At the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, Mindy Schuster assumed the role of Associate Dean for Administration and Finance at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mindy to our Mason School team. Her experience working in higher education at leading universities across the country will be valuable as we look to expand upon the great work we are doing with our faculty, staff, and students in the business school,” said Dean Larry Pulley.
Schuster comes to William & Mary from the University of Miami where she served as the Executive Director of Finance and Administration at the Herbert Business School. Prior to that, she served in leadership roles in the areas of administration, finance, operations, and academics at American University’s Kogod School of Business, Trinity Washington University, Howard University, and Vanderbilt University.
From Community Organizer to Higher Education
A Brooklyn-native, Schuster moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University for graduate school. Following graduation, she accepted a job working as a community organizer for a nonprofit where she helped rural Tennesseans understand the changing healthcare landscape.
Schuster’s entrance into higher education came from a promise. Colleen Conway-Welch was the Dean at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and on the board of the Citizen’s TennCare Review Commission where Schuster worked after graduate school.
“She promised me that someday she would steal me from whatever I was doing. Five years later she called out of the blue to offer me a position that she created specifically for me,” Schuster said.
This was the start of many opportunities to learn and grow beyond her years of experience or scope of responsibilities. Schuster’s first project as the Assistant Dean for Administration under Conway-Welch was to oversee a renovation project of Godchaux Hall, the historic School of Nursing building on Vanderbilt’s campus.
“I went to my first meeting with the construction team and the best way I can describe it is they spoke to me as if I were a girl, and talked at me and around me,” she explained.
After researching how to read blueprints at her local bookstore, Schuster gained the respect of the contractor and building team, managing the project to completion, coming in on time and under budget.
“It was a defining moment for me. It was the first of many building projects I have been involved in and I decided then that I was never going to be the least informed person in the room. That’s been my thruput as I’ve assumed other roles.”
Applying a Unique Perspective to the Mason School
“Because of Colleen [Conway-Welch]’s mentorship, trust, and belief in me that I could figure things out, my motus operandi with any team I have subsequently inherited has been to give them the same exposure to opportunities I had whether or not they possessed the skills required as long as they had the interest, curiosity, and desire to work hard,” Schuster said.
Now, as the Associate Dean for Finance and Administration at the Mason School, she will lead a team responsible for integral operations ranging from Information Technology (IT), academic innovation, facilities, budgeting, and financial oversight. Schuster plans to apply her unique leadership philosophy to her work.
“People may expect me to be a straight finance person, but my experience is much broader than that. I really enjoy being involved in many different areas of operations, including financial oversight, but remain centrally focused on maximizing our effectiveness and efficiencies for the benefit of the faculty, staff, and students,” she explained.
Schuster also hopes to bring her knowledge and experience to ongoing initiatives such as the growing portfolio of online graduate programs and supporting the dedicated faculty, staff, students, and Executive Partners.
“I am really excited to be a part of the Tribe and contribute to the continued success of the Mason school and the student outcomes we are so proud of.”