Applications for Fall 2025 will open on August 1.



A roundup of news from Rice Business and beyond

Pandemic Pets

Fostering animals became more than a hobby for Casey Sherrod ’21

One silver lining of working from home during the pandemic is that we’re more available for our pets, and many of us have taken the opportunity to foster an animal in need. By the end of 2020, however, Casey Sherrod ’21 had fostered 138.

Casey Sherrod

“We’ve really capitalized on the work-from-home situation,” says Sherrod, who lives in Crosby, a rural community just northeast of Houston, with her wife and son. They have a four-bedroom house and a spacious yard with plenty of room for foster animals — in addition to their own four dogs and three cats. “It’s been eventful.”  

Sherrod’s wife, Amanda, was in the habit of collecting strays even before the pandemic. “My wife just brings home animals all the time. I don’t know what’s going to come through the door,” Sherrod says. But since they both started working from home, they’ve partnered with animal rescues in Houston and elsewhere, including a Massachusetts-based nonprofit called Sandy Paws Rescue.

“A lot of rescues all over the country pull from Houston because of our high euthanasia rate,” she explains. “We have a real problem with overpopulation of stray animals here. But it’s not hard to find homes for dogs in other states. If you go to New England, where a lot of the dogs go, their shelters are pretty empty.”

Most of the dogs who come through Sherrod’s home only stay for a couple of weeks — long enough to get their shots and a clean bill of health — before being transported out of state. The cats tend to be placed locally.

Then there are the more unusual animals Sherrod has fostered: a pygmy goat named Pepper, Mr. Pickles the pig, and Milkshake the calf. Pepper the goat had run away from a nearby home, and Sherrod was able to reunite him with his owner. Mr. Pickles had been adopted as a piglet by someone who lived in an apartment complex and couldn’t keep him when he was fully grown. Potty trained and willing to walk on a leash, Mr. Pickles lived in a pen in Sherrod’s dining room for more than a month until she was able to find him a home on a farm.

Milkshake had been born with a cleft palate and unable to feed normally; his owner, a farmer, gave him up because he didn’t have time to bottle-feed the calf multiple times a day. So Sherrod did, often during her Rice Business classes over Zoom.

“My classmates started saying, ‘I’m just waiting to see what animal will appear on your screen today,’ ” she says.

Her classmates weren’t the only ones eager to see the animals. At the beginning of the pandemic, Sherrod started a TikTok account — @caseyriveter — to document her animal rescue journey. By April 2021, she had 1.7 million followers.

“With TikTok, the point was to spread awareness of why spaying and neutering animals is vital, and why adopting from a shelter is so important and rewarding,” she says. “It’s been awesome to be able to give back. We’ve even talked about starting our own rescue one day.”


2021 Napier Rice Launch Challenge

H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge 2021

This year, Rice’s internal startup competition, the H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge, is splitting into two separate competitions: one for students and one for alumni. The two tracks mean judges can offer more finalist spots — and more cash prizes — to Rice entrepreneurs.

Students and alums will pitch their ideas for everything from small businesses to high-growth ventures to a panel of judges. Audience members will then vote on the winning proposals. The virtual competitions will be held on April 22 for student startups and June 3 for alumni startups.

To attend the competitions and support Rice students and alumni entrepreneurs, visit Attendance is open to students, alumni and friends of Rice.


Where We Grow From Here

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty and visa challenges, 2020 was a uniquely difficult year for higher education. But despite — and sometimes because — of these challenges, Rice Business achieved our highest enrollment ever, and even added a third cohort to the full-time MBA program.

Thesize of the incoming full-time MBA program increased by nearly 50%.In fact, we expanded all of our MBA campus programs and had our largest-ever enrollment in the MBA for Professionals cohort and the MAcc program. Weadded137 more MBA students overall and increased enrollment in MBA@Rice, with an October 2020 cohort of 106 and a January 2021 cohort of 59.

The total number of students enrolled at Rice Business has nearly doubled in the last five years, and faculty size is also growing rapidly. As of January, our full-time application submissions were up 25% versus a year before, giving us a pool of talented candidates to fill the three cohorts that will help right-size Rice Business for the university, Houston and Texas.

Current Enrollment (all years)
Full-Time MBA 281
MBA for Professionals 342
MBA for Executives 129
MBA@Rice 390
MAcc 41
PhD 29
Undergrads 225
Total All Classes 1,437


Faculty News

Zhang to Head the Strategic Management Society

Yan Anthea Zhang

Yan “Anthea” Zhang, the Fayez Sarofim Vanguard Professor of Management at Rice Business, was named the new president-elect of the Strategic Management Society (SMS), starting Jan. 1. This prestigious post requires her to serve two years as president-elect, two years as president and two years as past-president.

The SMS consists of over 3,000 members from more than 80 countries, including academics, business practitioners and consultants. Members work on developing and sharing strategic management insights around the world. Zhang aims to increase SMS’s international reach, further engage practitioners and leverage the diversity of SMS membership.

She has previously served the society as associate editor of its Strategic Management Journal, representative-at-large for its Global Strategy Interest Group and representative-at-large for its Corporate Strategy and Corporate Governance Interest Group.

“I am honored to have been part of SMS for the past two decades. … I intend to work closely with all members to make SMS a more inclusive and impactful society,” Zhang wrote in her nomination statement.

Gopalakrishnan Named Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar

Arun Gopalakrishnan

Arun Gopalakrishnan, an assistant professor of marketing who teaches electives on Customer Lifetime Value and Advanced Marketing Research, was selected as a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar for 2021. The Marketing Science Institute classifies the selection of scholars as the “best young marketing academics in the world.” All are scholars three to six years post-Ph.D. who are conducting research on critical marketing topics such as emerging technologies, consumer decision making, and quantitative marketing research.

The 2021 Young Scholars will convene in Charleston, South Carolina, in June to share their research and explore future collaborations. They will be joined by representatives of member company sponsors, who are interested in sharing their business challenges and establishing ongoing ties with marketing academia’s future leaders.

New Energy Initiative Lead Announced

Linda Capuano

In March, Linda Capuano was appointed to lead the Rice Business energy initiative. Her official title is advisor to the dean on energy initiatives, and she chairs a working group focused on the future of energy education at Rice Business.

As of July 1, she will assume the role of professor in the practice of energy management. Capuano earned a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering and an M.S. in engineering management from Stanford University and has served Rice as a faculty member in the MBA for Executives program and a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. She brings broad commercial, government and academic experience to the role, having held leadership positions in large and small businesses, startups, universities and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Jobs Report

During a time of extreme market uncertainty and pandemic-induced changes in how companies recruited, hired and on-boarded new talent, Rice Business alums proved how resilient and adaptable they truly are — and how competitive in the job market. In 2020, 89% of our graduates accepted post-MBA jobs within 3 months of graduation, with an average salary of $123,786. Over 74% of accepted offers came through the Rice Business community — a testament to the network of alumni, faculty, staff and employer partners dedicated to the success of our students. In addition, 100% of our Class of 2021 students secured summer internships and other project-based work, even in an environment where companies were scaling back their hiring.

Here’s a snapshot of where our alumni went to work:

Top Industries

  1. Consulting (24.5%)
  2. Financial Services (22.3%)
  3. Technology (20.2%)
  4. Petroleum/Energy (12.8%)

Top Hiring Companies

  1. Amazon, Dell (6 each)
  2. EY(5)
  3. Citigroup (4)
  4. Barclays, Capital One, Deloitte Consulting (3 each)

Primary Source of Full-Time Job Acceptances

School-Facilitated Activities

Scheduled Interviews on or off campus for full-time employment 5 5.4%
Activities supported by career center (i.e. job fairs/conferences, employer events, information meetings, school promoted job boards) 14 15.2%
Conversion of Internship; Internship obtained through School sources 35 38.0%
Job Postings on school career systems, resume books, resume referrals by career center 3 3.3%
Other School-facilitated source 5 5.4%
School network/resources (i.e. faculty referrals, alumni referrals, classmates, campus speakers, treks, club events, class projects) 6 6.5%
Total School-facilitated Activities 68 73.9%

Graduate-Facilitated Activities

Personal contacts (i.e. previous employers, family, friends outside of school, etc.) 6 6.5%
Conversion of internship; internship obtained through graduate-initiated sources 4 4.3%
Online job postings (i.e. social media/LinkedIn, Indeed, company websites) 10 10.9%
Other graduate-facilitated sources 4 4.3%
Total Graduate-facilitated Activities 24 26.1%




No Response by Graduate 3 0.0%


Under Construction

Change is underway at McNair Hall, with a redesigned rotunda, new public art and major technology upgrades throughout the building.

Renovations at McNair Hall are ongoing, and now the second floor is preparing for its facelift, which will begin at the end of this semester. The Business Information Center is moving to the dean’s suite, while the dean’s suite is shifting into part of the BIC, leaving the main reading room as a space where the Rice Business community can have small events and gatherings.

McNair classroom

The construction that affects the second floor hallway and classrooms will be completed by the start of the fall semester. The remaining construction on the BIC, the dean’s suite and the admissions suite will be completed during the fall semester.

Meanwhile, our new work of public art, “Triple Virgo,” a hanging sculpture by artist Pae White, was installed in the McNair Hall rotunda this spring. White’s colorful disks, suspended from the ceiling of the rotunda, form a dynamic, ever-changing sphere. As White describes it, “My hope is that the artwork will reference a globe in flux, a globe where nothing is solidified or congealed — a colorful, shifting sphere of excitement, intrigue and agility.”

Art in rotunda of McNair Hall
"Triple Virgo” by Pae White

Earlier this year, the rotunda was redesigned and a new state-of-the-art video wall was installed outside the admissions office, while Classroom 116 was redesigned into a new high-tech learning facility: the Judy Ley Allen Innovation Classroom. Previous improvements included the construction of Audrey’s coffee house, a new student lounge and conference room, and a new home for Rice Alliance. The Office of Technology has since moved into the former home of Rice Alliance, and the operations staff now occupies the suite vacated by the Office of Technology. 


Back-to-Back No. 1 Rankings

For the second year in a row — 2020 and 2021 — the Princeton Review ranked Rice Business No. 1 in U.S. Graduate Entrepreneurship.

This is the fifth time Rice Business has ranked in the top 3 nationally and the 12th year in a row we’ve ranked in the top 10. The rankings were based on a survey of leaders at more than 300 schools offering entrepreneurship studies, who considered the schools’ commitment to entrepreneurship studies inside and outside the classroom. Criteria included the percentage of students taking entrepreneurship courses, the number and reach of mentorship programs, the number of startups founded by recent alumni and the cash prizes offered at school-sponsored business plan competitions.

“Earning the top spot again this year and our decades-long leadership in entrepreneurship education, anchored by Lilie Lab, and outreach, anchored by the Rice Alliance, is a testament to our visionary and world-class faculty, the enormous success of the Rice Business Plan Competition and of our commitment to our students and the community we serve,” said Dean Peter Rodriguez.

Where We Stand

According to the 2021 Princeton Review rankings, we’re also:

#5 Best MBA for Finance
#5 Most Competitive Students
#6 Best Online MBA Program
#6 Best MBA Program in Consulting
#10 Best Classroom Experience

Additionally, the 2021 U.S. News & World Report rankings put us at No. 6 for online MBA programs for veterans, No. 9 for online MBA programs overall, and No. 11 for best business analytics in an online MBA program.


No Passport Required


When full-time MBA student Tyler Clason ’22 volunteered as a missionary in Nicaragua, he contracted a severe case of Dengue fever during a regional outbreak. He later returned to the village of La Dalia determined to help relieve the suffering of the community he’d served. OneWater grew out of his promise to provide water filtration systems and clean water education to families to help save lives, reduce waterborne illnesses and ensure sustainable access to clean water. To date the nonprofit has installed over 200 water filtration systems, filtered over 2 million gallons and provided clean water education to hundreds of families.

Now Rice Business Global is collaborating with OneWater for a socially-minded case competition focusing on the clean water crisis in rural Nicaragua. In the midst of a pandemic, when international travel isn’t possible, Rice Business Global has developed innovative offerings for international exposure and immersive programs — no passport required. The partnership with OneWater also initiates programmatic expansion into Nicaragua. It offered Rice Business MBA students international consulting experience with a social responsibility focus, in addition to the core Global Field Experience consulting projects, which typically focus on for-profit businesses. 

The case competition attracted 14 teams with a total of 42 students across full-time, executive, online and professional MBA programs. Strategies from the winning teams will be implemented to help provide families in rural Nicaragua with clean water filtration systems. OneWater will work with these winning teams after the competition. To learn more, visit


Owl Have You Know

An alumni podcast tells the stories of Rice Business students, alumni, faculty and staff

A new Rice Business alumni podcast, “Owl Have You Know,” went live in October, with its first two episodes featuring Bethany Andell ’01, president of the Rice Business Alumni Association Board, and Aaron Knape ’08, also a member of the board. But even though the podcast premiered this fall, it had been in the works since at least 2018. “I was part of the original two-person planning team with Karen Crofton [’10],” says Tim Okabayashi ’05, one of the board members backing the project from the start. “We managed to spark some enthusiasm, support and creativity from fellow board members to get the approval to move ahead with the podcast.”

Their next task was finding a host. Fortunately, quite a few Rice Business alumni have experience in podcasting, and one recent alumna happens to be a professional, Emmy award-winning journalist: Christine Dobbyn ’20. “I started working at a radio station when I was 18 and have since worked in three television markets, so interviewing is in my blood,” says Dobbyn. “The podcast is a perfect way for me to use my past skills and assist in telling the many stories of Rice Business, its students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

Dobbyn is joined by co-host David Droogleever ’12, who says it was a “natural segue” to join the team because he was already publishing podcasts — although none have quite resembled “Owl Have You Know.” “This is the first time I’ve worked with seasoned professionals to access their broader network and to generate this type of content backed by a production team and funding to make it all come together,” he says.

By February, Dobbyn and Droogleever had interviewed almost 20 student, alumni and staff guests. “I hope that alumni get a stronger sense of who all is ‘out there,’ so they can make new connections or strengthen existing ones,” says Droogleever. As of this spring, the podcast had surpassed 700 downloads, and the number is growing. “Listen, subscribe and spread the word!” says Dobbyn. “Post it on social media for others to start following. It’s all part of building the Rice Business name, which ultimately increases the value of our degree — not just in Houston, but on a national level.”

You can listen and subscribe to “Owl Have You Know” wherever you get your podcasts, or visit

Listen to the latest episode:


Major News

Rice will offer an undergraduate major in business starting this fall

In response to strong demand from current and prospective undergraduate students for a deeper business education, Rice has announced a new undergraduate major in business beginning in the fall of 2021. The new degree was approved by Rice’s faculty senate in February with the support of the Rice Board of Trustees, President David Leebron, Provost Reggie DesRoches and Rice Business Dean Peter Rodriguez.

“We strive to be a forward-thinking business school for the next generation of global leaders,” said Rodriguez. “I am thrilled to say we will now be educating tomorrow’s leaders a little bit sooner.”

The new major joins the business school’s current offerings for undergraduates, which include minors in business and entrepreneurship. Current freshmen and incoming undergraduates will be eligible to participate in the new program and there will be no limit on how many undergraduates can take part in it.

Designed for highly qualified students who seek a well-rounded and in-depth foundation in business, the major will be administered by the business school and taught by our faculty. It will offer leadership and business fundamentals, including accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, strategy and communications. To complete a major in business, students must also complete a finance or management concentration, which requires additional advanced courses. Both concentrations provide the knowledge, research and analytical skills to solve a broad array of today’s business challenges.

Learn more at


You May Also Like

Social graphic block

What we've been up to on social media.

Newsfeed graphic block

Rice Business in the news.

Class Notes graphic block

News and Notes from Rice Business Alumni