Lisa Gonzalez

Rice MBA Full Time Class of 2014

I don’t think that I fully appreciated it when friends told me this before, but business school is demanding and I’ll be honest, it can be overwhelming. However, it’s through the early morning group meetings and late night studying that I’m reminded of the reasons I chose Rice. The supportive community at the Jones School is made up of faculty, staff, and peers that expect the most from themselves and each other. These standards were made evident immediately at Immersion.

Immersion was the perfect beginning to our career here at Rice. It was a dense two weeks that can only be described as the program’s initiation with a combination of intense classes, team assignments, tight deadlines and our first glimpse at the real importance of prioritizing. One professor put it best when he simply stated “You won’t be able to do it all”, naturally, we continue to try. Still, after the two weeks were over, perhaps the most important aspect to have emerged was the foundation that was established within our teams.

Our class of 118 students is divided into two sections and 25 teams by methods only known to Rice. My team is made up of five individuals and like the majority, there are four men and one woman, but the diversity only begins there. Between the five of us, we come from three countries, two states, range in age from 24 to 27, and have backgrounds in real estate, financial services, engineering, oil and gas, and supply chain management.

Have there been difficulties? Of course! In some instances strong opinions and perspectives diverge and we are learning the best way to share our ideas, be supportive, and most importantly – to listen. We each have unique strengths and offer perspectives that allow us to work through problems collectively and teach each other in a way we may not have thought of before. The assignments are not easy and we set the standards high for our performance but we continuously support each other and overall I think the final sense of accomplishment has made us better teammates and friends. We’ve adapted to each other’s humor and responding in movie quotations seems to have become commonplace, we’re sure to make time for social breaks, dinner, and sometimes even a trip to Valhalla (our on-campus graduate student bar!). While we still struggle with the group paper writing process our project analysis continues to improve and through the conflict our dynamics have evolved. My group experience is unique of course like every student’s is but over the past six weeks we’ve spent between 50 and 60 hours together working on group projects and simply studying, and I must say I feel blessed to have such a great team. We’re working through problems to prepare for mid-terms and the support is tremendously helpful. I can’t believe it’s that time already, but you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun!