Lorenzo Sheppard Jr.

Part-Time MBA Alumni Class of 2020

Hometown: Newport News, VA
Undergraduate University: North Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University
Class Year: 2012
Major/Minor: Mechanical Engineering
Employer: Altria
Position: Senior Manager—Procurement Quality & Operations

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA degree?

My background is in engineering, and I love the skills set and knowledge I was able to get from that degree but after graduation, I never really found myself getting deep into the technical details. The critical thinking and problem-solving skills I gained from engineering were extremely beneficial, but I always had a passion for business so I thought an MBA would marry those two things together well.

What appealed to you about William & Mary's PTMBA program?

I worked in Richmond, but I live in New Kent so William & Mary was close to my home. I really wanted to do a program with an in-person component because I wasn't confident that I would be able to fully focus if I pursued the degree in an alternative format. I was intrigued by the disciplines that were available within the PTMBA program, specifically engineering management. I wanted to have some technical element to my MBA experience and I was able to take a lot of electives that aligned with my interest and background in engineering. The program staff also hosted several sessions in Richmond, and the folks I worked with from beginning to end were another critical part for me to make the jump and earn my MBA from William & Mary.

What aspect about the PTMBA experience did you enjoy the most?

The engagements and conversations I had with other members of my cohort was a highlight for me. I really enjoyed the in-person aspect and learning about the variety of experiences everyone brought to each class. There was always someone who had a unique perspective or unique scenario that they could share and help me look at a situation through a different lens.

What did your support network look like as you navigated through the program?

My wife was extremely supportive. She knew it was a passion of mine to go back to school and get my degree, so having her support was a huge piece. The same can be said for our families—my parents and her parents. On top of that, my company was very supportive and was flexible in allowing me to leave early if I had to study for a test or prepare for a presentation. My manager trusted me to get my work done and was confident that I would still be able to deliver on my professional responsibilities even if I had to make adjustments for school.

What impact did earning this degree have on your professional work?

I always thought it was valuable when mentors would tell me you can go back and earn an MBA at any point in your career, but there is more value in having a few years of work experience under your belt before going back. I was able to apply what I learned at William & Mary in my job, and share my experiences with members of my cohort. We all learned so much from everyone's situations and I was able to turn around and apply those lessons in real time to work.

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