Hometown: Manassas, VA
Undergraduate University: University of Virginia
Class Year: 2005
Joint Degree: J.D./MBA
Ian Hutter spent 12 years on active duty flying F-18s as a Naval Flight Officer for the U.S. Navy before he decided to leave the military and pursue a joint J.D./MBA degree. At the time, he and his wife were living in Richmond, Virginia, so he enrolled at the University of Richmond. After his first year in school, his wife was offered a job at William & Mary, so he made the choice to move to Williamsburg with her and transfer his studies to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.
"My intent was always to pursue a joint degree. I knew I wanted to be able to gain some of the skills and vocabulary that an MBA program offers, but I also ultimately want to work as a corporate attorney. I thought that the two would blend nicely with a heavy focus on the law aspect of it and give me a little bit more credibility," he says.
He's found Sprint Week and the breakdown of courses into sessions, or quarters, as strong attributes to the program because of the dynamic environment it places students in.
"The professors have gone out of their way to ensure that everyone understands what's going on, and they're able to break down pretty complex ideas into chewable bites. You're only in any one class for seven weeks, so there's a constant churn that I think emulates the business world well," he says. "You're not in a rut. You're constantly trying to learn something new and adapt to the surroundings."
But more than the academics, his one-on-one coaching relationship with a former Naval pilot and corporate attorney through the Executive Partner program has been the most rewarding.
"They paired me up with someone who has a very similar background to mine. He has that perspective," he explains. "It gives me the ability to have almost like a law school adviser at the business school. It has been helpful to see how his career progressed, and he can look at my resume and is able to say these things. Here are the things I would focus on. These things here I would not focus on."
Ideally, Ian would like to work at a large firm and apply the sense of service that drew him to the military to his work as a corporate attorney by providing pro bono services, like reviewing last will and testaments, for service members and veteran's organizations.
"I could also see myself pursuing some sort of public position like a U.S. attorney or working for the state. I think that service is very important and gives you the opportunity to directly affect change at a much lower level than perhaps some corporate opportunities would," he says.
In the meantime, Ian is working through the mandatory first-year MBA program portfolio. He's already completed one year of coursework at the William & Mary Law School. Over the next several quarters and semesters, he plans on taking a hybrid of business and law classes to fulfill the elective requirements for both programs.
"The William & Mary program is great because the student body is incredibly diverse. You're able to learn so many different ways that individuals look at the same problem and how your approach may be effective in one way but not effective in another," he says. "I would say visit the school and sit in on a class. For me, that was a game changer. You just know when you feel comfortable at a place."