Real Humans: Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, Professional MBA
Tohfe Beidas, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, Professional MBA Class of 2022
School and Program:
Undergraduate Institution & Major:
University of Houston – Supply Chain Management & Marketing, Minor in International Area Studies-Asia
Pre-MBA Work Experience:
I have been working in supply chain/operations in the chemical industry for the past five years at LyondellBasell. However, I then shifted towards talent management (still supporting supply chain) at the same company in the past year.
Why Business School? Why Now?
Ever since I graduated in 2015, I always knew I wanted to pursue my MBA to continue my growth and learning. A mentor had told me “the longer you wait, the more valuable the MBA is.” At the time, I didn’t fully comprehend the importance of that advice but now it fully makes sense! I waited about five years before deciding to go back to school. With having multiple years of experience under my belt, I am able to better understand the coursework and contribute more effectively in the classroom. Timing is different for everyone, but, for me, the current timing was right. Although 2020 was a whirlwind, I thought what better time than now to get this started.
Why did you pick your school/program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was born and raised in Houston and knew I wanted to stay local to be able to continue working throughout my MBA. Rice has always been on my radar, but once I started digging into the different offerings, I realized that this was the best choice for me. I was interested in a program that had a full campus. I also wanted to have flexibility with the courses in my second year, which Rice has a wide variety of electives to choose from. I was looking for a school that had student organizations and other extracurricular activities that align with my interests. I knew I wanted to be academically challenged and to be surrounded by such bright individuals. Diversity, equity, and inclusion were also extremely important to me, and I was fortunate to attend Rice at a time where these initiatives have grown immensely. Throughout the recruiting process, I heard the phrase “You Belong Here” multiple times. I instantly felt welcomed from the very first interactions that I had with the Rice community. Just like choosing a company whose values and culture interest you, you should have the same mindset when choosing a school.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your graduating class?
Each student brings something unique to the table and to our class, which makes it so interesting to learn about each person’s experiences and background. I believe that I bring a unique, diverse perspective, leadership experience, and knowledge. I have a passion for volunteering and giving back, and am dedicated to furthering growth and development. Nonetheless, I truly appreciate the cohesiveness despite the uniqueness of each individual.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
During the pandemic, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen baking and cooking exploring new recipes and cuisines. However, I specifically found my love for baking traditional Arabic desserts, it sparked an idea and I think I can turn into a small business one day!
Here’s another fact: when I was a senior in High School around 2009-2010, we had to write our final research paper and were required to pull resources from the Fondren Library at Rice. That was actually the last time I stepped foot on campus until my first day of class of my MBA, it almost felt like a full circle with my education. I was familiar with the area around the campus, but I had forgotten how beautiful the campus itself was.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
1. Take time to figure out your story and how all of your experiences will bring value to your application. Every portion should all relate back to the story. There should be a consistent theme throughout the application and naturally, the opportunities you take advantage of during your MBA will also relate back to the theme.
2. Do your research and figure out what you want to take advantage of when you start your MBA before you start. When you start, you will have SO many things to keep up with. If you define this early, it will allow you to take advantage of those opportunities in a timely manner to maximize your experiences during your few years at your school.
3. Once you have determined what you’d like to do, take advantage of the variety of opportunities that the school has to offer. Whether it be student organizations, electives, volunteering opportunities, internships, extracurricular programs, mentorship opportunities, or whatever the case may be – each program will help you on your personal growth journey and will help shape your MBA experience.
4. Trust the process and the journey that you are setting on. You will come across bumps in the road, but you will be where you are meant to be.
5. Lastly, enjoy the ride and have fun! It can get extremely busy, but you and your classmates are in it together and you will look back and cherish the moments that you shared with others during the experience.
What is your initial impression of the school’s students/culture/community?
Starting an MBA in the midst of a global pandemic is quite a unique experience, but I was able to experience the Rice culture early on. They quickly adapted to virtual learning to allow a safe environment for us to continue with in-person classes. Seeing various other universities in Houston remain online, we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue the learning in a somewhat “normal” environment given the situation with COVID-19. However, we are excited that the conditions are improving so we can engage in more in-person activities with much lighter restrictions for our second year. Even with the restrictions, our class has been fortunate to build great connections and friendships. With that being said, it has been a wonderful experience, and I am thankful to be a Rice Owl!