Rice resources that will make you a better Ph.D. student

By Robin Mo: a Ph.D. is more than just research

Rice resources

Sitting in a Jones Graduate School of Business classroom with venture capitalists and MBA students receiving leadership training sessions from the Doerr Institute for New Leaders, listening to entrepreneurs pitching their business at Houston Angel Network and even developing your own business plan with professionals from Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship……These are not the life of a MBA student, but my life as a Ph.D. student at Rice.

Just to clarify, my primary role is still a graduate student and I spend most of my time performing research.

However, Rice has a lot more to offer.

If you are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation, Rice is the place for you. I personally benefited a lot from Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program which has been ranked as the No.1 entrepreneurship program in the world, four times in a row. Numerous resources are available to all full-time Rice graduate students (Both master and doctoral students). No matter if you are an experienced entrepreneur or just entering the field with some innovative thoughts, Rice has something suitable for you. For example, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (lilie) has workshops every month that are very useful to early-stage entrepreneurs who are just trying to understand how to start a venture. Lillie also has accelerator-like programs, such as Launchpad and Innovation Fellows Program, that provide specific training to evaluate your market segmentations, identify value propositions, develop business plans, etc. These projects will coach you with everything you need to know about entrepreneurship and startups. 

With more experienced entrepreneurs who already come up with an innovative idea, Napier Rice Launch Challenge held by lilie and Rice Business Plan Competition by Rice Alliance can provide you the platform to pitch your innovation and receive actual investments. 

Just in 2022, Rice Business Plan Competition awarded more than $2 million dollars in either prizes or investments. If you are an entrepreneur in the STEM field, there is another good news for you. Rice University is one of the founding partners of Southwest regional NSF I-Corp node. NSF I-Corp program is affiliated with National Science Foundation (NSF), which aims to provide an immense, seven-week experiential training program that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory. Selected participants of the national I-Corp program will also be awarded with a $50,000 grant. NSF I-Corp program, as well as all programs mentioned above, are open to both international and domestic students.

You said you are not interested in starting a business? That’s okay as well! Rice has a lot more to explore! You said you are interested in music; how about taking a Medieval and Renaissance music history class in the Shepherd School of Music? Interested in quantum physics? Ummm, I honestly don’t know much about it, but definitely check out the webpage of the Physics and Astronomy department! I can guarantee you will find something you like. One thing great about a small private university is that you have the freedom to take whatever classes you want (and more importantly, it’s free!). Simply obtain permission from the course instructor and submit a special request form to the registrar, you will be in the classroom with your favorite topic.

What else can Rice offer? This will be a question waiting for your answer… But you should visit the Houston Zoo, Rice has you covered! Just don't forget to bring your Rice ID. Oh, forgot to mention, Rice also offers free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts as well :).