Aaron Strassner

MBA for Professionals Class of 2017 - Weekend

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Undergraduate School and Major: Patrick Henry College, B.A. American Politics and Policy

Employer and Job Titles: KDM Operating, LLC ; Staff Landman and Operations and Procurement

What led you to pursue an MBA? My desire to pursue an MBA was formed from my general lack of business knowledge. I received my undergrad from a private liberal arts college outside Washington D.C., and I had every intention of working in politics after graduating. This means that when I decided politics was not right for me, and I moved back to Texas to work in oil, I was not equipped to operate effectively in the business world because I had never taken classes in accounting, finance, etc. Thus the decision to pursue an MBA was easy for me because it would enable me to continue to build upon my undergraduate knowledge. Additionally, another contributing factor behind my decision is that an MBA is an excellent way to grow my professional contacts and learn fully how to engage in today's growing business world.

Why did you choose Rice for your professional MBA? The Rice MBA program is one of the finest in the country, and so the decision for where I would pursue my MBA was quite simple for me. There is nowhere better in the country for me to receive an MBA centered in energy than in Houston, Texas. The professional program in particular was appealing to me because it meant that I could continue to work full time, while simultaneously pursuing my MBA.

What has been a highlight of the program? The highlight so far has been immersion. The intense week that we underwent at the beginning of the semester was one of the hardest academic weeks I have ever had, and yet it was by far one of the most rewarding weeks of my academic career.

What has surprised you about the journey so far? Just how much homework there is! I knew going into the program that it would be time consuming, but I didn't quite realize how much work would have to go into it due to the professional program only meeting for class every other weekend. The only way we can get through all the material is if the professors assign a lot of homework during the weeks.

What advice do you have for prospective students? Prepare yourself to fully engage in the program. I would strongly encourage prospective students to fully evaluate whether or not they are mentally prepared for the program, and whether or not they can commit the time to the program. If you fully immerse yourself into the program, it will be extremely rewarding. However, if you only half-heartedly go through the program, in my mind you will have just wasted $100,000, even if you receive a degree at the end of the day that says "MBA."

What's something your classmates don't know about you? Even though I have lived in Houston my entire life, I had never stepped foot on the Rice University campus prior to my first interview for the program.