Executive MBA '20
Describe Yourself in 15 Words or Less:
An optimist who seeks every opportunity to be challenged.
- Father: Ruy Sr.
- Mother: Irma
- Sister: Irma (yes, like my mother)
- Wife: Karan
- 2 stepdaughters Lindsay and Leah
- Grandson Jaxon
Fun Fact About Yourself:
I posed for two Firefighter Calendars to raise money for Houston Firefighters Burned Children Fund.
Undergraduate School and Degree:
University of Houston, BS Communications
Where are you currently working?
Houston Fire Department
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:
Taking my grandson for walks to Shipley’s Doughnuts and earning the title “Pops.”
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
I conducted a study on the Houston Fire Department apparatus spatial allocations with the Rice Data Science lab that not only won the Rice Data Science competition but got presented to the City of Houston’s Homeland Security Public Safety Session.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
Being able to take what I learned in supply chain and global strategy studies to secure Personal Protective Equipment to protect my firefighters in the peak of the Covid19 pandemic.
Who was your favorite MBA professor?
Why did you choose the executive MBA program at Rice Business?
Two colleagues, Jerry Peruchini and Chris Newport, highly recommended the program and both said that I would have an experience of a lifetime.
What did you enjoy most about business school in general?
The amazing people in my cohort and friendships that I’ve made.
What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?
Think like a leader. If a problem exists, don’t just fix the problem, examine the process. Look at situations from an organizational perspective and create policies that correct processes with sustainability. When I was appointed Assistant Chief over Resource Management, I inherited an aging mismatched fleet with challenges in parts availability and training. Instead of securing more vendors and increasing training, I created a five-year plan with capital outlay that would standardize the firefighting fleet. This allowed the department to keep parts in inventory and provided for a standardized training program for both operators and mechanics.
Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education?
I got up a 5 am, read case studies during cardio, on my drive to work I listened to audio lectures or articles, read more case studies during lunch, ate dinner with the family before adding two more hours of reading before bed. Being able to combine reading or listening to class material in conjunction with other daily tasks allows you to still make time for family and friends.
What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?
Use every resource Rice offers. I used their tutoring sessions, professor’s office ours, private tutors, the study rooms after class and on weekends, networking events and went to every “partio” as possible to decompress.
What is the biggest myth about going back to school?
That your learning and retention ability has diminished. Not true! Once you are immersed in the classes your ability to retain information and process data increases exponentially. Plus, you apply your day-to-day work to your learning experience. These synergies add tremendous value to the learning experience.
What was your biggest regret in business school?
Not being able to have a global trip with my cohort or graduation due to Covid-19 but learning to adapt added value and made everyone nimbler for the future.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire?
Dr. Payman Arabzadeh – A successful physician and entrepreneur with an amazing story of hard work and perseverance yet, is the most genuine and humble person I have ever met. Every day he was encouraging to others and always had a positive outlook.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…
When I first met the Fire Chief and realized his progressive and innovative mind set was a result of his own MBA journey.
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?
To be able to pivot from my current role into a consulting position where I am able to share my experience and knowledge to better other organizations both public and private.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
Ruy never met a stranger and was always present in the moment.
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
- Take enough time off to travel the South American Coast from Chile to Colombia.
- Write a book on managing through crisis, dictating my experiences in the HFD regarding Hurricane Harvey, Prop- B, flood rescues due to 92” water main break, NW Houston explosion, and Covid-19.