As a systems architect for SBC, Southeast graduate Clinton Rice leads requirements and design teams in modifying or creating new billing tools. Just imagine trying to match the wishes of marketing with technical feasibility of the system, and trying to maintain high customer service and stay within a budget while you do it. Negotiation, time-management and critical-thinking skills, therefore, are a necessary commodity for his daily duties.
“My favorite aspect of my job is the raw problem-solving element, analyzing the desired results, and working through all of the constraints to arrive at a solution,” he says.
The joy of these activities and foundation of these skills are deeply rooted in Rice’s collegiate experience. He graduated in 1992 with a degree in computer science and mathematics and immediately took a job with SBCᾰan offer that followed his co-op with the company. Rice later completed his M.B.A at Washington University in St. Louis and attributes a lot of his success to his time at Southeast.
“I have found, since I left Southeast, that the coursework set me up very well for my career relative to some people I have met from other schools,” he says.
Rice also speaks highly of the Southeast’s University Studies program, and he claims that the knowledge from these classes has enabled a greater understanding of many different areas of life outside of work. Whether or not it was realized at the time, he now knows that each of his classes has been useful is one way or another.
Aside from work, Rice is on a personal quest to visit all 50 states. Well on his way with 36, he tries to split time between cities and a state or national park during his travels to get a more complete experience.
This adventurous spirit, however, is not new. Rice recounts a University choir trip to Chicago and late-night road trips to White Castle in Festus during college as possible reasons for this.
“Most of my best memories still involve making new friends while at school,” he says. “Without the friends, it just comes down to driving a long way to exercise questionable judgment on hamburgers.”
On a more serious note, Rice gives the following advice to students, but it may serve all well to read it, “Money is neither everything nor nothing. On one hand, it is a fantastic tool with which to exercise power over your environment; while money can be used for some very shallow things, it can also be used for many noble causes, so there is no inherent lack of virtue in trying to make money. On the other hand, the accumulation of money is by no means a perfect barometer of success in life; no matter how much you make, there will almost certainly be someone you can find who is making more while doing something of questionable value.”