Hallie Crawford

MBA for Professionals Class of 2017 - Evening

Hometown: Houston, TX

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Virginia, B.S. Commerce and Psychology

Employer and Job Titles: Silver Eagle Distributors, Red Bull Brand Manager

What led you to pursue an MBA? For the past three years, I have worked at Silver Eagle Distributors and have advanced rapidly within my department. My dual major at UVA supplied me with a marketing, branding, and psychological framework I have been able to apply directly in real-world settings. In managing the sales and distribution network for Red Bull, I have learned a tremendous amount about the beverage industry and distribution network. As brand manager, my primary responsibility is to facilitate relationships between suppliers, distributors and sales teams while simultaneously developing and growing brands within our market. Managing diverse brands from sparkling water to craft beers to extremely popular energy drinks has put me at the forefront of major product launches and given me valuable insight into the drivers of success in the industry.
While I am confident that I will continue to advance in my career at Silver Eagle, I aspire to bring fresh new ideas and approaches to our company and to further develop my business understanding. It is ingrained in my personality to strive for excellence. A Rice MBA will provide me with the necessary tools to become the business leader I aim to be. The program will build my marketing and branding knowledge and help me to develop stronger skills in operations and management. Specifically, I was drawn to course topics such as Marketing Decision Models, Strategic Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Leading Operational Change. These courses will allow me to create actionable solutions at Silver Eagle in an increasingly changing industry.

Why did you choose Rice for your professional MBA? The Rice MBA for Professionals’ academic rigor and ranking, world class faculty, student network, and class size has allowed me to expand my network, knowledge and skills. At the same time, I have been able to continue to advance and grow within the corporate world that I find both stimulating and challenging. I have been able to apply new skills and strategies directly to my professional career. In addition to the academic rigor and exceptional student and professor network, the Jones School has an extraordinary offering of extracurricular activities I found very impressive. I hope to be an integral part of the Jones School community, getting involved with clubs such as the Dean’s Lecture Series, Multi-Sports Club, Marketing Club and Strategy Club.

What has been a highlight of the program? So far, the highlight of the program for me has been the network of classmates and, more importantly, FRIENDS that I have made. Although we have only been in the program for three months, I have to say that it feels like a lifetime (in a good way!). Yes, it has been hard at times, but classmates from both sections have really united to form a tight knit group of supportive individuals. I have been so impressed and inspired by the caliber of individuals, the diversity of industry backgrounds, and the commitment to excellence that our year brings to Rice, and I am happy and proud to call them my family. I am confident that my classmates will be the future business leaders in the Houston area, and that is something that is truly inspiring.

What has surprised you about the journey so far? What has surprised me the most about the journey so far is that I have had so much FUN! What the Rice admissions website doesn’t tell you is that every Wednesday after class, Professionals students from both years attend PCF (aka Post Class Festivities). Whether at Valhalla or Willie’s on campus or another bar nearby, Wednesday night PCF is a MUST. It is the best way to get to know your classmates (and sometimes professors) and learn about other industries in the Houston area and beyond. We all work hard, and we all have fun doing it!

What advice do you have for prospective students? My advice for prospective students is threefold. First, contact the admissions team at the Jones School. I was so impressed by their outreach when I was applying to the school. I felt like I could pick up the phone and call someone from the team if I had any type of question about the application process. Second, reach out to Rice alumni from the program. You will find that everyone you talk to has extremely positive things to say and will GLADLY take the time to speak or meet with you. I found that most were overly enthusiastic and probably even jealous that I potentially got to go back to their alma matter! Third, have lunch with a current student and visit an evening class. This is the best way to see what the program has to offer. The admissions office will gladly set you up, just give them a ring!