MBA Candidate Fauss Receives Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarship award

This fall, the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation honored Jones School MBA candidate Emma Fauss as a recipient of one of 19 $10,000 scholarships. The foundation’s goal is to acknowledge and help underwrite “the promise that is being demonstrated by Texas business students.” And Emma Fauss’s accomplishments and goals are indeed promising.

Fauss is driven to make a difference. Her drive led her from a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union to a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia. While pursuing her Ph.D., she discovered that her desire to see ideas implemented in the world meant that she might be more suited to business than academia. “I saw a lot of great ideas that just never got out of the lab,” she explains, “and that bothered me. I wanted to know why these solutions weren’t getting out there, why they weren’t changing the world.”

While pursuing her Ph.D., Fauss became involved in a project that eventually led to co-founding her own company, Medical Informatics Corp, a software company developing next-generation clinical decision support technologies. “The problem was capturing real-time data that wasn’t being captured in a hospital and make use of it. The project was interesting to me,” she says, “because it was fulfilling a need, providing a solution that could have a big impact on people.”

But becoming CEO of a company was not enough for Fauss. As she explains, “In order to implement change that technologically makes sense you need to be able to communicate it in a way that makes business sense. I decided that you needed to have someone who could talk to the brilliant scientist and then translate that to the people who might finance it.” She believed that pursuing a business education would be an opportunity to learn the language of business and “help bring those technologies that could help transform the world into the world.”

This belief led her to pursue her MBA at the Jones Graduate School of Business. “I looked at a lot of business schools and got some great offers from other institutions. But Rice offered something unique that no other organization could offer me: Rice was an excellent school, and everyone was warm and welcoming,” she says.

As it turns out, the warmth at the Jones School had a big impact. With a Ph.D. already in hand, Fauss was not interested in having to compete for resources and mentors as she felt she’d have to do in other top-tier programs.” I liked the fact that I was going to be welcomed,” she explains. “And some of the mentors I’ve had here are the best mentors I’ve had in my academic career. Many professors at Rice, specifically Kim Kimmey, Tom Kraft and Gale Wiley, have a lot of real world experience in the entrepreneurship space. And they have really taken the time to help me improve in areas I’ve wanted to improve in.”

The warmth and camaraderie aren’t the only cultural aspects that she likes about Rice, Houston and Texas. “I’ve found that if you are willing to go out and pursue the hard work yourself, you are kind of rewarded for that. If you’re a go-getter, a cowboy of sorts, you can make something of yourself here. That’s a cultural mentality that carries itself through.”

[The Texas Business Hall of Fame recognizes the state's business leaders who have made outstanding contributions in their field and in the communities in which they live. Alumnus Doug Foshee was a Class of 2012 Inductee: http://www.texasbusiness.org/?id=248]

— M. Yvonne Taylor