MBA 2022 to watch: Alex Williams, Rice University (Jones)


“Passionate, caring, determined, blunderer.”

Hometown: Houston, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I participated in two archaeological digs, one in Rome and one in Peru.

Undergraduate school and degree: University of Southern California – BA Double Major in Archeology and Anthropology (Minor in Drama)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Seismic Exchange, Inc. – Project Manager

Where did you do your internship during the summer of 2021? Dell Technologies – Remote

Where will you work after you graduate? Dell Technologies – Senior Advisor, Merchandising

Community work and leadership roles in a business school: Strategy Association Co-Chair, Admissions Ambassador, Communications Researcher, and Follies Executive Committee Member (sketch show)

What academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of while in business school? I’m very proud to have helped build community and bonding among my cohort during a pandemic that made fellowship more difficult. I act as a broker and chameleon in contact with various people. As a result, I served as a sounding board for several classmates involved in leading our student government and clubs. I am told that I do not conform to what people generally think of an MBA student. Status was never one of my goals in business school; I’m just happy to be part of the team and help out as much as I can while fostering fun along the way.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am very proud to have obtained my PMP certification at the age of 26, because I had to research the process, complete the application, take the exam, make a financial plan and pay all the fees without the help of my employers while going through a difficult period. time in my personal life.

Why did you choose this business school? Being from Houston, Rice has an incredible reputation and provides an exceptional education. He is known to accept extremely intelligent people. I knew I was going to jump in and apply.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Utpal Dholakia was one of my favorite teachers. He challenges us while being very fair in the evaluation of our work. He always brings passion to his classes and develops people’s interest in everything he teaches.

What has been your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Rice Business hosts Partios (patio party) every Thursday. It’s a fun social event that helps students decompress, network, and get to know each other in another setting. Serious friendships, teams and bonds have been formed at Partio. Partio thinks Rice Business is very serious most of the time, but everyone also knows how to have fun, and that balance is important.

Looking back on your MBA experience, what is one thing you would do differently and why? As Admissions Ambassador, I often tell prospective or incoming students what I wish I had done differently. I would have liked to understand that the notes are not everything. The purpose of the exceptionally busy and challenging first semester of Rice Business is to find balance, plan, and figure out what matters most to you. This understanding would have alleviated the extra pressure and anxiety I was putting on myself (as a typical Type A person). Everyone should try to do well in class, but learning is most important.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Rice Business is that everyone is crazy smart and intensely competitive. Everyone is legitimately crazy smart, but the myth of “all competition all the time” is not true. I made some amazing friends during this program. We are all in the same boat.

What surprised you the most about business school? No one feels like they have a traditional business experience. I was so scared that I was the only one without “normal funds”, but everyone felt that, which led to an immediate bond between our cohort.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an advantage at your chosen school? I had an interview question about a time when I was a leader and how I influenced my team. I talked about a time I led a group on a project at my former employer and a time I led a volunteer group at our campus TV station at USC. Both leadership positions have been rewarding. In the work team, I had to motivate people from cross-functional groups. Unifying and aligning the cross-functional team to achieve our goal was the most satisfying part. Alternatively, the TV station group was made up of volunteers only. Having a high volunteer retention rate was also very rewarding because participants were not required to get involved. I believe talking about both stories and how I enjoyed each experience gave me an edge when I applied to Rice Business.

Which MBA classmate do you admire the most? I don’t know how to choose just one. Sophie Randolph, Jasmine and Brandon Johnson, and Delaney Berman ran their own businesses during the program. Nathan Rogers, Rich Nebel and James Williams are both excellent colleagues and parents. Elizabeth Walton, Gretchen Hopper, Akanksha Gupta and Timm Wooten are fantastic and supportive teammates. I know I can’t include everyone, but I love my class.

Who most influenced your decision to do business in college? My father and mother influenced my decision to do business the most. They both worked in business and my father retired as a successful CFO. They are strong, loving and supportive people who have helped me along the way, even when I wanted to be an actress at 18.

What are the top two items on your professional to-do list? My professional goals are to be a CEO and a good role model for women in the workplace.

How has the pandemic changed your outlook on a career? I’m not sure my outlook on a career has changed much since the pandemic, but I think a lot of other people’s views have changed, which is great. I love that more people realize they need downtime, and while I love being in the office, I appreciate that others like or may need to work from home. The pandemic and especially the well-executed double shift at Rice Business last year taught me how to work effectively in a virtual or hybrid team. Seeing the hybrid done right was extremely helpful in visualizing how future teams can perform.

What made Alex Williams such a valuable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Alex Williams is emblematic of the peer everyone would want in their MBA cohort: smart, highly driven, capable and intellectually curious. Her superpowers, however, lie in the way she constantly presents herself for her class, avoids opportunities to claim credit, and adds just the right amount of fun or well-placed levity to any situation (an asset which we are uniquely positioned to value in our small, tight-knit rice business community).

Alex makes a difference at Rice Business, lending his considerable time and talents to the school’s present and future – often working behind the scenes to create positive results. As an Admissions Ambassador, she nurtures the next generation of Rice Business MBA students, sharing her passion for our school and reflecting the best in our community. As co-chair of the Strategy Association, Alex has increased the range of programs available to students interested in business strategy, while advocating for funding to enable students to gain professional training in skills adjacent to strategy, including Agile methodology.

Alex also helps his peers look and feel their best. Understanding the importance of communicating well, she has been a lecturer in communications, running workshops on business communication, resume writing and interview tips, while offering recommendations to her peers to improve their presentations. and their performance.

Our MBA community – and those who connect with Alex in his many official roles, or as a kind and interested classmate – have benefited immensely from a student who presents himself in a way that values ​​and honors others, and brings strength to our community.

Adam J. Herman, Ed.D.
Executive Director, Office of Academic Programs and Student Experience
Rice University | Jones Graduate School of Business


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