Keeping Her Future Open
Mara Senchak is a senior Accounting and Government double major with a Marketing concentration who is committed to trying new things as frequently as possible. How has her business education prepared her for a wide range of future possibilities?
Planning Ahead... Or Not...
One of the most interesting things about me is that I have never had a plan. I've never had a set career path, or a clear vision for my future. I used to characterize this as a "lack of direction," and it was my least favorite thing about myself. However, because I've kept an open mind, I have explored a plethora of different activities and studies on campus. Every semester, I have tried to take one or two classes just because they sounded interesting. I have taken classes in Film, classes in Gender Studies, Archeology, Acting, even Creative Writing. I'm majoring in Accounting and Government, but I had no idea that was going to happen when I was picking my first semester of classes. When picking my last semester of classes I still wasn't sure what would happen, and now I'm throwing in a Marketing concentration and Group Piano 1.
Rounding Out a Path
I am passionate about rounding out my life and myself. I am trying to make a conscious effort to diversify my extracurriculars and day-to-day activities. College, and life, can easily become mundane and rigid if you don't make purposeful additions to your day. I am passionate about experiencing things I haven't experienced before, and that can be anything from a Capella concerts to canoe battleship to Eating Death by Chocolate cake from the Trellis. Trying new things, or even trying the same things with different people, can make what would be a forgetful day an irreplaceable experience.
When I first traveled to Virginia, I had not heard of William & Mary. My dad threw it onto my college road trip, but I had no intention of going more than three hours away from Jersey. However, while walking around campus on the tour, I found myself smiling and I was happy to be experiencing life in that moment. Ultimately, that's what made the difference when it came down to my top two choices - perhaps not the most pragmatic criteria, but it worked out well. Applying to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business was not something I ever thought I would do when coming to campus. Thankfully, I have a habit of taking classes outside of my comfort zone and loving them. I also tend to be a bit impulsive. Principles of Accounting did it for me. Professor Wagih Dafashy was a phenomenal professor, and he opened my eyes to a subject I never thought I would enjoy. I realized that, as someone with uncertain aspirations, business was a subject of study that I could apply in an infinite number of ways.
Principles of Accounting inspired me to apply to the Business School, and it also inspired my Accounting Major. However, as I was involved in the Foundation Semester, I was very drawn to my Principles of Marketing course. I have always been creative, and part of me is constantly looking for a professional way to apply my artistic side. After taking my Foundation Semester in Spring 2017, I switched my major from Accounting to Marketing. However, before the summer was over, I had switched it back to Accounting. It has been hard for me to choose because there are almost no similarities between the two disciplines. I decided (quite recently) I would concentrate in Marketing. Although it isn't a traditional combination, I actually think accounting and marketing work very well together. My major and concentration allow me to view business from two entirely different perspectives, rounding out my Business School experience. They challenge me in diverse ways and allow me to be continuously engaged in my education.
Engaging with Campus
I like to think that I impact/engage with William & Mary and the Business School on the individual level. In high school, I was extremely involved activist-driven organizations, and I often spent my after-school hours at bake sales raising money for different causes. I don't regret my time spent, but I decided in college to make my main extracurricular supporting my friends. I'm still engaged in clubs on campus, but my impact comes from the relationships I build with individuals. The best part about building relationships is that the impact goes both ways. I've come away from William and Mary and my business school experience having met people who have changed me, and I hope I've made their lives a bit brighter in turn.
Professor Rosenfeld was one of my favorite professors from the Foundation Semester. I had many intelligent, inspiring professors before, but none quite like Professor Rosenfeld. As with Accounting, I was skeptical about finance. However, with her help and guidance, I was able to master a subject that intimidated me. Professor Woods was another amazing professor, who spent hours with me discussing accounting and also life. I've always had great professors at William & Mary, but in the Business School I've had the pleasure of meeting great mentors.
After graduation in the spring, I'm actually considering taking more classes in the sciences at my local community college. Although I anticipate working in the business world for a while, I would ideally like to apply into a dental program within the next five years. (I did say I was a bit impulsive!) I have always wanted to be a dentist, but decided to try new things and explore different avenues in college. However, that desire never quite went away. Over winter break, when my dentist told me I had a cavity and would have to schedule another appointment for the next day, I was the most excited I had been in a month. I later decided I was either insane or meant to be a dentist, so I'm considering the latter for now. In five to ten years, I have no idea where I will be - and I'm glad.
Scoring a Holistic Education
Senior Elysse Branton is a Finance major with a Consulting concentration who is also captain of the Women's Varsity Soccer Team. How has she utilized Mason resources to craft a holistic IPS?
Soccer and William & Mary
I am, and will always be, passionate about sports. Sports have been a part of my life for longer than I can remember. Sports and business have overlapped in two significant ways for me. First, I joined the Sports Business Club at William & Mary, which gave me a place to meet other people that had similar interests to me and learn more about how sports and business interact. Second, sports have made me very competitive, determined, and team-oriented, and I think that translates very well into the workplace.
I decided to come to William & Mary at the very beginning of my junior year of high school. The reason I made the decision so early was because I was coming to play soccer here, and commitments to play are much earlier than a “normal” college timeline. I toured and came to the school many times before making the decision. I fell in love with the campus, the people, my team, and the coaches. I had two goals/dreams when making my decision on colleges. First, I wanted to make sure I went to the best academic school I could. Second, I wanted to be able to play Division I soccer. William & Mary was the perfect school for me. It has unmatched academics with an amazing soccer program.
Figuring Out the Future
When I came into college, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future. My parents always told me that they still didn’t know what they wanted to do, and they had an entire career! That made me feel much better about my path. My sister was a business major at JMU, and suggested I take the prerequisites for enrolling in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business to keep my options open. During my first semester of college, I took microeconomics and loved it! I knew that I wanted to know and learn more about economics, but I also wanted to have the knowledge from other specialties like marketing and analytics. The Business School gave me the opportunity to have a holistic learning experience about the business world.
Over the years I have been able to take more classes for my enjoyment and to further my knowledge in a specific field. Especially now that I am in Business School I have had more flexibility to take classes that I want to take, just to learn more. I can especially attest to that this semester. I am able to take a Risk Management Class and Sustainability and Innovation class because they sounded interesting to me.
Making an Impact
A huge part of my impact and engagement at William & Mary is being a part of the Women’s Soccer Team. This was a huge time and energy commitment that has been 100% worth it. It shaped me into the person I am today, and being able to represent my school on the field was such an honor.
I am also members of the Finance Academy, Women in Business Club, and Sports Business Club. I do not have huge roles in these organizations, but I am able to learn more about different aspect of business through guest speakers and meetings. Recently, I attended the Financial Round Table that was held by the Finance Academy. This was a great experience to hear what experts and professionals in the field of finance think about the current economic situation. Another amazing benefit to being part of the Finance Academy is getting updates on various job openings and opportunities. This is how I heard that Microsoft was looking for candidates! From there I applied, and I am so lucky to have people providing this information to me daily.
One of my favorite professors in the Business School is Professor Guthrie. She taught me in my first core finance class (Financial Management). She was an amazing teacher! Her class was very difficult, but I felt that after completing the course, I really understood the concepts. She took the time to get to know her students, and was there whenever you needed help. Having such a great base knowledge helped me as I moved onto higher level classes such as Money and Debt Markets. Professor Guthrie is the person that really got me interested in finance!
My next step will be moving down to Atlanta to begin working at Microsoft Corporation in July of 2018. I am very excited for this opportunity! I am also very grateful for the Business School for preparing me for the interview process and life after school.
Five years from now I hope that I will be settled down in Atlanta, and have a house. I hope to be a manager or moving into the direction to become a manager at Microsoft. Outside of work, I hope that I have a great group of friends, and that I am immersed in various activities (soccer, coaching, cooking).
Senior Carson Sweezy self-designed his major, The Cross Disciplinary Studies of Media & Communications Theory and Practices, in order to study relationships and communication. How do his academic studies intersect with entrepreneurship, innovation, and business?
Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, and William & Mary
I have my real estate license in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. and have worked for three startups in the real estate industry. After being featured for unique social media marketing on Snapchat and Tinder in 2015, I spoke at Inman Connect, one of the largest residential real estate conferences in the world. In 2016, I launched the GrindDaily podcast where I interview youthful creative innovators (entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, writers, chefs). I’m an Executive at the Kairos Society, a global venture fund and fellowship investing in the brightest young innovators who are solving the world’ biggest problems by rethinking broken industries. In August 2017, I founded Crave, a food delivery start-up for William & Mary students, by William & Mary students. Its mission is to enrich the College’s food ecosystem by creating a community-driven approach to food access.
My greatest passion is people. Relationships mean everything to me and human connection is essential to my everyday life. Being with people, meeting new people, connecting people, having deep connection with people, sharing creations like food with people it all empowers me. Beyond that, cooking is my release. I’ve been cooking since I was four. It gives me an artistic outlet to share with others.
When I decided to put my real estate career on hold to finish school, I thought to myself “which college would allow the most dynamic learning environment for what I call my personal development retreat”? William & Mary, with its welcoming, open, and diverse community, packed with amazing people and resources was that place! I felt this sense of community every step of the way. From visiting the campus, to communicating with admissions, faculty, students, and alumni, the environment stood out as having everything I value.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
I self-designed my major and “hack” my way through college, deriving a specific value from each class. While a handful of the courses within my major are in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, my self-designed major (The Cross Disciplinary Studies of Media & Communications Theory and Practices) is not exclusive to the Business School. Initially pitched as a “Sales Degree,” my first attempt at self-designing a major was rejected. I went back to the drawing board with the inspiration of Professor Devgan of the Sociology department. I realized my real interest was in how we communicate with each other and how the medium that we choose affects that communication. William & Mary, through its liberal arts approach, has helped highlight the value of honest and true meaning in everyday relationships. It’s given me many lenses with which to see the world. Through Anthropology, Film & Media Studies, Sociology, Linguistics, Negotiations, Marketing, Design Thinking, Writing, American Studies, Journalism, and Speech classes I can study under amazing professors and gain new ways of thinking about how we communicate. In this sense, my education is based in the humanities. The courses that teach business “practices” become playgrounds for me to experiment with the thoughts, structures, theories, and phenomena I learned in the other courses.
Dean Dahnke and Susan Grainger have been tremendously supportive in my education. Through enrollment in business classes, I’m able to enter a class with my own set of questions that I want to understand further. I take the professor’s structure, understanding, and presentation of problems, borrow that lens, and use it to tackle my inherent interests. This system has proven to be the most enlightening experience of my education, strengthening both my professional and academic interests.
Connecting with Campus and the Business School
On campus, I love engaging with students of all majors. This is the most involved campus I have ever been a part of and with so many bright young minds there are endless possibilities for engagement, networking, and friendship. In the Spring of 2017, we hosted “Showing Up Naked” a community event where students shared raw personal narratives in front of strangers. Round two of “Showing Up Naked” occurred in November of 2017.
The Students of Hip-Hop Legacy is the club I’m most proud to be a part of. No one joins the club for a resume boost. Its sole purpose is community. The club is super laid back and we mostly gather to talk about hip-hop, culture, and make music and the club puts on amazing concerts and partners with organizations like Rocket magazine to put on events like the ASTRAL Fashion Show.
Within the Business School, I’m heavily involved in the Entrepreneurship Center and love finding ways to help it grow. In some schools, entrepreneurship is pushed to the side, but at William & Mary it is the rising star. In addition, I’ve worked on projects for the newly-formed student-run marketing firm, Agency 1693. With my marketing and sales expertise, I will provide expertise through tangible, real-world projects.
So far, Professor Henshaw’s Entrepreneurial Ventures class has had the biggest impact on my Business School experience. Along that line, the Miller Entrepreneurship Center has been the most engaging and interactive experience that I participate in at the Business School. It’s not a club, but more like a group of friends getting together to work on projects together. The community environment is swarming with ideas, banter, and resources.
In the future, I’ll continue to meet amazing people, ask questions, and solve problems. In five years, I see myself enjoying the wonderful adult relationships I have built over the last five or six years. I’m beyond excited to see where my friends will go, the amazing things they will do, the experiences they will be a part of, and the problems they will solve. In ten years I expect to see these same friends running the world. I plan to do what I can to help them however possible while personally pursuing problems to solve.
Alexa Bowe is a senior Marketing major with a concentration in Innovation and Design who is passionate about helping others succeed and recognize their true value. How has she utilized her talents in psychology and business?
Finding William & Mary
At first, stumbling upon William & Mary was a "happy accident." I needed another school to apply to in my local area, and William & Mary was in my search results. Quickly, though, I learned two things: first, I learned that the culture of this university is one that fostered by close-knit relations; second, I learned that the Raymond A. Mason School of Business was ranked 1st in undergraduate marketing programs across the country by Bloomberg in 2013. I knew then that I had to apply. Business and psychology had been the only areas I have ever wanted to study, and marketing gives me the best of both.
I'm legally blind, but most people would never know it unless I told them. I've loved critical thinking from a young age, constantly thinking in puzzles and always trying to find the best solution. I'm big-picture oriented to see the overall idea of any journey, but just detailed enough to notice the important things along the way. I'm naturally a strategist and less creative, but I put more effort into the later to develop those skills. I always need a starting point for anything-any strategy, creative project, interior design, travel experience, or even a recipe-but from there, I can go anywhere. I truly believe it's about the journey.
I'm passionate about helping others achieve success. It can be difficult to see beyond your perception of yourself to understand the true value that you bring to any situation. We sometimes focus too much on our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, disabilities, etc. separately without seeing how they work together as a whole package. This pertains to individuals, groups, and organizations alike, and that is why I decided to study marketing-it's more than just learning about individual parts of an organization or their customers, it's about understanding how the entirety of the organization, including its customer base, comes together in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
At first, my IPS was centered around studying abroad. I wanted to visit other countries and experience their cultures; I thought it would give me a larger perspective on business in general. My IPS has evolved greatly since then. Though I still want to visit other countries-and eventually work and live abroad-there are many ways to experience other cultures right here in the USA by focusing on the benefits of diversity and how to foster it. Much of my IPS outside of my marketing major includes psychology, sociology, and American Studies courses that focus on race, gender, and disability relations. I have also interned at several organizations where my job was centered around understanding people from both a marketing and human capital perspective. All of these experiences led me to my current leadership position now at Agency 1693, where I head the HR department.
I have used much of my time at William & Mary to prepare for and excel in the Business School. But also, one of my main goals was to prove that someone like me-disabled, female, African American, and working-class-could achieve success if s/he worked smart enough. Working hard is a great characteristic, but we don't all have the same starting point in life, and it's okay recognize that. But it's also important to know how to utilize your talents. Your personal strengths-your own competitive advantages-are your foundation for success. We are not just our weaknesses and disadvantages; we are also what we have achieved in spite of them. It's not about where you started, but where you're going.
Connecting with Professors
I owe my deeper understanding of marketing to Professor Dawn Edmiston. She taught me the value of marketing myself as an individual and an organization to its customers. It is not enough to have a great product or service; you also have to have a story to tell, and every person and organization has a story. She helped me see that. I took both her Advertising and Marketing Strategy courses; I strongly believe that if there was only business professor that any student could ever have, it should be her.
I also owe my enriched business experience to Professor David Long, whose Organization Behavior course jumpstarted my interest in industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology. This piece of business is highly important because it is, essentially, internal marketing. Organizations need to know just as much about their employees as their consumer base; motivations, trust, culture, and the work itself are all key factors in creating an efficient and satisfactory work environment that benefits everyone involved. Internal marketing, I have come to find, is just as important as external marketing.
I plan to work in corporate marketing, HR, or consulting. All of these options interest me for a variety of reasons-and all pertain to my IPS-but consulting is my primary choice because I will be able to touch multiple organizations and possibly assist them with both marketing and HR. I would like to travel as well to gain that international experience that I forewent here at W&M, so hopefully my career path will take me in that direction. Eventually, I would like to be an entrepreneur and start my own consulting company to help organizations with encouraging diversity of race, ethnic background, gender, ability, and (most importantly) thought.
In five years, I see myself probably on my second job, knee-deep in my career adapting to the fast changes in the business world, and pursuing my MBA. In ten years, I'll probably have a totally unexpected job and (hopefully) have had the opportunity to live abroad-or at least visit a few times a year. I'll also be back at William & Mary to talk to the students and give back to my alma mater. But who knows? Anything is possible.
Defending the Liberal Arts
John Murphy is a Marketing major and History minor who found the Business School through a case competition. How has he applied his dual liberal arts and business education to the defense industry?
Deciding on William & Mary
I came to William & Mary because it was the in-state school where I thought that I would fit in the best. I felt that William & Mary provided an elite education, while also being composed of a student body filled with diverse and interesting students. I applied early decision, was accepted, and I haven’t looked back. I ended up at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business almost by chance. A group of good friends and I entered a case competition for the retailer Kohl’s. We performed very well in the competition, and eventually flew to Milwaukee to present in front of executives at the Kohl’s headquarters. I discovered that skills I had developed in liberal arts courses like History or English translated easily to market research and strategic analysis. I found myself enjoying the work so much that it was my favorite thing to turn to—at home, late at night, in airports and train stations, I always wanted to go back to the Kohl’s market research. After the competition was over, my friend Kent Rollins gave me a little pressure to think about how a next step could include the Business School, and before long, I was totally committed to applying.
Business and Liberal Arts
I’ve always been very interested in international defense and security, which might seem more oriented toward studies in government or international relations. However, my business education is a better fit than some might expect, because in my opinion, it is less about what you learn than how you learn. Although the business knowledge I receive here is important in every sense, how that knowledge is communicated is even more important. All my professors this semester—such as professors Stauffer, Long, and Williams—focus on applicable, big-picture perspectives on how to implement what they teach into almost any industry. I think a lot of people might look at a business program and imagine only finance or accounting, and think that because those aren’t their interests they don’t have a place here. In reality, you can fit your passion into a business education. I would call myself very lucky because I understood how wide the Business School’s program of study is and allowed it to open up possibilities for me.
In a defense-related internship I had this past summer, I was often the only person in the room with any kind of business education. As a result, I led a lot of the marketing activities for their brand-new program. I did not necessarily need to know everything about the particular product, but I did need to know how to work it into a global market.
Initially, my Individual Program of Study was based around trying to get my skills to fit into a business environment. But I quickly understood that the holistic nature of the Business School made it so I could do the reverse, and apply business skills to a wide variety of possible post-graduate applications.
Getting Involved at the Business School
I focus a lot on entrepreneurship offerings at the Business School, because I feel that the soft skills that go into presentations and the creative, fast-paced thought of a startup have far reaching applications. I interned for a firm this summer that was made up of almost 12,000 employees in 25 countries, but essentially, I saw the pattern of entrepreneurial thought and management tactics replicated again and again on a small scale throughout the whole of the firm. It was enlightening to see how mastering the small-scale contributes to the big picture.
I was only at the Business School for one semester before going abroad to Seville, Spain, so I’ve been waiting to get into certain activities until I had the time to keep up with them. Therefore, for this coming year, I am excited to keep up my entrepreneurial interests by participating in whatever the Entrepreneurship Center has to offer, especially events like Catapult and Rocket Pitch in particular.
The Entrepreneurial Ventures course with Graham Henshaw was enormously valuable for me to see how smart business strategies start from the ground-up, starting with the very conception of a business venture. It demonstrated a pattern of thought that really has to do with all of business strategy, not just a startup environment by any means.
Andrew Lloyd Williams, an Executive Partner, was unbelievably accessible and helpful for the Kohl’s case competition that brought me to the Business School. He is a great example of the amazing resource that the whole Executive Partner program constitutes.
I am really excited currently to be getting into the meat of my marketing major at this point, so in the very short term I’m just excited to enjoy the courses I am in. However, I would love to add an Entrepreneurship concentration to my IPS if possible, although I will have to see how flexible I can make my schedule during the second half of Senior year.
My time in Seville was an unbelievable experience, and totally sold me on the rewards of practicing a new language, as well as the importance of learning through experience. In five years or so I would love to be back in Europe, either pursuing an MBA through a European program, or ideally working for a firm that contributes to global security in some way. I would love to be out and exploring as much as possible. Ten years…honestly maybe doing the same thing, that sounds pretty good to me.
Hasini Bandara is a Public Policy major and a Business Analytics minor who hopes to gain business experience before moving into a public sector role. How has she used her broad skill set to build strong communities?
Deciding on William & Mary
I am a first-generation Sri Lankan American. My passion for learning is inspired by my mother’s immigration story and fierce dedication to her education. I have a consistent hunger for learning about and trying new things — everything from new cuisines and traveling to new cities to learning new management techniques and visualization tools.
I am passionate about making genuine connections with the people that I come across in my life. I love being able to hear their stories, understand their journeys, and learn about the hardships and joys they have experienced in their lives. Building and learning from these relationships drives me to become the best version of myself — a person that strives to be empathetic, gains perspective, and does what she can to help others and mitigate struggles they face. I was drawn to studying business because I felt that it would aid in my ability to help others through the development of so many multifaceted skills, including networking, collaboration, and learning to make information easily digestible and efficiently processed.
Developing a Creative Perspective
I grew up envisioning myself attending a massive city school in California — something that felt secure because it was the same path my older sisters took. During my senior year of high school, I toured William & Mary and witnessed a strong sense of genuine care coupled with a drive for excellence among the students I engaged with. This sense of community made me entertain the idea of creating my own unique path. Quickly, 14 college applications turned into one early-decision commitment to the Tribe.
I applied to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business in the Spring of 2015 because I wanted to better my skills in networking, technology, and analysis. I wanted to be surrounded by others that were driven and competitive, yet supportive and understanding. I was very lucky to be accepted and am fortunate to have witnessed growth in these skills since I entered the Business School.
As a Public Policy Major, I have tried to dabble in as many subjects as possible to contribute to a worldlier perspective. After taking several courses in sociology, government and economics, I wanted to learn more about the quantitative tools that could aid in my ability to problem-solve. I was beginning to understand, through the rest of my education, that work in the humanities can be greatly strengthened if coupled with business acumen, and that public policy must meet the social needs of the most vulnerable, but is not feasible unless it engages the business community and utilizes data-oriented approaches. This inspired my pursuit of a minor in Business Analytics. My classes have centered around analytics theory and direct application of tools — everything from Advanced Modeling Techniques to Lean Six Sigma.
Interacting with the larger community at W&M drives my day-to-day engagements at the College. As in the Director for the Internal Affairs for Alma Mater Productions (AMP), the campus programming board, I spend a majority of my time outside academics managing all membership engagements and the organization as a whole. After experiencing work as an intern, member, chair, and director, I have gained a broader understanding of the importance of each person’s contribution at every level within the AMP. I have been able to apply my business education in learning how to make our organization more efficient, resourceful, and management-friendly. AMP has given me the opportunity to engage with several facets of the William & Mary community, gain experience in customer service and branding, and given me a great network of friendships and mentors.
Beyond AMP, I am involved as a campus tour guide, Peer Health Educator, and Academic Peer Advisor. Involvement in these activities is inspired by giving back to the resources that aided me so much as a prospective-student and current member of the college community. These roles allow me to build on my passions of engaging with people on a daily basis and providing them with the resources to aid in their journeys of progress. Beyond my day-to-day work at the Business School, I am a Communications Team Member for the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center, which has allowed me to serve as a resource for students as I build on my incredible network of colleagues at the Mason School of Business.
I have really enjoyed my time in the Business School, including countless group projects, late nights in collaboration rooms, and educational events with tons of free food! However, what sticks out to me is my experience with great professors and time spent in the Entrepreneurship Center. Each time I walk into the center, I find it to be such a welcoming and inspiring atmosphere that entertains even the wildest of dreams. I feel supported and am consistently reminded of my future potential. In addition, classes I have taken under strong female professors of color — particularly Professor Tonya Boone and Professor Chon Abraham — inspire me to work and excel in the world of business. Their success stories and humility encourage me to work toward achieving my goals, both inside and outside of the classroom.
My next steps are centered about strengthening my quantitative skills and experience in the private sector. In five years, I hope to apply my business acumen to the private sector. In ten or fifteen years, I hope to switch and apply my experience to the public sector, specifically in strengthening efficiency within the United States government. I hope to be travel and take on many adventures to continue to broaden my perspective!
Finding a Fit
Senior Nic Logan is an Accounting major with a Computer Science minor who is graduating in three years. He is completing the Masters of Accounting program as his fourth year! How has his love for learning shaped his IPS?
Coming to William & Mary
During my senior year of high school, I was torn between a couple of colleges I had gotten accepted into. I was having a tough time trying to decide until one day my dad took me aside and asked me, plain and simple, which school I felt the most comfortable at. I instantly said, “William & Mary.” I have not looked back since. Applying to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business was an easy choice in comparison. I had always known I wanted to study business, so as soon as I was eligible I went ahead and applied.
I am passionate about learning. I know it sounds cheesy, but I love figuring out how and why the world works. Specifically, I love to read and learn about different brands, companies, and successful people. Majoring in business was a natural extension of my interests because it lets me study how and why companies and people make decisions.
When I was growing up accounting was the last job I wanted to do (my dad is an accountant). But as I was applying to college and after taking Principles of Accounting, I started to see the appeal. Accounting is the language of business, and it was the major that I felt was the best fit for me and my interests.
I am also a member of Phi Sigma Pi (PSP), the co-ed honors fraternity here on campus. I’m in the second semester of being a treasurer for PSP, where I get to apply my accounting education. I am also a Vice President for the Gibbs Accounting Society. I was involved in the Accounting tutoring program last year.
Professor Foster has been one of the most influential professors in my school career. Even though I never actually had her as a professor, I was introduced to her freshman year and she took the time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about my future. I do not know what I would have done without her advice on how to complete the Business School curriculum on time and how to best prepare for the Masters of Accounting program.
I am graduating in three years and completing William & Mary’s Masters of Accounting program as my fourth year. This is something that I am able to do because of the credits I came in with, and I am excited to pursue this path.
In five years, I see myself working at a public accounting firm, hopefully managing a team by five years. I am starting off in public accounting, but I am going to let that take me where it goes. I have no set end goal for my career; if I continue to enjoy what I do, I will be happy.
Investing in Creativity
Alexandra Marto is a Finance major with a Creative Writing minor who is committed to combining her solid foundation in business with her knack for creativity. How has her unconventional combination of academic coursework and internship and co-op experience set her up for a promising future in investment banking?
Deciding on William & Mary
I didn’t know much about William & Mary before Admitted Students Weekend, and during that weekend, I fell in love. The community was nothing like I had ever encountered and I knew that I was home.
Developing a Unique Perspective
I love creating. The most human aspect of us is the ability to make something out of nothing, to rethink and revolutionize the world around us. Learning business allows these dreams and ideas to become a reality. Creating things or services that makes a better society, and a better world is what I aspire to build with my education in business, on a local and global scale.
My parents own a boutique Italian restaurant in NYC; I naturally had a passion for business and entrepreneurship growing up with a family-run Italian restaurant, so the decision to apply to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business was easy. The journey was hard, yet rewarding. I have had incredible opportunities though networking, my IBM co-op, and special classes like Student-Managed Investment Fund.
An Enriching IPS
Throughout my IPS, I have kept my mind open and sought out opportunities that would enrich my knowledge and test my talents in the finance world. At first, I thought that I would just take as many classes as I could, talk to professors, and have a fantastic summer internship. However, during Meet the Firms, I was presented with an opportunity to join IBM for 6 months as a full-time corporate financial analyst. I discussed my plans with Rita Murphy and the Undergraduate Office to see how I could accept the position and still finish in May of 2018, and ended up accepting the offer. I spent six months working for IBM in Watson Internet of Things Division in New York. I am proud to return with my degree on track and unparalleled real-world experience to accompany my senior year job search. This semester I am proud to be an analyst for the Student-Managed Investment Fund, which allows me to perfect stock pitches before starting my career.
A Life-Changing Experience
The Business School has completely changed my life. Modeling my IPS through the doors that the Business School has opened for me has better prepared me for the real world and made me feel more equipped than my competitors. I believe my choice to come to William & Mary and later the Business School were ones that pushed me farther than I could have dreamed.
The biggest highlight of my Business School experience was my experience with IBM. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that sparked in me new passions for finance and business that were hidden. I was able to substantially contribute to a Fortune 500 company before I finished my undergraduate degree. I uncovered knowledge and talents that I didn’t know I had. SMIF, Principles of Marketing, and Global Strategic Management were courses that gave me real-world scenarios to work through and perfected my communication/leadership skills.
My next steps are to work for an investment bank. I want to do M&A and I am in the midst of applying for the big investment banks in the New York City area. I hope that my real-world skills and ability to learn and adapt to new and unfamiliar environments will help me thrive in the finance world.
In five years, I hope to have finished my MBA at the Stern School, the Wharton School, or the Darden School. After finishing my MBA, I hope to go back to the firm I have been working for in a higher position, like director or general manager. Then five years after that, I hope to be onto my next venture either at another firm or starting my own business (hopefully the latter!). I love writing and cooking so who knows what kind of ideas I can market by then!
Designing a Business Education
Senior Madelin Bender is a Marketing major and Hispanic Studies minor who has combined her artistic outlook with business acumen. How have her academic endeavors and creative extracurriculars shaped her career goals?
Deciding on William & Mary
I decided to come to William & Mary because during my visit junior year of high school, I got warm, fuzzy feelings inside. Walking around campus, I saw myself being able to try new things, have a well-rounded college experience, and be supported and encouraged in whatever I tried during my four years.
I applied to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business because I have always wanted to enter the business world. I truly enjoy my work most when I can lead, innovate, and manage, so a career in business made sense. More specifically, a Marketing major would allow me to gain both managerial and business training, while leaving room for my inner creative.
Developing a Creative Perspective
I am an artist at heart. I think about everything in terms of design. Whenever I see commercials, art, clothing, songs, or anything creative, I think about the message behind the work and the artistic value it brings. In my free time, I love drawing, painting, and graphic design, which all tie nicely into my business education. As a Marketing major, it definitely helps to have a creative eye. From small tasks like creating a PowerPoint presentation to big undertakings like designing an ad campaign, marketers must know what color combinations, messages, and layouts look best.
I decided to pair Hispanic Studies with my Marketing major for a few reasons. Most importantly, I love Spanish! Speaking another language is so fulfilling and invigorating. The more I delved into my major and minor coursework, I realized I could combine my love for Spanish with my calling to marketing in my future career in Multicultural Advertising. This unique approach to a career in marketing and advertising will provide me opportunities to move abroad and work with international clients.
During my time at William & Mary and the Business School, I have tried as many new experiences as possible. Outside of the Business School, I’ve served as the captain of the William & Mary Gold Club Volleyball Team, studied abroad in Spain, worked on a start-up, and spent two years as a member of a social sorority on campus. These experiences have introduced me to a huge variety of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and I am very grateful for that.
Within the Business School, I am involved in a variety of organizations. Since my freshman year, I’ve been involved with the Women in Business Club. I started off as a general member, and worked my way up to the Assistant VP of Marketing, and eventually the Adviser for Content Development on the club’s executive board. WIB is the most empowering and motivating organization I’ve been a part of at William & Mary. Currently, I’m serving as the Director of Strategy for Agency 1693, the student-run marketing agency at the Business School. This role gives me the chance to manage, create, and innovate, all while working alongside my talented classmates in an agency environment.
Apart from these roles, I’ve also been involved with the Student Marketing Association, worked for the Tribe Athletics Marketing Department, served as a Research Assistant for Dr. Katherine Guthrie, and worked for the Mason Marketing Department.
These experiences have given me invaluable professional experience, introduced me to some amazing new friends and colleagues, and helped me immerse myself in the Business School community.
Connecting with Professors
At the Business School, the professors are nothing short of amazing. They are engaged, caring, and incredibly intelligent. In particular, Professor Dawn Edmiston has continued to support and help me in all aspects of life. She is an amazing professor, unparalleled advice-giver, and a true advocate for students. She believed in me before I was admitted to the Business School, and has continued to uplift and support me since. She develops meaningful relationships with her students and genuinely cares about us. I am so grateful to have taken her class my junior year, and I will always look up to her as a person, an academic, and a marketer.
However, it would be unjust not to mention Professor Stump, Professor Stauffer, Professor Long, and Professor Szykman, who have all been absolute standout professors during my time at Mason.
My most rewarding Business School experience was getting in! I applied three times before being accepted, so it goes without saying that receiving a “yes” my junior year was relieving and exciting! Apart from my admission, my involvement with Agency 1693 has been incredible. I have met some of William & Mary’s most talented creative and business minds through the Agency. I’ve met videographers, marketers, graphic designers, managers, and amazing minds of all types! I will always be grateful to Agency 1693 for connecting me with almost 60 incredible students I would not have met otherwise.
Another memorable event of my Business School experience was the 2017 Women’s Leadership Summit. It was so inspiring to be under the same roof with hundreds of driven, intelligent, and inspiring female students and professionals from across the country. I am truly proud that William & Mary hosts an event like WLS.
After graduating from William & Mary, I plan to pursue a job in Multicultural Advertising in either Austin, Charlotte, or Atlanta. I am confident that my academic coursework, study abroad experience, and extracurricular experience will have prepared me well for my next move.
In five years, I see myself climbing the ladder within my firm, taking on more responsibilities and gaining new experiences. I hope to be working in a creative, vibrant, and fun agency in a new city. And in ten years, I hope to be a Chief Marketing Officer of a top advertising agency.
Senior Christian Cargill is a Finance major with an Accounting concentration. He is also on William & Mary’s tennis team and hails from Nassau, Bahamas. How do his professional goals match up with his desire to empower Bahamian athletes?
Deciding on William & Mary
I decided to attend William & Mary for the opportunity to study at a world-class academic institution and to compete on the men’s tennis team that has a long tradition of athletic and academic excellence. I am very passionate about helping Bahamian athletes attend universities in the United States and allowing them to have opportunities similar to the one that was afforded to me. Through my business education, I hope that I can one day financially assist Bahamian athletes so that they can reach their full potential.
IPS and Involvement
My IPS was guided by my career goals of working in financial services. During my Business School experience, I changed my major from accounting to finance based on the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed my finance classes and realized that it was the career path for me.
As a member of the varsity men’s tennis team, a lot of my time is consumed by practicing and traveling, but aside from that, I am a President’s Aide, which means that I and a few other students meet with the President of the College to discuss challenges facing the campus. Lastly, I am a Vice President on the board for Finance Academy.
The Business School Experience
Reflecting upon my Business School experience, a few classes emerge as highlights. Applied Financial Concepts taught by Professor Crafford stands out in my mind because of his wealth of knowledge gained from his many years working on Wall Street. Also, Financial Management with Professor Guthrie was the class that really sold me on majoring in finance through her continuous efforts to engage and challenge us.
I will be working at J.P. Morgan Investment Bank next year and hope to continue a career in the financial services industry. In the next five to ten years, I see myself advancing in a career in finance on Wall Street, as well as assisting Tribe Tennis in any way that I can at that point.
Senior Morgan Mellas is a Marketing major with an English minor and a concentration in Innovation and Design. How has she applied her passion for the community and her marketing coursework to innovative extracurricular endeavors?
Finding William & Mary
I actually had never heard of William & Mary until I was touring schools. I wanted to end up somewhere drivable from home, but I also wanted to have a unique experience from my friends and family. My mom said that William & Mary looked great on a sweatshirt, and we decided to stop. I fell in love with it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life when sophomore year rolled around, but I really thought I would be an English major because I love to read. My parents encouraged me to engage my creative side in a business-minded way and try marketing. I decided to apply to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business after much deliberation. I was lucky to be accepted, and have had an amazing experience since!
Engaging the Community
I’m becoming increasingly passionate about engaging the community. I really enjoy putting on events and communicating creatively with the student body. This year I became a Communications Fellow at the Entrepreneurship Center. I am also the Non-Profit Director of the student-run marketing Agency 1693. Combining my Marketing major, English minor, and concentration in Innovation and Design with my extracurricular activities has given me amazing experience. This experience has been a great addition to my business education.
I never really had much direction with what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew was that I did not want to be someone sitting behind a desk all day at a boring job. Coming into the Business School as a Marketing major, I feel like a lot of doors opened for me to explore the creative side of business. I also was introduced to Professor Luchs and Professor Henshaw who opened my eyes to the possibilities and experiences that the Business School has to offer in terms of an innovative future. I took a few Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Design courses and really enjoyed the consumer-centric aspects of them: these classes weren’t sterile or typical “business” environments and encouraged thinking in different ways. That’s why I ended up choosing Innovation and Design as my concentration; it goes a step beyond just “Marketing” and adds a little bit more fun and excitement into a typical course load.
Extending the IPS
In addition to my work with the Entrepreneurship Center and Agency 1693, I’m involved with a few other things in the campus at large. My main focus is on AMP, the student programming board at the College. I’m the Director of External Affairs, which essentially means I handle branding and advertising for the organization as a whole. I also review the marketing work of our nine individual Committees. AMP has been a great learning experience for me and has set the groundwork for almost everything else that I’ve done at the College – I’ve made some amazing friends, gained a lot of confidence, and learned how to make a lot of popcorn during events. I am also the Homecoming Chair for Students for University Advancement, where I run a committee and am the student liaison for planning the yearly homecoming parade. I’ve been incredibly lucky to fall into a lot of roles that have given me experience to draw on in the future and in my other campus activities. Recently I’ve started coaching soccer at Matoaka Elementary School through the College and that has been a blast – there’s nothing like attempting to corral 10-year-olds into a cohesive team to build leadership skills (and patience)!
The main thing that really sticks out to me about the Business School is the sense of community and the great network that I’ve built there. I was exceedingly nervous and not sure what to expect when I started, but over the past few semesters it’s become a home for me. I’ve made amazing friends that are all unique, skilled, passionate, and driven. I know that I can count on them and they’re rooting for me. Through the Entrepreneurship Center, the Agency, and various group projects in my marketing classes, I’ve met incredible people who have given me huge confidence in all aspects of my life. I’ve attended events from the Women’s Leadership Summit to Rocket Pitch and Co-Working Fridays and have loved each – there is truly something for everyone at the Business School.
My next steps are baby steps for now! I’m trying not to think too far ahead and rush senior year along: after this semester, I only have one left before I head out into the real world and that’s a scary thought. The ideal goal is to have a job settled somewhere in the New York City Metro Area in a marketing field, though I’m undecided as to what exactly I want to do. I’m leaning towards brand management on the client side of the industry and am currently pretending I don’t have a ridiculously long list of applications to start. I would love the opportunity to apply the innovative and entrepreneurial ways of thinking that I’ve learned here, I just have to find one or make one!
In five years, I can see myself at either an agency or client working on some sort of creative team. That being said I could also see myself working on a communications or PR team. The possibilities are endless! Being from New Jersey, working in New York would be ideal, but maybe in 10 years I’d be ready for an adventure and want to travel somewhere new. I could also see myself, after starting in a more established company, moving into the start-up realm, especially after some of the past internship experiences I’ve had. In short, I think the long-term plan is stability, working my way up, and then trying something new and exciting – I can’t get complacent!
Exploring New Places
Senior Matt Giardiello is an Accounting major with a Finance concentration who has studied abroad in Singapore and Spain. How has his international outlook shaped his IPS and future career plans?
Coming to William & Mary
I fell in love with William & Mary as soon as I took a tour. It was the perfect size, the people I met were so friendly, it was a completely new environment, and I could participate in club sports. Not to mention—the campus is gorgeous! It had everything I wanted, so I went early decision! In terms of applying to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, I knew I wanted to study accounting right from the start so I just went for it.
Traveling the World
I am extremely passionate about traveling, travel planning, and trying new things. I have studied abroad twice during my college career. After my freshman year, I participated in a summer program in Singapore through the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance. This was a unique experience because it was the first time that this program was being offered. Classes consisted of site visits to different companies and offices. During junior year, I spent a semester in Barcelona, Spain, where I took a mix of business, economics, and Spanish language courses. It made for an unforgettable four months!
Shaping an International IPS
Obviously, a major part of my IPS has been devoted to accounting and finance. Not only have I done the coursework, but I found a job in that field. However, I have also been able to get extremely involved on campus, with organizations, jobs, and a sports team. I have learned so much about managing budgets, planning events, fundraising, and people management just through my involvement on campus. I also had the opportunity to study abroad, and get an international perspective on some of the business concepts I had been learning.
On campus, I do a lot with the Undergraduate Admissions Office and the Office of First Year Experience because I want to give prospective students the best college experience possible. I work as a Tour Guide, a Tribe Ambassador, and a Freshman Orientation Aide. These positions allow me to share my love for William & Mary! In my spare time, I can be found on the Chickahominy River with the Club Rowing team. I am also a member of the Gibbs Accounting Society and a social fraternity. My involvement has allowed me to take on substantial positions of leadership, and has provided me with countless opportunities to meet new people.
The Accounting Edge Conference has always been helpful for me, especially as someone who is graduating in 4 years and taking the CPA exam and starting work right away! It is always a great place to talk to professionals and get advice and make connections. I got to be on a student panel this year, which was amazing! In terms of professors, I loved my study abroad program in Singapore with Professor Julie Agnew. She is brilliant, and I could instantly tell that she loved what she was teaching. She is so helpful, and being her student was a highlight of my college career.
I just accepted a full-time job offer to work for PwC in New York City after graduation! I had the chance to intern with them last summer, and the experience was extremely rewarding. I really enjoy public accounting because the companies are so large, and there is great job flexibility in terms of work type and location.
In five years, I would really like to be moving up the ranks at PwC. My goal is to make manager, or stay and climb higher on the ladder. However, in ten years, I want to get out of my comfort zone. I would like to take an international assignment somewhere, hopefully in Europe or Asia. I would even be willing to relocate to another country—I just love the idea of living somewhere else. If none of that works out, however, I am going to set my sights on working for the Walt Disney Company, because I have an unhealthy obsession with Disney World!
Williamsburg native Trevor Jackson is a senior Marketing major with passions for creating and selling. How has he used his entrepreneurial expertise to create two companies in a year?
Coming Home to William & Mary
I am one of the few people at William & Mary who is from Williamsburg, Virginia! I transferred to William & Mary in 2016 from Thomas Nelson Community College. Since joining the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, I have started two businesses, joined countless clubs, and have learned more in a year than my entire time at high school. I am entrepreneurial, almost to a flaw: I constantly berate my friends with my wild business ideas!
As a transfer student, my decision to come to William & Mary was heavily based on the Business School. As a Marketing major, hearing that the marketing program was ranked #1 in 2013 was a major pull. For me, this school was close to home and offered one of the top educations in the country. Once I was actually in Business School, I was amazed by the dedication and knowledge of the professors. Each one consistently gave real-world examples and was eager to help prepare me for life after college. This was the best part about the Business School: I no longer felt that I was just taking classes, but learning material that would help me beyond the classroom.
I am very passionate about entrepreneurship. The ability to create a company to solve a problem fascinates me. Entrepreneurship allows students to express themselves and follow what they are passionate about. I have created two companies while in the Business School: Agency 1693 and Candid Campus Tours. These startups have gone hand-in-hand with my business education because I am using what I’ve learned in marketing, finance, and business analytics. My companies give me the opportunity to continue my learning by just doing it.
Putting It Into Practice
My passion to work in sales inspired my IPS. Marketing is the closest and most relevant major to sales, so naturally it was the one I picked. By going to different events, forums, and speaking with many Executive Partners, I was able to consolidate my IPS around marketing, entrepreneurship, and people. Networking is the basis of business and has defined my IPS.
I haven’t had as much time on campus as other students, but I have made the most out of it. I came into the Business School with a passion for marketing; however, I found that opportunities for students to get involved in major-relevant extracurricular outlets were limited in comparison to other majors. I joined the Student Marketing Association (SMA) as the Vice President of Outreach to help grow the club and its resources, but this experience turned into much more. Out of this idea to expand marketing involvement opportunities came the concept for Agency 1693, a student-run marketing agency within the Business School. Agency 1693 was created to give students real-world experience working with paying clients. We wanted to create a platform that allows students to learn and develop skills that will translate into their careers. As President, it is my responsibility to get as many students involved, no matter year or major. This involvement by students of all backgrounds has helped increase marketing opportunities within the Business Program, but also throughout William & Mary.
I also created a startup called Candid Campus Tours, which aims to deliver personal and customized college tours for prospective students. Our company gives college guides the opportunity to make money in a flexible manner and mentor prospective students. We also have a team of college students working with us who have the opportunity to practice the content they learn in class. I truly believe that you learn more by just doing it, and Candid Campus Tours not only allows me but all of the students we have involved to do just that.
Mentoring and Being Mentored
I am also always looking to help out younger students, whether it be sitting down with them or introducing them to the right people. This has also inspired me to create a golf networking event with the Executive Partners. While still in the planning stage, the idea is to get students out of the typical networking setting and expose them to something different. It is also a great way to have fun and express yourself while not in a suit and tie.
The Entrepreneurship Center and Professor Henshaw have had a significant impact on my time at William & Mary. They have given me the platform and resources to experiment with entrepreneurship. I have always been interested in starting my own company and once I met Professor Henshaw, that opportunity became a reality. He is a wealth of information and a great mentor as I navigate the startup world.
My next step is graduation and hopefully a job! My IPS has given me the resources necessary to excel in marketing and entrepreneurship and take this skills beyond the classroom. I look forward to continuing what I have learned with my IPS and applying it to my career.
In 5 years, I see myself in a startup environment where new ideas and innovation is at the forefront of the company. It is hard to say what I will be doing in ten years, but I know that I don't want to be stuck in a cubicle. I want to be in a job that allows me flexibility as well as the opportunity to express and chase new ideas.
Traveling the World
Senior Chatham Wilking has combined her academic pursuits in Finance, Economics, and Accounting with her love of travel to create an international IPS. How has Mason prepared her to conquer the world of global business?
A Passion for Travel
In addition to seeing much of the United States (visiting all 50 states is on my bucket list!), I’ve been to Canada, the Bahamas, France, England, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Luxembourg, Denmark, Belgium, San Marino, Sweden, China, New Zealand, and Australia.
I’ve always loved to travel and explore new countries and cultures. I’ve been very fortunate to have a family that is supportive of my passion and helps me travel the world. In the last three summers since I started at William & Mary I’ve spent increasing amounts of time abroad. Before sophomore year I studied abroad for 10 days in China with the William & Mary Wind Ensemble. The next summer I studied abroad in Australia and New Zealand for six weeks.
Coming to William & Mary
William & Mary was the first school I ever toured, and I fell in love. I knew I wanted to leave my home state for school and I looked all over the country, but I kept comparing schools to William & Mary. What ended up completely selling me on William & Mary over any other school was the community and feeling of family. Everyone I met was friendly and welcoming and I felt like I would be at home here.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in when I started at William & Mary. However, my father owns his own company and I grew up helping out in his office. That experience made me think business might be a good path for me. After trying out a lot of different classes from various majors on campus, I was solidly leaning toward business by the spring of my freshman year. I ended up emailing the undergraduate advisors at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business about something else the weekend before the application was due and they encouraged me to apply the spring of my freshman year. I ended up being accepted and starting as a sophomore in the block!
From Analytics to Finance
I came in as a Business Analytics major but quickly realized just how much I loved my intro finance course. My professor was amazing and I ended up being good at it and really enjoying the work. When I started considering what I might want to do after school, I realized a good foundation in accounting would be helpful for many career paths so I decided to do a concentration in accounting.
This past summer I got the opportunity to tie my passion for travel to my major, and completed an internship with a finance company in Luxembourg for 10 weeks. It was amazing to get to work in an international setting with coworkers from all over the world! The experience really expanded my understanding of finance in an international business setting. William & Mary gave me the opportunity to study international business through classes like International Finance and it was great to get to see that classroom knowledge in practice. I hope to work for a corporation that allows me to continue traveling internationally, as I would like to be involved in the global business environment.
Paying it Forward
I love working with people to pass on knowledge and help others. In the Business School, I work as a TA for Professor Rosenfeld’s BUAD 323 class. Outside of the Business School I am a Tribe Ambassador with the Undergraduate Admissions Office, where I get to talk about all the things I love about William & Mary. I am the Communications & Recruitment Coordinator for Griffin School Partnerships, a local elementary, middle, and high school tutoring and mentoring organization. Finally, I am finishing up my second year as President of the Peer Advising Program, which works with incoming freshman and transfers to help them with academics at W&M. During orientation, we help answer any academic questions and help with the registration process and then we meet during the year with students who want a peer’s perspective on different aspects of life at W&M from extra-curriculars, meeting professors, or thinking about different majors. I’ve absolutely loved being on the Exec Board for Peer Advising and getting the chance to help new students find their home here.
In the future, I’m planning to work in corporate finance doing financial planning and analysis.
Pursuing a Creative Path
From a background in bagpiping and creative writing, Hayley Snowden has found her niche in the Business School. How has a Marketing major and Japanese minor allowed her to combine her love of other cultures, skills in visual creativity, and desire to enter the world of business?
Finding a Good Fit
In high school, I was the first female bagpiper to join the Washington Scottish Pipe band in its 50-year history. We played in paid performances ranging from Celtic parades to Christmas balls. I have pretty eclectic music tastes, as I’m also into alternative rock and Korean pop music. I’m an avid appreciator of film, tea, and other cultures. I’m perpetually early to everything, even when I leave ten minutes late. I love old people, fat animals, and chocolate. The fastest I’ll ever run is when I’m trying to beat someone to the couch.
William & Mary’s school personality was really unlike any other that I visited. It seemed like a place where every student was both intelligent and kind, and where each had an abundance of personal quirks that were appreciated and valued. Fortunately, the campus is really how I perceived it to be as a prospective student. I applied to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business because the things that I was best at and enjoyed the most—written and oral communication and visual creativity—all worked together to lead me toward a degree in marketing. In high school, I participated in a lot of speech competitions, and, even now, I love to do creative writing in my spare time. Plus, whenever my family and I go on vacations, I edit all of our videos together into pithy musical montages. Studying marketing presented a chance for me to put all of these interests into action in a more professional capacity. Lastly, my exposure to William & Mary’s business community showed me that it was a tight-knit one, absolutely brimming with knowledge and opportunity.
Learning About the World of Business
Originally, I came to William & Mary intending to double-major in English and Economics. Pretty quickly, I determined that economics wasn’t quite right for me. And while I still have a soft spot for English, the more business-related courses I took, the more I really started to see myself navigating a career in that sphere. I really enjoy learning about the way business governs the workings of the modern world. And for someone who loves other cultures, there’s no better way to learn about a country than taking a look at its business practices.
I absolutely love learning about other cultures, languages, and traditions. One of my favorite cultures is Japan’s, and I’m in the process of planning a study abroad trip there where I can take specialized classes in Asian business practices. In the future, I would love to be able to use my marketing degree to work for a firm where I would be interacting with other cultures around the world on a daily basis.
Getting Involved on Campus
One of the organizations closest to my heart here at the College is Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), a Christian group dedicated to loving and serving the campus community. Leading a freshman Bible study group this past year has been one of the most growth-inducing activities in which I have participated, and it’s also resulted in some of my most treasured new friendships. I am also an Associate Editor for The Flat Hat, and love talking to all sorts of new people around campus to cover special events for the Variety column. Recently, I joined the Writing Resources Center, and can’t wait to start tutoring other students in writing and composition skills. I have also just been accepted as a member of AMP’s Film Committee, and I am very excited to start help planning some of the College’s more theatrical events.
I am pretty new to the Business School, but Principles of Marketing with Professor James Kourmadas is already one of my favorite classes. Professor Kourmadas does an awesome job of showing us how virtually every aspect of our lives as consumers is saturated with the concepts we’re learning. It really makes me excited to dig deeper into that entire world.
In the semi-near future, I see myself graduating from the Business School, working in the publishing industry as a marketing communications professional, and gathering foundational skills to prepare for graduate school.
Adding Up Opportunities
Maddie Sanford has applied her passion for numbers through coursework in Accounting and Business Analytics. How has she used her diverse academic interests to create a unique IPS?
A Passion for Numbers
I attribute my love of numbers to my grandfather who watched me during the day when I was one and taught me how to count while we watched the cars go by. From the early age of two, I played “business.” I received a Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register for my third birthday, a cherished addition to my collection of business papers and supplies. I still own it, in working condition, 19 years later. Then, when I was five, I opened my own jewelry store in our front den with signs in our window displaying my hours and that I was “open for business.” Disappointed that no one was stopping by to buy my products, I told my mom that I planned to change my hours to try to draw in more customers. Since then, I’ve been known as the “business girl” of the family. Business and the many moving parts—analysis, strategy, and psychology—that affect its performance have always fascinated me.
Coming to William & Mary
I wanted to go to a school larger than my high school, but small enough to not feel as if I were a number among the masses. Much to my surprise, there are few schools that fit this range. I made a spreadsheet, naturally, and William & Mary, a school I hadn’t heard of at the time, was on the list. After some initial research, I was mesmerized by the school’s beautiful campus, its central East Coast location, and the academic opportunities. I had the chance to visit, and in my first few hours on campus, I was sure that William & Mary was exactly the place for me. Everyone was so genuine, passionate, and unique. I also loved that I didn’t have to rush into a major at William and Mary. Although I come from a long line of accountants and knew that that was my intended major coming in, I wanted to have the opportunity to take a introductory accounting class before declaring accounting as my major. I loved my first accounting class: it truly is the language of business! The decision to apply to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business was easy! It was also exciting knowing that I would have the opportunity to get to know so many other business students with diverse backgrounds and areas of interest.
Combing Accounting and Analytics
Accounting is central to understanding the presentation of the historical and future financial performance of a business, so I knew coursework in this area would give me a very solid business foundation, regardless of what I pursued after graduation. I also always enjoyed other quantitative reasoning courses in areas like computer science, statistics, and mathematics, and still held onto the curiosity that I developed at a young age regarding the effects of a business’ strategy on its performance. When I learned of William & Mary’s new Business Analytics program and the huge demand for this background in the marketplace, I couldn’t help but take courses in this discipline as well! At the time, I had no idea how it would tie itself back to my accounting major, but recent technological developments and opportunities with KPMG in their audit division have really allowed me to bring everything together.
William & Mary is home to so many impressive professors. They always seem to take a subject that I am unfamiliar with and turn it into something that I wish I had considered pursuing further! Last semester, I had the opportunity to work with Professor Picconi on a research project studying the effects of interest rates on pension valuation and presentation – a concept initially mentioned in his Intermediate Accounting class. I have also had the chance to take multiple courses with both Professor Murray and Professor Johnson-Hall, who are leaders in their field and have fundamentally shaped the way I approach statistical analysis and process improvement. These courses are one of the main reasons I felt so compelled to pursue data analytics post-graduation, along with accounting!
Next year I will attend The Ohio State University for the inaugural year of a unique one-year Masters of Accounting and Data and Analytics program, a coordinated effort between KPMG, The Ohio State University, and Villanova University. After, I will join KPMG in their Tysons Corner office. I am so thrilled about the program since it brings together my two strongest interests and gives me exposure to some of the newest analytic software on the market. Bringing data analytics into the world of public accounting is going to fundamentally change the way audits are performed. Less sampling and the use of unstructured data and machine learning software will bring more value and quality to the clients.
Hopefully in five years I will be a manager at KPMG, working on data audit initiatives, audit process improvements, and maybe dipping into the use of data analytics applications in forensic accounting and advisory. I also plan to be an involved alum the second I graduate. My experience as a student-athlete and my involvement in the Gibbs Accounting Society and as a tour guide has truly shaped my time here. My goal post-graduation is to engage in initiatives focused on student-athletes, prospective students, and current and future accounting students. Something that is already in the works is a networking partnership between the undergraduate accounting department and the Masters of Accounting program at the Business School, and I am excited to see what doors this opens for future students!
Luqman Ebrahim, a tennis player originally from Mumbai, self-designed a major in Financial Economics and Mathematics in preparation for studying at Columbia University through William & Mary’s Combined Engineering Program. How has Mason shaped his academic and extracurricular pursuits?
An International Outlook
I was raised in Mumbai, India and went to the best school in the country since kindergarten. I dropped out from there after my sophomore year, when I moved as a 15-year-old to Frankfurt, Germany to pursue a career as a professional tennis player. I traveled around Europe, Asia, and Africa over the next three years, training and competing on an international scale with players from various backgrounds and levels of athletic achievement. At the age of 18, I decided to quit tennis and go to university.
Traveling all over the world introduced me to many people from different cultures and backgrounds. I learned a lot about these people – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I saw wealth and saw poverty, yet I saw that when unity existed within communities, happiness prevailed regardless of the socioeconomic status within it. Seeing the not-so-fortunate smile fills my heart with warmth and joy. A small act of kindness goes a long way for such people. To provide support on a large scale, more than anything, requires financing – something I hope to provide on a much larger scale than I do right now. Humanitarian goals aside, I love competition. Leading a company as its CEO, to “victory” over its competition is something I aspire to do one day. I’m sure my business education at William & Mary will help me succeed in doing so.
Finding William & Mary
I came to William & Mary as a recruited athlete on the men’s Division I Tennis team. Doing my due diligence on the university before signing my NLI introduced me to this incredible institution that I now know so well. Initially, I intended to major in Physics and Philosophy. While my love for these subjects still exists, my interests in business-related studies grew when I took Financial Economics with Professor Rich Moser in the Economics department. I took Money and Debt the following semester, and it sold me on the Raymond A. Mason School of Business and all it had to offer. I soon found myself spending my days (and often, nights) in Miller Hall and the Markets room.
My love for mathematics, economics, and finance inspired me to design my own major. While finance is more hands on and practically applicable within a corporate setting, the economics portion of my courses teaches me a way of thinking theoretically through a problem. These two subjects complement each other. Mathematics, with a special focus in statistics, helps me to quantitatively analyze and infer from data sets whatever information I may require. Statistics also helps me identify fraudulent inferences made by others, and hence make decisions for myself – the person I trust the most. My years in the Business School have tweaked my general outlook toward these three academics subjects. In focusing on what is important, the Business School has given me a mindset made for a life within the financial services industry.
As a Finance Academy officer, my colleagues and I oversaw the development of many younger students who aspired to work in finance. From coffee chats to prep interviews to hour-long weekly presentations, we worked as a team to aid our juniors with the knowledge and the opportunities our seniors had given us.
Finance Academy has been a part of my life since my arrival at the Business School. Its current and previous officers, along with the faculty, are some of the best people around – not only academically and professionally, but as good genuine people. Dr. Rita Murphy deserves a very special mention for her tireless efforts to help determined people like me to grow and chase dreams. Money and Debt Markets with Professor. Merrick has been among the most difficult yet rewarding classes for me, while classes such as Corporate Finance with Professor Bryce and SMIF with Prof. Haltiner and Gore are among my favorite.
I will be transferring to Columbia University, as part of the Combined Engineering Program, to study Operations Research while concentrating in either Industrial or Financial Engineering. I believe this will further complement my studies at William & Mary, by providing me with a quant heavy focus to my IPS. While I will be doing Investment Banking this summer, I aspire to work in Private Equity or Corporate Finance a few years after graduation.
Giorgio Caterini has lived all around the world and is passionate about cooking. How has he integrated these experiences with his coursework in Finance and Hispanic Studies to chart the perfect IPS?
An International Outlook
I was born in Rome, Italy and lived there for five years. I have also lived in Curitiba, Brazil; Vienna, Austria; Athens, Greece; and Greenwich, CT.
I came to William & Mary because of the sense of community and a desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. I walked around campus, and even as a visiting high school junior, I felt at ease and like I was already a part of the campus. Also, the sense of tradition and history gives the campus a feeling that it is a hallowed ground, and I admired that deeply coming from a country rich in historic tradition.
I applied to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business because of my personal interests in interconnecting communities and understanding how companies work. I wanted to contribute my diversity and different experiences to a group of likeminded people and learn ways through which I could diffuse that background into the world of business. I also wanted to understand exactly how companies work and what management does on a day to day basis.
Cooking up a Unique IPS
My IPS is deeply ingrained in the concepts of community, diversity, and academics. As my experience has expanded I truly feel that each segment of my IPS has slowly fused with the others. I quickly realized how closely knit yet completely distinct each part of my IPS was, and that realization has made my Business School experience all the more well-rounded.
I am extremely passionate about cooking, and view cooking to be a craft much like business. There is no recipe that achieves a consistently perfect result: cooking is more closely associated with a process of trial and error, which is the best way to learn and to determine results. I believe that my business education has in many ways undergone a similar process. In my education, I have looked at problems from many different perspectives, and have learned not only how different areas of business think but also how disciplines are closely interconnected. Much like cooking, the perfect recipe can’t be achieved from only one singular flavor or source: it is a combination of elements that achieves success.
I am a member of Sigma Pi and a Tour Guide. During my college career, I have been a Vice President of Finance Academy, the Executive Vice President of the Inter Fraternity Council, a Parent and Family Orientation Aide, Student Assembly Undergraduate Council Chair, and Treasurer for the Class of 2017.
I started my own club at William & Mary: the AS Roma Fan Club. I work in close unison with the professional club in Rome to increase the image of Roma and distribute merchandise to loyal fans and viewers.
One of the best organizations I have ever been a part of is Finance Academy. I feel like I made a ton of positive impacts and changes for the Business School community through this organization. Coordinating DoG Street to Wall Street was one of the main highlights of my college career overall.
Finding Value in Academics
Both the Student Managed Investment course and the Valuation course have been exceptionally important for my finance coursework. In Valuation, Professor Cici taught me the fundamentals of valuation and sparked a huge interest in equities and investment research. I took that to the next step by being in the SMIF class this past semester. In that course, I pitched a stock for a company that I valued. Professor Haltiner helped guide me through the process of not only determining the value of the company I selected, but also combining valuation techniques with other coursework to understanding how a business works – one of the main reasons I joined the Business School in the first place.
Two of my favorite professors overall have also been Professor Williams and Professor Stauffer. Both of their courses were amazing experiences, and I learned a lot from both of them.
My next step after graduation is to start working with Ernst & Young in New York in their Business Advisor Program in the Financial Services Office. Hopefully, by being part of such a large community and serving the world’s biggest companies, I will be able to continue my IPS and integrate an international experience into a career in consulting.
In five years, I hope to be beginning an MBA program, whether it be here in the United States or abroad. In ten years I hope to be pursuing an international career in consulting.
Predicting the Future
Michael Field is a Finance and Neuroscience double major who is also a competitive Pokémon player. How has he used Mason’s resources to combine his interests in financial decisions, predictive modeling, and data analysis?
Coming to William & Mary
William & Mary holds a special significance for my family. I am a third generation William & Mary student. My younger sister also goes here now, so I have a lot of ties to this college. I’ve even had a painting of the Sunken Gardens in my room at home since I was little. That said, William & Mary was not the only school I applied to but I was happy to choose it when the time came.
Finance and Neuroscience
I am passionate about challenging my own intellect and understanding how the world works. If another person can know something, I want to be able to understand it just as well. In my finance education, I greatly enjoy the challenge of modeling a company’s financial future. There are so many factors and ways to approach the problem that I cannot possibly understand everything. This can be frustrating at times, but it is a humbling and rewarding process that reminds me to rely on teamwork.
I planned my Finance and Neuroscience double major from the start and applied to the Business School a year early to better manage all the classes those majors would require. I came to the Business School to do finance simply because the subject greatly interested me and I felt that my own financial literacy was lacking. I have found that it is widely applicable to my daily life and even my neuroscience studies.
Charting a Unique IPS
I wanted to do something unique with my double major because I had the opportunity to do so. As I progressed in the Business School, completing my majors became more than just succeeding in class. I got more involved with professors and became a teacher’s assistant for the class Money and Debt Markets. My work as a TA mostly involves tutoring students. It has been really rewarding to hear from the students that I am a good teacher and to hear from my professor that grades have gone up since I started working.
Last summer I used my finance and neuroscience backgrounds to research psychology papers related to financial decisions and economics. I then presented potential research ideas that combine the two subjected to a William & Mary professor and her colleague from Australia.
Through my finance education, I have learned that what I like most about both finance and neuroscience is analyzing data and creating predictive models.
In William & Mary at large, I participate in a couple of clubs related to my hobbies. I am the president of William & Mary’s Pokémon Club and was once one of the top 25 rated competitive Pokémon players online. I enjoy it because it’s all about game knowledge and predicting your opponent’s moves. I also enjoy participating in large strategy games with the Board Game Club and playing Super Smash Bros. with the Smash Club. I am good friends with the founders of each club, who will be graduating with me this year.
A huge highlight for me was the Senior Dinner where professors served food to the graduating class and delivered some messages of farewell and encouragement. All of the professors have been very approachable and interested in what students have to say, but my favorite professor has been Julie Agnew. She helped me explore a number of possibilities for my future and hired me as her TA. I would not be where I am today in my professional ambitions if it weren’t for her.
One standout class for me was Professor Bob Williams’ Global Strategic Management class. Learning about business strategy and applying what we learned in our final project was both challenging and satisfying. The professor always made it feel like what we were learning would be worthwhile information after college.
Next semester I will be attending William and Mary’s Masters of Science in Business Analytics program. I am excited to delve deeper into data analytics and modeling. I aim to be extremely proficient with data and computers because that is what will drive business decisions in the future.
One of my dreams would be to work in the video game industry to combine my academic passions with my favorite hobby. I could see myself analyzing data that video games collect and using that data to improve player experiences.
Digitalizing the Marketing World
Kate Murphy is a native Ohioan with a knack for advertising. How have her studies in Marketing and Business Analytics fueled her passion for data-driven digital marketing?
Finding William & Mary
I grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio and, like many Clevelanders in 2017, am a big fan of the Cavaliers and the Indians. For most of my life, I thought my main purpose was to have a family and stay at home with kids. But through my education at William & Mary and in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business and the amazing internships I’ve held, my ideal career path has changed.
My William & Mary decision story is a little different than most. After getting off the waitlist in early May, I gave myself 24 hours to decide between William & Mary and a very similar school. Before getting off the waitlist, I had a gut feeling that William & Mary was where I wanted to be for the next four years and decided to follow that feeling. I knew that I wanted to be a part of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business before I stepped on campus in August 2013 after having a very rewarding marketing internship the summer after my senior year of high school.
Deciding on Marketing
I came to William & Mary knowing that I wanted to study marketing. I interned with a furniture company the summer before college and absolutely fell in love. However, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with a marketing degree. During my sophomore year, I was able to work with amazing recruiters at the advertising agency Rosetta who placed me in an analytics role. Although I had relatively little idea what I would be doing in this role at the beginning, I pretty shortly realized that I could both excel and really enjoy a career that mixed data analytics and marketing. When I came back to William & Mary in the fall, I added a business analytics concentration to my marketing major, and have taken every possible business analytics class since then.
I’m passionate about the changing digital marketing business world: everything from social media to page optimization. This digital marketing passion led to my study of both marketing and business analytics. I’m fascinated by the opportunities data can and will have in the marketing world.
Enriching Academics and Extracurriculars
Other than my academic life in the Business School, I am very involved with my social sorority and Senior Class Gift on campus. I am the current Analytics Chair of the Senior Class Gift Executive Board and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to have such a great impact on the William & Mary community. Although I realized the surface importance of giving before becoming involved in this organization, I have a better recognition of how important it is to give even just a little bit back to the organizations that have supported you. It has also been a really great experience to apply a passion that I developed in my academic and work world in a totally different way.
I’m so glad that I was able to really merge the marketing and business analytics focuses in the Business School. I’m grateful that I was able to study two things I love and was able to learn in depth about both fields that will impact my career. On the marketing side, I learned the most from Professors Edmiston and Szykman and on the analytics side, I have loved going to class with Professors Murray and Johnson-Hall.
I will be moving to Pittsburgh in June to start work as a Digital Media Analytics Analyst at the advertising agency Merkle. I hope that my career continues to combine data, analytics, and marketing for a long time, but evolves as the field changes with greater amounts of data. Above all else, I hope that in five and ten years I’m doing work that I am passionate about and that makes me happy. I hope to be as engaged with my work as I am now. I’m not tied to any location, but see myself living in a small city with a family in ten years.
Investing in Finance
AJ Scalia is passionate about mentorship and the interdisciplinary nature of finance. How has he given back to the Mason community?
From the Humanities to Finance
I was raised in a family of lawyers. Growing up, I always excelled in—and, consequently, gravitated toward—the humanities. Continuing my education in the liberal arts in college was the path of least resistance, so to speak. In selecting a school, I sought an environment in which I could assume positions of leadership from the outset, and so was drawn to William & Mary’s more intimate campus. I’m also of the opinion that it’s more difficult to “hide” in smaller class sizes; being an introvert, I wanted to push myself beyond my comfort zone. For all of these reasons, William & Mary seemed the obvious choice.
I’m quite passionate about education and mentorship—I suppose the two are closely related. These are the common threads woven throughout my IPS, which I’ve fashioned around my interest in finance.
Learning About Business
I have always been inquisitive. I read constantly about current affairs, politics, historical events, technology, and leaders and entrepreneurs past and present. This curiosity towards all manner of topics has served me well in my studies in finance. In many respects, an education in finance is the quintessential liberal arts education, fusing concepts found in mathematics, statistics, physics, the social sciences, history, and philosophy.
I didn’t arrive at William & Mary with any conviction concerning what I would study. Prior to college, I had little notion of business as an academic discipline or career. However, at the recommendation of some older fraternity brothers whom I admired, I applied to the DISTINGUISH Finance Program, which allows first-semester sophomores to enroll in the introductory Financial Management course prior to entering the Business School.
From the moment I began studying finance, I found the utility of the subject a welcome departure from the relatively abstract curriculum of my high school years. After the first day in my first finance course, I could pick up The Wall Street Journal and immediately begin to make sense of developments in the financial markets or a recent business combination—tangible, real-world concepts that were theretofore inaccessible to me. I quickly added a concentration in Accounting to my IPS to complement and accelerate my education in finance.
If I have had any success in my undergraduate career, it can be attributed to the handful of extraordinary mentors from whose wisdom and generosity I have benefited over the years. These advocates steered me towards the right professors and courses, encouraged me to participate in extracurricular activities, and prepared me for interviews and internships. My modest hope is that I have positively influenced the trajectories of at least a few enterprising young students in the same manner that the role models of my first years at William & Mary did for me.
Outside the classroom, my relationships with several older mentors were indispensable in preparing for and securing a series of internships across various subsectors in finance. Following stints in wealth management and middle-market investment banking, I interned in J.P. Morgan’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications investment banking group in New York last summer. I was invigorated by the analytical, fast-paced, and deal-driven nature of the job, and am eager to return upon graduating.
My first two years at William & Mary were spent pestering accomplished Business School students in the hopes that I might absorb some of their knowledge. After completing Professor Guthrie’s Financial Management course via the DISTINGUISH Program, I plunged headlong into my finance coursework. Outside the classroom, I availed myself of every resource offered by the Howard J. Busbee Finance Academy; I’m certain I exhausted more than one Finance Academy officer with my endless inquiries, though nobody ever admitted as much to me. I also attended the weekly meetings of the Investment Club, the student-run investment fund that manages a real portion of William & Mary’s endowment, successfully pitching a stock to its members my sophomore year.
In the latter portion of my time here, I’ve enjoyed a role-reversal that has seen me assume the position of mentor to a number of younger students. I devoted two years to preparing students for careers in finance as an officer of the Finance Academy. Additionally, I have twice served as a Business School teaching assistant—once for Professor Carl Tack’s graduate Advanced Corporate Finance course, and most recently for Mr. Glenn Crafford’s undergraduate Applied Financial Concepts course. As the president of my social fraternity, Sigma Chi, I also had the opportunity to counsel undergraduates interested in business in a less official capacity, as was done for me in my first years at William & Mary.
Academics and Extracurriculars
To this day, Corporate Financial Strategies with Professor Herrington Bryce remains among my favorite courses. Professor Bryce’s use of the Socratic method to extract answers from his often-reticent students was continually validated when the class would arrive at the solution to a problem confronting a real-world financial manager. Though admittedly intense, Professor Bryce always tempered his style of instruction with his jovial manner and lively sense of humor.
I was also fortunate to compete on William & Mary’s 2016 CFA Institute Research Challenge team. Preparing a financial research report and presentation over a yearlong period with four supremely gifted peers was an unparalleled learning experience. Our efforts were rewarded as we captured first place among Virginia schools and represented William & Mary in the national phase of the competition.
After graduation, I will return to New York to rejoin J.P. Morgan in the firm’s Technology Investment Banking group. I love learning about great business leaders and have long nurtured a romantic view of entrepreneurship. I’m excited by the idea of one day starting my own venture, commercial or otherwise. My hope is that the future finds me in a role in which I’ll be constantly learning from those around me, wherever that may be.
Senior Hanna Linich is committed to leadership and female empowerment. How has she combined her dual interests in Accounting and Finance into an exciting academic and career path?
A Global Perspective
I was born and raised in Belarus, a country with a very different economic and political landscape. I have had the opportunity to live in and experience two polar opposite worlds: the world of a planned economy with a total government control over all spheres of business, and the world of a free market governed by the laws of supply and demand. I would like to think that being exposed to two opposite economic and political systems helped me to form a unique perspective on the world. My academic and working experiences, in both parts of the world, have showed me that there are many solutions to one problem, and they have taught me to always look for those solutions even when it seems that one cannot be found. This distinct perspective is my asset, especially in today’s world of globalization.
A Passion for Numbers
I have always been fascinated with quantitative science. I feel comfortable spending hours looking at numbers, and mathematics was one of my favorite subjects growing up. At the same time, I am a very outgoing person and like working in team environments. When thinking about my IPS, I have tried to incorporate my passion for numbers with my ability to interact and work effectively with people. I think that both accounting and finance has some of both of these.
At Thomas Nelson, I really enjoyed my Principles of Accounting class—it instantly made sense to me, and seemed very logical and structured. At William & Mary, I have loved being challenged by complex accounting problems and have enjoyed all the classes I took at the Business School. One of my favorites, however, was Advanced Financial Reporting with Professor Marc Piconi. This class taught me how to read and understand financial statements. Soon into my first semester at the Business School, I gained a significant interest in the field of finance. With the help of the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance I was able to pursue my new passion. Participating in the Training the Street workshop and taking courses such as Risk Management class offered by the Boehly Center only strengthened my passion for finance. As I move forward with my education, I feel confident that my coursework has prepared me for a career in both of these disciplines.
I am engaged in several professional development clubs at the Business School including the Wayne F. Gibbs Accounting Society, Women in Business, and Smart Woman Securities. I think the clubs I am involved in are representative of what I am passionate about – accounting, finance, leadership, and female empowerment. As a VP of Women in Business I am actively involved in developing content for panels and events hosted by the club. I take my role very seriously and am constantly thinking of topics and discussions undergraduate students can benefit the most from.
The highlight of my experience at the Business School has been the inaugural Women’s Leadership Summit and Stock Pitch Competition. This event brought together female professionals from different industries (finance, education, military, pharmaceutical, public media) with students of various majors. The Summit is an extraordinary opportunity for professional development and growth. The most valuable lesson it gave me is to be courageous and hardworking in pursuing my dreams and appreciate some of the unique qualities I have and perspectives I bring to the table as a young female.
Although I had an extremely valuable internship experience in Commercial Audit and Federal Advisory over the summer, I made a decision to go through the recruitment process again in order to gain a better understanding of the industry and figure out the right path for me. My immediate goal after graduation is to sit for and pass the CPA exam as I view it as the most valuable investment into my future career. Next fall, I am extremely excited to be joining Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory Group with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in McLean VA.
I would like to assume leadership roles in my career as soon as possible. I see myself being a part of a successful team and being a competent professional that people look up to. I would like to lead by example and give back to William & Mary in any way I can. I want to strive for excellence in my field of interest, and one day inspire students to reach for the stars.
Vaulting to Great Heights
Olivia O'Connor is a gymnast from Long Island, New York. How has she combined her passion for Marketing with a rewarding athletic career?
Finding the Right Fit
I came to William & Mary because I was looking for the right fit for both athletics and academics. The academics are stellar and I knew that I could make a difference as a member of the gymnastics team and contribute in many ways.
During my freshman year, I took mostly English classes. I remember deciding I was going to be a Marketing major after giving a presentation on Macbeth, and feeling the rush of working with a fellow classmate and presenting in front of my peers. It was the best decision I have made at this school. I decided to apply to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business to find to work alongside students with similar passions. I wanted to make friends and interact with others who were intense, motivated and competitive, yet compassionate, understanding and friendly.
As I’ve continued in the Business School, most of my experiences and beneficial activities have revolved around presentations, team organization and client meetings. I am now very comfortable in this role and look forward to continuing these activities post-graduation.
Applying Athletics to Academics
I am passionate about helping those around me realize their full potential. Having done gymnastics – a sport that revolves around perfection – since the age of 5, I’ve seen a lot of young women struggle through the pressures of the intense sport. I’ve always taken it upon myself to act empathetically towards them, regardless of my association, and remind or encourage them to keep pushing. I’ve continued these actions throughout the course of my college career, particularly as the Captain of the gymnastics team. I constantly push my teammates to step out of their comfort zones, speak up, and dream big. Four years go by very quickly – leaving college with no regrets is something every athlete and student deserves. My business education does not differ much from my experiences as an athlete. I constantly work with other students on group projects and enjoy interacting with my peers in group projects and enjoy getting to know different personalities and strengths of my classmates. Working alongside others as we develop our unique skills and perspectives is a satisfying challenge. I love getting the chance to help develop their skills as they help develop mine. It’s important to be able to think quickly on your feet and adapt to changes in business, and I am very passionate about being a resource for classmates and group mates. My experiences at the Business School have encouraged me to keep pushing myself to achieve my goals, and I hope my peers have benefited in the same way.
A lot of my impact in the Business Program comes from trying to recruit, so to speak, other students to apply. I’ve been a resource for many of my teammates, athletes from across campus, and sorority sisters for guidance on why the Business School is an amazing opportunity and the right choice. My engagement in the Business program stretches beyond my day-to-day classwork and schedule, as I am involved in Women in Business, and attend events hosted by our gracious and amazing staff!
In my Consumer Behavior course, Professor Szykman inspired me to dive deeper into the needs and wants of human beings from a marketing standpoint, as opposed to looking at a marketing strategy from a business-minded perspective. This class definitely helped me succeed in my internship last summer.
In my Digital Marketing course, Professor Edmiston showed me the world of advertising agencies, the beauty of marketing, and the power the internet has on the world and what can be done to enhance it. She has been a resource for me during my job hunt and my biggest supporter at the Business. Both of these professors have influenced the line of work I plan to pursue. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance, teaching style, overall kindness and genuine interest in my personal well-being.
After graduation, I will be working for global advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in New York City. This is a dream job for me. I am excited to see my skills continue to develop and to be challenged on a day-to-day basis. I am very fortunate to be able to continue my involvement on a team and put my love for advertising into action.
I see myself as an account executive for an advertising agency in five years. In ten, I hope to be working towards becoming C-Suite level. Alternatively, I’ve always been interested in pursuing a career in law, particularly criminal. I’ll just have to see where my path takes me!
Capitalizing on Opportunities
Senior Julia McGrath is a lacrosse player and Finance major with plans to go into equity research. How has her involvement in special finance courses and professional activities shaped her IPS?
Coming to William & Mary
I first visited William & Mary in 8th grade and absolutely fell in love with the campus. Going through the recruiting process for lacrosse junior year of high school, William & Mary was the number one school on my list.
Outside of school and lacrosse, I enjoy running, baking, going to the beach, and reading. I grew up just outside of Philadelphia with my two older sisters. Family is extremely important to me, so when I am home I try to spend as much time as possible with my niece and nephew.
Applying to the Business School
I am extremely passionate about building relationships, family, and reading. The Raymond A. Mason School of Business heavily emphasizes networking and relationships with others. It has been amazing to meet so many alumni and Executive Partners through the Business School. My business education is tied into my passion for reading because the ability to critically read and analyze is crucial, especially in equity research.
I decided to apply to the Business School my sophomore year to pursue a finance major. Growing up, I often discussed investment decisions with my dad, so finance was extremely interesting to me. Additionally, several of my teammates were in the Business School at the time and involved in various clubs. After attending Smart Woman Securities sessions sophomore year, I knew I wanted to be part of the Business School community.
Coming into the Business School, I knew the core of my IPS would be finance. However, I did not know coming in how many amazing opportunities I would have to expand my individual program. Besides the core classes and the required finance classes, I was able to take a sustainability course, consulting courses, and courses through the DISTINGUISH program. I was also lucky enough to study abroad the summer going into my junior year. Each opportunity taught me valuable lessons about the business world and expanded my interests.
Getting Involved and Giving Back
My goal going into the Business School was to give back to the program as much as it gave to me! Junior year I was Chief Investment Officer of Smart Woman Securities and a Vice President of Finance Academy. In the Fall of 2017, I was selected as a member of the CFA Challenge Team, where we went on to win the state competition.
My favorite experience in the Business School has been the DISTINGUISH course Valuation of Media Markets in Major League Baseball. It was an incredible experience to work with a small team of students and Todd Boehly. It was a very hands-on experience and was not something that could have been replicated in a classroom.
My favorite part about the Business School has been the professors. Every professor takes the time to get to know each student and genuinely wants everyone to succeed. My professors connected me with many alumni and ultimately helped me land my dream job.
I am extremely excited to begin my career at Capital Group in New York doing equity research. Through my IPS, I was able to explore different careers in finance and figure out what was best for me. In 5 years, I hope to still be in New York. I would love to continue my career in equity research, but I am open to different opportunities. In 10 years, I hope to still be challenged by work and have a family.
Jiacheng Song is an international student from Shanghai, China who is majoring in Accounting. How has he combined his love of puzzles and numbers with a newfound interest in data analytics?
I enjoy playing with numbers and I like traditional Chinese cultures. My hobbies include Sudoku, calligraphy, and seal carving. I won 1st place in World Junior Sudoku Championship and 26th place in World Sudoku Championship in Bulgaria. I also broke the Guinness World Records in Sudoku. Meanwhile, I have been practicing seal carving for years and I once held my own small exhibition for 3 days.
Choosing William & Mary and the Business School
I was first attracted to William & Mary because of its history. I was then drawn to the school because of the small class size and student-faculty ratio. Such a small, cozy community provides good support to each student and ensures the quality of student-faculty interaction. My experience at William & Mary has proved my anticipations correct. Students are always welcomed to walk into professors’ offices and to talk with professors about anything they care about: academic progress, world news, or even one’s own career plan. It’s hard to find another place where all faculties are as supportive as they are here at William & Mary.
I decided to apply to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business because I wanted to study accounting. Besides, Miller Hall looks nice! I am also inspired by the accomplished alumni of the Business School. I hope that one day, I can be one of them.
Combing Accounting and Data Analysis
I am passionate about playing with numbers and solving number puzzles. I am a huge fan of Sudoku, a game that require players to solve complex puzzles made up of numbers. Through adjusting balanced sheet, calculating ratios to understand financial reports, and determining tax liabilities for individuals, I enjoy playing with numbers in accounting. Therefore, I chose accounting as my major. After extracting and analyzing data from financial reports for my accounting research last summer, I identified another area of interest in business: data analysis.
I always want to challenge myself with the new and unknown. Not knowing what accounting entailed, I registered for Principles of Accounting in my first semester at William & Mary. After freshman year, I worked as an audit intern in an accounting firm before taking any audit classes. Without having prepared even my own tax return before, I learned and passed tax volunteer exams this year. I am currently a tax volunteer preparing individual tax return at the Williamsburg Library. My curiosity now leads me to a new discipline: data analytics. I plan to pursue a Master of Science in Business Analytics next year. I am currently learning probability, Python, R, and SQL as prerequisites. Meanwhile, I am auditing Debt Market and Equity Market (BUAD 324/325) for deeper understanding of finance world.
Besides accounting, I also actively involved in other business events and competitions. I went to Finance Roundtable and Training the Street. I have participated in several case competitions on topics including organization restructuring, international arbitration, and entrepreneurship for early childhood education in urban slums.
I am a tutor in accounting and finance in Tribe Tutor Zone, where I hope to help more students develop an interest in accounting. I also helped to set up a billing system for the Tribe Tutor Zone: I sorted data from appointments and designed an internal control process to minimize human error.
My favorite class is Legal Environment for Business (BUAD 343), taught by Professor Stauffer. Professor Stauffer is very knowledgeable and accessible, and he teaches in a straightforward way. He explained laws in plain English using vivid examples. He also taught us practical skills like how to negotiate salaries with Human Resources and how to avoid getting into lawsuits. Professor Stauffer is also extremely supportive. His office door is always open, and he encourages every student to walk into his office and talk to him. He remembers every student’s name and he knows everyone well.
After graduation, my next step is to start the William & Mary’s Masters in Business Analytics program in Fall 2017. I will pursue a Masters of Accounting starting in Fall 2018 so that I can work in both accounting and data analytics. This summer, I plan to sit for CPA exam. I hope to find an intersection of accounting and data analytics, and develop my own career based on that intersection.
Being an Agent of Change
Zach Sims is dedicated to addressing socioeconomic issues and inequalities at a corporate level. How has he combined his Finance major with a commitment to his community?
Coming to William & Mary
My decision to come to William & Mary rested on a variety of factors. I am on an academic scholarship, have the opportunity to play football at the Division I level, and am at a location that is the perfect distance away from home. My desire to study business has been present since high school. As a sophomore, I became involved with Distributive Education Clubs of America and was awestruck at the allure of the business realm and the numerous opportunities that it presented for my professional career.
Improving the Community
I am passionate about the continuous improvement of my community, specifically in terms of youth education and empowerment. I believe that increasing my knowledge in the financial services industry will afford me the opportunity to become educated in humanitarian efforts to stimulate this advancement and those similar to it.
Planning an Academic Course
My initial plan for my IPS was to embark on a course that would allow me to uncover the complexities of socioeconomic issues and seek new methods to both understand and alleviate these concerns. I believe that our society needs agents of change in the realm of addressing complex issues and inequalities, and I hope to be at the forefront this effort. While I am still very much concerned with addressing inequalities that I see, I have become especially interested in addressing them at a corporate level. I now seek to understand the skills and strategies necessary to operate a successful organization that is both profitable and ethical.
I am a wide receiver on William & Mary’s football team. I am a member of both the William & Mary Scholars program and Sharpe Scholars Program. I serve as the treasurer for the Kappa Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the VP of Public Relations for NPHC at the college. In addition to my athletics, Greek Life, and scholarship organizations, I am a member of Students for University Advancement, Net Impact, and the Consulting Club. I am also active in mentorship programs such as Distinguished Gentlemen and Camp Launch. I am a Dean’s List student, Colonial Athletic Association Academic All-Conference Team member, and a 2-time recipient of William & Mary Provost Award.
On campus, I find the Tack Faculty Lecture Series to be very insightful. The opportunity to hear from professionals who are in positions similar to where I would like to be is both educating and entertaining. At the Business School, I was selected along with 20 other sophomores to begin the finance curriculum a year in advance through Professor Guthrie’s Distinguished Financial Management Course. This course is one that I will always remember.
With the remainder of my time at the college, I will continue to learn as much as I can about the consulting industry and opportunities that exist in corporate finance. My IPS will continue to guide me as the potential to serve others through my education ultimately drives my relentless pursuit of the study of business. I plan to pursue an MSBA from William & Mary after graduation. In 10 years, I hope to have solidified my career and be on a path to becoming a partner within my firm.
Julia Hardy is a Finance and Economics double major with a commitment to supporting women in finance. How has she combined her academics, abroad experience, and extracurricular activities into a unique, rewarding career path?
I knew I wanted to leave the Northeast for college, so I went on a tour of schools in Virginia and North Carolina during my junior year of high school. I liked that William & Mary was a liberal arts school, but what really stood out was how comfortable I felt on campus. After interviewing over the summer before my senior year, I decided to apply Early Decision.
I’ve loved economics ever since high school because it explains so much behind how the world functions. I decided to consider the Raymond A. Mason School of Business to find a more practical application for that love. Growing up so close to Wall Street, I only knew finance in the context of the long hours my friends’ parents worked. It didn’t seem like the thing for me, but I decided to try it out and registered for the Distinguished Finance course the fall of my sophomore year. That same semester, I started interning at the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance and realized that finance can provide a strong base for so many different career opportunities. I decided I wanted to pursue a Finance major, and ended up applying to the Business School during the spring of my sophomore year. The combination of my Economics major with a Finance major has been really rewarding.
In my first finance class, I was overwhelmed by the disproportionate number of males: I was one of five girls in a class of 35 students. Although I found the coursework interesting, I wanted an outlet to find female classmates with similar business interests to my own. I ended up joining the executive board of Women in Business during the spring of my sophomore spring. Women in Business has been a crucial outlet for me these past two years, helping me find mentorship and meet amazing professionals.
I pride myself in being the problem solver for my friends. I will listen to problems, remain cool and collected, and help work toward a solution. I’ve brought this skill into the Business School as much as possible, helping answer questions for club members while on the executive board of Women in Business and exploring careers in consulting.
During the fall of my junior year, I studied abroad at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Vienna, Austria. The classes were a mix of Austrian students and exchange students from around the globe, and I was fascinated by the different perspectives that each person offered in our class discussions. Upon returning to campus this past fall, I added an International Emphasis to my Finance major to incorporate this experience into my degree.
Encouraging Women in Business
I served on the executive board for Women in Business for two terms, first as an assistant and then as the Vice President of Marketing. Even though we are technically a finance club, Women in Business focuses on general professionalism and has outreach across the entire campus. My favorite part about the club is that we often create original content, so everything from practice case studies to professional panel discussions have our direct mark.
One of my favorite events at the Business School was the first Women’s Leadership Summit in 2016. Women in Business was responsible for creating the panels, so we were really in the thick of preparing for the event by creating discussion questions and selecting professionals. There was one panel called “Moving Up the Ladder” about career paths, and I had to buy and paint an actual ladder for the professionals to use when they discussed their career trajectories. I got to sit in on that panel during the event and watch the ladder in action, and I was so proud to see how my small part contributed to the larger success of the event.
Professor Guthrie was my first finance professor and has been a big part of my time at the Business School ever since. I’m grateful she saw something in me and put me on the Women in Business board at such a young age! Rita Murphy has played a major role in my college development. She has pushed me to try new courses, study abroad in Vienna, and pursue internships. Most importantly, she is truly the best boss and I will miss seeing her every week after graduation.
In addition to my involvements in the Business School, I am also part of a social sorority and an Irish dancer. I have been dancing since I was six and I helped grow the Celtic Irish Dance club on campus as an outlet for fellow Irish dancers to continue performing while in college.
After I graduate, I will be moving to Washington, D.C. in June to begin my role as a Financial Advisory Services Analyst at AlixPartners, a global management consulting firm. Long term, I hope to have a career centered around solving problems for others. Maybe one day I can go back to Europe and work abroad!
Paying it Forward
Kevin Andrews transferred to William & Mary to achieve his dream of working in finance. He quickly integrated himself into the Business School and is now a leader in many student organizations. How has he taken advantage of the resources offered by Mason?
The right niche
Growing up in Lake Tahoe, California, I had a chance to try many activities, including snowboarding, snowmobiling and wakesurfing. However, a career in professional golf was my goal early on. It was challenging, and I enjoyed how my performance was largely a result of how smart I worked. I steadily improved during high school and college, but I also grew intrigued by the technical and interpersonal aspects of working in finance.
After interning the fall semester of my sophomore year at Carrington Capital Management, I realized how excited I was to pursue finance in New York City. I knew that investment banking was the best fit for my strengths and interests, and that spring, I transferred to William & Mary and began building a platform for my new path.
A complete education
After the transfer, many students and alumni stressed the importance of understanding accounting to be a successful investment banking analyst, so I felt a finance major and accounting concentration would be logical complements. No matter what field or position, understanding the numbers behind companies is essential.
I am also pursuing a Computer Science minor to complement my business education. I have confidence that computer science's foundations in logical and efficiency will be beneficial to me in the long-term.
Coming full circle
William & Mary has been a perfect fit I had hardly any background in finance coming in, but thanks to the Mason Investment Club and Finance Academy, I was able to quickly learn fundamentals of investing and develop key relationships in finance - leading to my participation in the CFA Institute Research Challenge and Carlyle Group Case Competition. Until this semester, I served as president of the Finance Academy, so my experience has truly come full circle.
The highlight of my experience has been the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance. Supported by funding and the efforts of faculty and students, the Center has established an incredible pipeline for students to land internships and jobs in finance by offering student organizations, networking events, elective courses, seminars, competitions, and more. These opportunities are thanks to extraordinary efforts of many, including Raymond A. Mason, Todd Boehly, Howard J. Busbee, and Professor Julie Agnew. I try my best to pay it forward by leading younger students through my leadership roles.
Owning your game
Next summer, I will be joining Morgan Stanley as a full-time analyst in their New York Investment Banking Division, further testing my knowledge of both finance and accounting.
At some point in my career, I would like to lead an organization. One of my favorite aspects of playing competitive golf was that I was essentially the manager of my own golf game. To be successful, golfers must be strong in all aspects of the game, and I enjoyed the challenge of owning my game. Moving forward in business, I am excited about the possibility to help people and organizations perform at their best.
Analyzing the Future
Seroja Boyakhchian is a Business Analytics (Data Science) major with a Marketing concentration. How has he combined his interests in business, computer science, and traveling into a dream career opportunity?
My last name means “carpenter” in Armenian, which was my family’s trade for generations up through my dad, who has been one of my biggest supporters in pursuing a degree in business.
I’m passionate about my family, my work, traveling, and food. Any success that I earn, I have been able to achieve because of the support of my family and close friends. I put my all into my work for my undergraduate degree because I want to take full advantage of the opportunity at William & Mary that my parents and I have worked so hard for.
Coming to William & Mary
I decided to come to William & Mary while on a tour of the campus. The tour guide asked if anyone had any questions, and I asked what the one thing, if anything, at William & Mary that she would change if she could. She said that she would have the students not push themselves so hard, but qualified that by saying students really achieved a lot as a result.
I prefer the William & Mary students’ attitude to drive themselves to succeed over an overly competitive atmosphere and I knew then that if I came to William & Mary, I would be among people who would inspire me to be my best self.
Starting in the Business School
I actually started out as an Accounting Major when I entered into the spring block, but felt that something was not quite right with the fit. I’ve always been fascinated by computers and tech from a young age and felt that the new Business Analytics program, along with my interest in marketing, would properly play to my strengths as well as give me an in-demand skillset for the job market. I eventually chose the combination of Business Analytics, Data Science, and Marketing because I felt that the mix of computer science, business acumen, and people-oriented social science of marketing fit my personality the best out of all other possible options.
I chose Business Analytics as a major and consulting as a career path because I believe that each gives me the opportunity for career growth and mobility. I am passionate about my work, but I also love to travel, both around the United States and outside of the country, and I feel that my major, which is applicable to many different industries, and the consulting profession are both choices which will enable me to pursue my passion for travel and to get exposure to other parts of the world.
The Business Experience
The introductory block will always stick out in my mind as the quintessential Raymond A. Mason School of Business experience. Working intensely in teams on projects spanning the entire semester along with simulation week was one of the most engaging college experiences I’ve had.
All of the career events were excellent at the Business School, especially “Meet the Firms.” I felt, throughout my entire job search, that the business school had really helped me develop the skillset I would need to properly present myself as a candidate to employers with the confidence, knowledge-base, and educational background to set me up for success.
I enjoyed all of my major-related classes and feel that my analytical toolkit has exploded exponentially. However, the Legal Environment of Business with Professor Stauffer was one of my favorite non-computer based classes by far. He has a flair for conferring the importance of a topic that he’s teaching, especially for undergraduate students like me, and makes his students feel like they’re getting prepared to sign contracts and handle legal logistics for Fortune 500 companies’ deals.
Within the Business School, I was awarded the Anderson Scholarship in 2016 and have worked with Bain & Company to bring events to William & Mary.
The Broader William & Mary Community
I’ve played a role in a few different parts of the William & Mary community throughout my four years here. I’ve worked at several different on-campus offices, including the Reves Center for International Studies, the Cohen Career Center, and Conference & Event Services. I’ve volunteered with The Campus Kitchen at William & Mary, preparing meals for local residents in need and with the Arc of Greater Williamsburg.
Within the fraternity and sorority community, I’ve served as the Interfraternity Council President and the Vice President of Alpha Tau Omega. I served on the Fraternity and Sorority Task Force on Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and worked to implement the recommendations from that task force while IFC President.
My next step is to move to Washington D.C. to work for Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant. I’m exceptionally excited to apply all I have learned at the Business School to my work with Bain and feel as though my internship experiences and coursework at William & Mary built the ladder that allowed me to land a job with such an excellent firm. I’m incredibly grateful to all my professors, mentors, and classmates for the help and support they’ve given me throughout my four years at William & Mary.
In five years, I hope to be working toward graduating from an MBA program before returning to Bain as a full Consultant. I’m already hugely impressed with the work that Bain & Company does as a firm and I think they are going to play a big part in shaping my future over the next five years. Ten years is, I’m afraid, too far out for me to estimate where I’ll be. The marketplace and the business environment shift quickly, but I’m sure I will find a place for myself that will let me enjoy the process of continually learning new things and opening myself to new experiences.
Samantha Cohen is a senior Accounting major who is currently interning at William & Mary’s Investment Office. How has she combined her love of hockey, Italian language skills, and academic interests into a winning IPS?
Finding William & Mary
I first read about W&M in my history textbook. I originally wanted to be a neuroscience major and marine sciences minor, and I loved W&M’s partnership with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. I reassessed my strengths and weaknesses before actually starting in the Fall of 2013, and realized that my love for meeting and interacting with people and my entrepreneurial nature were actually better suited for a career in business. Then, I applied for the Business School!
Deciding on Business
I am passionate about meeting new people and having fun. My time at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business has allowed me to do a lot of both! I am constantly working on new challenges with different groups of people who really take the time to get to know me and my learning/ working style. Nothing is more fun the celebrating the end of a successful project with new friends!
I never would have thought I was going to major in Accounting and concentrate in Finance. I thought I would focus on marketing, but Professor Dafashy’s Principles of Accounting course snuck the love of debits and credits into my heart. My love of hockey led me to join the Sports Business Club and I have tried my best to take advantage of some of the awesome opportunities that the Boehly Center has to offer. These two things led to my interest and subsequent concentration in Finance. I was also able to wedge in a semester abroad in Siena, Italy which allowed me to bring a fresh global perspective to my education here in Williamsburg.
Making a Difference
I worked as an accounting tutor for a few semesters, and try to help my friends and younger sorority sisters with introductory accounting and business classes. I get super excited when one of them expresses interest in accounting! I think the great thing about the Business School here is that everyone is really proud to be a part of it and willing to help other people find their groove. I made some of my best friends on campus (and in life) through my Intermediate Accounting study group! We still text in our study group chat even though that class is long behind us.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
During my time at the Business School, I have been able to take advantage of some great opportunities. Last year, I took the Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management with alum Matt Siano, Legal Counsel of Two Sigma. This past January, I was a Teaching Assistant for the course! I also had the opportunity to watch a Washington Capitals game in the press box and sit in on an interview with their head coach Barry Trotz with the Sports Business Club. It was a hockey nerd’s dream! Finally, in Professor Tack’s financial services class I was introduced to a wide range of financial services and heard a lecture from the Chief Investment Officer of the College’s endowment, Brian Hiestand. It was so interesting getting an inside look into how our school invests. This interest led me to an internship with the Investment Office of the William & Mary Foundation which I have been loving.
After graduation in May, my first goal is to pass the CPA exam. I plan to start my career auditing the financial services sector with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Chicago. I think my IPS and the Business School have given me invaluable tools and opportunities to start my post-grad life with the confidence, ask questions, trust my gut, and make and retain valuable relationships. At some point during the next ten years, I would love to work abroad so I can utilize the years of Italian I took here! I would also love to start my own business one day.
Making a Difference
Josiah Day is passionate about advocating for marginalized groups of people. How has he combined his academic studies with his desire to make a difference?
A Passion for People
I am passionate about people. It is so easy to forget that every single individual has his or her own unique story and background. This encourages me to work hard to understand how to better serve these people. I specifically feel passionately about advocating for those marginalized by society, especially veterans and those with special needs. In my experience working with children with special needs, the first lesson I was taught was to always refer to those that are differently-abled as “children with special needs” as opposed to “special-needs children” because they are children first, before their perceived disability. This important message motivates me to advocate for those from every walk of life to be viewed as a person first, regardless of how society defines that individual.
Choosing William & Mary
William & Mary was the only school I applied to during the delightful college application process. After attending a large public high school, I knew I wanted a smaller-school environment. I set my heart on William & Mary and haven’t looked back since. Applying to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business was a more difficult decision for me. Even though I wasn’t sure what major within the Business School I wanted to pursue, I was intrigued by how businesses start, function, and scale. I knew I wanted to be a part of it that process.
Combining Academics and Service
As a Marketing major, it is essential to understand people and communicate a message tailored to a target market. Not only do I have to work hard to understand who people are and why they make the decisions they make, but I also have to formulate that message in a clear, concise, and appealing way. Marketing is an avenue for me to better understand people and demonstrate what I am passionate about in a very practical way.
My Psychology minor helps me to understand why people do the things they do, and what really makes people tick. Both Marketing and Psychology strive to understand people. Marketing consists of formulating a message for consumers, but in order to formulate that message you must first have an in-depth knowledge of the consumer. This is where Psychology comes in.
I currently serve as the director for Comedy Boot camp, a 7-week stand-up comedy class for local veterans taught by a professional comedian. Comedy Boot camp is a branch of the Armed Services Arts Partnership, a nonprofit started by a recent William & Mary alum. I also am the Vice President of Club Basketball at W&M, and serve on the leadership team in Reformed University Fellowship, a Christian fellowship on campus.
Experiencing the Business School
The major highlights of my experience at the Business School have been my courses with Professor Szykman, specifically her course in Consumer Behavior. This course provided me with insight on how companies choose their marketing methods. There was also a strong Psychology overlap, complementing my IPS. Outside of the course, Professor Szykman is a professor that genuinely cares for her students. Whether she is just joking around with you or giving you post-college advice, she truly does care for your well-being and strives to make you as successful as possible.
After I graduate in May, I hope to find a job in nonprofit marketing. I want to work closely with people and spend time fundraising for a cause I am passionate about. Outside of that, the possibilities are endless! In five years I see myself formulating strategies and messages for an organization and seeing those messages impact others while traveling to fundraise and market that organization. I hope to have a job that connects my personal values to my work. I hope to eventually dabble in entrepreneurship by starting a nonprofit that partners with and empowers local churches to create programs that serve children with special needs and their families.
Accounting for Social Change
Katie McVey is a world traveler who has a passion for social ventures and nonprofits. How have her Accounting major and Supply Chain concentration given her the tools to pursue these fields?
Traveling the World
I was born and raised as the youngest of three siblings in Denver, Colorado. My dad is from Australia, and I am a dual citizen. I also have family in England: I grew up being exposed to different areas of the world. I recently decided to finish my undergrad education in three years so I could spend my final year doing the Masters of Accounting. I’ve studied abroad twice in college (both in the summer). The first was for the Social Entrepreneurship Program after my freshman year, and the second was this past summer in Galway, Ireland!
Experiencing Different Places
My overall passion comes from a desire to explore and understand different areas of the world. I have always loved to travel, which was initially one of the reasons I decided to spend my summers abroad in high school. This expanded into discovering different cultures, societies, and economic variations of various parts of the world.
Although I adore my home state of Colorado, I was fascinated by the idea of challenging myself by exploring unfamiliar territory. During my tour, William & Mary stood apart from every other school quite simply because of the sense of ambition and engagement in each student. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a member of the Tribe.
Developing an IPS
My desire to be in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business began similarly: I saw a pattern of motivated, ambitious, welcoming student leaders leave Miller Hall each day. I love learning, and wanted a curriculum that would challenge me. I hate feeling limited, and realized that the Business School would help solidify my passions without limiting any potential opportunity.
My fascination with the unknown combined with a desire to be involved in hands on learning was my inspiration for my IPS. Throughout high school, developing nations captivated me, motivating me to spend the summers from freshman year to senior year in Ecuador, South Africa, Mozambique, and Uganda, respectively, engaging in everything from service to microfinancing activities. I was eager to continue this passion in my business curriculum; I took Exploring Non-Profits as my freshmen seminar and finished my first year by researching communities in the Dominican Republic during the summer through the Social Entrepreneurship Program.
My IPS evolved after watching phenomenal social ventures with grand ideas develop insolvency issues that were detrimental to the overall organization. I knew after seeing this that I wanted the knowledge base and management skills to be able to combat these very issues, making Accounting an obvious choice.
On campus, I am a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and serve as the Vice President of Communication for Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women. One of my more meaningful involvements has been serving on the executive board for Women in Business where we host events ranging from resume and interview preps, guest speakers, to helping plan the Women in Leadership Summit.
I have enjoyed taking the Risk Management Course sponsored by GenRe last Spring; learning from Professor Carl Tack in his Financial Services Class; and engaging in hands-on learning through the Social Entrepreneurship semester and summer program. I loved all of these classes, but have loved the range in their subject matter even more.
My all-time favorite class was Tax Competition, affectionately referred to as “Tax Team.” This class consisted of nine students preparing to compete at Deloitte’s National FanTAXtic Case competition in Atlanta, Georgia. Although I am not entirely enthused by tax as a subject, the people on the team are a perfect example of how specTAXular the business school is. They remain some of my closest friends to this day.
Planning for the Future
I most recently accepted an internship offer with Ernst & Young for the summer of 2017. After that, I plan to return to William & Mary’s Masters of Accounting Program before ultimately sitting for my CPA Exam. In the future, I would love to use my foundation in accounting to work further with microfinancing and sustainability projects in developing countries.
Innovating a Unique IPS
Neil McLean combined his interests in business and technology with entrepreneurial experiences and art history. How has Mason shaped his path?
Finding the Right Fit
I was looking for a college that offered the individual attention and community of a small school with the resources, facilities, and sports presence of a large school. William & Mary offered the best of both worlds. I was also impressed with the facilities and resources of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. After getting my feet wet with Tribe Tank and 3-Day Startup, I knew I wanted to further pursue business. I applied to the Business School soon after.
Going into 3-Day Startup, I was unsure what I wanted to do in the business field. I didn’t know if entrepreneurship was right for me. This event also the first time I encountered the TribeVentures club. The weekend turned out to be transformative. Five students and I worked on an online importing/exporting company, Crisea.co. This weekend jump-started my interest in entrepreneurship. During the fall, I worked alongside two peers to revitalize the TribeVentures club. Our main event last semester was an in-house version of 3-Day Startup, called Catapult. It was a great experience coordinating the event and discovering the innovative ideas William and Mary students had to offer. I have loved being a part of WM’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and am excited to see it continue to flourish.
An event that was particularly notable in my Business School experience was the Kohl’s National Business Case Competition. Three other students and I were tasked with improving Kohl’s appeal among millennials. We received invaluable guidance from faculty members and executive partners that helped us move forward in the competition. After participating in a series of online interviews, creating a video and case write-up, we advanced to the final round of the competition held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Technology, Art, and Mason
I have been interested in technology and productivity for a long time. I have watched the Apple Keynote presentation each year for as long as I can remember, and I constantly seek out the newest software and hardware developments. Last year, while working on the Kohl’s Business Case Competition with my peers, I was thrilled to be able to use a Virtual Reality device in the Small Hall Makerspace. The Business School has allowed my interests to flourish, especially after I became a Business Analytics major. I have only recently embarked upon the program, and already enjoy learning about Lean Six Sigma and process improvement.
I am extremely impressed by the emphasis on a holistic experience at the Business School. Coming into William and Mary, I knew I wanted to study Art History and Business, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. I am now pursuing a double major in Art History and Business Analytics. This is thanks in part to the experience I had this past summer, where I interned as a Gallery Associate at WARD Gallery in Petoskey, Michigan. I operated the gallery through the duration of the summer season, oversaw project logistics, and collaborated with the Interior Designer team to vet artists. I had an amazing experience learning the ins and outs of the business of art.
Currently, I am studying abroad at University College London, where I am immersing myself in British culture and learning more about my genealogy (my ancestors emigrated from the UK).
After college, I hope to work for a data analytics company in the corporate world. However, the beauty of my IPS is that I feel prepared to work in a wide range of fields, even those that are typically beyond the grasp of a business analytics major. With my global experience and secondary major in art history, I feel I have the experiences and skills necessary to work in a wide variety of disciplines. The career possibilities are truly endless.
In five years, I hope to be a founder or early employee for a tech startup in Washington D.C. D.C.’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is on the rise and I would love to be a contributing member to this growing community. Further down the road, I would like continue to work in the startup field, but transition into a role in a venture capital firm. I find the innovative ideas and solutions startups offer to be fascinating and would greatly enjoy the opportunity to vet and fund companies.
Planning an Eventful Career
Patricia Mook has a knack for event planning, and knew majoring in Marketing and concentrating in Innovation and Design would give her the skills she needs to run her own business. How have her academic interests and extracurricular activities provided her with right foundation for her chosen career?
Transfer of Skills
I transferred to William & Mary after two years at Emory University. I have absolutely loved my two years here: I could not imagine myself anywhere else in the world! When I came to William & Mary, I was search of a school with genuine people and professors who care. I found nothing short of that here. I knew I wanted to study business, and the Raymond A. Mason School of Business felt like the perfect fit. I wanted to be a part of an atmosphere where differences were welcome!
My first year here I joined the Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) and was selected to lead the planning of their annual benefit gala. I got to meet so many inspiring individuals in the college, local community, and beyond. With this I was able to connect my passion of event planning with my own faith, and channel my energy back into the surrounding community. Outside of the CCM, I was able to work as the business manager at The Flat Hat, delving deeper with my business leadership skills. I also am a member of Alpha Kappa Psi.
Planning the Future
I want to own an event planning business someday! When I came into the Business School I knew I was doing something a bit different and that there was no specific major for event/wedding planning, but I had the confidence that the business school was going to help me graduate with a degree that was not only valuable but also versatile and applicable to what I intend to do.
At the Business School, I am able to connect with new people every day and discover how different people interact to create. I get to work with some of the greatest humans in the world on some of the most intriguing topics. The personalities I get to know and the skills I learn through marketing will without a doubt be carried into the business I someday own. I think some of the most valuable things I will carry with me will be the memories and stories friends and classmates have helped me to develop here at William & Mary.
Giving Thanks and Looking Ahead
Throughout my whole journey, business advisors and professors have been there to support and encourage my goals. Susan Grainger truly welcomed my mom and I into the business school on a Friday afternoon when I had no idea where I was headed next. I am so grateful for her continued ability to put a smile on my face! She helps me figure out where to turn next with my goals.
After graduation I am planning to go to graduate school for Event Management and Hospitality. This month, I will be applying to the ISCTE school in Lisbon, Portugal.
Internationalizing Finance and Data
David Rice is interested in Chinese business and trade. How has a double major in Chinese and Finance, along with a concentration in Business Analytics, prepared him for crafting sustainable solutions to global problems?
An International Childhood
I spent most of my life growing up overseas in Greece, Belgium, and France. Being able to have friends from such a diversity of backgrounds and cultures was an incredible experience and contributed significantly to the development of my worldview. Between high school and William & Mary, I spent a year studying Chinese and living in a Beijing high school dorm through a U.S. State Department scholarship. Inspired by my firsthand interaction with the people and culture, I am passionate about bridging the political, economic, and cultural gap between U.S. and China.
I spent two years in Williamsburg as a student at the local Queens Lake Middle School. While living in Williamsburg, my mom and I snuck into Kaplan Hall for the Freshman Orientation event “Welcome to the Tribe.” One of the student speakers, when discussing the freedoms available at the College, mentioned that you could eat ice cream for breakfast. As a seventh-grader who viewed Red Bull and a bag of Skittles as an adequate meal, William & Mary sounded like paradise. I was immediately hooked. When applying to schools, in addition to the breakfast ice cream, I was drawn by the College’s Confucius Institute. The Institute provides the College with wonderful Chinese professors as well as a variety of cultural events.
Business: The Clear Choice
The summer after my freshman year I interned on AidData’s Tracking Under-Reported Financial Flows team, where I uncovered Chinese international investments that the Chinese government chose not to disclose. Fascinated by the diplomatic power China wielded through these financial investments, I combined my major in Chinese with a major in Finance.
As a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the courses offered by the Business School allow me to apply my quantitative background to challenging real-life issues. Despite my expertise in China’s language and culture, I had no understanding of the business side of China. After two semesters in the Business School, I now feel more confident speaking on topics such as the growth of Chinese M&A and China’s shift to a productivity-driven economy.Given China’s tremendous economic transformation over the past several decades and going forward, I hope to use business as the primary vehicle in improving this relationship. I plan on combing my Chinese studies and experiences with the skills gained from the Business School’s diverse curriculum in order to develop an exhaustive understanding of China’s economy and trade.
Discovering Business Analytics
Intrigued by the Business School’s new Business Analytics curriculum, I decided to further explore the field through two experiences. The first was my James Monroe Scholar Upperclassmen Research Project, in which I surveyed working women in a Chinese “Tier 3” city on their preferences on how developments in “big data” analysis can improve their city. My second exposure into the world of Business Analytics was when I worked as the Data Analytics Intern at Viget, a firm that creates digital products and services. After a summer of leveraging analytic software to uncover insights in large data sets, I selected Business Analytics as my concentration.
Going forward, I am currently in the process of founding Jefferson Digital Consultants, an organization that optimizes local businesses’ digital advertising efforts. Given the growth of the digital advertising industry, I wanted to provide William and Mary students the opportunity to gain experience in the field through first-hand interaction with clients as well as careful analysis of their advertising strategies I look forward to combining the support and knowledge of Mason School professors, such as Professor Edmiston, with the drive of the club’s members in order to provide valuable and revenue-driving recommendations to our clients.
Branching Into Consulting
This September, I was selected as a Student Ambassador for the Finance Academy’s flagship event “From Dog Street to Wall Street.” Student Ambassadors serve as a personal resource to the event’s impressive group of alumni panelists. Given my interest in strategy consulting, I was paired with an alumna currently working in San Francisco as an Associate for McKinsey & Company. The opportunity to learn about her experiences, ask her questions, and receive recommendations with regard to the recruiting process was invaluable to my understanding of McKinsey and the field as a whole. I was also impressed at the diversity of successful alumni that took the time out of their demanding schedules to give back to the Business School and help its students.
Looking Forward to the Future
After a spring semester in Shanghai, where I hope to either study at a university or work as an intern, I hope to be in an environment this summer that provides me a quantitative and qualitative challenge with regard to business strategy and data analysis. Five years down the road I see myself as either in grad school or in a fast paced environment where I am continually challenged by the work and my colleagues. I’d love to work in China, speak Chinese at a business-fluent level, and make dumplings faster than my host mother during my time in Beijing (she was a dumpling master).
In ten years, I want to create impactful and sustainable solutions for issues at the global level, specifically with regard to U.S. – Chinese relations. I also hope to be in a position where I can give back and support the Business School. William & Mary students are incredibly intelligent and driven – I want to provide the resources needed for them to fully pursue their passions and achieve their dreams.
Teaming Business and People
Abby Junior is a people person who has paired her Finance major with a passion for volunteering. How has she combined her many interests into a career path?
People and Teamwork
I am passionate about people and the power of teamwork. I am from a large, loud family, and am used to working in diverse settings to come up with solutions. Every individual has a different perspective to offer and when we empathize with one another the end results exceed all expectations. I have felt this pull toward group settings since I was in elementary school: I found my way onto every sports team, club, and classroom activity to spend more time with other kids. Business was a logical major for me because it allowed me to put what I value most at the forefront—relationships. I ultimately decided I wanted to pursue a career in financial consulting and finance would be the most helpful for this. With my Finance major, I am able to utilize my passion for people and work in a group setting to develop unique solutions.
Playing Lacrosse At William & Mary
I initially looked at William & Mary because I was recruited for lacrosse. After visiting the campus, I realized how deeply the school is steeped in traditions and connects current students to those of the past. The type of person that William & Mary attracts is intelligent, ambitious, goofy, and kind. I felt that William & Mary would provide a positive, challenging environment for me to grow into the person I wanted be. Coming to William & Mary has been one of the best decisions I have made to date.I decided to apply to the Business School because I realized from a young age that I wanted to pursue a business major.In my freshmen and sophomore years I took a wide variety of classes including religion, Africana studies, astronomy, sociology, and many more that gave me a diverse view of other possible majors.While I enjoyed these different courses, I still felt that business best matched my skill set.
My IPS reflects my passion for people and has served as a dynamic process to encourage my growth as a student. It has led me to a Finance major and Marketing concentration that will help me develop the skills necessary to achieve one of my dreams- to own a business. My IPS has helped me evolve as a student and allowed me to stretch myself academically and as a person.
Combining Athletics with Volunteering
At William & Mary I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a wide variety of activities. I am a member of the women's varsity lacrosse team. As a team, we have worked with Beyond Boobs, NEDA, ARC, and Friends of Jacyln. Being on the lacrosse team has provided me with lifelong friends as well as demonstrated the power of a group of disciplined, hardworking individuals. Lacrosse is a big commitment, but this experience has helped me develop teamwork and time management skills I would not have learned any other way. In addition to my team's athletic accomplishments, our involvement in other organizations has reminded us to help those in our community and utilize the power of a simple smile.
Outside of lacrosse, I volunteer with Avalon Women’s Center and mentor a child at Matthew Whaley Elementary School. I have especially enjoyed working with disadvantaged children to help them reach their goals and understand their potential. At the Business School, I am on the executive board of Smart Woman Securities and have loved empowering women to learn about their financial future. As the Chief Marketing Officer, I look to make women of all majors feel comfortable to join our club and learn about critical financial information. I feel as though William & Mary has provided me with immense opportunities to learn, develop, and strive for my best. With each activity I am involved in, I hope to do the same for others.
Women in Finance
At the Business School, my involvement with Smart Woman Securities has been extremely rewarding.This club initially sparked my interest in finance; it has been inspiring helping young women achieve financial independence. Through this club I also get to work with Dr. Katherine Guthrie, who is a phenomenal advisor and role model. Additionally, Professor Bill Stauffer and Dr. Julie Agnew continue to amaze me by their excitement to teach and commitment to developing relationships with individual students. They truly care about each of us and help us all grow into strong students and even better people. These professors inspire me to find a career I am passionate about and remind me to help those around me.
My next steps are to finish senior year and enjoy my time in Williamsburg. I have accepted a position with Ernst & Young in their Business Advisor Program in New York City and am excited to begin a new adventure. I feel that William & Mary, and more specifically the Business School, has prepared me to take on any challenge.
Unlocking Creative Passions
Even before college, Greg Roland knew the Mason community was the place for him. He loves seeing people grow and learn. How has his Business education helped him achieve his goals?
Sealing the deal
I came to William & Mary because I really do believe that this is the place I was always meant to be. When I first came to the campus on Admitted Students' Day, I fell in love with the place and the people. In fact, as luck would have it, as I was returning home I asked for directions to the highway from someone who turned out to be a professor from the Business School. He was eager to connect me with other business professors and that chance encounter sealed the deal for me. My goal when I first arrived on campus was to make it into Mason, because I knew I wanted to be a business major.
I initially applied to the Business School with the intention of majoring in Accounting, but I was instead accepted as a minor in the Management & Organizational Leadership track. I loved my Organizational Behavior classes so much I decided to concentrate in it when I became a major. Once I became a major, I intended to continue in Accounting, but I enjoyed my introductory marketing class and professor so much that I switched to a Marketing major to go with my Organizational Leadership concentration. Each of my professors has framed business in terms of relationships, which I really enjoy.
Growing and thriving
I am really passionate about seeing growth in people. As huge extrovert, I love being around a lot of people and really thrive in a communal setting, which is one of the reasons why I love working in teams for the majority of my classes in the Business School. Through my life experiences and faith, I have learned that we cannot truly experience life abundantly without relationships. That is the reason why I love what I am learning in Marketing, because it is all about relationships, people's behaviors and how people interact with others in order to get to a better state.
Making time for music
I have been in a men's Christian a cappella group at William & Mary, called One Accord, since the fall of my freshmen year. I have loved traveling all over the state to sing in competitions, perform at various colleges and even be a part of a music video. I have arranged four pieces for out group to sing and I am very proud to have recently finished arranging a medley of the hymn "How Great Thou Art" and the song "Circle of Life" from the Lion King. I serve as the Chaplain for One Accord, and have had the opportunity to serve as its President. I have really enjoyed implementing what I am learning in my classes into One Accord in order to improve our organization.
Outside of One Accord, I independently compose music for piano and vocals and have been working on an album for the past few years. I've played in the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble for a year, taken Jazz Piano lessons, and was in charge of managing the live sound audio production in a concert for a local music group at Williamsburg Regional Library.
Simulation Week experience
Simulation Week was without a doubt one of my favorite and most rewarding experiences as a Business student. I wish I could do it again! I loved the fact that we spent an entire week running a virtual company and were responsible for all its operations. Each of my teammates brought something unique to our group and it was during this week that I really knew that I belonged as a Business student. I also discovered a new passion for graphic design, and was able to design our company's logo. I will always remember Simulation Week, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to work with intelligent, fun, and dedicated people.
Meshing passion with business
My most immediate step is pursuing a marketing focused internship this summer that will continue to help me shape my IPS and career and narrow down which area of marketing I would like to focus on. Through my courses, I am gaining a comprehensive understanding of the marketing field, and I am excited to further develop my interests in an internship this summer. I am looking forward to seeing how my creative passions will mesh with my business skills.
In the future, I would love to use my creative skills and Marketing/ Organizational Behavior background to consult with executive leadership within companies and bring organizational transformation that improves internal company culture and their triple bottom line. It is also my intention to serve in a pastoral ministry position somewhere down the line. I would additionally like to open my own music business on the side where I could be contracted to write music, record, produce records in my personal studio.
Kent Rollins felt at home the moment he stepped into the Business School and constantly works to grow his start-up. How has Mason shaped his education and personal development?
Connecting with people
Choosing to come to William & Mary was an easy decision for me: it has a rich history and I had a lot of friends here. What I didn't expect was how welcoming and open the student body would be - it felt like home here within a matter of weeks. I applied to the Business School because it seemed like one of the best programs the school had to offer. To me, the Business School involves beautiful people doing beautiful things in a beautiful building.
My IPS is all about people. From marketing classes to entrepreneurship, everything for me is about connecting with and working for people. I knew from the start what I liked (people) and what I didn't like. The Business School has given me the flexibility to customize my program of study to really focus on what I enjoy studying.
Caring for customers
I have started my own importing and e-commerce business, which arose from my love for entrepreneurship in all of its forms. There is nothing more exciting to me than growing something from scratch and watching it succeed. The idea for my personal business came to me during an international trade class when the professor was describing the incredibly low barriers to entry. I have absolutely adored learning about business first hand; it has been both the most rewarding and most challenging thing I have ever done.
I am passionate about my business - some nights I can hardly sleep because I am so excited to check my email. Caring for my customers, negotiating with suppliers, and marketing to consumers - I love all of it. My business education helps me to provide the best products and services to my customers; it is so much fun to take a lesson you learn in class that afternoon to change the way you manage a business that night.
Diving into marketing
On campus, I am involved with the Student Marketing Association (SMA). After attending a bunch of events and diving into the field, I eventually became the Vice President of Membership. I have loved my experience with the club so far, and Professor Edmiston is truly one of the best professors I have ever worked with. For me, my Business School experience really began at Tribe Tank, a business pitching event put on by the SMA. The beauty of the school and the experience of the people all kind of hit me in that moment. After miraculously managing to place second in the contest, the hook was set and I knew that my future was within Miller Hall.
Making way for the future
If everything goes to plan, I should be able to finish my double major and concentration by 2017, allowing me to spend my fourth year in the MSBA program. My IPS will let me have the analytics background I need to find employment with marketing, while simultaneously developing the soft skills required to be an effective leader.
In five years I hope to be working in a "start-up" type environment, I enjoy the massive possibility for innovation and the ability to stake your own place. In ten years I hope to have founded my own business - I don't know what type yet; I just know that I want to create something of my own.
Breathing Life into Brands
During her time at Mason, Tayler Anderson has learned to "breathe new life into brands" and embraced the field of sports business. How has Mason helped her form invaluable connections and shape her passion?
Engaging with creativity
Growing up, I was always interested in how people think and why they make the decisions that they do. This interest led me to choose my Marketing Major and Psychology Minor from day one. I want to "breathe new life into brands". I love to brainstorm reasons why consumers pick certain products, and I have so much respect for bands with such strong equity that they keep consumers choosing their products over and over again.
Mason has taught me the importance of using both analytical and design skills in order to create strategies to transform and strengthen brands. The Business School teaches you the psychology of why consumers choose brands while allowing the creative liberty to invent new ways to keep people engaged.
Exploring sports business
As a freshman, I was a sports reporter for William & Mary Television. My sports reporting days led me to join the Sports Business Club within Mason, and I eventually served two years as Vice President. It was a great experience. I had the opportunity to meet many influential individuals in the sports world, and this year, we will attend a Capitals game and tour the Redskins facility! I love meeting other students who have a passion for the niche field of sports business.
Embracing the Mason community
Simply put, my favorite part of Mason is the strong sense of community. I love connecting with people and building relationships, and Mason has given me a chance to form invaluable connections with students, faculty, and alumni.
My entire block has remained close throughout our last three semesters, even as we've moved on to different business studies. There is not a day that I walk into the Business School without recognizing at least 75% of the students. It feels like a tightly knit family within a much larger student body.
I've also truly enjoyed my marketing classes. Professors Bob Williams, Dawn Edmiston, and Lisa Szykman have been extremely helpful not only in the classroom, but also throughout my internship and job searches. They consistently show me the importance of building relationships both in the classroom and in the real world.
Landing a dream job
Although I had a phenomenal internship experience in brand management, I discovered that my true passion is in advertising. I recently completed the Advertising and Marketing Communication course with Professor Edmiston, and I hope to use the insight from her class to guide me to a dream job in account management at an ad agency.
One in a Billion
Putting her experience in Design Thinking to good use, Jiaorui Jiang has traveled around the world for years, looking to discover multicultural innovation opportunities. How has Mason helped her make a profound impact with her life?
Standing out in a crowd
I am literally one in a billion. If you look up my Chinese name, you'll only find one person named Jiaorui Jiang out of over 1.3 billion people in China. That uniqueness inspires me to take chances and find opportunities in the world where I can truly make a difference. Outside of William & Mary, I have also studied and/ or worked in the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Singapore, and Iceland.
I'm always noticing the small details, something I picked up from a passion for magic. For example, did you know that the King of Hearts is the only King without a mustache? I've always loved to observe people, and it's always fun to see the initial awe of an audience. From there, I was led to an education in marketing, where I learned how to understand customers and enrich their lives with what I could offer. I look at customers as individuals. The best way to engage them is through understanding multicultural idiosyncrasies in others and finding the magical place were innovation and opportunity meet.
Moving into creative design
How would you connect 9 dots with 4 straight lines without lifting the pencil from the paper? You have to literally think outside the box! My experience with creative problem solving inspired my Individual Program of Study. Over time I've managed to incorporate the creative and strategic thinking into all my internships and experience abroad and at home. Most recently I was able to ensure an Ecovillage in Iceland could get enough funding for ramps and heated pathways so the residents could safely walk in the winter without slipping on ice!
Within Mason, working with Design Thinking Club and Professor Luchs has definitely been a highlight for me. I served as President in the Design Thinking Club and brought professionals and students together to share their creative problem-solving experience. Design Thinking has made a difference in my life by enhancing my ability to be open to new experiences.
Putting opportunities to good use
I'm a Senior Research Assistant at AidData where my team and I are tracking Chinese government official finance around the world. Aside from AidData, I use my bilingual abilities working as a Proctor for the Chinese Department. I also volunteer at the Reves Center to help international students assimilate to life at William & Mary, and I volunteer with special needs children at The Contemporary Art Gallery.
After college, I look forward to continually finding culturally diverse opportunities that really make an impact and make life more fun and magical.
Reaching New Heights
As a varsity gymnast, Alyssa Glass knows how to achieve lofty goals. She could envision her dream career but needed additional skills to help launch it. How has Mason helped her discover the perfect blend of healthcare consulting and data analytics?
Unlocking business intelligence
I knew right away that I wanted to be a finance major, but my Individual Program of Study (IPS) actually changed significantly during my Mason experience. After interning at FTI Consulting this past summer, I realized I needed technical and data skills to enhance my value in the corporate world. Luckily for me, the new Business Analytics concentration was developed, and I am taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a brand new, in-demand field.
Diving into healthcare
I am incredibly fascinated by healthcare. Ever since freshman year, I've known my dream career is to be in healthcare consulting, and that interest has tied into my business education perfectly. I have actually taken classes that deal directly with healthcare and the data within the industry. By blending business intelligence tools, Big Data sets, and hands-on consulting projects, I am able to pursue my passion in a unique way.
Fundraising and gymnastics
Gymnastics has been a huge part of my life since I was three years old. I now compete for the William & Mary Varsity Women's Gymnastics team. Understandably, a lot of my engagement on campus involves gymnastics, but I am very involved in community service as well. The past two years, I organized the Suicide Prevention Walk on campus, a 5K to raise awareness of mental health.
A true Mason experience
Believe it or not, the best part of Mason is working in teams for class projects. I learn so much from classmates assigned to my groups, and many of them have become some of my best friends most of the time, I wonder how we even produce work when we are laughing in study rooms for hours at a time!
In addition to making amazing friends within Mason, I also met a remarkable mentor. Professor Guthrie coached and taught me more about finance in a single semester than seems humanly possible. I am extremely grateful for her inspiration. Every single faculty and staff member works hard to ensure we not only have an elite education but also market ourselves as job candidates in the best way possible. Without them, I would not have the chance to interview with some tremendous firms and find my future job.
Prepared for the future
I recently accepted a full-time position with FTI Consulting in their Health Solutions Practice. I am taking all the analytics and project management classes I can so that when I return to the company a few short months later, I will be ready for any challenge.
Empathizing in Business
Shelby Trinca's lifelong mission is to focus and develop her skills in empathy and communication. how has Mason helped her combine those passions with real world applications in finance and accounting?
A family business
My Individual Program of Study (IPS) at the Mason School of Business reflects my upbringing and background. Both my parents found their career paths at start-up companies, which in turn introduced me to the concept of entrepreneurship at a young age. I elected to study accounting and finance at the Business School with the belief that an education in these topics would help me develop the skills necessary to one day start my own business.
Empathizing and communicating
I was raised in Northern Virginia in a blended family with eight siblings. I have always been passionate about helping the intellectually disabled and for years have been a regular volunteer at several organizations serving special needs populations. My sister, who had Down Syndrome and autism, sparked this passion. her inability to speak was a challenge that impressed upon me the importance of empathy and communication, skills I have continued to cultivate throughout my time at William & Mary.
Within the Business School, Professor Adkin's Business Perspectives and Applications course taught me how to apply in a business setting the interpersonal skills I have spent so long developing in my personal life.
Leading in business
Outside of the classroom, I serve as the Vice President of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. I am also President of Women in Business, a position I was inspired to pursue after attending a club-hosted panel event at From DoG Street to Wall Street during my sophomore year. Participating in the club, which prepares ambitious young women for careers in business, has been among my most gratifying pursuits at William & Mary.
I was also fortunate to study abroad in Cádiz, Spain, during the summer following my freshman year. I spent this time researching and authoring a paper on the role of individuals with Down Syndrome in Spanish society - a wonderful way for me to combine my Hispanic Studies minor and a personal passion within the context of my IPS.
Conquering Capitl Hill
My coursework in accounting and finance helped me secure two rewarding internships - the first at the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance (in the Taxation and IRS Oversight Subcommittee) and the second at a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, where I focused on IRS and taxation issues. These experiences instilled a keen appreciation for the many complex tax-related issues facing today's business owners.
Preparing for anything
Although I have no concrete plans for the immediate future besides sitting for the CPA exam, I hope my ultimate career combines finance, accounting, and leadership skills with my passion for helping the intellectually disabled. I am inspired by the idea of working with the special needs population and their families to secure a better quality of life through financial planning. Regardless of my decision, my experiences at the Business School have prepared me for any career path.
Embracing New Technology
Donald Thibeau is fascinated by advancing technology and business strategy, and he's taken that passion all the way to the UK for a one-of-a-kind internship. What other opportunities have made up his Mason experience?
I am so intrigued by how technology continues to change and develop all aspects of the world at an increasingly rapid pace. I have tried to reflect this interest as I develop my career and hope to work in the technology industry for a strategy-consulting firm that helps business and government harness these new technologies to expand their missions to new markets and products.
Traveling and consulting
I took off the spring semester of my junior year to move to London and work for KPMG UK's technology consulting group. It was in incredibly stressful experience, being in a new city where I knew very few people, but I am more prepared for post-graduation life now. I gained tremendous professional experience; clients included a multi-national telecommunication company, local and multi-national banks, and the UK Government. Not to mention I was even sent to Italy and Scotland for business related trips!
I also ran my first marathon while in the UK, which allowed me to cross off a big item on my bucket list. While there, I also traveled to Ireland, France and Amsterdam.
That summer, I then returned to my hometown of Chicago for an internship with KPMG Cyber. My luck with travel continued as I was sent to Orlando, Seattle, and Boston while working with another multi-national telecommunications firm, one of the world's largest automotive manufacturers, and a biopharmaceutical company.
Engaging with Mason
One of the highlights of my time at Mason was Principles of Marketing with Professor Williams. He focused on teaching us how to guide business strategy with mission. He was an incredibly engaging speaker who was able to integrate real world examples with each of his lessons, and the skills he taught were invaluable in my internships with KPMG.
During the fall of my junior year, I participated in the Entrepreneurship Consulting Fellows program. This allowed me to get real world client-facing experience on a consulting team - as a student. We worked to launch a new mobile application and designed a market penetration strategy. I was empowered to use the lessons from my Foundation semester in the real world and learn first-hand about a career in consulting.
Taking the next step
Simply put, my next step is graduation. I plan to harness both my internship experiences and lessons from Mason to perform well in interviews and gain an advantage at my first job.
Working to Build a Better World
Ryan Walters lives by the mantra "try again, fail better". His diligence in overcoming adversity has allowed him to intern at a Fortune 12 company, lead Student Marketing Association, and build a robust network along the way. How has he managed such a one-of-a-kind Business School experience?
An extraordinary beginning
I have been lucky enough to experience one of the more exhilarating college careers out there, and much of this stems from an unexpected starting point. When I was a freshman at the college, I sustained an injury that left me in a wheelchair and required a year of intense rehabilitation. It was during this time that I learned how truly powerful a large and robust network can be. I learned to never give up. This inspired me to "try again, fail better". With the help of friends, colleagues, and professors at Mason, I leveraged the drive I built over the year following my accident and relentlessly pushed to achieve my highest goals.
Passion for Impact
I am extremely passionate about medical research and cognitive science. My accident opened my eyes to the rudimentary base of subject matter we currently possess in the medical field. I am driven to help patients overcome adversity and find cures to complex and chronic conditions The education I received at Mason allowed me to face the challenges this passion seeks to overcome, guiding me through an internship at CVS Health, a Fortune 12 company. I was able to integrate my knowledge of marketing gained at Mason to plan, develop and execute projects to "help our consumers, clients, and patients on their path to better health". I learned the positive impact a corporation can have on millions of lives each day and how best to apply my marketing knowledge to contribute to this better society, better population.
The people of Mason
Mason has been an amazing asset to my education because of one major reason: the people. I followed a reverse trajectory than most business majors at Mason due to my accident, and Rita Murphy, an advisor at the time, made my education in the business school achievable. From the moment I entered her office, she believed in me and helped me define every semester and step to gain my marketing degree.
And it was not just the administration. Professors at Mason are phenomenal. My first semester taking business classes sticks out. At the time, I had Professors Michael Luchs and David Long for Sustainability Inspired Design and Organizational Behavior, respectively. I'd never had more fun in classroom settings. Professor Luchs' unique Design and Innovation Studio, along with his immense knowledge of sustainability, helped bring a fresh approach to marketing and learning in general. Professor Long brought immense energy to every single class to make them engaging and fun for every single student. He made us all feel like personal friends who simply enjoyed discussing organizational behavior together.
Leading the Student Marketing Association
Extracurricular-wise, I led the Student Marketing Association (SMA) as Co-President in 2014. SMA was able to offer a host of amazing events this semester; we had events with The Martin Agency and Universal McCann, as well as a co-hosted event with Women in Business Club that welcomed a leader in the media industry to Mason. Outside of SMA, I was able to leverage my marketing and leadership background to take on internship and consulting roles with The Dean of Students Office. With the help of two other talented and creative business students, we built a college-leading social media platform and developed branding to grant exposure to the multiple student services offered by The Dean of Students Office.
Leveraging a network
I'm still exploring the transition to the next phase of my life. I believe my IPS will allow me to be extremely versatile in the business world, and I'm currently leveraging my network to explore opportunities across the U.S. - specifically with large corporations that have the ability to positively impact millions of consumers each day. I am confident the knowledge, skills and friends I've built in Mason will allow me to find amazing opportunities at many organizations.
Living for the Thrill
Erica Amatori is a thrill seeker. While tapping into the new field of Neuromarketing, she's also managed to found multiple start-ups and travel extensively. How has Mason energized her IPS?
Running on adrenaline
I'm a big adrenaline junky and traveler, and I'm always up to something. I've skydived over the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, skied the Alps in Italy, climbed a volcano in St. Lucia, swam with dolphins in Jamaica and have explored the Louvre in France. Apart from that, I have founded start-ups and run on the Varsity Cross Country and Track team.
I love to run. My personal record in the 5K is 17:11 and 9:53 in the 3K. I love my team; they're like family to me. We go through a lot of pain together - and it's all worth it. To be part of the team that finished 12th at Nationals, won Regionals, and went undefeated at Conferences is a feeling many do not get to experience.
Tapping into Neuromarketing
One of my biggest passions is deriving insights about consumer behavior and discovering which brain areas are responsible for the decision-making. This led to choosing a double major in Marketing and Psychology so I can study a fairly new area of research called Neuromarketing - a combination of Neuroscience and Marketing. I plan to do an independent research study on the field next fall.
I originally planned to concentrate in Finance but switched to Business Analytics. That decision is based on "Big Data" being the current buzzword for companies. Agencies want people who can analyze consumer data collected through credit cards, social media accounts, etc. With endless algorithms tracking our buying habits, analytics within marketing is becoming highly valuable, and I want to capitalize on the trend.
A successful entrepreneur
I think it's important to take the risk now rather than later. During my business school experience, I've created two companies and a non-profit. I helped found Zairge, a cloud-based property management software, which recently got acquired by a private company and also created XOXO Hint, a successfully funded Kickstarter that allows people to send anonymous hints to annoying friends on social media. And lastly, there is Giggle Active, which is a non-profit that collects old gear from D1 collegiate teams to give to charity. I want to be a role model for students who want to begin their own business in something they're passionate about.
The Mason advantage
A Mason event that really stood out to me was the Saatchi & Saatchi speaker event. An executive came in and talked about company "lovemarks." This means a brand builds communities and bonds so strong that customers are completely loyal to it. To expand on that, I attended the New York City networking marketing trip offered by the College. We actually visited Saatchi & Saatchi! To have a representative from a leading marketing firms talk at William & Mary really was an incredible experience.
A professor who has always been there for me is Professor Szykman. To be in marketing, you have to be on the pulse, and she knows all the current trends. Additionally, she introduced me to the CEO of Phillip Morris, which is how I received the opportunity to intern at the company. Professor Szykman also taught my favorite class: Consumer Behavior. We learned all about why people buy products and what influences their purchasing decisions - a perfect fit for me.
Keeping the ideas flowing
I plan to keep up my journal about potential business and start-up ideas. This summer I'm going to be a brand management intern at Altria in downtown Richmond. I'm very excited to work for a Fortune 500 company with such a phenomenal internship experience. Way ahead in the future, I hope to be my own boss, or work as a branding director at an established company. Wherever I end up, I know it'll be lively, and I wouldn't rather have it any other way.
Capturing Culture with Stories
Whether studying abroad in Ireland or interning with the U.S. Army, Chris Coehlo loves hearing people's stories. How has the Mason School of Business helped further his passion and connect it to a career in human capital consulting?
Listening for stories
I enjoy traveling because I love hearing stories; they reveal so much about cultures and how people see the world. But that's not restricted to travel - there are incredible voices right here, at William & Mary. Every interaction presents a unique opportunity to gain new insights; I've always valued the contributions of every individual.
During my time at W&M, I've volunteered every semester with the Office of Admissions as a Tribe Ambassador. I'm proud to be an Ambassador because it gives me a chance to show prospective students a glimpse of W&M's culture. As a sophomore, I joined Residence Life as a freshman RA, and I'm now a Head Resident. Working in this capacity allowed me to mentor over 50 residents, and I happily help new RA's do the same. This opportunity to closely interact with so many diverse individuals has been a one-of-a-kind experience. Their stories and voices define the amazing culture on our campus.
Finding the right fit
It took me a while to settle on a major, but after taking courses during my freshman year and study abroad the following summer in Ireland, I decided to major in government. My sophomore year, I interned with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command as part of a new program the Army was building with W&M. My team was responsible for creating a war game to help Army concept designers test new ideas and determine which defense strategies were worth the investment. Through this internship, I found a way to combine my interests in government and security, but the next step was finding a way to tie in human capital. For that, I knew I needed to learn more about business.
Learning from the best
When I think about business, I always think about the culture of an organization. Through my minor in Management & Organizational Leadership, I started to explore different careers working directly with people and tried to expand my knowledge with as many courses as possible. I also joined Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity. There, I found a close-knit community that helped me further refine my passions.
The best part of my Mason experience has been the professors. A class on Change Management and Organizational Transformation taught by Professor Sims fascinated me, and he became one of my close mentors while I was exploring career opportunities. Another favorite classroom experience came in Professor Carboni's Leadership course. She challenged us to apply the lessons we learned in class and ultimately spent an hour meeting with every individual student to help us master our personal leadership style. I also enjoyed Team Design, where Professor Wilson made a point to show us the empirical approach to creating effective teams and empowering organizations. These professors' passions for organizational behavior and management played an enormous role in my personal and professional development.
Making the most of people
Following my junior year, I was given the opportunity to intern with Deloitte's Federal Practice as a Human Capital Summer Scholar - a perfect chance to combine all my interests. After graduation, I will be beginning full-time Analyst work at Deloitte. I'm looking forward to consulting and helping companies make the most of their most valuable asset - their people.
Leaving it all on the Field
Lindsey Buckheit has combined her two passions, marketing and field hockey, into one IPS at Mason. She used her education to leverage analytics and design thinking to lead to a highly successful Tribe Athletics fundraiser and continues to build connections with her professors - ones that will last a lifetime.
Connecting with consumers
I am fascinated by people, I enjoy communicating and empathizing with others, and I ultimately fell in love with marketing because it has allowed me to connect with consumers on a deeper level by striving to understand how they think, what makes them "tick," and predicting their needs before they even know those needs exist. My Mason education actively encouraged me to creatively fuse analytics with my own instinct in the pursuit of those consumers insights.
Leading a Tribe Athletics fundraiser
As an athlete on varsity field hockey and Executive Board member of the Tribe Club board, I became keenly aware of how vital fundraising was to the athletic department. I took this opportunity to hone my marketing skills and raise awareness and support for a cause close to my heart.
I started the "Ten For the Tribe" fundraiser last fall, and I could not have pulled it off without the knowledge and confidence gained from the business school. The campaign connected my two passions: marketing and athletics, and allowed me to put my education into action. With help from an incredible team, I was able to strategically market the idea to our current student-athletes. The project was an enormous success - garnering 99% participation and ultimately raising over $15,000! This outcome is a testament to how valuable a William & Mary business education is and what can come from it - even during the fact.
Mentors by design
When reflecting on my experience, design courses such as Sustainability Inspired Design and Design as Strategy stick out as two of my favorite classes. These classes were held in the Innovation and Design Studio and helped me uncover a new passion - causing my IPS to further evolve. Design Thinking taught me how to use flexible exercises and tools to address a vast range of challenges in a hands-on and unorthodox way. Professor Michael Luchs and Professor Scott Swan both inspired me to pursue a career that capitalizes on these innovative approaches.
However, professors like Lisa Szyman, Dawn Edmiston, and Bob Williams have also had a significant influence on my growth. These professors - or better yet, mentors - provided direction, inspiration, knowledge and resources to be my best self. They believed in me before I did. It's rare to find individuals so dedicated and willing to invest in you with no expectation of getting something in return, and I cannot thank them enough. These professors shaped me into the person I am today, fueled my passions for marketing, and jumpstarted my post-college career.
Next steps in the Windy City
My next chapter will take place in Chicago. I accepted a position with Colgate-Palmolive as a Customer Development Associate in the U.S. Customer Development Organization's Learning Development Program. I interned with the company last summer in a Minneapolis office and had an incredible experience. I will miss Mason but definitely looking forward to continuing my career!
Exploring Intellectual Curiosity
Lynn Nakamura is interested in everything, from the French language to the nation's oldest honor code and innovative technology. How has the Business School's IPS allowed Lynn Nakamura to explore her intellectual curiosity?
I was born on campus. And by that, I mean that I was born in the hospital that used to be where the School of Education currently resides. As a 'townie' I worked in the Powhatan Indian Village as an interpreter for five years, learning how to make leather, flint knap arrow heads, start a fire, and much more. I danced in the Nutcracker on Phi Beta Kappa Hall's stage for years and my first violin concert was in Ewell. You could say I was meant to go to William & Mary all along.
An Array of Interests
I want to learn and do everything, and the structure of the IPS lets me justify getting involved in vast array of activities. By linking all of the individual aspects into one philosophy, my IPS has helped me discover and explain the interconnectedness of my interests and academic studies. After careful thought I have decided to pursue a double major in Marketing and French.
On campus my interests are all over the place. I am part of the Undergraduate Honor Council, which is a great privilege because William & Mary has the oldest student-policed honor code in the nation. I'm a member of Project KREO, which is a community based environmental research project for Bangladesh. During the first weeks of the new fall semester I serve as an Orientation Aide for incoming freshman, helping them to adjust to life at the College. I'm part of a new project called Humans of William & Mary that documents the lives of various individuals on campus; we are sponsored by the Student Assembly Department of Diversity. I also participate in the Gallery Players, South Asian Student Association, a social sorority, and IR Club. In between all of these activities during the school year I work at the Swem Media Center.
Tying Together Interests with Mason
The organizations in the Mason School of Business have offered me so many opportunities that tie together my varying interests and my business major. The College & Corporate Collaborative for Sustainability (3CS) conference helped me connect with amazing leaders of NGO's and nonprofits while the Design Thinking Club gave me the chance to 'geek' out over innovative technology, like seeing a 3-D printer in action. Working in the Undergraduate Program's office this summer let me exercise some of my own design skills, as I digitally created new logos for the website and social media (check out the 3CS logo!).
I just completed my foundation semester; although I was positive about majoring in marketing from day one, these past few months have reaffirmed my decision. My marketing class with Professor Williams has been incredibly insightful; just like the IPS, he interweaves different aspects of various disciplines to create a deeper understanding of the big picture. I cannot wait to spend more time in the new design studio classroom as I finish up my major. The classroom is a free, open, and engaging space that helps foster creativity. We even get to write directly on the walls.
This spring, I am spending the semester abroad in Paris through a third-party program called IFE. Part of the program involves typical academic studies, but a majority of the experience is working in an internship while abroad. It's not completely official yet, but I have been placed to work at an advertising agency for six months. This is a perfect example of how the IPS encourages a mix that will help me develop my skills within both of my majors. I am combining my French speaking and writing abilities with my knowledge of marketing. After graduating from William & Mary I plan on going to art school for my graduate degree. I am positive that my experiences in the Business School will have given me a strong foundation as I pursue a career in advertising.
Blending Music and Marketing
Lucy King has been in nine separate W&M music ensembles and holds leadership in four student clubs, including an on-campus marketing internship. She has fully integrated her passions for marketing and music. How did she manage to get the best of both worlds within the Undergraduate Program?
Making the most of William & Mary
I have played the trombone since the fourth grade, and my involvement in music actually led me to pursue a marketing major. When I came to the College, I was determined to study government, but after a semester and a half, I knew I wanted something different. As luck would have it, in December of my freshman year, I was elected Publicity Director of the W&M Pep Band and fell in love with marketing. I applied to the Business School and entered the spring of my sophomore year.
Over my time at the college, I have been involved with nine separate music ensembles and currently play in four (Wind Ensemble, Bel Canto Brass Quintet, W&M Jazz Ensemble, and a trombone choir (called Osteology - the Study of Bone)! In addition, I am the President of Delta Omicron Music Fraternity and Publicity Director for Sinfonicron Light Opera Company. Outside of the music department, I serve on the marketing committee for Senior Class Gift and publicity committee for Mortar Board; work as a tour guide for admissions; and participate as a brother in Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. Lastly I am the Student Marketing Intern for W&M Auxiliary services and do freelance graphic design and photography.
A musical IPS
My IPS was focused on marketing from the beginning. I knew coming into the program what I wanted to do, given my background, so I jumped right into things. Over the course of my IPS, I took more in-depth marketing electives than strictly required because I entered the Business School in the spring. This also allowed me to continuously pursue my passion for music while still taking the requisite business classes. My musical involvements also gave me a direct application of my marketing major (as publicity director of three music groups) and management concentration (as president of two music organizations).
Immersed in marketing
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Business School. Some highlights include my classes on Advertising & Marketing Communications and Sustainability-Inspired Design, as well as the incredible people of Mason. In January of my junior year, I traveled to New York City for the Marketing Immersion Trip. It was an amazing exposure to the real world of marketing and helped me realize my passion for advertising. I love how I am constantly challenged to think creatively and work tirelessly to accomplish my goals in the Business School. That mindset has caused my graphic design, public speaking, marketing, and leadership abilities to greatly improve over the past two and a half years.
Refining the Business School experience
I hope to move back up to New England and pursue a career in creative advertising or marketing for an artistic organization (such as a professional music or theater company). Eventually, I hope to become a CEO or CMO of a national organization. but most importantly, I want to take the skills I have refined over the past four years into the world - to learn and grow with them throughout my career.
Diving Headfirst into Finance
Abhi Venkat has long been passionate about numbers and technology. How has the Business School helped hone his passion for investment and financial services?
A well-traveled artist
I've been an avid singer since elementary school and have performed in more than 100 concert venues. I currently sing Tenor in the William & Mary Choir, which provides both musical and social outlets for me. The Choir travels across the country to perform, and I've been able to meet a diverse group of successful Mason alumni during those trips.
I was born in Hyderabad, India and moved to the United States at the age of six; I'm well versed in Telugu (a South Indian language) and Hindi (India's national language). My father was a consultant, and my family moved across many states, including Connecticut, Virginia, Ohio, and Texas. My father also worked as a software engineer, so I was able to use my first computer when I was only three years old!
Out of the crisis
It was during the latest global financial crisis that my interest in finance was sparked. I was shocked at how little I knew about the world of financial services and its relation to the global economy. I entered the Business School as a sophomore, and Professor Guthrie's foundation course really focused my IPS in finance. Additionally, Professor Crafford's Applied Financial Concepts course exposed me to fascinating subjects in a rigorous context. By semester's end, I grew serious about a career in corporate financial advisory.
Making the most of alumni
In spring of last year, I took part in the Carlyle Group's inaugural case competition at William & Mary. Using financial skills gained from classes at Mason, my team was able to design intensive financial models and present our work to Tom Mayrhofer '95, CFO of Corporate Private Equity at The Carlyle Group. Winning the competition was a hallmark of my Mason experience and a testament to the ample opportunities available to Business School students.
In January 2014, I participated in the Hedge Fund Management course taught by Matthew B. Siano '96, General Counsel for Two Sigma Investments. This course essentially provided the building blocks to becoming a hedge fund entrepreneur, and at the course's end, my team had the one-of-a-kind opportunity to design our own hedge fund manager.
Putting the skills to work
I serve as Portfolio Manager (PM) for Mason Investment Fund, which invests real capital into stocks recommended by student analysts. As PM, I guide new analysts in structuring stock pitches and provide guidance in technical details (such as valuation). The Fund is a great way for young W&M students to get a quick, comprehensive introduction to investing!
My IPS has exposed me to a myriad of fields such as social entrepreneurship, investment banking, real estate finance, private equity and hedge funds I added a more global perspective through a winter break trip to Guatemala with Entrepreneurship Corps. I saw the positive social impact of micro finance and microconsignment models, and witnessing the real world applications of business practices made my passion for business even stronger.
Bringing it all Together
Sitara Sundar is a world-traveling finance students with leadership in multiple clubs, yet she still finds time to dance, move, and connect with her culture. How has the undergraduate program helped her explore these passions?
Connecting through culture
I have been learning Kuchipudi, a style of Indian Classical dance, since I was five years old. There's intense training that goes into perfecting this art; it isn't only a dance but also a form of storytelling. For me, Kuchipudi is more than learning the steps, perfecting them and performing on stage... It's a way of life. Whenever I have a great day, I dance. Whenever I have a spare moment, I dance. Dance has consumed me in the most wonderful way possible. It's given me a way to connect with my Indian heritage, my religion, and my family. In such a divided and unique world, I find common ground through dance.
I absolutely love traveling. Every person you meet has something to offer you, and traveling to different countries taught me so much about needs and wants, poverty, struggle, happiness, and life. The summer after my sophomore year, I attended the Business in Budapest program and traveled to Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Spain. Later in August, I had a social entrepreneurship program in Guatemala. My experiences abroad have given me a sense of independence, confidence, and understanding of different cultures that I will carry for life. Definitely go abroad if you can!
Finding a place in Finance
I am a Finance and Government double major with an Accounting concentration. I came into college unsure, but after I took my first Government class, everything seemed to plan itself out. I've always been curious about what makes a country function and how those regulations play out in real life - everything is interconnected. I started to focus in on the dynamic between businesses and government after completing a program at Georgetown after my freshman year.
Since that point, I started following the markets, legislation, the Federal Reserve, and everything in-between. My IPS took shape. Finance was the obvious option for me because of my passion for market movements, numbers and theory. However, I felt as though understanding the meaning behind the ratios was critical in making sound market assessments, so I decided to pursue Accounting as well. Although a business education is very different from a government education and at times difficult to balance, I thoroughly enjoy learning the ins and outs of two diverse entities.
One of the wonderful things about the Mason School of Business is the independence and creativity it inspires I personally feel this through my involvement with the Howard J. Busbee Finance Academy. From DoG Street to Wall Street, club meetings, speaker events, and workshops, the Finance Academy helped me figure out the sectors I wanted to pursue. This year I have had the privilege of serving as one of the Vice Presidents, and it has been by far one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in college. I take pride in seeing younger students confidently pursue what they want.
Living the West Coast life
After graduation, I will be working for J.P. Morgan Private Bank in the Los Angeles, CA office. I interned there after my junior year and fell in love with it. Private Banking is an industry that I'm extremely passionate about, and Wealth Management is a perfect mix of market theory, quantitative skills, and client-interaction, as well as a fantastic way to help people manage their money. I'm extremely excited to head to the West after living on the East Coast my entire life. It's going to be a huge change, but I'm thrilled for the new adventures.
In the future, I want to work for the World Bank or International Development Bank. I hope to join these organizations as a way to further merge my government and business background and hopefully make a positive impact within these organizations.
Experiencing an International Outlook
Harini Manikandan knows six languages, has been featured on Chinese television, and will earn 150 credits in only 4 years. How has the Undergraduate Program helped her towards these remarkable achievements?
More Than Numbers
I have always liked working with numbers, but it was only after my first accounting course that I knew I wanted to work in the business world. For my IPS, I chose to combine my International Relations major with a minor in Accounting - all while fulfilling the credit requirements for the CPA exam. In addition, I was lucky enough to intern with Deloitte this past summer in the International Tax department - a perfect position that allowed me to combine my passions and work with multinational clients.
On campus, I participate in a number of different activities. I am president of the Hindu Students Association; we host Diwali and bring awareness of our traditions to W&M. I am also an RA (Resident Assistant) on campus. I love having the opportunity to build a community and support for my residents. In addition, I have been an avid photographer since high school.
I know English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Korean, and Chinese. I internationalized my IPS when I studied abroad in China after my sophomore year and was even featured on TV during a popular Chinese "X-Factor/American Idol" type show. It was an awesome experience!
A Lesson in Confidence
For my accounting minor, I have taken 3 semesters of Professor Smith's classes and truly enjoyed my time in them. I was constantly challenged but am proud to say I can now correctly file my own taxes! Along with those accounting courses, I was also profoundly affected by Professor Adkins' summer class; it was an eye-opening experience. Professor Adkins was able to use psychology to help me understand more about myself and the organizations I worked for. I asked questions of myself and soon discovered strengths and weaknesses I wasn't even aware of. Finally, at the end of the class, the students participated in a project wherein we asked friends and family what they thought was the best part about us. I cried when I got those responses back. I gained so much confidence from the course when I found out I had many more skills and talent than I first thought.
Engaged for the Future
After graduation, I plan on studying for my CPA and applying for the Confucius Institute scholarship to study Chinese in China for a semester. I will start full-time at Deloitte as an International Tax Consultant the following January, and I hope to incorporate my international experience in my new position. Graduate school is definitely on my radar, but I will also spend some time doing what I enjoy: keeping up with my languages and photography.
Emily Dawson spent her time at William & Mary broadening her Marketing major through opportunities within the Undergraduate Business Program and beyond. Learn how she connected these different passions to land an internship with a luxury fashion company.
A life full of dance
I have been a dancer for 17 years and still pursue this passion on campus at William & Mary. I've been a member of Orchesis Modern Dance Company for all four years of college, as a dancer, choreographer, and - my senior year - as the Vice President. All members of Orchesis take modern class twice a week, and then usually rehearse three to four times at night each week. Our spring show is completely student-choreographed, so my sophomore and junior years I took on the challenge of choreographing pieces, which was incredibly rewarding. I also had the opportunity to participate in the reconstruction of a famous Paul Taylor Dance Company piece, which was a yearlong project. As Vice President of Orchesis, I was responsible for all publicity for both of our shows. And so I used this opportunity to create a new promotion plan, which consisted of increasing our presence on social media and reaching out to the local Williamsburg retirement communities to invite the residents to our performances. Orchesis has been a huge part of my college experience, and I have grown both as a dancer and as a student from it.
Making the most of the marketing program
Within the Business School I am a Marketing major with a concentration in Management & Organizational Leadership; outside of this I also have a minor in Psychology I used my psychology minor to learn more about decision-making and people's behavior. I loved my Teams: Design, Selection & Development and Consumer Behavior courses because of the overlapping topics. I had the chance to apply my knowledge of psychology within business contexts. Within the Business Program, I have served as a team mentor for incoming Foundation students in addition to participating in several Student Marketing Association events and attending the McGlothlin Leadership Forum.
Over the past several years I have sought to widen my marketing major by taking interesting and challenging courses; I also tried to include internships in areas I don't necessarily focus on academically. Senior year, I had the opportunity to take Sustainability-Inspired Design and Creative Problem Solving, both of which are relatively new courses in the Business School. I enjoyed the more informal structure of the courses and the emphasis on blogging about our reactions to the day's topic. In Solving Creative Problems, we had a different guest speaker each class period so we learned about a wide array of topics. And of course the chance to take class in the Design Studio is always fun!
I knew I wanted to go abroad during college, so I definitely made that a priority when coming to William & Mary. I studied abroad with the Mason School of Business the summer after my sophomore year in Budapest, Hungary and it was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to meet other students in the business program and take classes that I needed to graduate, all while abroad. While there I took day trips around Hungary, as well as weekend trips to Vienna, Prague, and Greece.
I further expanded upon my marketing major through an internship last summer. I interned at the headquarters of Coach in New York City in the Search Marketing Department. I worked directly under the Associate Manager of Search Marketing and was responsible for many projects and daily tasks, including updating spreadsheets with keyword information, managing invoices, and assisting with the transition to Google Enhanced Campaigns. I had complete ownership on two specific projects: first, creating ad-group specific site links for our ads based on revenue and click-through data, and second, developing a competitive analysis based on current paid search trends. This second project I then presented to the Senior Director of Digital Marketing and actually saw many of my recommendations implemented. The internship program at Coach was unique in that we participated in different intern events each week, which ranged from networking opportunities or volunteer events to lectures from top Coach executives. It was an amazing experience; my supervisor was wonderful and taught me so much about both digital marketing and the fashion industry.
After graduation, I'd like to continue working in the fashion industry, doing digital marketing or merchandising. Ideally, I would want to be involved in e-commerce. At some point in the future I would also love the opportunity to live and work abroad for several years. But no matter where I end up, I hope to give back to the Undergraduate Program by helping students to network and by making myself available to discuss potential career opportunities.
Priya Devasirvatham found that her Finance major could lead her directly to her goal of working in the developing world; and last summer she jumped at the opportunity to pursue this interest through an internship in Ecuador. How have her academics in the Undergraduate Program prepared her to continue on this unique career path?
A world away from home
Sometimes I feel like an international student. My hometown in Southern California is a world away from Williamsburg, VA. I'm also a first generation American, making my transition into small town America that much more of a culture shock. I have always been curious about other cultures and people different from myself, and in that way I have fully embraced my time at William & Mary. The students here are a wonderfully unique group of people. Our love of academics brought each of us to this campus as a student, but our shared passions and commitment to changing the world have brought us together as friends. My involvement in the Women's Club Lacrosse team and the Mason student body have not only shaped my time here at the College but have also introduced me to people who have helped me realize my future path.
My IPS was not planned, indicative of much of the rest of my life. It was only one month before Freshman Orientation that I decided I would attend William & Mary. And so I flew across the country to start a new journey that has turned into a great adventure! Throughout my academic career I switched my major a couple of times, and - it seems by chance - ended up in Finance. The main reason I chose this discipline was a love of working with numbers, not due to any desire to work in the field of Finance. I've always been passionate about development work, which is why I was initially drawn to social sciences, but then the field of microfinance was introduced to me. Once I discovered that I could use the skills and knowledge I acquired in my finance major to make an impact in the developing world it seems my IPS made itself! I decided to add a concentration in Entrepreneurship to make my business degree even more dynamic and applicable.
Another aspect of my IPS was my study abroad experience. Last spring, in 2013, I spent a semester in Sevilla, Spain. These four months helped to hone my Spanish speaking skills - skills that I will most certainly use when I'm doing microfinance work in Latin America! The semester was an unforgettable and invaluable experience.
Interning in Ecuador
My love for Latin America began with another unique opportunity presented to me. My search for a post-junior year internship landed me in Ecuador. I knew that I needed to gain experience in the world of social entrepreneurship and that I definitely did not want the normal "9 to 5" internship. And so through a program called Social Entrepreneur Corps, I spent two months in Ecuador, living in rural communities and the city of Cuenca, doing fieldwork. This experience was invaluable. First of all, Ecuador is an amazing, beautiful country full of warm people, good food, and unique outdoor activities. Secondly, I acquired some incredible work experience. Social Entrepreneurship and Microfinance are not easy fields. They require a lot of passion, empathy, and in my case, a commitment to roughing it (including cold showers, no technology, lots of long bumpy rides in the back of pick-up trucks, and a very bad stomach sickness). The internship tested my fortitude and my desire to work in this field; if I couldn't handle two months of these living conditions, then I definitely couldn't handle a lifetime of it. Luckily though, I had prior experience in developing countries and went in speaking the language at a fairly high level. I came out of this internship even more committed to my goal of doing microfinance work and applying business solutions in developing countries, along with a heart focused on the unique trial and tribulations of the diverse people of Latin America.
Once again, my IPS seemed to align itself. The Mason School of Business really made this experience possible for me: Professor Adkins was actually the person who introduced me to the program and urged me to apply. And thanks to a generous grant from the Office of Community Engagement, most of the program fees were covered. If there is one thing I've learned about Mason, it's that the Undergraduate Program and the professors in it truly want every single student to succeed, and they are personally committed to helping us get there. This is one of many reasons I am so grateful to be a part of the business school.
Highlight of My Mason Experience: Entrepreneurship
My concentration in Entrepreneurship has helped me to think independently and critically about businesses. This concentration also forced me to be more confident in myself both as an individual and as a student in the classroom; the business school taught me that I have a voice that is valuable and worth hearing. I learned how to effectively communicate my opinions and knowledge through all of the presentations and pitches I made to Mason's Executive Partners as well as real investors. This voice will be intrinsic to my future success as I enter into a field that involves challenging current societal, environmental, and economic norms.
The highlight of my experience in the Undergraduate Program is directly connected to my Entrepreneurship concentration. I have collaborated on a total of four business plans and have received real feedback on these projects from individuals across many industries. I have used these business plans as writing samples for job interviews and they are by far the work that i am most proud of from my academic career. Furthermore, the whole creative process of making a business, from the inception of the idea all the way through the presentation is an engaging, challenging, and an all-around enjoyable experience.
Moving to Madrid
After graduation I will be moving to Madrid, Spain! For one year, at least, I will be teaching English in primary schools in La Comunidad de Madrid. While this isn't directly related to finance or entrepreneurship, this job will be my greatest challenge yet. I will be forced into a leadership position - which is something I'm not necessarily comfortable with - while further enhancing my Spanish speaking skills and gaining valuable insight into the social environment of education. As I mentioned, I don't usually plan my life too far ahead of time, mostly because my desires change so quickly. So after next year, I may choose to do another year (or two or three) of teaching in Spain. I am also interested in the possibility of pursuing a graduate degree: I'm currently looking into a Master's in Environmental and Sustainable Development, but of course that desire may change in a year's time. All of these potential opportunities and experiences will increase my personal skill set and help me to develop as both an individual and global citizen. Eventually I would like to end up in Latin America with a career in microfinance, possibly working on the problem of lack of access to education (hence part of my motivation to get experience in that field). I also want to pursue the more traditional route of impact investing, which will really draw on my degree in finance. Ideally I will have the time and opportunity to accomplish all of these things as some point in the future, but I will just have to see where life takes me.
Linking Disciplines and People
Johnny Mickens was drawn to William & Mary and the Mason School of Business because of his personal interests and family history. How has the Undergraduate Program helped him to unite his different disciplines as well as connect with other students?
I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia so William & Mary was on my radar for a long time. I enjoy being outdoors and playing sports in my free time, so I was naturally attracted to the campus, with all its charm. Interestingly enough, I'm also a descendent of Maggie Walker - the first woman to found a chartered bank in America - and so I felt a connection to the study of business from very early on. During my time here at William & Mary I had the unique opportunity to participate in a research program working with her original documents. This was an incredible experience that allowed me to learn more about my Virginian, American, and personal family history simultaneously.
Connecting different disciplines
My IPS in the business school evolved pretty organically. I didn't initially pursue and Accounting major, but I quickly realized that it was a valuable background to have. Accounting will provide a useful perspective and skill regardless of what field I end up in. I also saw it as a personal challenge because the subject didn't necessarily come naturally to me. After starting the Foundation semester, I decided to add a concentration in Process Management and Consulting because I liked the idea of working with clients over a shorter time period with the goal of improving their business operations. I was also fortunate enough to be able to study abroad in Paris, France during the spring of my junior year. This was through the American Business School in Paris, a partner program with Undergraduate Business School, meaning I could take classes that counted towards my major while I was abroad. Despite not knowing any French before leaving, I had an amazing semester, made some incredible friends, and gained experiences unlike anything I have encountered in America. While in Paris, I was able to work with students from all over the globe to study business in an international context, which gave me the experiences necessary to add an International Emphasis to my degree.
Also, with help from the Mason School and the Cohen Career Center, I was able to work as an intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for two summers during my college career.
I am involved in several clubs on campus, such as the NAACP and the African American Male Coalition. I am also a mentor at Berkeley Middle School, working with at-risk youth to assist with homework and other issues. I can also be found walking backwards around campus as a William & Mary tour guide, ushering around prospective students and their families. I love having the opportunity to share my experience and talk about the traditions on campus. I am currently a member of the Senior Class Gift committee. We work to promote the importance giving back to The College and highlight the need for private donations. As a member of the committee I help put on special events that raise funds for William & Mary while also providing a bonding experience for the graduating Senior Class. Within the business school, I am a member of both the Consulting Club and the Sports Business Club.
Teamwork makes perfect
Within the Undergraduate Business Program, some of my fondest memories over the past few years have been my team projects and assignments. For my classes I was constantly working in groups to solve complex problems and compile presentations. I have also worked in teams to compete against my peers in multiple simulations, projects, and case competitions. In one competition my team was selected to move forward to the final round and we achieved 2nd overall in the competition.
In my Strategic Management and Consulting course my team worked as consultants for a local program called the Trade Crafts Arts Initiative. This experience was like nothing else I've experienced in a classroom. We learned firsthand how to work as a team in a professional consulting setting where our presentations to the clients were actually taken into consideration.
Because of the variety of experiences that I have accumulated through my IPS, I have the background necessary to not only interview for accounting positions, but also for full-time positions in the finance and consulting industries. What I truly appreciate about the design of the IPS is that students have the ability to graduate with a well-rounded background in multiple business areas; in the Undergraduate Program you combine what you learn in various different courses into a balanced and well-informed perspective that is beneficial not just in a classroom setting, but in the professional world as well. Regardless of the industry I end up working in, I plan on gaining a few years of working experience and then pursuing an MBA to further expand my professional opportunities. I am confident that my education in the business school at William & Mary has prepared me for anything that comes my way.
Gearing Up for Law School
Mark Moran came into William & Mary knowing he wanted to pursue Law School. How did the Mason School of Business and those within it guide him?
Prep for Law School: A well-rounded education
When I first entered William & Mary, I had no ideas what I wanted to study as an undergraduate but I knew that I wanted to attend law school after receiving my bachelor's degree. Through experimentation in different disciplines and with much guidance from my family, professors, and older teammates, I found my niche as a finance major within the Undergraduate Business Program. Along the way I have picked up a minor in sociology, a concentration in management and organizational leadership, and even had the opportunity to study globalization in India. I am both amazed at and grateful for all the opportunities that the Undergraduate Program provides for its students. I have been able to achieve a truly well rounded education here at William & Mary.
Involvement on Campus
Under the direction and support of my professors, coaches, and numerous others, I have had the ability to develop and flourish as both a student and leader here on campus. I currently serve as a captain on the Men's Varsity Track & Field team, as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and for the past two years was director of the Steer Clear Safe-Ride Program. Being selected as the 2013 Alvin Anderson Scholar for the Mason School was absolutely the capstone of my time here at William & Mary. I have been very fortunate to have such amazing opportunities presented to me and I take pride in knowing that I was able to assist the William & Mary community during my four years as a student.
Opportunities from W&M connections
The highlight of my experience in the Business School has been the close relationships that I've formed with professors. The mentoring that I received from Professor Chris Adkins and Professor Bob Williams - just to name a few - has been truly inspirational and transformative for my educational career. In meetings ranging from two-hour lunch conversations to walk-in office hours, these professors encouraged me not only to follow my passions, but also to use my skills and abilities for the betterment of others.
In addition, two opportunities that had a tremendous impact on my life came about from connections I made with others at William & Mary. I spent my past two summers mentoring disadvantaged boys in Ward 8 of Washington D.C., which was an incredible growing experience for me as an individual. I also visited South Sudan with an international charity this summer. Not only did I see the world's youngest country in its' early stages of development, but I also interacted with its citizens. Whether it was through meetings in rural villages or games of basketball, I learned first-hand about the history of South Sudan as well as heard the hopes of many inhabitants for the future of a unified South Sudan. This was one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences I have ever had, and I'm sure it will remain that way. I hope to one-day return to South Sudan in a similar capacity to assist with its progress.
Taking on the law
Beginning in the all I will be attending the University of Virginia School of Law and plan to ultimately pursue a career in commercial litigation. Sometime down the road I hope to have the opportunity to use my Business School education to give back to the wider community, following in the footsteps of those at William & Mary who have enabled my dreams and success.
Alexandra Comerford's wanderlust inspired the structure of her IPS in the Undergraduate Business Program. Learn about her unique academic experiences spanning three continents and how these opportunities landed her a job in New York City post-graduation.
Mason Around the World
I am currently a senior double majoring in Finance and Chinese Language & Literature. I shaped my IPS by taking classes for my majors in foreign countries and by gaining a global perspective on my future career path.
Originally from Lake Forest, Illinois, I have had an insatiable wanderlust for as long as I can remember. Since arriving at W&M, my travels have brought me to Beijing, Budapest, Shanghai, New York City and more. It is because of the flexibility of the Undergraduate Business Program and the support of Mason's faculty, staff, and alumni that I have been able to travel the world, double major, and intern for companies in my field of interest. And I have done all this in just the past three years!
After my freshman year, I traveled to Beijing, China with the College to study Chinese language. I became fascinated with the culture and loved the daily challenges that came with living in such a massive foreign city. By taking a full semester's worth of credits that summer, I was able to apply to the Business School a semester early, so I began my Foundation semester in the spring of my sophomore year. Knowing that I wanted to return to China for a whole semester, I took another trip after sophomore year to Budapest, Hungary with the Business School in order to stay on track with my Finance major (and spend some time in Europe, of course). Lastly, but certainly not least, I spent the fall of my junior year studying both Finance and Chinese and interning at a startup in Shanghai, China. Each of these study abroad experiences opened unexpected doors and prepared me for the next steps on my academic and professional paths.
Upon my return from Shanghai, I dove into the intense junior year internship search. I was continuously impressed by the willingness of older students and alumni to help me prepare for interviews and figure out what I want to do. I applied to the executive board of the Howard J. Busbee Finance Academy to pay that attitude forward. Being a Vice President of this organization has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college experience, and I very much look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Finance program here in particular.
New York, New York
This past summer, I worked as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Guggenheim Partners in New York City. For over 10 weeks, I participated in the origination, advisory, and execution of M&A, equity, and debt products in the Media and Healthcare sectors. The Finance curriculum at W&M - in particular Glenn Crafford's Applied Financial Concepts class - was instrumental in preparing me for success at Guggenheim. My internship not only solidified by interest in Investment Banking, but also taught me a great deal about my work ethic and how I respond to pressure.
After graduating in May, I will be joining Centerview Partners in New York City as an Investment Banking Analyst. I am very excited to join such a unique firm and expect it to be a fantastic learning experience. While I have yet to come to terms with the idea that my study abroad days are over, I am eager to plant some more permanent roots in New York.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
Roshan Patel took advantage of a unique opportunity to play varsity soccer while receiving a world-class education at William & Mary. How has he made the most of his time within the Undergraduate Business Program?
Finding a place at William & Mary
My arrival at William & Mary was a bit unorthodox; I was fortunate enough to be recruited to play soccer here at the College. When I realized I would be gaining a world-class education while doing something I loved, I wanted to take full advantage of this unique opportunity. I was extremely timid coming into school, but quickly learned that college could be as much, or as little, as you make it. The Undergraduate Business Program sets its students up to succeed but it really comes down to you taking the initiative. As a result, I have been involved in some of the business school's most notable events including DoG St to Wall Street as well as Meet the Firms Friday. Both provided me with some valuable insight, but more importantly, gave me the chance to interact with William & Mary's extensive alumni network.
My Business Path
Coming into college I knew I wanted to major in an area of business, but wasn't exactly sure where I wanted to focus. William & Mary, and more specifically, the Mason School of Business, provided me with an amazing platform to launch my undergraduate experience and propel me into the business world. With the help and guidance of our world class faculty, my motivated peers, and my supportive parents, William & Mary has given me confidence as I begin the next chapter of my life. As a Finance major with a Marketing concentration, I wanted to find a good balance between my different personal strengths and interests. The undergraduate business program's IPS gave me the flexibility to do just that.
From "School-Work" to "Work-Work"
I feel privileged to have had access to all of the amazing resources within the undergraduate program. These opportunities made me want to give back to the local community as well as take my knowledge and apply it elsewhere. In my time at William & Mary, I have co-founded a student run organization called Stowestrong to help my soccer teammate in his fight against cancer. I am also actively involved in Building Tomorrow, an organization that helps raise money to build primary schools in Africa. Both experiences have been remarkable and will absolutely help me transition smoothly into the "real world" after graduation.
During the Summer of 2012, I interned in the marketing division for a non-profit called Earth Day Network, based out of Washington D.C. Using that experience as leverage, I was fortunate enough to land an internship in New York City the following summer with an up and coming start-up company called Smart Money Entrepreneurs (SME). I had the pleasure of working with a group of individuals who were highly motivated and extremely passionate - two characteristics that are the epitome of the William & Mary community I am surrounded by now and the people I hope to be surrounded by in the future.
Exploring our Globe
Grace Fernandez's "niche" within the Business School has taken her all over the world. But how has she transformed her travel into something much more meaningful?
William & Mary, Loved of Old
I try to be highly involved in the William & Mary community through a variety of organizations. William & Mary was always my first choice for college and I love to share my passion and enthusiasm for the school. I encourage prospective students to apply and attend William & Mary by working as a Tour Guide for the Admissions Office. In the beginning of the fall semester, I welcome new freshman students into the Tribe family as an Orientation Aide. i have also been involved in Branch Out, which gives students the opportunity to travel on alternative breaks and actively engage in communities both near and far. This past winter break I led a trip for the William & Mary chapter of Students Helping Honduras, which helps build schools in rural Honduras. I'm also a part of Campus Buddies and the Student Conduct Council.
The Undergraduate Business Program offers a wonderful variety of extracurricular lectures and conferences for the students. I have strived to attend as many of these opportunities as possible, as they are extremely valuable experiences that have helped define my IPS. One of the most notable was the DoG St to Wall St event where I learned about finance careers from almost 40 William & Mary alumni.
Social Engagement, Academics, and Travel
One of my strongest passions is giving back to the community. My mother got me involved in helping others when I was just three years old; we volunteered weekly with our local Meals on Wheels program. My commitment to service has continued throughout college as shown through my active membership in both Branch Out and Students Helping Honduras. I also love to take advantage of any opportunity to travel, either domestically or internationally. In January 2013, I was able to combine my passions for community engagement, travel and culture, and business through the Social Entrepreneurship trip to Cuba, led by Professor McCoy. I initially applied to the program because my family is Cuban and I was excited at the prospect of seeing where we come from. Once I arrived in Cuba, I immediately fell in love with the culture, language, and people. After returning to the United States, the trip participants worked in teams to propose solutions to several social issues present in Cuba. We utilized our business skills and the first-hand perspectives we gained while on the trip. The following spring, I also took Professor McCoy's Social Entrepreneurship class, where we took an in-depth look at social ventures already in existence and evaluated the structure of these projects. These courses have been incredible educational experiences that have made my IPS both unique and interesting.
I enjoyed the Latin America culture so much in Cuba that I have decided to study abroad this spring semester - 2014 - in Santiago, Chile. The theme for my study abroad program is Business and Culture of Chile. During the months that I am abroad, I will have the chance to perfect my Spanish, better understand the business practices of Latin America, and witness firsthand how Chile's business practices affect its relations with other nations. I plan to continue learning about international business by participating in the Southeast Asia program over winter break 2014.
Over the past two summers I have explored two unique industries through my internships. After my freshman year, I interned as an assistant in the Housing Department with the National Park Service at Grand Canyon National Park. This was an unbelievable experience; I was able to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of the National Park while also learning about the importance of management within the park service. The summer after my sophomore year I worked as an accounting intern at Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Boston, Massachusetts. I utilized the skills I learned from the Principles of Accounting class by assisting both the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable departments. The internship was an invaluable real-world experience that greatly prepared me for my Foundation semester in the Undergraduate Program.
After graduation I would like to combine the wide range of knowledge I've acquired through my Finance major and Marketing concentration by entering the consulting industry. I would especially love to be located abroad or at least travel abroad, but I am definitely open to any opportunity that come my way!
Business & Service in South America
Pam Garcia's background has inspired her dreams of working in South America to provide a better life for those less fortunate than her. How did she shape her IPS inside and outside of the business school to jump start this career?
Growing Up and Giving Back
I moved to the United States from Mexico City when I was six years old. Ever since then I knew I wanted to study business; I hoped to one day have enough influence and power to assist those in need. I have always felt very blessed that my parents moved to the U.S. to give my sister and I the opportunity to succeed, but I have never forgotten my culture and where my family came from. I feel a responsibility to help out those who have not been as fortunate as I have been, starting with my family in Peru. My parents have always been very generous with my extended family, instilling in me the importance of giving back. Starting college, I began to pursue a business degree in order to achieve my goals. I hope to start a business or non-profit organization focused on providing aid to third world countries in Latin America. This led me to combine my love of Accounting with a minor in Public Health.
I am also an avid traveler, and I have a passion for learning languages. My ultimate aspiration is to visit every continent in the world! The summer after my sophomore year I was able to take a month long trip to France, Italy, and Switzerland, which is amazing! After graduation this May I am planning a trip to Machu Picchu in South America.
Showing Her Tribe Pride
I have been on the Executive Board of Tribal Fever since my freshman year. We encourage school spirit by promoting varsity sporting events. Currently, I am one of the club's co-presidents and director of Finance. My co-president and I have worked very hard to keep the legacy of Tribal Fever alive and inspire Tribe Pride throughout campus. Besides the Tribal Fever, I am a member of Circle K International which is one of the largest service organizations on campus; I also volunteer for Project Phoenix, a group that tutors and mentors students in local middle schools.
This semester, I am part of the Tax Challenge team in the business school, which has been a wonderful experience. I have worked with so many talented people on my team. We recently placed first in the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition of the Deloitte Tax Challenge. In January, we will represent William & Mary in the National Competition held at Deloitte University near Dallas.
The Mason Community
I have enjoyed every minute of my business school experience. However, this past year I have been able to appreciate the excellence of not only the professors in the business program, but also the students. Working on the tax team, I am constantly humbled by every member of the class. Their dedication and passion to accounting is impressive, but their willingness to help their peers is truly remarkable.
I also genuinely appreciate the strong alumni network of the Business school. I am continually impressed by the passion the alumni show in helping students through the recruiting process. When I was looking for internships my junior year, I felt that the alumni did a great job vouching for the students to get selected. One of the best examples of William & Mary loyalty that I have experience was that during my internship at EY. One of the partners there hosted his own William & Mary barbeque so that all the employees from the College could meet each other, form connections, and expand their network.
A Future in South America
Last summer, I interned at EY under the assurance practice and absolutely loved it. I was able to work on two large hospitality clients and I had the opportunity to meet great people. Luckily, this led to a full-time job offer: I will return to EY in October 2014 under the assurance practice. In the next three years I plan on applying to their Global Rotation program and will hopefully be able to work in South America. South America is a rapidly growing market and I would love to be involved as this growth matures. EY has several great programs aimed at giving back and helping out in South America in which I hope to participate. Hopefully one day I'll have the chance to lead one of these initiatives.
Earning a Multi-Faceted Degree
McKenzie Beaver has held several marketing internships. Each has focused on a different aspect of her major. She's hoping that she can apply what she's learned in these various experiences to whatever job may come after graduation.
When I participated in the marketing trip to New York City last winter, I realized that there are so many different careers to which a marketing degree can be applied. Over the past few years, I've been lucky enough to try out a few of these disciplines through various internships. For example, when I interned at Bald Peak Colony Club, I tested out event planning. While there I designed a new program for an underserved group of members, which I then oversaw and executed on two occasions. The first time, the event broke even, but after carefully listening to customer feedback, I ran the event a second time for a profit. As a Student Sales Representative for NetClarify, I learned about the importance of choosing the correct target audience as well as the perseverance needed to become a successful sales representative. When I worked for Investours, I had the chance to practice my research skills and observe the process of launching a new program first-hand.
Working in PR
This past summer, in 2013, I had the opportunity to work for MSL Group in Boston. MSL Group is a Public Relations agency, but my branch specialized in healthcare and technology. As an intern, I conducted research about which outlets should be targeted for specific pitches and which reporters would be most appropriate to contact. I also wrote story "teasers" directly targeted to reporters and had the opportunity to speak with the reporters to provide them with more information. By the end of the summer, I had about ten articles published as a result of my outreach to reporters.
As an intern in the healthcare department, I had to be ready to jump on any team whenever they needed an extra hand. This meant I contributed a good deal of "grunt work," but I didn't mind because my coworkers always explained why the work needed to be done and how it would benefit the team's efforts. MSL Group was an amazing place to learn about PR not only because I worked on so many projects but also because the employees were approachable and excited to help. I hope to share the same commitment to teaching through experience when I enter the workforce.
Marketing Research in Cuba
This winter, I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba with Professor McCoy's Global Business Immersion class. While there, I conducted a minimum of five in-depth interviews per day with locals in an effort to learn about the country's needs and strengths. Although speaking with Cubans was a challenge because my Spanish is sub-par, I was able to communicate enough to learn about their daily lives and the challenges they face. Through this qualitative research, I learned that the communist system fulfills all Cuban's basic needs, like food and healthcare, but makes it extremely difficult for anyone to have more than pure necessities. This semester I am collaborating on a social venture plan to address some of these needs in the next part of the Business Immersion Class.
Applying My Skills to Campus
On campus, I work as a Student Assistant in the Undergraduate Business Program office; here, I contribute to various organizational projects and lend a hand to special events put on by the program. One of my favorite events each semester is the team launch for the Foundation students, where they are first introduced to the group that they will work with throughout all their business classes. I serve as a mentor, helping to ease any anxiety the students feel by sharing my experiences and offering advice. I am also the online representative for my social sorority, which has given me the opportunity to practice my social media skills. Through our individual posts and over all campaign I attempt to appeal to a diverse group of women, which includes both current members and alumnae. This aspect of my job has definitely been a challenge, but I try to accurately represent our chapter and appeal to the largest group possible.
Accounting for Change
Diana Ampomah has taken some audacious steps in her life, one of which was transferring to William & Mary to pursue her Accounting degree. How has she utilized her experience in the Business School to help others and further her academic studies?
Far From Home
I was born and raised in Ghana- West Africa. I arrived in the United States in 2004; I left behind my entire family, in search of a better life - a life that is attainable in America through purpose, hard work and perseverance. My first two years here in the States were difficult. I had a lot of learning to do to assimilate to American culture. Although it has been nine years since I moved to the States, I still learn something new every day.
I am always asked how I have been able to care for myself all of these years, as a young adult without family present and my answer is simple: I set a goal for myself. I remain continuously determined to attain that goal and know that hard work will get me there. I must admit that my situation is tough sometimes, but giving up has never been an option.
The decision to first move to the United States without any family and then to quit my job in Northern Virginia in order to attend William & Mary was hard to make. However, I strongly believe that I made the right choices and I have no regrets.
Finding Her Strength in Numbers
My Principles of Accounting class at the Northern Virginia Community College along with my background of working in banks and dealing with numbers inspired me to pursue an Accounting degree. I enjoy this subject because I realized I simply needed to learn the rules of the game and play by them. I also knew that Accounting would be a great career to launch because regardless of the economy, there are still many potential employment options.
The Mason School of Business gave me the opportunity to combine my Accounting studies with a concentration in Process Management and Consulting (PMC). PMC has also taught me so much about identifying and solving complex problems; I have learned to analyze and improve processes for optimal effectiveness and efficiency. The Strategic Analysis & Consulting course with Professor McCoy also gave me the extraordinary opportunity to interact and work with real clients over the course of a semester.
Helping Other Transfer Students
I have also participated as a panel member for incoming transfer student events. I am very passionate about helping fellow transfer students assimilate into the Business School and the college in general. I am proud to say that my initiative to start an organization for transfer students in the undergraduate program has led to the imminent formation of the Transfer Students Association for William & Mary. This initiative will start off on a pilot basis in the spring of 2014 in preparation for the large transfer group of students arriving for the Fall 2014 semester. In this mentoring program existing transfer students will direct new transfer students, helping them with any difficulties they may encounter during their first few months. I hope that this will be a long-lasting organization that will guide transfer students as they adapt and adjust to life at William & Mary.
Rising to the Challenge
As a transfer student, the transition into the business school was a big challenge during my first semester. I came straight into the Foundation semester, taking Intermediate Accounting with Professor Picconi and Financial Management with Professor Guthrie - a challenge few would attempt! I must say that as difficult as it was, those few months helped me to fully understand my strengths and weaknesses. I also quickly adopted a new, open attitude towards asking for extra help from professors, all of who were readily available. Overall, my experience in the Business School has made me a far stronger person than I thought i could be. The focus on teamwork has given me a new appreciation of the unique strengths each individual possesses; everyone has something to give, and it challenges your process of reasoning.
Her Next Moves
I will be interning with Deloitte during the summer of 2014. I am looking forward to learning more about tax and experiencing the company culture. I hope to meet professionals from diverse backgrounds and expand my personal network.
In the Fall of 2014 I will be back at William & Mary to pursue my Masters of Accounting degree. I am excited to continue my accounting education at an advanced level. I will also be working closely with the MAcc office as an ambassador to help promote diversity by attracting more Africans into the Program. My ultimate goal is to sit for CPA in summer of 2015 and then jump back into the workforce.
My experience in the Business School with Accounting and PMC has prepared me with the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. I know I can take on any of the challenges I will face. I am ready to go places I never imagined, all because of my IPS- nothing is beyond reach if you stay focused!
Internationalizing a Financial Future
After coming to William & Mary, Ashley Beuchel quickly discovered two new passions - world travel and business. How have Ashley's experiences in the business school helped foster her growing interest in international finance?
I've been playing the piano and dancing since I was four years old. At William & Mary I try to feed these non-academic passions by taking piano lessons in the Music Department and dancing with Pointe Blank and Syndicate on campus. I'm also a sister in a social sorority and served as an Orientation Aide for the past two years. Within the Business School, I'm involved in several organizations including the Finance Academy, Net Impact & the DOT Campaign and Women in Business.
A Shift in Focus
After my freshman year at William & Mary, I decided to study abroad in Budapest with the Mason program. At first I thought I would be a marketing major, but then I took Topics of International Finance with Professor Julie Agnew and knew finance was the right fit for me. Coming back to school for my sophomore year, I applied for the spring block and declared a Finance major with a Marketing concentration. I also took Professor Scott McCoy's Social Entrepreneurship course, and went on the subsequent trip with him to Central America the following summer, in 2012. This experience combined with the Budapest program allowed me to fulfill my International Emphasis requirements, rounding out my IPS academically and intellectually.
My two study abroad trips are by far my favorite experiences in the 'B-School'. Going to Budapest was my first "go" at truly traveling on my own, without the guidance of a conference or my parents. I was at the mercy of my sense of direction and faith in humanity. This was also my first look into the business world, and I fell in love with the practical, real-world knowledge I gained.
As for the Social Entrepreneurship trip, traveling through three different countries in five weeks via a 15-passenger van was insane, but definitely one of the highlights of my life. We practiced pitching social venture ideas in each location, and ultimately pitched a venture to an NGO in Guatemala. Throughout our journey, we adventured, bonded, and grew intellectually and personally.
I decided to become a Global Ambassador for Mason in order to promote the study abroad opportunities provided by the Undergraduate Program. I hope to encourage and inform younger students interested in pursuing international experiences.
A Bright Future
After graduation I will be working as an Investment Banking Analyst for BB&T in Richmond. From there I'm not exactly sure what will happen, but I have always been interested in venture capital that focuses on social ventures. I've also thought about getting an MBA somewhere along the way, and to work internationally would be a dream come true.
Quantifying a Career
Samantha Phillips found that she had a knack for numbers early in her college career. How has she used her Accounting major here in Williamsburg and across the country?
A 'FanTaxtic' Experience
I always knew that I wanted to major in business, but I didn't know which major I wanted to pursue. I started by taking the prerequisites, including accounting in the spring of my freshman year. This opened up the door for me to participate on the Deloitte FanTAXtics in the Fall of 2011. We worked hard and managed to win regionals and nationals, so before I even settled on an accounting major, I was a "tax champion". This was definitely my biggest engagement with the Undergraduate Business program. I don't think any other experiences can top that one! I worked on an amazing team, and it shaped my entire Mason experience from the beginning.
Reaching Out Across the Country
I interned at Wells Fargo in their Commercial Real Estate office in Los Angeles during the summer of 2013. After reading an article on a Mason alum in the Alumni magazine while there, I reached out to him on LinkedIn. He is an indie film producer and started off as an accountant at Arthur Anderson. He responded to my message, and we met for coffee. He gave me some great guidance and insight onto the entertainment industry. We still keep in touch, and I know that I can ask him for advice as I pursue a career in the entertainment industry. This connection is a true testament to the amazing bond that the business school creates. It feels like its own community within the wider William & Mary community.
Outside of Mason
Sophomore year I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain and loved it! I took a marketing course in Spanish and participated in a music video for a Spanish band.
I am heavily involved in Greek life here on campus through my sorority. I currently hold the VP Conduct position on Panhellenic Council, the governing body for all of the sororities. Being on the Panhellenic side of Recruitment has been very fun and informative. I also have a role in Greek IV, a Christian ministry for Greeks. I lead a bible study for sorority women and co-lead a bible study in my chapter. This has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college career because I have been able to connect with incredible women and learn from them in a faith-based environment. Most people tend to assume that Greek and Christian are mutually exclusive. It's been fun to challenge that stereotype and find that they are not!
I am also the Co-Chair of Operations for the Senior Class Gift committee for the class of 2014. I work with the other co-chairs and the committee as a whole to reach out to fellow classmates and encourage them to give back to the College. Through my time at William & Mary, I have been involved with Student Alumni Council and Development Ambassadors, so I know how much William & Mary relies on donations to function. Through the senior class gift, we encourage seniors to get into a habit of giving back even in small amounts. Each student at William & Mary benefited from private donations and every donation counts. Miller Hall is the perfect example!
My heart is in Los Angeles, so I know I will head back there after graduation. I want to work in entertainment, though I am not entirely sure in what capacity. Accounting is the language of business, so I know that my accounting background will serve me no matter where I end up!
Experiencing the World
In addition to English, Owen Scarbrough has studied five languages and has traveled around the world. He has crafted his IPS to include his interests in both business and language, which has helped him land multiple job offers for after graduation.
Studying Languages and Business
I have studied French, Greek, Latin, Spanish, and I am currently taking Chinese (Mandarin). I have always had a passion for traveling and experiencing both new cultures and languages first hand. I have been to France, Italy, Russia, Poland, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Belize, and most recently, China. In Spring 2013, I studied abroad in China at Peking University ("The Harvard of China"). I have been so fortunate to be granted these opportunities to travel abroad and learn about different cultures. My next travel plans are to go to Southeast Asia in the Winter 2014 period with a business school program; I will be traveling there with Professor Rahtz to do independent research on the economic development and sustainability in the region with a focus on China and its recent energy demands.
My interest in languages and cultures has been the driving force behind my IPS. I have enjoyed my international experiences and found it fascinating how closely knit the world has ultimately become. I began as a double major in Process Management & Consulting and Chinese. With a little advising from my professors here at the Mason School of Business, I have added an independent research class as well as a finance concentration and international emphasis. My professors and peers in the business school have shaped my interests into what they are today, and I could not have succeeded without them. I've been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to study my exact interests and to find potential job opportunities from these experiences.
Leaving a Legacy
During my time at William & Mary I've worked closely with both the Business and Chinese programs' faculty and staff. I am a member of Chinese Students Organization as well as Finance Academy and Consulting Club. I have attended amazing presentations by professionals that these two business programs brought to campus, and I hope that one day I'll be invited to speak to students about my work experiences.
Interweaving Government and Finance
Neal Chhabra began pursuing his Government major from the beginning of his time here at William & Mary. He chose to combine his first passion with a major in Finance to create an IPS that is both interesting to employers and satisfies his curious mind.
Taking on New York
Starting at William & Mary, I knew I wanted to study business, but I was unsure on which subject to focus. Since I needed to devote 54 credits to the arts and sciences before I could apply to the business school, I pursued my interest in Government. After I entered the Foundation Semester I began attending Finance Academy events to determine which career path I would like to follow.
The summer after my sophomore year I received an offer to intern at S&P Dow Jones Indices in New York City, and from that experience, I knew I wanted to be in 'the City' after graduation. While there, I also networked with our extensive alumni base in NYC and realized that I wanted to have a career in investment banking. I continued to use the Finance Academy to network with alumni and received an offer to intern with Deutsche Bank in the Investment Banking division the summer after my junior year. Having a second major in Government has been a perfect complement to my finance coursework since government and finance have become increasingly intertwined. My IPS of mixing the liberal arts degree with my practical finance degree was key for achieving my goal of working in investment banking in New York.
Making His Own Move From DoG Street to Wall Street
As a junior, I served as an ambassador for the From DoG Street to Wall Street (D2W) event and established a relationship with an alumnus. He coached me through my recruiting process at Deutsche Bank, his former employer, and is still a great mentor even now. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take on a planning role for D2W during my senior year as a Finance Academy Vice President. I look forward to coming back as an alumnus to help undergraduates giving back all the support I received.
This year, I also collaborated with the Finance Academy officers to create new Finance Academy programming including the Workshop for Interview Preparation, tailored to help juniors and sophomores with internship recruiting and interview prep.
Inside the classroom, I've had a wonderful experience in the business school. I'm incredibly grateful for the practical business courses offered, such as Professor Bob Williams' Strategic Management course and Professor Stauffer's Legal Environment of Business course. Professor Williams' career experiences make hi courses informative and engaging. He truly cares about his students' future and I know I can go to him for help with any topic. Professor Stauffer's course is the only 8 am I've ever had at William & Mary, but it is truly one of the best, most useful classes I've had. He tailors the course to law concepts that are crucial for recent business graduates to understand, but also teaches larger issues that we may face later in life as top-level managers.
Involvement On W&M's Campus
I am involved in many organizations across campus, inside and outside the business school. I have held leadership positions in the South Asian Student Association, the International Relations Club, the Hindu Student Association, the Student Assembly, and the Finance Academy. I also am a member of our International Relations Club's competitive Model United Nations Team. Through these roles I've been able to complete work that has tangible results, showing me the importance of attention to detail while improving my leadership ability and public speaking. The business school has been incredibly supportive of my endeavors inside and outside of Miller Hall; I have been able to leverage my opportunities to receive a fantastic liberal arts education alongside a valuable business education.
Connecting with Mason
Elena Painter has capitalized on all that the business school can offer - from classes and competitions to leading the Finance Academy. How have the personal relationships she's formed with Mason alumni and students influenced her success in the workplace?
Finding a Path in Business
When I first came to William & Mary, I thought I would be a Government or Public Policy major. My whole plan changed when I took my first economics course, and I realized I wanted to enter the business world. I will be graduating with a Finance major and Economics minor because of the phenomenal professors I've had in both departments. I love to analyze problems and the tools developed in and out of the classroom have allowed me to hone this ability. Some of my favorite classes were the Student Managed Investment Fund and Applied Financial Concepts. I've also participated in stock pitch competitions, like the CFA Investment Challenge.
The Finance Academy
I currently serve as the President of the Howard J. Busbee Finance Academy, which connects students and professionals in the financial services industry. I coordinate our alumni speaker series, which offers great opportunity for students to discover different areas of finance and build their professional network. Our biggest event of the year is From DoG Street to Wall Street, which took place in September. We had close to 40 alumni and more than 200 students participate in the program.
I always encourage students to get involved early, even if they feel too young or are not yet in the business program. Our sessions are intentionally educational so that students can begin to understand the vast financial services industry.
Connecting with the Mason Undergraduate Family
The highlight of my business school experience has been informal mentoring by older students and other graduates. Older students also made my time in the business school incredibly valuable. They coached me through interviews, introduced to people in their networks, and gave me the confidence to succeed.
It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated our alumni are. To have an alumni pick up the phone at 2 am and walk me through a valuation is above and beyond what I could have expected. I have met alumni for lunch and dinner everywhere from Richmond to New York to San Francisco. I've formed close bonds with so many, it was difficult to know who to call first when I accepted an internship offer at Goldman Sachs and while I was deciding whether to return full time.
I feel really lucky to have found the Mason community and I fully intend to pay forward everything that I've learned. It's great to know that the connection to W&M lasts a lifetime.
Investing in the Future
All of my classes and experiences in the business school prepared me to perform in interviews and on internships. Over the summer of my sophomore year, I interned with IBM in their Corporate Finance division. I levered this internship to find my junior year internship in the Investment Bank at Goldman Sachs. I will be returning there full-time after graduation for the Technology Media and Telecom group in San Francisco. I'm very excited to work closely with technology companies in Silicon Valley. I love being close to the innovation while working with down-to-earth people. Frankly, they remind me of the W&M community. They're bright, motivated, and a pleasure to be around; I feel privileged to work with both sets of people.
Building a Career through a Passion for People
Molly Awad, Class of 2013, brought out her "people-person" personality as Co-President of the Student Marketing Association while at W&M and is now working with IBM in the Business Analytics division in Richmond, VA How did her courses in the business school lay the groundwork for life after graduation?
IPS: Pairing a Passion for People with Business Growth
I've always been a "people-person," so my IPS was inspired by the desire to couple my passion for people with my interest in helping businesses grow. Learning how to make a company better through its connection to consumers was always something that fascinated me, and it eventually led me to pursue my marketing degree. Combined with a concentration in Process Management and Consulting, my business classes gave me the knowledge of how to make a business the best it can be while utilizing my social skills. I stayed active within the Mason undergraduate community by mentoring incoming Foundation students and volunteering for events. I enjoyed getting involved in whatever I could. Attending and helping with Business Program events enhanced my academic experience and was a way for me to give back to such an amazing program.
Connection to the Community
During my time at W&M I was active in several organizations on campus. I helped the W&M community as a driver for the student run organization, Steer Clear, and the Williamsburg community through my membership in the service organization, CKI. But my leadership role of Co-President of Student Marketing Association (SMA) was the most important and impactful. As Co-President, I helped the club become a more active organization within the Business Program. The events held by SMA were some of my best experiences as a student in the Business School. Not only did I get to dabble in event planning as a leader for the organization, but I had the opportunity to meet some incredible alumni and various marketing professionals. While SMA offered memorable social and networking events, I had some great experiences academically as well. My team won the simulation during the Foundation Semester, which is something I'll get to brag about forever. In my classes we worked on several projects that were fun and challenging and impacted my undergraduate career, like creating a marketing campaign for the MBA program and brainstorming sustainable solutions for businesses.
Beyond the Bricks: IBM
After Graduation in May 2013, I joined the IBM Summit Program as a Brand Specialist. For the past few months I have been involved in extensive training with other IBM new hires. I travel once a month for training weeks, during which I learn about sales, various technologies, and effective communication. Being a new hire in the Summit program is all about gaining knowledge, networking, and using many resources to become a valuable asset for IBM. In April 2014 I will be assigned my own territory and will officially being my role as a Brand Specialist. My IPS helped me immensely in life after graduation; it is the reason that I have excelled during my training weeks, as well as effectively networked and asserted leadership. Without the education, professional guidance, and support of the Business Program, I would not have my IBM position, nor would I have experienced such success.
Designing a Creative Path
Molly Adair is an artist. But chance brought her to the business school as a Marketing Minor, where she found a second passion in the design studio. How has Molly united her interests to create a truly unique IPS?
Artist at Heart
When I was four, I decided I wanted to be an artist. I was the child who thought walls were the best place to test crayon colors and that magazines look better shredded and glued into collage form. A whole lot of time has passed, and I've had to do a whole lot of wall scrubbing to appease my mother, but not a lot has changed. I still cover the walls in color, but now I'm painting children's murals in a pediatrician's office or brainstorming on the white board walls of the design studio. It was only natural for me to become an art major, but it was a spur of the moment decision to apply for a marketing minor. Now I can't imagine what my college career would be without it.
A Change of Pace
When I first entered the business school as a minor, I felt like a visitor from a foreign country, especially on days when I had to come straight from studio art classes. Walking into Intro to Accounting with my arms covered with charcoal was a stark contrast to my suit-clad classmates who had just finished formal presentations for other business courses. But I quickly found my stride in marketing classes. While taking Global Marketing with Professor Swan, I discovered the design studio. The raw, ever-changing room tucked behind the undergraduate office felt like home, as it was set up very similarly to the art studios I've been accustomed to. After just one class in the studio I was hooked. I wanted to be as involved with the studio as possible and my IPS has allowed me to do just that. I'm currently taking "Design as Strategy" with Professor Swan and working on an independent study with Professor Luchs to explore options for a major, minor, or masters program centered on design.
I am continually impressed by the business school, from the high level of work accomplished by my peers to the engaging, experienced professors. Every day I am asked to be the best, most creative, and most successful student I can be; there is a perfect balance of support and challenge from my professors. The enthusiasm and passion in the surrounding Mason community are particularly motivating as I move forward with my independent study research.
Business outside of the Business School
The skills I've cultivated through my experience in the Business Program have been more applicable than I could have ever imagined. I am a member of Kappa Delta sorority and last year was elected our philanthropy chair, charged with organizing our spring philanthropy event. It was a massive undertaking with nearly 2,600 participants and we raised a record-breaking $27,500. I wouldn't have been nearly as prepared for the experience had I not been a part of the undergraduate business program.
Outside of my sorority I also serve as the Vice President of the Sexual Assault branch of Health Outreach Peer Educators (or HOPE). I have been very passionate about sexual assault awareness and prevention, and serving as VP has allowed me many unique leadership and management opportunities. The skills and tactics I've learned through marketing have proven to be perfectly applicable to branding our group and marketing our mission.
Creating the Future
After graduating in May 2014, I would like to begin my career working for either an advertising agency or a design and innovation firm. I hope to find a balance between creativity, art, marketing, and helping others. No matter where my path takes me, I know I'll be using the skills that I've learned at William & Mary. And hopefully I'll be able to see my plans for a William & Mary design program become a reality!
Blending Business and Politics
Harrison Roday combined his interests in business and politics into an IPS involving a double major, a semester in Washington, and internship experiences. How have these opportunities shaped his future goals?
A Blend of Politics & Business
My Individual Program of Study (IPS) has its roots in my two greatest interests, politics and business. Thanks to William & Mary, I have been able to pursue both. I spent the second semester of my freshman year enrolled in the William & Mary in Washington Program, studying the financial crisis with Prof. T.J. Cheng. Concurrently, I interned with the Economic Team at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank. This semester was a great platform that allowed me to make progress professionally and academically in a way that related to both my government and finance majors. By semester's end I had secured an internship at The White House, where I interned for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the Office of Scheduling and Advance.
In addition to being the opportunity of a lifetime career-wise, I was able to integrate some of the Business School curriculum through Prof. Chris Adkins' Work and the Workplace course. My experience in Washington was made possible because of the College; I truly believe the quality of my time there would have been almost impossible to duplicate at any other institution. As I stay intensely focused on politics in my free time, my work orientation is turning more definitively towards business. This past summer, I interned at Mann, Armistead & Epperson, a Richmond-based boutique investment bank where I saw the practical application of what I have learned in the classroom.
The Mason School curriculum has perfectly complemented my interests, specifically in the area of finance. Applied Financial Concepts, a class lauded by my follow "profilees" Dan Barzach and Matt Clark, was a unique learning experience. W&M alum and former Deutsche Bank Managing Director Glenn Crafford engaged us in a rigorous MBA-level class that involved exciting guest case leaders from many prestigious firms to give us insight from numerous angles.
Another great class has been the Student Managed Investment Fund, an experience that has supplemented my work with the Mason Investment Fund. Professors Cici, Gore, and Haltiner, do a superb job of bringing a real-world environment to Williamsburg-based equity research, which is both enjoyable and challenging.
Competitions & Collegiality
Outside the classroom, I have very much enjoyed getting involved in extracurricular activities at the Mason School. I'm an active member in the Howard J. Busbee Finance Academy and will be working closely with the leadership team to help plan DoG Street to Wall Street. I'm a Portfolio Manager in the Mason Investment Fund along with investment savants Dan Barzach, Alex Kocher, and Dylan Simms. The four of us have also been fortunate to represent the College at stock investment competitions from the University of Michigan to Georgetown University.
Even outside extracurricular activities, I have been able to work on my IPS. Last January I served on the Executive Appropriations Committee, working in the student budgeting process first hand and putting both my majors to work. I've also had the privilege of working with Mary Schilling, the Director of the Cohen Career Center, on a number of Cohen Center-related projects, which has greatly increased my appreciation for career development. All told, whether in extracurricular or academic activities, it's been a privilege to work in a collaborative environment with colleagues who have become close friends.
Exploring Opportunities for the Future
I will be spending January 2012 to Election Day working full time for Governor Tim Kaine's U.S. Senate campaign. The College of William & Mary and the Mason School of Business have afforded me great flexibility in completing my degree. Taking this significant amount of time away from school requires a supportive administration. When I return to campus in January 2013, I plan to continue working on my Finance major and Accounting concentration.
Before I graduate, I would like to spend more time researching, whether for an independent study or an honors thesis for my Government major. Professionally, I hope to continue to explore investment banking, as well as other applications of finance such as venture capital. I also want to take some more non-major courses to round out my experience at William & Mary. I've had an amazing first two years at the College and I hope to continue to take advantage of the special opportunities we have here.
Investing in his Future
Daniel Barzach built upon his Finance major through his involvement in Finance Academy, the Mason Investment Club, and research. How has he leveraged these experiences to gain valuable internship experience?
An Early Interest in Finance
I grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and first became interested in Finance when I began investing birthday money at age 12. My dad, trying to build my entrepreneurial spirit, told me that I had to find a way to make something of the money instead of just spending it on the spot; he suggested starting a lawn mowing business. Being none too intrigued by the prospect of competing with the flourishing lawn mowing business that was run by the local bully, I decided to seek an alternative. While in a library, I came across some books on investing by the likes of Ben Graham and Peter Lynch, and have been investing ever since.
I am currently a junior majoring in Finance with a concentration in Accounting. I spent the summer after my freshman year and this past winter break interning at a private equity firm named Ironwood Capital. There I gained invaluable experience evaluating unique investment opportunities in the mezzanine debt space ranging all the way from pre-seed to growth capital stage companies. I spent my sophomore summer at Deutsche Bank in their Leveraged Finance Investment Banking Group in New York City. The group is responsible for structuring and executing high yield debt and leveraged loans for sub-investment grade corporate clients and financial sponsors.
Studying, Leading, and Investing
I am the President of the Mason Investment Club, which is the entirely student run undergraduate investment club on campus that manages a real portion of the school's endowment. I am also president of the Howard J. Busbee Finance Academy, which is the premier financial career development club on campus. Next year, I will be in charge of organizing the Finance Academy's flagship event, From DoG Street to Wall Street. Both organizations provide exceptional opportunities for students to be proactive about their ambitions in the financial services industry and gain real-world experience.
In the classroom, I was a Senior Analyst in the Student Managed Investment Fund course taught by Professors Gjergji Cici, Peter Gore and Jim Haltiner. I was also a student and most recently the lead case consultant/ teaching assistant in the Applied Financial Concepts course, taught by one of our wonderful alumni, Glenn Crafford. Both of these Special Topics courses have been eye-opening learning experiences that have allowed me to gain real world experience in the classroom, which has allowed me to excel in interviews and during my internships.
Outside of the Business School, I am the scholarship chair for my social fraternity, a campus tour guide and a Sharpe Scholar.
Excelling in Stock Pitch Competitions and Participating in Research
I have really enjoyed representing the Mason School of Business at inter-collegiate stock pitch competitions. Since my freshman year, I have participated in 7 competitions at various locations, including Richmond, Ann Arbor, Washington D.C., and New York City. My teams have made it to at least the finals in 5 out of the 7 competitions. We have been featured or quoted in Forbes twice and one of our pitches was featured in the April 2010 issue of Morningstar's StockInvestor publication. The value of the unique thought exchange at these events cannot be overstated and I count these experiences as some of my most rewarding in the business school.
Additionally, I am involved with research within the International Business and Marketing Departments at the business school. Since my freshman year, I have been working with Professor K. Scott Swan on a book about design-driven innovation that we hope to have published soon. I also enjoy competitive racquetball games with Professor Swan every Friday at the rec.
Interning at Morgan Stanley and Plans for the Future
I am greatly looking forward to further enhancing my professional experience this summer when I will be joining Morgan Stanley as a Summer Analyst in their Investment Banking Division in New York City. Specifically, I will be working within the Mergers & Acquisitions Group. After college, I hope to begin my career working in investment banking. After growing up in the northeast, I look forward to having the opportunity to live and work in New York City.
Bringing Business Insights to Life
Melanie Thompson has already found use for her passions in consumer insight and research as an intern for a nationwide marketing firm. How does she help younger students as co-president of William & Mary's Student Marketing Association?
A Natural Curiosity
I've never left the country but I've visited almost every state in the U.S. While I am the type of person who likes to get to point A to point B in the quickest way possible, my dad is the polar opposite. He liked to take my family on the longest, loneliest roads in America, always looking for new vistas and photo ops. I used to think he did that just to get under my skin, but now I thank him for my sense of adventure and love for exploration. Plus, a pretty neat fun fact!
As for my IPS, I've always had a strong sense of curiosity, and marketing suits to a T. I am fascinated by marketing research and consumer insights and am endlessly curious about why people behave the way they do in the marketplace and how they derive value.
Leading the Student Marketing Association
As co-president of the Student Marketing Association (SMA), I collaborate with my executive team to bring in speakers from influential firms, invite professors to share advice, and facilitate the networking so crucial to business. I am always so excited when I can open doors for fellow members of the Tribe - whether it be sparking their interest in marketing, connecting them with a professional or watching them have fun with a discipline I love. My time with SMA has strengthened my love for marketing as well as an appreciation for al that the business school has to offer.
During a SMA case study spotlight, students tried to create a marketing strategy that encouraged healthy lifestyles in the workplace. Student collaboration and brainstorming produced some truly innovative solutions, and we opted for placing staircases in prominent locations while making elevators less obvious. It was one of SMA's more low-key events but one that I felt had the most impact on students - they saw how simple ideas affect a company's culture (and the resulting business).
Unlocking Consumer Insights
This summer, I had the privilege of interning at Royall and Company, a full-service marketing firm for over 300 universities worldwide. During my time there, I had the opportunity to see my business education come to life. I designed my own survey, analyzed the data and presented the results using the knowledge and skills I learned in several of my marketing courses. I even brought one of my textbooks to work one day to analyze my survey results. This feeling of accomplishment was more gratifying than any grade or presentation, and I knew that the education I received at the business school prepared me better than I thought possible for the job.
Following graduation, I hope to pursue a career in marketing research and consumer insights. I am confident I can tackle any job that is thrown my way, and I am so excited to take my next steps into the world of business. I know that I wouldn't be where I am without the incredible support and guidance of everyone at Mason.
A Global Citizen
Growing up in both Pakistan and the United States, JB Akbar considers himself a global citizen. How is he using his cultural background and his IPS to bring educational reform to Pakistan?
Ever since I was young, I've had a passion for languages. I was that kid who fell in love with complete strangers solely for their language or accent. I even began teaching myself Persian when I was nine, so that I could understand Rumi's poetry better. Apart from studying languages, I am constantly reevaluating my life and aspirations to see if they are still in line with the person I am becoming.
I was raised in Pakistan and then moved back to the U.S. when I was ten. The intersection of these two identities have become so deeply interwoven that it is hard for me to completely introduce myself without mentioning both. Those few years in Pakistan have instilled within me such a deep appreciation for my cultural and linguistic heritage that furthering my Pakistani identity has become a passion of mine.
Being raised a global citizen, it was only natural for my Individual Program of Study (IPS) to reflect that. My strong passion for Middle Eastern culture guided me to double major in Marketing and Middle Eastern Studies. There is an increasing demand for cross-cultural cooperation and trade and that is where I picture myself. I have taken Arabic since my freshman year, and I hope that my language skills will help further my goals of delving into International business.
Impact & Engagement
The past three years at William & Mary have completely transformed me. Part of that transformation is because of actually going to college itself, but a large part of it is also due to this very institution. Each day I am deeply inspired by the students, staff and faculty members around me. This has encouraged me to become involved on campus, so I can give back to an institution which has given me so much.
I am the current Secretary for Diversity in the Student Assembly and work on promoting diversity. This spring I participated in Holi, a Hindu festival, which included throwing colored powder and water on fellow students. I am also the captain of the Bhangra Team, which is a dance team hailing from the Punjab region of South Asia. This group is one of the ways in which I try to stay connected to my cultural heritage.
Through a grant from the College, I was given the opportunity to travel to Pakistan to research Islam and the rights of sexual minorities in the country. Those three months were the most worthwhile and the most challenging months of my entire life. Currently I am working on a series of short essays detailing the findings of my research. It was such a rewarding experience, and I am very grateful that the College gave me such an opportunity.
My time thus far at the Mason School of Business has been a phenomenal experience, from the classes to the faculty to the students I am surrounded by. Though there are countless highlights one of the best is the marketing research course that I took last semester with Professor Michael Luchs. When I first saw it on the Marketing curriculum, I was dreading the class. However, it turned out to be one of the best surprises of my academic career. Not only did I end up enjoying the field of study but the course as well. It was divided in two parts, in-class lectures and working for an actual client: Herman Miller. The interactive and engaging nature of the class has made it one of my favorite experiences at the College.
After graduating from William & Mary, I plan on working for a few years before heading to graduate school for textiles and design. I am looking to work in the government for a globally minded agency or in the private sector for a corporation focused on business in the Middle East.
In addition, I plan to continue working on my own venture: Yeh Hosla. Yeh Hosla or "This Resilience." It is a non-profit organization that combines my want for social justice in Pakistan and my ambition to become a fashion designer. I also want to start a socially conscious fashion line using strong Pakistani imagery in the designs, to inspire people world-wide to promote educational reform in Pakistan. This is one of my deepest passions, and it is exciting to finally see the plans starting to come together.
Designing Her Future
Annie Atwell's interests in marketing and design have helped her discover her unique IPS. Through promoting campus activities and interning in the Undergraduate Business Program Office, she has become closer to reaching her career goals. How have horses, dancing and designing contributed to her IPS?
I am currently a senior Marketing major graduating in January from Vero Beach, Florida. I really enjoy advertising and marketing, specifically the creative and design aspects. I also love languages, particularly Spanish, and have taken various classes on campus in Hispanic Studies along with studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Outside of classes, most of my time is spent dancing in the hip-hop dance group on campus, The Syndicate, and working in the Undergraduate Business Program Office as the Marketing & Design Intern. At home in Florida, I spend much of my time riding horses and helping out with the family farm.
One of the highlights of my Business School experience has been interning in the Undergraduate Business Program Office. The opportunity has given me the chance to utilize the marketing skills I've learned through classes but also to hone my graphic design skills that I would not have otherwise been able to develop.
Not only have I gained internship experience to put on a resume, but working in the Undergraduate Office has made me realize what a true community we have here at Mason. While I considered myself an active member of the Mason community previously, now I feel as though I will leave only wishing I was able to remain here longer.
My defining moment happened after I finished my first job interview. As a natural introvert, the idea of a one-on-one interview that was all about me was more than daunting. Begrudgingly, I dressed the part and printed my resume on professional-looking, ivory colored paper and was on my way. Though nervous at first, once the interview began, I discovered that I could answer every question with ease, even finesse. I had not expected this! Questions that asked about my experiences, how I handled tough situations, how I was a leader - I sailed through all of them unscathed.
I realized after the interview how much the Business School had prepared me for this moment, this turning point in my life. Not only had I gained incredible experiences, but I was able to describe them articulately in an interview to a complete stranger. It was then that I realized how much I had gained from my business education at Mason.
Next year I will be doing federal consulting for a firm in the DC area, specifically in Strategic Communications. While it is daunting to begin my first "real" job, I know that the business school has prepared me well. It is true that Mason provides its students with the best classes, the best professors, and the best internships but I have found that the most important thing I have gained from my education here is confidence in myself and my abilities that will help me succeed in any field. It is not something that can be quantified or written on a resume, but is just as significant as those that are, perhaps even more so. With this self-assuredness, I am certain that I conquer anything that the future has in store for me.
A Star in Soccer & Scholarship
Originally from Ghana, Nat Baako came to W&M to receive a quality education and to play soccer. After winning two national scholar athlete awards, a Finance internship, spending a semester abroad in Europe, and winning a CAA Championship, what will he do next with his IPS?
Before deciding to come to William & Mary, I was looking at a few other schools for soccer reasons. However, I made my decision mainly because my dad would not compromise on a quality education. Ultimately coming to Williamsburg has been nothing short of life-changing. I have had the opportunity to learn from distinguished professors, play on a championship winning team and develop lasting relationships with intellectually gifted individuals at the College.
Entering into sophomore year, my interests were business and soccer. In addition, I worked three jobs on campus. I was also looking to study abroad in Europe to broaden my knowledge and perspective on international business. The flexibility of the Individual Program of Study (IPS) allows me to merge all of these interests. The Undergraduate Office has been incredibly helpful on designing an IPS that matches my interests and career goals.
I am a Finance major with a concentration in Accounting and an International Emphasis. Through my studies and the design of my IPS (with the invaluable help of all the people in the Undergraduate Office), I have been able to fit in an internship with Ernst & Young Financial Advisory Services. Working on a team with a Senior Manager and a Partner, my internship provided real world insight into the consulting industry. It also gave me the opportunity to apply classroom theory to real world problems.
Impact & Engagement
As a midfielder on the Tribe Soccer team, I have had the opportunity to be a part of an athletic family which preaches hard work, commitment, leadership and success. In addition to finishing my career a Three-Time CAA All Conference Selection, I was named the All-American Senior College Men's Scholar National Player of the Year and CAA Men's Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year my senior year. Despite the numerous individual awards that have fortunately come my way, I am most proud of being a part of a team that won the CAA Championships (W&M's 100th) and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in 2010. I am also involved with the basketball team at the College. I help with game day preparations and provide up to the minute score updates to television and radio networks including ESPN, ABC and the like.
One of the highlights of being part of the Business School was my study abroad experience in Manchester, England. In addition to taking business courses in a different cultures and traditions. I also had the opportunity to visit a lot of the places on my bucket list: Berlin, Rome, Milan, Budapest and Barcelona, to name a few.
I was privileged to be a member of the William & Mary Wall Street Program in 2010. The trip to New York City not only developed my interest in Investment Banking, it also provided an invaluable networking platform. I had the opportunity to meet with alumni in the field and visit the offices of large Wall Street banks such as JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Melon.
I am considering a few options for my career. In addition to looking at Investment Banking positions, I am considering applying to the Master of Accounting Program at the College. I am equally weighing the option to move back to Ghana to start my career. I will also relish an involvement in soccer in the long term; be it playing, coaching or as part of an agency.
Having the Drive to Succeed
Kristin Beckett is a double major, loves cars, studied abroad in Germany, and has a passion for sustainability. How has her drive helped her find success at W&M and get a job with a global consulting firm?
I have taken German since 6th grade, and the language and culture have intrigued me for reasons which I can't even fully understand. I guess it comes from the difficult history of the country, the personality of its citizens, and the high quality cars produced there.
Because of my interest in the inner workings of the business world, I also decided to study business. I chose Finance because I saw the value in understanding the financial implications of business decisions. My dream job would be to consult or work for a German car company.
During the 2010 World Cup, I studied abroad for four months in Munich, Germany. During my study abroad experience, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Austria, Croatia, Italy, Slovakia, and Egypt. Surprisingly, I also scored in the highest category on a German language test and am therefore certified to work or study unsponsored in Germany. All of these interests and experiences have resulted in my Individual Program of Study (IPS) as a double major in Finance and German with an international emphasis.
Impact & Engagement
The number and variety of clubs and student organizations that William & Mary offers fits my diverse range of interests better than I could have known when I made my college decision four years ago. Being a competitive gymnast prior to coming to college, I got involved with Club Gymnastics as a way to continue doing something I loved and keep in shape.
Freshman year, I also got involved with the Student Alumni Council and joined a social sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Being chosen as Treasurer for my sorority allowed me to apply my business knowledge in a practical way and helped me get more out of my sorority experience. Two of my sorority sisters encouraged me to get involved in the student organization Net Impact, which focuses on sustainability in business.
Through this group, I assisted in coordinating the Do One Thing (DOT) campaign and having Adam Webach come and speak. I also gained faculty mentors who have guided me in my internship and job searches. In addition, I learned a wealth of knowledge about the constantly evolving field of sustainability and its application and acceptance in the business world. Because of Net Impact, I have become passionate about sustainability and intend to carry that passion into my career.
Through Net Impact, I was also able to make a significant contribution to the planning of the Corporate & College Collaborative for Sustainability as Collaborative Co-Chair. Working on this event was an incredibly rewarding experience.
Being able to work closely with influential business leaders helped me make connections that positively influenced my career choice. Interacting with so many students from schools across the country helped me to see that though we may be geographically far apart, we share many of the same patterns of thought, which is both comforting and empowering.
I recently accepted an offer from IBM Global Business Services Consulting. The business knowledge and analytical, writing, communication, and presentation skills I have refined during my time in the Business School provide a strong basis from which I can draw on when working in the ever-changing world of consulting.
I hope to use my passion for sustainability by working with companies looking to implement sustainable initiatives. I see sustainability as an increasingly important component of a company's bottom line and corporate image.
I also hope to work on projects that allow me to leverage my German skills, hopefully taking me back to Germany for a few months! Because of the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of the business world, the international perspective that I've gained from my study abroad experience and the International Business course will be valuable throughout my career.
The Language of Business
Eric Bene has gained in-depth exposure to diverse cultures through study abroad in Syria, Lebanon and Hungary as well as living and working in Qatar. How has his love for the Arabic language complemented his business studies?
I am a senior double majoring in Finance and Middle Eastern Studies. I am originally from the United States but spent twelve years of my life in Doha, Qatar. During my time there, I had many opportunities to travel and learn about the region.
When I arrived at William & Mary, I had a goal of achieving fluency in Arabic and immediately shared my goal with the Arabic department. With the help of my professors, I was able to study abroad at the University of Aleppo, Syria and the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Wanting to study abroad again, I spent the summer of my sophomore year studying with the business school at our study abroad program in Budapest, Hungary.
Contributing to the William & Mary community is important to me. I am a member of the Undergraduate Student Conduct Council, have served as a teaching assistant for 200 level Arabic courses and have been an active resident at Arabic House for the past three years.
One of my highlights was definitely the Mason School's summer program in Budapest. During our time in Hungary we were able to meet with local entrepreneurs and large international companies such as General Electric and Live Nation to learn firsthand about the challenges as well as the opportunities of doing business in the European Union.
The defining moment of my business school experience was the foundation semester. It is truly unique as we are able to build relationships with students that will last long after our time at the college. It teaches you to balance the strengths and weaknesses of different team members to succeed.
I am looking for a career that provides me with the opportunity to work extensively with people from diverse backgrounds in a variety of different settings. I have always had the intention of pursuing higher education and have given particular consideration to law school. This past summer I worked at a summer internship with Latham and Watkins law offices in Doha, Qatar. This experience encouraged me to apply to law school to study constitutional law. Studying abroad through Mason's program in Budapest also gave me a strong interest in entrepreneurship.
Expressions of Creativity
Ariana Berger is not just a business major, she has also done service abroad, is studying two foreign languages and has a creative streak. How does she express this creativity on campus in her marketing coursework and in her IPS?
I have been learning German since the first grade because I went to a language immersion elementary school. I am so glad my parents enrolled me in the program, and I think it has really given me in the program, and I think it has really given me a competitive advantage as I look for what to do after college. Because of my language background I have chosen to be a German Studies minor and I cannot wait to spend time in Germany after graduation.
While here at the College, I have also learned about Indian culture through my involvement with the Bhangra team and have studied Chinese. I have taken two years of it, and I love the language speaking it and writing the characters. It has also been challenging because of how different it is. There are five different tones and you write in characters, requiring a totally different thought process. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed studying it.
I was initially inspired to become a business major because my family owned a business and my dad has always traded stocks. I chose to be a Finance major, because I have always found math and the markets interesting. I also have a strong creative side, which is why I chose to concentrate in Marketing. I have always loved creating, through music, graphic design, photography, drawing and painting. I also enjoyed the two art classes I have taken at William & Mary, and this helped me to decide to incorporate marketing into my Individual Program of Study (IPS).
Impact & Engagement
I am on the Bhangra Team and the Syndicate. I absolutely love dancing, and being involved with these on-campus groups has made a big impact on my life here at the College. I love practicing and collaborating with different kinds of people who all have a similar interest. Bhangra has been especially fun because it is a dance form I had never heard of before. I have fallen in love with the dance and the culture, not to mention the beautiful costumes, and have made close friends with my teammates. I have also had the opportunity to travel with the team to Ohio State, Old Dominion, and Mary Washington to compete at competitions.
The summer after my sophomore year, I went on a service trip called Destination China. Along with six other students, I taught English to migrant worker children at schools in the outskirts of Beijing. The trip was nothing like I had expected, yet it was truly the best experience I've had. We lived in the communities where we were teaching, while allowed us to directly experience the people and culture and learn about a different lifestyle.
After my group left, I stayed for another month and interned with a non-profit in the city. I continued living in the outskirts, in a migrant worker community, I had a great time living with her. She was spunky and very caring, and I will never forget my time in Sha He. I must visit again, which is why I plan to go back to Beijing as soon as I can.
The Marketing classes I have taken at the Business School have been great, especially my Advertising class with Professor Don Rahtz and Sean Fitzpatrick. I got hands-on experience working with a team to create and present a marketing plan to a company's board of directors.
It was a great experience for me, because I got to do a lot of advertising designs. Not only did I enjoy this, but the whole project is going to be beneficial for my portfolio when I interview with advertising firms. The company loved our recommendation and is in the process of implementing it. It is very exciting to see my schoolwork have an impact outside of the classroom.
Many Finance majors hope to get a great job on Wall Street right out of college. I am grateful to have my finance background and think it will be of great use in the future, but I actually don't see myself going that way at all. After graduation, I am heading to Germany for a year through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX). I'm excited for the opportunity to immerse myself in the German culture and to improve my language skills!
Making a Positive Impact on Healthcare
Not only is Ashley Best a Process Management & Consulting major, she also works as a Department Assistant for Surgical Services at Chippenham Hospital. How will she use her personal, academic and work experiences to make a positive impact on healthcare?
I transferred from John Tyler Community College with an Associate's Degree in Business Administration to William & Mary. Here my Individual Program of Study includes a major in Process Management & Consulting, a concentration in Management & Organizational Leadership, as well as my work experience.
I drive nearly 1000 miles each week commuting between my home in Prince George to school in Williamsburg to my job in Richmond. Aside from the miles driven and dollars spent on gas, the countless experiences that have led me to William & Mary are invaluable.
After graduating high school, I worked in tourism and gained experience in marketing and public relations. A few years later, I began working for HCA Healthcare as an Executive Assistant to the Chief Nursing Officer and Associate Nurse Executive at CJW Medical Center. Being intimately exposed to nursing, I learned a lot about patient relations, patient safety, quality management and creating an optimum environment of care. I fell in love with healthcare and decided to pursue a degree in Business Administration.
A few months after I began my college coursework, my grandmother was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. She passed away about a year later, but I will never forget the excellent care that she received and how humbled I was about the overall experience. Since then, I was certain that I wanted nothing more than to reach out to others - patients and their families - and make a positive impact on their perception of healthcare.
Impact & Engagement
In addition to taking classes, I also work as a Department Assistant for Surgical Services at CJW Medical Center's Chippenham Campus and provide administrative support to seven surgery departments. Working in Surgical Services has helped me to learn more about the various aspects of a hospital department and how it functions.
One of my biggest projects has been reviewing and organizing the policies and procedures for each unit within Surgical Services. I have also been developing the Surgical Services department page on our hospital's intranet so that staff can have quick and easy access to vital documents such as the policies and procedures.
My employment with HCA has been a wonderful learning experience, because it allows me to work side by side with some of the industry's top healthcare professionals and gain knowledge and skills first-hand. Working in the field I love while studying at the Mason School of Business has helped me to meet even more of my personal and professional goals and fueled me to continue to learn and grow.
There were numerous opportunities to incorporate my personal and professional interests into projects I had during the Integrated Foundation Semester. In Computer Skills for Business with Professor Andre Araujo, my final assignment allowed me to see which MBA program would be best for me financially by utilizing capital budgeting skills we learned throughout the semester. Business Ethics taught me principles that I have carried with me beyond the classroom and has enabled me to make better decisions in the workplace and in my personal life.
My exposure to a mix of unique personalities in the classroom has helped me to look at things in new perspectives and produce more meaningful work. I feel that this exposure has primed me to meet challenges with greater vigor and empower others to create positive change.
The Mason School of Business continuously inspires its students through conversations, presentations and activities it shares with the student body. The professors are unbelievably passionate about what they do and encourage me to always think outside of the box.
They encourage students to take an active interest in what is going on in the world of business. Thanks to this, I have become more involved in what is going on not only in business, but in healthcare. Looking more closely at the industry has helped me define my personal interests and plan for the future.
I will continue to work in healthcare while pursuing my Bachelor's Degree. In the coming months, I am planning to shadow healthcare executives and hospital directors to learn more about physician relationships, patient satisfaction, lean strategies and quality management. This summer I would like to conduct healthcare related research with faculty to further enhance my academic and professional experience.
I am also interested in networking with fellow students who have had healthcare related experience or would like to. I think there is opportunity to talk about what our generation can do for the future of healthcare, as well as the opportunity to make an impact and influence on generations to come. After graduating from William & Mary, I plan to continue on to a Masters program.