Ji Shen

Rice Executive MBA

Hometown (City and State): Shanghai, China

Undergraduate School and Major (Include Graduate School if Relevant): Missouri University of Science and Technology, M.S. Civil Engineering; Tong Ji University, China, B.Eng., Building Engineering

Employer and Job Titles: Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemical, Inc., Deputy Global Chief Engineer

What led you to pursue an MBA?
I have been educated, trained and practicing as an engineer for decades, and I have a growing interest to understand and experience the business that is beyond the numbers and equations I am familiar with. Pursing an MBA is a dream to me because I believe this prestigious degree can not only provide me with the personal satisfaction of understanding overall aspects of business, but also help me better prepare my career advancement as a future leader with exceptional analytical ability, outstanding leadership skill and strong business sense.

Why did you choose Rice for your executive MBA?
The Executive MBA at Rice is the only program that has all the characteristics that I expect from my MBA education: (1) Great reputation. Rice MBA is a highly recognized program and it is constantly ranked among the top 25 U.S. business schools. (2) Local campus:Rice is at the heart of Houston and only five miles from my office and 21 miles from home. The convenient location of the campus provides easier access to school resources, less time commuting thus more time to balance family, work and study, and more engagement with the school compared to some other school’s satellite facilities.(3) Convenient schedule: The Rice EMBA classes meet every other Friday and Saturday, which fits into my 9-80 work schedule and minimizes the impact on my work arrangement.(4) Quality networking: Most of the Rice alumna live and work in the greater Houston area and many of them are in the energy sector, which is my focused area (5) Best value: The price tag for Rice EMBA is definitely not cheap on the EMBA education market. However, Rice is one of a few top schools that can provide students with the best value with highest quality to price ratio.

What has been a highlight of the program?
After the successful completion of my first semester in this program, I was convinced that this is the right one for me. First of all, the professors are topnotch and they are extremely willing to help the students until they fully understand. Second, the program has been tailored to provide not only the class teaching and case study, but also other exciting learning environment such as guest speeches, week-long immersive study, business contacts and international trips. Third, Rice facilitates supportive resources for students, such as clubs and entrepreneurship competitions. Last, my classmates, especially team members, are extremely helpful. In addition, every student has a unique background and brings diverse views, opinions and discussions into the classroom, which supplements the classroom teaching by the professors. 

What has surprised you about the journey so far?
I am impressed by how important and critical my study group has been to help me better survive this rigorous journey. The group includes members with diverse backgrounds and expertise. However, we all share the same value of high collaboration and unselfish support. The diverse quality and supportive fellow classmates are the greatest asset to this program and one of the keys to the success of learning and networking.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
I have three tips for prospective students:  the first is to get the full support from your family and company. This program is rigorous and demands your full commitment. With your significant others’ support, your “transforming” journey can be more smooth and fruitful. The second tip is to plan ahead. Balancing work, study and life is very challenging. Good planning, prioritization and preparation are the keys to the success under stresses. My last one is to enjoy every moment you experience in the program. This experience is truly unique in life, and the journey is joyful and filled with fun.