According to a study co-authored by Rice Business professor Vikas Mittal, public schools can revitalize themselves by embracing a customer focus. “Ideally, every school’s customer should be the family—the student and their parents. Instead, leadership has become internally focused trying to appease different power brokers and stakeholders."
During the inaugural course visit to Vietnam, students from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business embraced the true spirit of the holiday season by sharing joy and creating unforgettable memories with the children of Little Rose Shelter. The Ho Chi Minh City program is part of broader efforts by the Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Association (HCWA), whose mission revolves around education, protection and care for children in Vietnam.
Participating in the business school’s annual social impact elective, students applied their business acumen to develop a marketing and fundraising model aimed at supporting the mission of the charity. The students also rallied together to raise $5,000 in donations to Green Bamboo Social Protection Center, further contributing to the well-being of Vietnamese children.
The highlight of the visit was a collective effort to deliver holiday cheer to the shelter. Students and children joined hands to decorate a dazzling Christmas tree, adorn cookies with festive decorations and engage in the tradition of exchanging gifts. The shelter was transformed into a haven of warmth and love, resonating with the true essence of the holiday season, according to Abbey Hartgrove, director of global programs and experiential learning at Rice Business.
“Seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they soaked in the holiday spirit was truly priceless,” Hartgrove said. “This experience reminds us of the power of giving, sharing, and spreading happiness during this magical time of year.”
Hartgrove shared a heartfelt thank you to the children and staff at Little Rose Shelter for opening their doors and hearts to the Rice Business students, allowing them to create beautiful and lasting memories together.
“In true Rice fashion, let us continue to support and uplift each other not just during the holidays but every single day,” Hartgrove said.
Though this was the first social impact elective in Vietnam for Rice Business, previous destinations include Colombia, Uganda, and Nepal.
“We target emerging markets, and within the business education objectives, we always prioritize opportunities to give back to the local community,” Hartgrove said.
Rice Business students also engage in an international consulting course, the Global Field Experience, as part of their core curriculum, providing pro bono consulting services to small businesses in Latin America. In 2023, this initiative saw more than 120 companies benefit from the expertise of more than 500 Rice MBA students who traveled abroad to make a meaningful impact.
To learn more about global programs and international initiatives within the business school, visit the Rice Business Global website.