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Paving The Way

by Jessica Krom

Updated from original post that was published on 11/01/2019.

How The Rice Business Career Development Office Speeds Your Professional Journey

Thinking about a career change or want to accelerate your current career? The Rice Business Career Development Office (CDO) will give you momentum, with top-quality personal guidance and carefully developed contacts with key employers and alumni. 

Rice CDO offers students more time and more opportunities

Each full-time Rice Business student has the opportunity to meet with a career development team member and strategize options during five personalized advising appointments, compared with two appointments per student both at the University of Texas and at Wharton.

The outcomes speak for themselves. The ratio of companies-to-students that hire full-time Rice Business students is greater than at UT or Wharton. This is largely because the CDO staff is focused on rigorous service standards. For students, this means there are more advisors per person, as well as frequent company visits to campus because companies actively target Rice for internships and full-time job recruiting, giving students a broad breadth of companies to consider. 

And the strategy clearly works. In the class of 2022, 68.5 percent of students accepted offers through school-facilitated activities. The vast majority of 2022 graduates - 94 percent - accepted job offers within three months of graduation, with an average competitive starting salary of $142,212. Rice Business students pay attention to this because they’re looking for compensation that is competitive with top business schools. Top Rice Business graduate employers include: Capital One, Dell, Deloitte Consulting, CenterPoint Energy, Chevron, ExxonMobil, EY, and KPMG.

Continuous contact with alumni builds a formidable network

To give a closer look at this high-energy career operation, we recently caught up with Phil Heavilin II, Executive Director of the Career Development Office. Heavilin had stopped in Washington, D.C. on the way home from the Week on Wall Street trek, a program in which Rice Business students meet alumni, recruiters and other business contacts at New York financial institutions. He was in Washington, D.C. to see alumni.

Year-round contact with alumni across the country, Heavilin says, is a key strategy in building the formidable professional network for Rice Business graduates. The D.C. alumni Heavilin was meeting work at Capital One, a financial services firm that had just finished a trial recruiting run with Rice Business. Heavilin wanted to get first-hand feedback on how the trial had gone. Recruiting was so successful, Capital One added Rice Business as a core campus recruiting school.

The recruiting opportunities at Rice are striking not only for their abundance, but also for their variety, says Heavilin. Though known best for its excellence in the energy industry, Rice Business also attracts employers in the fields of 
consulting, financial services and technology. Recruiters from healthcare, real estate and telecom companies also frequent campus to meet prospective hires. Regardless of whether the economy is bullish or bearish, Heavilin notes, Rice Business ensures its graduates will have a wealth of opportunities.

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Companies know Rice Business graduates will strengthen their businesses

Companies, for their part, recruit from Rice because they know its graduates will strengthen their business. With average full-time student GMAT scores above 700, the intellectual firepower at Rice Business makes it a compelling brand for recruiters.

They know Rice graduates can move through quantitative and qualitative frameworks to analyze and advise on business decisions. They also know that Rice Business prioritizes communication skills. Training includes communication coaches who work with each student on a personalized basis. As a result, Rice Business graduates are exceptionally adept at communicating and negotiating.

This versatility is highly prized, Heavilin says. While recruiters want students who can wrangle complex data and analyze for key, actionable insights, they also need employees who can communicate across multiple levels within their organizations, as well as in diverse, global business environments.

To this point, Rice Business’ location – Houston– gives it an unparalleled advantage. Houston is both the most ethnically diverse city in the United States, and a thriving business center with Fortune 500 companies and a strong innovation ecosystem. Consequently, Rice Business students interact daily with people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. This range of experience offers Rice Business graduates a professional edge.

Houston’s cultural breadth gives students a competitive edge

With this in mind, the CDO team closely watches for opportunities to expand the school’s cultural capital. Promoting women in business is one example. For 20 years, faculty and students have convened business leaders for the annual Women & Leadership Conference. To signal its support, the CDO is a sponsor. Heavilin and his team also work with employers to identify gender compensation discrepancies and educate them on ways to mitigate them.

Taken together, the career team’s relationships with employers, with alumni and with practitioners all combine to give the CDO outsized effectiveness. And all of these relationships, Heavilin adds, exist to serve Rice Business students. Give the CDO team a few weeks, says Heavilin, and they will know your name. Give yourself four or five advisory meetings with them, and you can look forward to building your own relationships in the context of new, challenging work.


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