It has now been over a decade since I graduated from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary. There is not a week that goes by without my putting into practice the things I learned during my time as a student there - I am not exaggerating. I completed the full-time MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship and venture capital. From the moment I had my first interaction with the university until the moment I received my diploma, my experience was absolutely incredible. To this day, I am truly proud to be part of the William & Mary family.
At William & Mary You are Not a Number
When I applied to business school I decided to send applications to four different universities, all of them in the United States. I met with each of their representatives at two fairs and on campus. The only staff member who remembered my name and was able to speak with me about my background immediately was William & Mary’s representative. Then came the campus visits. I don’t mean to sound negative but I was treated like a number at the other three schools. I had been working in front office positions in the financial services industry and my daily interactions with clients made me think, “how are these people treating prospective students this way?” It blew my mind. The moment I stepped on William & Mary’s campus I was sold! I felt like the school wanted me there and they made me feel like I would be an important contributor to my classmates’ experiences. From that moment on, I was hyper excited!
William & Mary has the Best Professors
The Raymond A. Mason School of Business is ranked third in the country for having the “Best Professors” by the Princeton Review (2019). I would like to vouch for that. Every single one of my teachers was impressive. Their backgrounds were solid and all had combined academic and real life experience that were world-class, alongside of their groundbreaking research work. Not only that, but they always found time for me during, and outside of, office hours. My all-time favorite professor, Professor Richard Ash, was so incredibly committed, that even though he commuted weekly to Williamsburg from New York, he still made time for extracurricular activity involvement and office hours and conversation. He always put his entire heart and soul into the school and his students. Dick Ash took the initiative to help William & Mary start the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center.
The Executive Partners Program at William & Mary
I was running my business while going to school. At the beginning of my first year at William & Mary, I felt that being far from my business peers and clients on the west coast and South America could potentially be detrimental to my business, La Isla. I was truly worried until I found out about the Executive Partners program. A group of over 100 business executives retired and semi-retired and hand selected by William & Mary, who have one, and only one thing, in mind: to see you succeed. EP’s attended our classes and discussed academics and business cases with us and also shared their time on and off campus for anything we needed. I had this big fear of losing touch with the real world while attending b-school but instead, I ended up strengthening my real world knowledge and skills thanks to the mentorship I received through the Executive Partners program.
William & Mary is Real World Experience
When researching MBA programs I looked for a school that would allow me to put all newly learned classroom knowledge to practice. I had decided that if a school was teaching me new business skills, they ought to make sure I had learned them correctly. William & Mary was quick to implement this. I had the opportunity to apply my newly acquired marketing skills working with one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the country. With them we were tasked to build and execute a full marketing plan which would be one of their most important marketing campaigns of the year. It involved a very well-known celebrity chef at the time. It was a very exciting and rewarding experience and all of us involved learned incredibly valuable business lessons that would last a lifetime. That was not the only project I was involved in. The other real life business involvement I had was a cross-collaboration between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center. Another student and I were tasked with proving a business concept based on the research findings of one of the VIMS professors. We learned about business and marine sciences and it was an outstanding collaborative experience!
William & Mary students are the happiest (and it has the most beautiful campus)
It’s no secret that William & Mary has the happiest students in the country! We even have the Princeton Review to back that claim up. There are many reasons why I can attest to that. The campus is absolutely beautiful and its green areas all throughout the university are one of a kind. There is also a sense of community and respect on campus that sets it apart. And, having Colonial Williamsburg steps away gives students a magical feeling, something that cannot be expressed with words, but instead, needs to be lived. Last but not least, I made some of my best friends while at William & Mary. These are friendships that will last forever.
A big thank you to William & Mary, every staff member, professor and colleague, who made my experience at the school remarkable.
Enrique Sánchez-Rivera is CEO of two fashion companies, La Isla and Don’t Eat The Homies, and recently founded the creative augmented reality development studio, Augmented Island Studios.