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Saturday, December 02, 2023 — Houston, TX

Danish delegation visits Rice business school

Katherine Hui / Thresher

By Morgan Gage     3/7/23 9:40pm

The Jones School of Business hosted a delegation from Denmark for a roundtable discussion about innovation at Rice and the potential for collaboration between the university and Denmark. Guests included the Danish Minister for Industry, Business, and Financial Affairs, members of Parliament’s committee for business and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Items on the agenda included Rice’s innovation ecosystem, the university’s relationships with the energy, space and life sciences industries and policy.

Zoran Perunovic, senior director of Rice business, moderated the discussion and began the roundtable by addressing, in his own words, what “the secret sauce” of Rice’s success was. Dean of Rice Business Peter Rodriguez attributed Rice’s success to high academic standards, generous financial aid and the unique environment Houston provides for business.

“I think the city and the region’s economy supports [Rice business],” Rodriguez said, referencing Houston’s role in the energy industry and growth in biosciences. “From the business school perspective … [Rice] has a great name for itself in innovation and entrepreneurship … Also, I would say, Houston rewards risk takers. It likes to see success … and that’s a great environment for us.”

International partnerships and collaboration  — perhaps between Rice and Denmark — were the undercurrent of the conversation. Ramamoorthy Ramesh, vice president for research, said that Rice is actively looking to strengthen their partnerships globally, pointing towards the recent establishment of a Paris satellite campus.

Mette Reissmann, member of the Danish Social Democratic party, brought up the concern of women’s inclusion and involvement in Rice’s business school operations. Out of 12 participants in the discussion from Rice, only one woman — Jing Zhou, the deputy dean of academic affairs in Rice business — was included. 

Managing Director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship Brad Burke said that Rice business makes active efforts to include women. According to Burke, over half of the startups in the business school’s intercollegiate startup competition were women, and, in this same competition, special prizes are offered for women-led startups. Among other initiatives, Rice business invites venture and investment firms that specifically invest in women-led businesses to the startup competition, Burke said.

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