Hometown: West Springfield, VA
Undergraduate University: Sweet Briar College
Class Year: 2014
Specialization: Supply Chain Management
Current Employer: Deloitte
Lauren Fithian was a rising star at the D.C. branch of a global communications firm. Her specialty was in crisis communications, but as she addressed each new client crisis, she found herself pushing to be in more strategic roles. She realized she was treating communications as a skill, not as over overarching job. Her self-actualization prompted her to explore MBA programs spanning a variety of formats.
"Every single program except for William & Mary sent me a generic response," she says. "William & Mary's response was the first email that had come through my inbox out of probably over a dozen that was a unique, personal message based on the information that I had submitted along with my inquiry. Then within minutes of sending that email, the Admissions team called me."
The personalized attention she received from the Admissions team, coupled with advice from a trusted colleague on the value of the full-time format, shot William & Mary to the top of Lauren's list. But it was her campus visit and interactions with faculty, current students, alumni, and staff that sealed the deal.
"I immediately felt like I was connected to the community and saw so much value in what an environment like that could provide," she says. "William & Mary shined brighter than all of the others. There's a healthy level of competition, but it's all about finding success together. It spoke volumes of just the type of environment it was and the value they placed on individual students."
Recognizing that a full-time program is a big investment of time and financial resources, Lauren set out to make the most of her time in Williamsburg. She was pleasantly surprised that the format of the program triggered her transformative experience early on.
"After three weeks of classes, project work, and teamwork, I could already see the difference in the value that I would be able to have for every company or team I ever worked for in the future," she explains. "I wouldn't have seen that exponential growth otherwise."
For Lauren, the camaraderie among her fellow classmates and the cohort-based model of learning has been a highlight.
"It's unbelievable to think that someone put together 120 people who are that different but share so many of the same values. It makes things like team projects, although tedious or difficult at times, so impactful. It reaffirmed my expectation that having the insight of your team members adds value," she says.
"It makes the network of alumni that much stronger. It makes the value that you get out of your experience as a student that much stronger," she continues.
Lauren specialized in operations and supply chain management because she saw many of the crises her former clients faced were due to breakdowns in those areas. After graduation, she joined Deloitte's Human Capital Practice in Roslyn, Virginia—a corporate partner with strong ties to William & Mary.
"I went through the interview process on campus, and they sent eight or nine people down from Northern Virginia. Every single one was a William & Mary graduate," she explains. "It speaks volumes to the company; that they value William & Mary as an academic institution and the MBA program in general."