBA for Executives offered an extraordinary opportunity. "Learning in the company of giants became a primary incentive. As I considered other universities, only Rice offered a tailored curriculum, local professors, local facilities, and the guaranteed company of hand-selected peers."

Maintaining Focus
"I smile with pursed lips as I think about maintaining an optimum balance among work, school and personal life. It is an understatement to say that the Rice MBA is difficult. These are all priorities with corresponding dependencies. I try to live in the moment and discipline myself to be there. However, the rigors of the program have been the hardest on my family life. I come from a Mexican-Italian family. Socializing is important, and during the course of the program I have missed 95% of our family functions. Nevertheless, I still try to make the most of family time. I have become an avid user of Skype. As I travel, I use it to stay connected with classmates and my family." 

Business Toolkit
"The program has gradually improved the way I evaluate and operate at work. The curriculum focuses on MBA subjects such as Finance, Marketing, Business Law, and Economics, but amazingly so, it dove-tails with soft (yet important) content such as Leadership, Ethics, and Executive Communication. Today, when I evaluate business possibilities, I am equipped with the appropriate business tools, which include the abilities to understand the hard numbers and to discern the nuances of ethical and moral issues."

Inspiration for Excellence
"During the summer of 2010, I participated in the Deepwater Horizon Response, where I served as Director of Shoreline operations in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. I led an organization of about 6,000 people. At all times, I was pressed by timelines, stakeholders, operational, environmental and political priorities. Curiously, the memorable phrases from Duane Windsor’s Leadership and Ethics classes inspired me through that season (and presently) as I push through the program. In Leadership, he said: 'Give it your all, be ethical, don’t hurt anyone, and don’t die.' Another source of inspiration was a book titled The Goal, from my Operations Management class. That book and the content of the class helped me navigate the difficulties of leading such a large organization during one of our nation’s most devastating catastrophes."