Josh DeRienzis

Rice MBA for Executives Class of 2017

Hometown (City and State): New York, NY

Undergraduate School and Major: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, J.D.; State University of New York at Albany, B.A. Communication Studies

Employer and Job Titles: McKesson Corporation, Assistant General Counsel; McKesson Specialty Health, General Counsel

What led you to pursue an MBA? I am currently both an attorney and on the executive team of a division of a large company. In our executive meetings we discuss strategy, finance, operations, talent management and a variety of matters beyond the legal issues affecting us. The MBA will enable me to better contribute to the discussion and decision making process for all the matters impacting our company, not just the legal ones. In addition, my legal responsibilities require me to interact with every department in the company and having a deeper understanding of their roles enables me to give them better service and make more thoughtful decisions.    

Why did you choose Rice for your executive MBA? Rice’s excellent reputation at the national and international level made it an easy decision. In addition, knowing that if I ever got transferred to another division (i.e., in another city), the convenient location would allow me to continue to get here on weekends when the program is in session.

What has been a highlight of the program? The quality and accessibility of the faculty has exceeded my [already high] expectations. They are always available to help and understand that people are coming to the program with different strengths and experiences. But they are all extremely passionate about their areas of expertise and equally passionate about helping students to understand it. Perhaps more importantly for EMBAs, they want you to be able to transform the knowledge into practical application. In addition, the executive coaching has been an extremely useful tool to supplement the classroom experience.  

What has surprised you about the journey so far? I’ve been surprised how much of the learning has translated into the work environment after only a handful of sessions. I’m already viewing the business through a more informed lens, which is helping me create better solutions and outcomes. I’m confident the utility I am deriving from the program will only multiply over time.     

What advice do you have for prospective students? Come into the program clearly knowing what you want to get out of it. For EMBAs in particular, there aren’t enough hours in the day to know everything so you need to focus on the right things. If you come in with clearly defined expectations, the program will pay dividends almost immediately.