Laurel McConn

MBA for Professionals Class of 2014 – Evening

Marketing and Human Resources, Baylor University
Communications Representative, HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc.

I was that little girl at Rice football games who wore the “Future Owl” pin on my shirt. True story. My mother was a Rice cheerleader and a campus tour guide, and my grandparents attended the ‘Institute’ in the 1940’s. I grew up less than ten minutes from the gorgeous campus, and I honestly knew more about Rice than I did my future undergraduate university.

I wanted to study business, so Baylor University was my school of choice (Sic ‘em). I double-majored and received a B.B.A. in Marketing and Human Resources Management. Attaining an MBA has long been a goal of mine. I began studying for the GMAT, during my senior year, and I started thinking about applying to graduate school for the next year. I quickly realized that I was not ready to take on such an endeavor, and I temporarily shelved the idea. Then, I moved to Houston to begin my career. My first post-collegiate job was an internship with a local market researcher. Quickly thereafter, I was offered a Marketing Manager position at the partnering marketing agency. My responsibility was to market the firm, which I did for several years. Ready to gain a different type of marketing experience, I took the opportunity to work in-house for a client that we had just rebranded. I currently serve as the company’s Corporate Communications Representative. While I love the world of marketing, I still want to broaden my horizons and develop a more robust suite of skills and knowledge. Eventually, I want to be a consultant.

In came my epiphany moment. During a lull at work one day, I found myself navigating through the Jones School website. A few years back, I did not know much about MBA for Professionals programs, in general. I always assumed I would go back to school full time. However, during a time in my career when ‘more experience’ is valued most, when could I afford to take a break? The virtual pages unfolded and there was my answer: The MBA for Professionals program at Rice University.

It was just six months out from the last deadline for applications, and I wanted to apply for that next fall! It goes without saying- I had my work cut out for me. Despite my knowledge of the “The Ivy League of the South,” I was in the exact same place as everyone else when it came to applying to the graduate business school. Sure, I already knew that the experience would provide an excellent education, world-class facilities, an incredible alumni network, and the ability to continue to work in the professional world. There was still much to learn and understand about the specifics of the Jones school and the various degree plans and schedules that are made available to accommodate its students. The website is an obvious resource that provides great detail, but it was my visits to campus for various events that sealed the deal. At the January ‘Information Session,’ I was able to interact with current students, various faculty members, and even alumni. Another opportunity that I took advantage of was the ‘Take Your Colleague to Work’ event, where I ate dinner with current students in the program that I was interested in and even attended a class! The faculty member made herself available after class for prospective students to ask any questions we visitors may have had. Additionally, the head of admissions hosts an ‘Admissions 101’ event to help applicants submit their best applications. (I even believe Rice offers GMAT courses.) You see? On all levels, the Rice MBA experience- from its inception and indefinitely- is unparalleled to any other program in Houston.

Lo and behold, Rice was the only MBA program that I applied to. Can you blame me?