Hometown: Allen, TX
Undergraduate University: Brigham Young University
Class Year: 2005
Major/Minor: Geographic Information Systems
Internship: Johnson & Johnson
The pinnacle of Steven Mannewitz's career with the Central Intelligence Agency was producing the daily intelligence briefing for the President of the United States. He was recruited out of his undergraduate program first as a cartographer and then worked his way into what he references as "normal production work." But after many years of service, he eventually transitioned his family down to Williamsburg, Virginia, for more stability, accepting a civilian position with the U.S. Army at Camp Perry. Then after nearly a decade as a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian, he found himself at a crossroads.
"We had a family council. I believe in family decisions with a wife and five kids," he says. "We looked at our trajectory of where we wanted to go in life and how that lined up with where we were currently. So, we made the calculated risk of leaving full-time work and going back to school to put us on the right path for the next five to ten years."
Having lived in Williamsburg for nearly a decade, Steven was familiar with William & Mary. He knew plenty of former and current graduate students through church and other community connections. And for years, he witnessed their successes as a result of their education. But the driving factor in his decision to enroll at William & Mary was that it's local, meaning he wouldn't have to uproot his family, especially his middle school-aged children.
"It was a logical decision, but it's also a good school. I don't feel like I settled because it made perfect sense and lined up," he says.
Initially, Steven considered pursuing the Executive MBA since he had the requisite amount of managerial experience, or the Part-Time MBA because he could continue working while completing his studies. But it was the transformative aspect of the full-time program that ultimately drove him to apply.
"People thought I was nuts to not have any type of employment because I have five kids and a family. I broke the stigma of federal government workers by leaving," he laughs. "I chose William & Mary's Full-Time MBA program over other formats because I wanted a complete transformation, a springboard, a catalyst, to get where I needed to go."
While he's one of the more senior members of the full-time cohort—he'll almost be 40 years old at graduation—he's faced no barrier to owning his transformation and diversifying his business skill set.
"I already have the experience in general management, managing people," he explains. "The point of this MBA is to fill those gaps that I've lacked. Finance, accounting, data analytics—everything that the program is offering."
While he's filling in gaps academically, Steven has pursued employment opportunities that align with the importance he places on strong core values and supports the ten-year plan his family set during their council meeting. He believes he's found that through Johnson & Johnson's human resources leadership development program, where he served as an internal business consultant evaluating human capital.
"My goal is to get some real business experience at a mature company that knows exactly what it's doing. Johnson & Johnson is the poster child for that," he says.