Jake Herzig

MBA for Professionals Class of 2016 - Weekend

Undergraduate School and Major: Oklahoma State University, B.A. Finance

Employer and Job Titles: formerly, Williams Companies, Inc. 

What led you to pursue an MBA? Business is complex and constantly evolving. As my career progressed, I acquired technical skills and in-depth understanding of pipeline systems and commodity markets. The more I learned, the desire to take my skills and knowledge to the next level grew as well. However, there were many avenues and I was unsure of which path to follow. I could not decide between an entrepreneurial route or to continue working for a big corporation. I did my best to research these business topics outside of work, though I knew there was more to the content written in books or on the internet. Additionally, the concepts that interested me the most required solid fundamental business skills and deeper understanding I did not have. If I wanted to apply these concepts and skills immediately to my current job, I had to get up to speed fast. Business school was the perfect avenue to quickly collect the data and skills needed to be effective as soon as possible and to find the route suited for my aspirations. 

Why did you choose Rice for your professional MBA? I chose Rice because I wanted to match wits with experts and learn from the best. I also wanted access to both an entrepreneurial community and expertise in commodity sales/trading. Before applying to Rice, I was always impressed with Rice’s reputation, alumni and current members of the student body. Rice’s pursuit of excellence attracts top talent. The interactions I had with alumni led me to believe they did their best to take care of their own before and after graduation. This desire to help the Rice business community long after graduation was embedded during business school. The students I met were like-minded in their ambition, intellect and experience. I wanted to be part that community. Moreover, my research indicated the business school was the best for access to entrepreneurship and sales/trading expertise. Small class sizes allowed for in-depth interaction with faculty and fellow students. Rice offered ample exposure to new subjects, access to industry experts and the facilities to specialize in a particular subject through independent studies. 

What has been a highlight of the program? I have been ‚Äėglobalized‚Äô by the Jones School. The highlight of the program is interacting with a diverse faculty and student body. I have made relationships with fellow students from all parts of the world. Access to this network is an incredible asset. I am constantly impressed with the community‚Äôs passion for learning and innovation. Each person brings something unique to the learning environment and approaches each task with purpose and tenacity. Faculty and professional students are acutely aware of the program‚Äôs rigor while understanding the combined demands of family and work. The faculty does an outstanding job describing expectations and timelines for each course so the students can plan accordingly. Students are forced to be efficient and flexible. These are skills I am pleased to have earned and apply in my life and career for years to come.¬†

What has surprised you about the journey so far? Confidence. The academic experience makes students comfortable working well outside their comfort zone. Issues I previously thought too complex or out my league are approachable and, in some cases, easy. Furthermore, if I do not know how to approach a complex issue, I definitely know who does and what steps are necessary to solve the problem or source the information. 

What advice do you have for prospective students? Do your best to picture yourself in two, five and 10 years from now. Imagine what skills and experiences are needed to make you happy. If you desire uninhibited access to information, the most up-to-date business theory/concepts and a like-minded student body, the Jones Graduate School of Business is the right place for you.