Meet Our New Executive Director

by Janice Kennedy, Executive Director of Recruiting and Admissions

Admissions Vlog 1: September 2019


Janice Kennedy joined Rice Business as executive director of Recruiting and Admissions in June. With nearly 30 years of sales and sales management experience at companies including Procter & Gamble, Bausch & Lomb, and Xerox, she served most recently as director of business development at McKesson. We caught up with her at the start of the semester and asked about the path that led her here. 

What made you decide to transition to higher education? And why Rice Business specifically?

My last role was in the pharmaceutical industry, in a specialty division bringing critical medical therapeutics to market — drugs for ALS, MS and Crohn’s disease, for example. While being a part of that commercial process was rewarding, the intensity of the patients’ suffering and the current political challenges within the pharmaceutical industry were weighty at times.

I found myself at a career crossroads, looking for work with purpose and an opportunity to help people and create positive outcomes. Exploring my LinkedIn network and researching industries and roles that were a good fit for my experience and skills led me to a conversation with George Andrews, associate dean of MBA programs at Rice Business. 

I know what an MBA can do for a person’s career — and for a company.  I found myself very attracted to working with candidates, students, alumni and staff in such a positive endeavor.

What are some of the challenges of finding and recruiting good students? How are those challenges similar to what you faced at places like Procter & Gamble and Xerox, and how are they different?

The decision process for an expenditure (and commitment) this large takes time and engagement. What I find similar are the assumptions made on the part of the “buyer” — in this case the prospective student — that can drive a self-disqualification decision. For example, “I can’t afford that,” “I won’t be accepted,” or “I have heard…”  The difference is that there’s a more mutual nature to the decision when you apply to a graduate program. My experience in consumer packaged goods was driving a one-way decision on the part of the buyer. In the pharmaceutical business, for example, there were multiple “buyers” who impacted the decision, including insurance companies and physicians, along with the patient — but very little in terms of approval on the “seller’s” side.

What are some of your non work-related interests? What would surprise us about you?

I enjoy visual arts, interior design, volunteering at church and spending time with family and my new granddaughter! What might surprise you is that I flipped several homes before it was cool — and prevalent on HGTV.

Interested in learning more about the MBA programs offered by Rice Business? Send us an email at

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