Hometown: South Salem, NY
Undergraduate University: Cornell University
Class Year: 2017
Major/Minor: Animal Science
Specialization: Marketing, Business Analytics
Internship: Kepler Group
Amanda Ko's passion has always been in animal healthcare. Her degree from Cornell University was in animal science and business, and she was an accomplished rider on the school's Division I equestrian team for all four years as an undergraduate. So when she ended up interning at, and ultimately accepting a full-time job with, a landscape construction company in Boston, she found herself shifting her focus.
"I worked for a year in data analysis, estimating budgeting essentially," she explains. "Really looking at consumer insights and understanding where our costs were in our processes. The position was very data-driven, but I wanted to be more consumer-facing, more dynamic in my environment."
As she started her MBA program search, she decided to attend the MBA Tour event in Boston, where she met Amanda Barth, Director of Admissions for the William & Mary Full-Time MBA program.
"I met Amanda and was totally blown away. She really asked me what I wanted, who I was, and really connected the dots for me," she says. "At that point, I had been in landscape construction, so it was hard for me to see past where I was. She was the first person to put all of the pieces together from my day-to-day and say clearly, your passion is here, with animals."
Her interest was piqued once Amanda (Ko) discovered that William & Mary's Full-Time MBA program offered focuses in data analysis and marketing. But it was her highly-personalized interaction with the Admissions team that sold her.
"Everything I saw felt right," Amanda says. "At no other school did I feel the sense of welcome, that sense of them actually wanting me here. I was not a statistic."
Amanda kept a broad perspective during the first few months of the program, delving into the core curriculum. Eventually, she decided to pursue a specialization in marketing and plans to take electives that concentrate on how consumer behavior and decision-making ultimately drive high-level strategy.
"I feel like strategy is so critical to everything we do. Every business and every decision we make has a reason behind it, so that's where I would like to go moving forward—marketing and strategy in the animal healthcare industry," she says.
In addition to the academic offerings, Amanda has taken advantage of the Executive Partner program's expertise and connections as she looks to develop professionally despite having only a few years of work experience.
"The Executive Partners are wonderful. They definitely helped me as far as professional growth, really understanding not just what I like, but how it applies," she explains. "They take it a step further from our leadership development course to our communications, and just get down to how to adjust or refine how you convey what you're thinking or what you're feeling, and make it more professional."
Looking forward to her second year in the program, Amanda is excited about making her mark on the professional world. She's grateful for the supportive community that the Raymond A. Mason School of Business has provided for her as she pursued her MBA.
"We're all in it together. The Tribe mentality, as much as it's said, is true," she says. "William & Mary is just a different ball game. It doesn't even play by the same rules in my mind as some of the other schools. I think the caliber of people in our program and the breadth of experiences they have and the program, in general, is so special. You can't really understand that unless you visit."