Hometown: Bay City, MI
Undergraduate University: Central Michigan University
Class Year: 2008
Major/Minor: Public Relations
Joint Degree: Ph.D./MBA
Anthony Siradakis is an unconventional MBA candidate. Before he turned 25 years old, he had earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees—in Public Relations and Human Resources, respectively—from Central Michigan University. He was working in higher education administration for several universities when he decided it was time to pursue a Ph.D. Anthony applied to ten programs, was accepted into eight, and was funded into four. After visiting each school, he knew William & Mary was the place for him.
"I wanted someplace that was out of my comfort zone," he says. "I wanted to go to a place where I treated my studies like a job. It was a really easy decision because of the feeling I had when I came down here. It's a small town. I feel comfortable. I love the history behind it. I love the access that students can have to who they need to have access to. You get to know people on a personal basis, and the resources are much more readily available to draw from."
Anthony enrolled in William & Mary's School of Education Policy, Planning, and Leadership Ph.D. program and spent three years working through the requirements. It wasn't until he met with his adviser in preparation for his dissertation that she suggested he consider taking on a fourth year of studies and apply to the Mason School's joint Ph.D./MBA program.
"I just spent more time in the business school. The more time I spent, the more I became interested in it because what it did was allow for me to say, what if I don't want to work for a big university administratively when I'm done with my Ph.D.?" he says. "It'll give me some flexibility because, with an MBA, you can work for any company instead of segmenting into academia."
His transition to the business school was a seamless one, having already spent three years on campus in the Ph.D. program. But he says there are some significant differences between the Ph.D. and MBA programs.
"A Ph.D. is entirely dependent on your work ethic. It's a solitary endeavor," he explains. "What I love about the MBA is that you do it together. I've missed that the last couple of years. You're working in teams. You're meeting people. I don't want to say it's hand-holding. It's more so a hand on your back."
Anthony also champions the Executive Partner program as a highlight and a unique cornerstone of his experience at William & Mary.
"I think I got blessed with my Executive Partners because they're straight-shooters, they're just like us, and they want to push us to truly maximize our time here. The fact that there's such access for first-year students in an MBA program to people that are going to put you in the roles that you want to be in is paramount. It's a hallmark of the program," he says.
Currently, Anthony is working on his dissertation—a look at how institutional endowments invest capital within traditional and alternative markets, the strategy, implementation, and risks associated with these investments.
"The majority of students don't see a university as a corporation. But when you're managing that amount of wealth and money, that is a company. And companies need to be run by people who have business experience," he says. "With my dissertation, I can work remotely. I can work anywhere. That's the beauty of it. I came down here for one job and one job only, and I'm almost done with that.