MBA Students Excel in Sprint Week

William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business Full-Time MBA students recently completed their Sprint Week, a week-long intensive designed to simulate real-world business scenarios and help students develop critical skills. This particular Sprint Week was incredibly challenging, as it included a crisis communications simulation that tested students' ability to respond to a major crisis affecting a hypothetical company.

Over the course of the week, students worked in teams to analyze the situation, develop a strategic plan, and communicate effectively with stakeholders handling media and board members. The event was a huge success, with students praising the opportunity to put their classroom learning into practice in a high-pressure, real-world setting.

Natalia Pinal Lara, MBA '23, highly commended Sprint Week, highlighting its value in providing an exceptional opportunity to effectively work under pressure and adapt to teammates from diverse backgrounds and varying leadership styles. She emphasized the significance of this experience, as it prepares students to encounter similar workplace situations. Natalia firmly believes that Sprint Week equips individuals with the essential tools and abilities required to handle uncertainty in a rapidly changing environment with ease.

The Raymond A. Mason School of Business is well-known for its innovative and experiential approach to business education, and Sprint Week is just one of many programs that prepare students for success in their careers. Dean Ken White says, "We are incredibly proud of our MBA students and their performance during Sprint Week. Their ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and work in teams is a testament to the quality of our program and the dedication of our faculty and staff. We look forward to seeing all the amazing things they will accomplish in their careers."

The crisis communications simulation also featured a meeting with the "Board of Directors," who grilled the students on the financial impact of the crisis and what their mitigation plan was going forward. Emily Kearney, MBA '23, commented, "The simulation forced us to embrace ambiguity and react quickly, addressing our internal and external stakeholders even without all the information." Furthermore, during his guest speaking session, Dan Webber, '02, President of Edelman Washington, D.C., shared his experience and insights into crisis management. He emphasized the significance of trust and communication in effectively managing a crisis.

Cameron Blackhurst, an MBA '23 graduate, shared that Sprint Week was initially intimidating but turned into a rewarding opportunity to apply the business principles he had learned. Working closely with a team to create a substantial presentation within a tight timeframe gave him valuable insights into integrating diverse business functions to achieve common goals. Throughout the program, Blackhurst appreciated how the faculty seamlessly blended essential business concepts with the school's high moral and ethical standards, emphasizing that principled achievement is just as important as financial gain.

Sprint Week offers a unique chance for MBA students to quickly establish connections with their peers, exposing their collective strengths and weaknesses. Despite the stressful time constraints, the project's excitement consistently overshadows the pressure. What truly sets Sprint Week apart are the guest speakers from top-tier organizations who generously share their insights, expertise, and personal stories, making the experience exceptional and unforgettable.

The Sprints were integrated into the William & Mary program as part of a curriculum overhaul that began in 2014 when the faculty and leadership of the business school made a strategic decision to commit to the full-time MBA. The best Sprints combine physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects, leading to the kind of experiential learning that students will always remember.