Chelsea Mandello

Class of 2021

Undergraduate University: Ball State University
Class Year: 2011
Major/Minor: Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication
Employer: Troopster
Position: Founder & CEO

What prompted you to return to school and earn an MBA?

In 2018, I knew that I would be transitioning out of the military. By that time, I had grown Troopster from this operation that I was running out of my house to having a storefront in Norfolk. Those first few years, I really stumbled through a lot. If there was a pitfall or an obstacle, I collided head-on with it. I had mentors helping me, but I wanted to have the tools, capabilities, knowledge, and experience to make executive decisions on what the business should do.

Why did you choose William & Mary's EMBA program?

I wanted to go to a school that I felt would really prepare me. I started asking friends who were at different universities in the area. William & Mary was the only program that all of the people I asked—from students to faculty—they said they loved it. I never heard a bad word about William & Mary.

What was the EMBA experience like?

It truly met every expectation that I had. I can now see why every person I spoke to from William & Mary thought so highly of it. The program was beyond phenomenal. The professors are the best I've ever had in my life. They are subject matter experts, they're engaging and enthusiastic, and they are really committed to the students. It's nice to feel the enthusiasm from the faculty when you're in class.

What value has this degree brought to you professionally?

Right away, I was able to apply topics that I was learning in the classes directly to what I was doing with Troopster. In fact, every class I had at William & Mary—from financial accounting to marketing to organizational behavior—has impacted how I operate my company.

How did the EMBA help you grow as a business leader?

From my perspective of business overall to how I approach my day-to-day operations with Troopster, I have grown as a leader. My perspective has changed because the EMBA gave me more insight into how I could effectively manage operations and grow the company in a feasible manner. Prior to the EMBA program, I was limited to the experiences that I had as far as running operations. Now, my scope has widened to the potential for where we can go and the capabilities we need to get there.



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