David Suszko

MBA for Professionals Class of 2016 - Weekend

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Undergraduate School and Major: Clemson University, B.S. Marketing

Employer and Job Titles: Dow Chemical Business, Market Manager, Electrical and Telecommunications; Dow Chemical, Development Manager - Packaging and Specialty Plastics; Dow Chemical, Channel Manager - Building Solutions; Dow Chemical, Account Manager - Building Solutions; Polaroid Eyewear, Global Marketing Specialist 

What led you to pursue an MBA? My first job at Dow was a sales role. I was selling building products in the height of the recession, a challenging job in a high learning environment to say the least. During that role I figured out that my long-term career goals had shifted from a focus on purely marketing, to the broader goal of running a business. Once I had decided that I wanted to run a business, I knew there were a lot of skills I needed to acquire and an MBA made perfect sense. I also wanted a challenge to prove to myself I could perform with the best of the best.

Why did you choose Rice for your professional MBA? Originally I was going to leave my job and try to go full time to one of the "Big 5.‚ÄĚ But five days after I took the GMAT my wife found out she was pregnant and we decided losing my income was probably a bad idea. From there I researched MBAs in the Houston area and narrowed my choice down to two players, Rice being one. I had actually decided to go to the other school before I met Bill Arnold (a professor at Rice) at a Lunch and Learn. Bill and I connected, and I asked him if he would have coffee with me, which he graciously accepted. Over coffee, Bill suggested I meet with another person, who also was willing to have lunch with me, and gave me another person to talk to. After this pattern repeated three more times I realized that Rice graduates really care about the future of the program, which was highly important to me. It was the quality of the people that made me choose Rice.

What has been a highlight of the program? Three things: 1. The sheer quality of the people I am in class with. Being around brilliance every day is addicting. 2. Winning the Rice Venture Capital Investment Competition and getting to compete against the best schools across the country (Booth, Kellogg, etc.) 3. Being a mentor. I take great pride in helping younger folks and have been so impressed with the first year group that I mentor.

What has surprised you about the journey so far? I think what has surprised me is just how little I knew about the massive amount of opportunity out there in different industries. There have been so many times that I have looked at something new and said, "Hmm...I never thought about doing that but that would be really interesting!"

What advice do you have for prospective students? Put a great deal of thought into what you want coming out of the MBA and get involved in groups focused on those areas day 1. Remember, one of the key things to get out of this MBA is a return on your investment.