David Violon

MBA for Professionals Class of 2016 - Weekend

Hometown: Brussels, Belgium

Undergraduate School and Major: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Masters of Chemical Engineering 

Employer and Job Titles: Shell; Business Development Manager

What led you to pursue an MBA? I spent my early career at Shell in technical positions. In line with my career aspirations, I am now broadening and have taken on a business development role. An MBA fits well with this as it gives me a solid theoretical foundation in the commercial space. 

Why did you choose Rice for your professional MBA? Professional perspective: within the energy industry the Rice MBA is recognized as one of the top MBA programs, and there are many alumni within the industry. For somebody pursuing a career in oil and gas, both are important. Personal perspective: the professional MBA program is flexible enough to combine with a busy work and personal life.

What has been a highlight of the program? 1) In general, the content of the advanced courses is very relevant to the work I do. I’ve been introduced to new tools and techniques I have been able to use in my daily work. 2) I have met a group of interesting people and begun some good friendships that I believe will long outlast the MBA program. 3) I’ve gained business perspectives from outside the oil and gas industry.

What has surprised you about the journey so far? 1) In general, the content of the advanced courses is very relevant to the work I do. I’ve been introduced to new tools and techniques I have been able to use in my daily work. 2) I have met a group of interesting people and begun some good friendships that I believe will long outlast the MBA program. 3) I’ve gained business perspectives from outside the oil and gas industry.

What advice do you have for prospective students? 1)Before starting an MBA think long and hard about what you want to get out of the program. That way you will have clarity about what to focus on during the program, which frees up valuable mental space. 2) Try and get involved with commercial activities at work during the MBA (if you are not already). It will be easier to grasp the content of the courses, you will be able to apply the material immediately, and you will demonstrate that you are able to do the job immediately. 3) Don’t be afraid to stand out and express your own unique viewpoints. It keeps the debate relevant and interesting and helps everyone learn.