Meet the MBA class of 2023: Mark Watson, Rice University (Jones)
“Sports and real estate enthusiast who likes to be a natural relationship broker.”
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Fun fact about yourself: As a member of the Tampa Bay Rays front office, I was blessed to make the 2020 American League Championship team and receive a ring as part of my efforts.
Undergraduate School and Major: Jackson State University (Business Management)
Most recent employer and job title: Assistant, Baseball Development (Tampa Bay Rays Front Office)
What’s been your favorite part of Houston so far? What made it such a great place to get an MBA? My favorite thing about Houston is the food and the diversity. Houston is full of culture and adventure, and this is amplified when looking for a place to eat in town or taking advantage of the plethora of events that take place throughout the week. I especially love how Houston is a city designed for everyone, regardless of your race, gender, religion, etc. This environment of inclusivity and cultural immersion are just two of the many reasons why Houston is such a phenomenal place to learn and grow!
Aside from your classmates and your location, What was the key element of the Rice University MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? In addition to my exceptional experience at Diversity Preview Weekend, the stature of Rice’s real estate and entrepreneurship programs played a significant role in my decision to apply. As someone who aspires to transition into commercial real estate development and eventually start their own development business, I wanted to be immersed in an environment that would regularly expose me to industry leaders. This way, I could learn not only how to start my own business, but how to scale it to a level of lasting success and impact in the communities I hope to serve.
What class, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Rice Business? The club I have enjoyed the most so far at Rice Business is the Black Business Student Association (BBSA), whose mission is to enhance the professional, academic and personal experiences of its members and the recruitment of black students. in Commerce from the Jones Graduate School of Commerce. BBSA does a tremendous job of providing a safe space and community for its members, while equipping its constituents with the resources to be successful at Rice Business from day one. Through various on-campus events and the installation of an extensive alumni database, the organization has cultivated a thorough recruiting readiness program that continues to grow.
Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: Although not a single moment in time, I take great pride in mentoring so many diverse early career baseball professionals through a development program I established while working with the Tampa Bay Rays. This program focuses on data analysis, labor economics and computer programming and aims to find the next generation of extraordinary front office minds. Over its lifetime, the program has helped over 15 diverse professionals enter Major League Baseball with plans to double that number by 2023!
Describe your greatest achievement as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment so far as an MBA student has been successfully juggling external real estate opportunities while also applying for a full-time MBA. While being in business school is a demanding undertaking, with intentional prioritization and planning, you can leverage your MBA network to also explore ancillary insights that can exponentially transform your career and entrepreneurial trajectory.
What has been the most surprising thing you have learned as an MBA student so far? The true power of a network is the most amazing thing I’ve learned so far as an MBA student. Before my experience in business school, I was aware that his network could be valuable, but I never really understood the magnitude of this notion until I set foot at Rice Business. These networks range from the various diversity networks I am part of (Toigo, Consortium, MLT) to being surrounded daily by such dynamic and successful Rice Business colleagues who hold powerful connections from their past lives. I know that at any time, I’m only one or two connections away from reaching someone influential.
What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to Rice University’s MBA program? While most will prioritize the quantitative aspect of the MBA admissions process when seeking guidance (e.g. GMAT), the qualitative component of one’s Rice Business application is also critically important. Rice Business prioritizes genuine individuals who seek to make an impact through a collaborative work style and who are genuinely excited about Rice and all that surrounds it. Those seeking admission to the Jones Graduate School of Business should be sure to hone in on their “why,” regarding not only their desire to enroll in a top 25 business school, but Rice in particular. In doing so, I recommend that you provide examples in your application that highlight life experiences that are unique, authentic, and can attest to your motivations for attending business school and this particular institution.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE RICE JONES MBA CLASS OF 2023