Jesse Filipi

Rice MBA Full Time Class of 2012

On Pursuing the MBA/ME program at Rice:
First, Rice was the only school that I found which offered a true engineering masters degree. Other schools have a manufacturing or operations engineering degree as half of the dual, and for me that wasn’t interesting enough. Second, the dual degree offered me the unique opportunity to tie all of my previous experience together. I wanted to move back towards engineering and energy, and the dual degree provided the perfect way for me to simultaneously advance my engineering and business skills to achieve this goal.

Biggest Challenge While Pursuing a Dual Degree at Rice University:
After really getting a grasp on the requirements, I found the biggest challenge was switching in and out of the different modes of thinking that each degree requires. With the ME you have heavy left-brain, analytical thinking and the MBA is more creative, right-brain work.

On a typical day this semester, I would start the day with engineering work by looking at water quality processes with differential equations , walk back to the Jones School at McNair Hall for corporate strategy frameworks, then back to an engineering class where we read and discussed cutting edge academic research papers. The cross-pollination could be challenging at times, but it was incredibly informative. Taking both types of classes has truly enriched my degree pursuits.

Advice to MBA/ME candidates:
My advice is get credits any way you can! With 75 credits required in 2 years, you need to be efficient and hungry—go on all the international trips, do the simulations offered, and really take advantage of all the MBA has to offer. When designing your ME schedule, consider research projects and find ways to tie engineering and business together. You’re doing a lot, but it really allows you to get to know lots of people and experience so much.

Also meet with your engineering advisor early on first semester to come up with a plan that will maximize your learning in the ME and provide flexibility in coursework. Everyone here at Rice wants to help you earn both degrees and he or she will enable you to get the most out of your time.