People - the #1 value driver in my MBA endeavor

It isn't a secret, MBAs value the power of data - just type "MBA" and "data" or "quant" into your search bar and you'll be overwhelmed by the results. Yet, my experience at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business has taught me that the quantitative piece alone won't be what sets your experience apart and it won't be what sets you apart.

I would argue the diversity of people in a carefully crafted business community make the difference, particularly in an MBA program environment. Specifically, the staff, the leadership, and the professors, as well as every one of my 109 classmates have made this program an invaluable way for me to spend the last year and a half.

Global Perspectives

As an MBA candidate I cannot help but use our cohort stats above to paint a picture of how valuable diversity has been to my experience. When the program staff painted this picture for their data-hungry MBAs at orientation over a year and a half ago it was impressive. Now, I find these numbers to be an integral piece to this unrivaled opportunity. Where else than an MBA program as diverse as William & Mary's would you find another situation where you have the opportunity to be on a first name basis with over 100 people, who at any moment you can turn to and learn about how another country, another industry, or another mindset would approach a problem?

This carefully cultivated benefit is one supported by the entire program - by leadership, program staff, admissions, and professors, alike. It is a commitment they make to every incoming cohort to highlight the class's diversity by introducing each candidate to their team.

Team in this case refers to the five-person group that you are assigned to before you even sit down in your first class. The make-up of the team is designed to present you with a sample of your class's unique breadth, from years worked to other distinctions, including cultural, geographic, and trade. While far from the only group that you will work with, this early exposure to the breadth of your cohort provides you with a chance to see how critical different perspectives can be to not just to getting results, but also to finding the opportunities and solutions that you would have never dreamt of alone.

Having worked at a global public relations firm in Washington, D.C., I could have taken my communications and consulting experience, brushed up on my quantitative skills, and done well in my courses at any MBA program I applied to. But why pursue such an incredible opportunity in an educational vacuum? A vacuum where I would be limited to the number of places that I could have worked and lived. Instead, thanks to my team, and my cohort, and William & Mary's emphasis on diversity, my experience has been so much broader.

My Team

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Who made up my team? People from around the world, spanning industries, countries, and sectors. I joined an economist and part-time Kennedy Center musician; an army officer with experience leading dozens of military men and women; a patent lawyer who has as much of a way with numbers as with fashion; and a software and tech guru with a passion for understanding varying beliefs, cultures, and experiences from around the world.

Joining the MBA program with this group meant that I took into every course and deliverable with me not only my time in D.C. and my industry-specific experience, but also the perspectives of people who traveled thousands of miles and had experience with countless companies, industries, and countries. It provided me with a new way of questioning, working and solving problems. It meant I received an unquantifiable value-add to what I will take with me to my next endeavor. An endeavor to which I will have each one of these individuals to thank.

In two years, as an MBA candidate at William & Mary, you will complete rigorous deliverables required by your various courses, which amounts to over 900 in-class hours. In my experience, through all of that time in and out of class, it is the people you are surrounded by that take an academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating program and turn it into the opportunity that allows you to say, "I am more valuable as a teammate and as a leader having made the decision to pursue my MBA."