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Build Your Community With Your Rice Online MBA

by Danielle Riley

One of the top questions we get about MBA@Rice is how do you become part of the Rice Business community if you’re taking classes solely online? If you live in or around Houston, you’ve got more opportunities to come to campus. But even if you’re far away, you still have ways to interact, get to know your classmates and professors in person, and meet alumni.

Online MBA students are required to participate in an on-campus immersion experience called The MBA@Rice Residential.* The Residential is a four-day immersion MBA@Rice students attend, where they take elective classes in person and participate in co-curricular programming that includes:

  • Kicking off the weekend with a meet-and-greet at the hotel the night before classes start – allowing students to connect before the weekend begins
  • Partio
  • Formal dinner with some of the deans and faculty
  • Informal networking event on Saturday evening
  • Information sessions with the Career Development Office, Alumni Relations and Office of Academic Programs and Student Experience
  • Key guest speakers such as the university president 
MBA@Rice Intensive Learning Experience Group Photo
MBA@Rice students gather outside of McNair Hall during The MBA@Rice Residential. 

In addition, ask anyone at Rice Business about their favorite activity, and they’ll tell you all about Partio, our student-run party on the patio at McNair Hall most Thursdays. Partios are about connecting with classmates from all the programs, professors, staff and alums. There’s music, food, beer and once a year International Partio goes all out so students can share meals, outfits and dancing from their home country or state.

Other once-a-year favorites for all students include the student-run Women in Leadership Conference (WILC) and Rice Energy Finance Summit (REFS). Both all-day events at Shell Auditorium are packed with speakers, business leaders and students.

Student clubs are also open to online and on-campus students and are meant to help you cultivate your leadership skills, learn more about different professions and get to know each other better. You're more than welcome to join the clubs. Meet-ups are typically held on campus and around Houston, but are occasionally virtual. With more than 30 social, professional, diversity or student government clubs, you should be able to find a perfect fit.

Interested in Rice Business?


Rice Business Board Fellows is a way for students to gain experience serving on a nonprofit board while giving back to our communities by applying their MBA knowledge, skills and perspectives to pressing challenges in nonprofit organizations. With leadership from enthusiastic and committed online students, we’ve expanded the Board Fellows opportunity by recruiting new nonprofit partners and shaping the service commitment for the MBA@Rice quadmester calendar. With our MBA@Rice student population living across the U.S., we hope to expand our reach outside of Houston and have already secured an opportunity in Nashville, Tenn. We’re looking for additional nonprofit partners in cities where our students live and will update students on board service opportunities near them and the application process.

MBA@Rice students
(From left to right) Trey Schuman '23, Christian VanSickle '23 and Collin Riccitelli '23 in Professor Jing Zhou's Negotiations class

MBA@Rice students are also invited to participate in Rice Business Gives Back, a student service-learning program that allows students, faculty and staff to give back to the local Houston community. Leadership is comprised of student leaders who lead different projects. After completing service projects, all groups congregate for food and drinks to celebrate their morning of service.

We listen to our online students about ways to deepen their connections and have new initiatives in the works: a quarterly happy hour for the online students in different cities with current classmates and alumni is planned, and an online student association spearheaded by a group of enthusiastic and committed student leaders is on track to be official this spring. This student association is designed and structured specifically for online students and lays the foundation for long-term student engagement, advocacy and programming.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re here for you. We want to know how to make this experience the best for you, your career, your family and your future. We will always listen and we value your questions and input. Let us know how we can help.

*Students pay $800 for the Rice Residential weekend ($400 per class) and this includes hotel, meals and transportation to and from campus.

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