You're not one-dimensional, so why should your education be?
While other business schools tell you what you should do, we challenge our students to imagine what they can do with their business education. At the Raymond A. Mason School of Business of William & Mary, we want you to explore and develop your strengths and talents -- in business and beyond.
An Individual Program of Study (IPS) gives you the freedom to design a program that fits who you are and prepares you to shape the world. Your IPS will enable you to pursue a variety of different paths and challenge you to integrate your interests, strengths, and aspirations. Our team of faculty and staff are here to support you throughout your IPS.
With your Individual Program of Study (IPS) you can:
Study in more than one area of Business.
Major in one business discipline and pursue a concentration in another.
Combine Business with the Arts & Sciences on campus.
Double major or minor in another field of study at William & Mary.
Internationalize your Business Education.
Each major is designed so that students can study abroad the spring semester of their junior year and still graduate on time. An International Emphasis will enhance your study abroad experience with international business coursework.
Internships, Career Planning, and Graduate School.
From summer internships to getting you ready for graduate school or your first job, we can give you the tools needed to find the opportunity that is right for you.
Research Opportunities and Faculty Mentoring.
Students may develop and pursue research projects for academic credit according to their interests and with the guidance of faculty.
From within the business school and throughout campus, students can develop their leadership potential inside the classroom as well as in organizations of their interest.
Meet Our Students
A Perfect Fit
I decided to look into William & Mary because of its status as a competitive and historic public university. After learning about faculty research and realizing students’ enthusiasm for academia, I knew that this would be the best fit for me. I decided to apply to the Raymond A. Mason in order to complement my studies in Environmental Science and Policy because I knew that the skills I would acquire would allow me to engage in Environmental Policy in the channels that I was pursuing.
After cooking in the restaurant industry for over a decade, I developed relationships with many local entrepreneurs, farmers, butchers, brewers, and eclectics. I enjoyed my time in the industry, but began to see patterns in the shortcomings of the food supply chain locally, nationally, and globally. I wanted to be able to develop and contribute meaningful work into improving the ways in which we think about our consumption of natural resources, in addition to the impact of the ways in which we construct and navigate our economy in relation to the environment. Through my studies at the Mason School, I have since expanded the scope of my work beyond the food industry by engaging in managing the impact and sustainability of the manufacturing industry. I am working now towards building experience in data collection and analysis in other fields.
A Clear Choice
Sustainability in the Chesapeake Bay, a course I took during my first semester, cemented my decision to study business. During this course, we heard guest lecturers with experience in more than a dozen different areas, such as legal policy, sustainable farming practices, biology, anthropology, marine sciences and economics. Another memorable course for me was the Legal Environment of Business with Professor William Stauffer, who is one of the most engaging lecturers I've studied with during my academic career. His professional insight and tireless efforts to propel students into their careers went well beyond any expectations I could have had for one of my professors.
Making a Lasting Impact
In the future, I see myself performing data analysis to support regional initiatives that navigate the area’s relationship with natural resources. In 5 years, I could certainly be still engaged with graduate studies, or perhaps just finishing out another degree. In 10 years, I hope to be managing larger organizations in advising both private and public policy on improving efficiency and transparency in their respective organizations with the hopes of improving sustainable management of natural resources and public access to natural places. I've gained access to a greater number of arenas in which I can study and engage my skill sets gained during my undergraduate career. However, as with most things, the more I've learned here, the more I've become excited at the prospects of what I don't know and can engage in next.
A History with the Tribe
William & Mary has been present in my life since the very beginning. I first took at course at William & Mary, entitled “Incredible Edible Math,” more than a decade before I began my freshman year. Though I can’t quite say that I’ve ever had a class here that has matched its delicious legacy, I’m glad that those sweet memories inspired me to visit again in high school. On my tour, I was captivated by the college’s character, and immediately decided I could fit in with such a passionate, genuine, and curious community. Looking into academics, I couldn’t help but feel impressed by our small class sizes and involved professors. Combined with the college’s long history and legacy of excellence, these factors convinced me that I had found myself a home, and I never looked back. Once admitted, I found the Raymond A. Mason through the influence of many of my mentors. Though I was already leaning towards the idea of a major in business when I first arrived, seeing my accomplished upperclassmen Mason School friends, as well as the opportunities provided to them, made my decision to apply in freshman year a no brainer.
Preparing for a Career in Business and Beyond
Combining both of my majors with William & Mary’s rich liberal arts curriculum has allowed me to study virtually everything I’ve wanted to during my college experience. I always knew that I wanted finance to be my primary major, but as I worked, interviewed, and networked, I came to realize that strategy and analytics might fit my interests a bit better than a more traditional finance role. This shift inspired me to pick up a concentration in business analytics, and I’ve loved it – by now I’ve taken as many courses in it as finance! Exposing myself to both of these fields has really helped me broaden my horizons, and by now it’s clear to me that, working in tandem, these two disciplines might have the greatest synergy of any two subjects I’ve studied. How I decided on my secondary major is a bit messier. I’ve always considered myself to be a jack of all trades, so the option to design my own data science major was such a natural choice, and was the perfect way to blend my career goals with a long on-and-off history of coding. With the perspective I’ve since gained from my last internship at Capital One, a notoriously data driven organization, I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision. Having the skills and expertise to deal with big data analysis has proven absolutely invaluable, and I’m excited to dive even further into data science during my last semester. With graduation looming on the horizon, I’m glad I can say that my IPS has grown perfectly alongside both my skills and interests to become a sturdy toolkit for strategy and analytics tailored perfectly for my future.
My favorite Mason School event is without a doubt our annual DoG to Wall Street conference. The finance industry can be incredibly intimidating, but DoG to Wall’s panels are such a fantastic way to introduce underclassmen to their options and help them find fantastic connections in passionate and involved alums. This event has been particularly special to me because I was fortunate enough to meet one of my most important mentors there. Never did I ever imagine I’d be able to connect with someone so crazily accomplished and talented, and watching them take the time to guide me through getting my sophomore internship was the first time I really witnessed the strength of the William & Mary alumni connection. Since that experience, one of my greatest passions has been professional development – I hope that I can help as many students as I can in a similar way moving forward! Another of my favorite parts of the business school are its many case competitions. As someone deeply passionate about solving tough problems and diving headfirst into new challenges, I live for midnight scrambles and last-minute deck revisions. If a new case competition is announced, you can always bet that I’ll be among the first to enter. Getting my first win at Grant Thornton’s case competition back in my sophomore year is still one of my proudest accomplishments, and I really can’t overstate how much they’ve helped develop my communication, analysis, and critical thinking skills. I’d recommend them with no hesitation to anyone looking to learn a lot in very little time.
A Promising Path Ahead
After graduation, I’m looking forward to packing my bags and moving to Washington DC, where I’ve accepted a full-time offer with Capital One as a business analyst. In five years, I hope that I’ll be somewhere in the process of obtaining an MBA and rounding out the skill set I’ve developed throughout my time here in Williamsburg. In ten years, I honestly have no idea where I’ll be, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have found a place where I’m still just as excited as I am now to wake up and walk out the door every morning.
The Impact of Others
While I first heard of William & Mary because of its strong academic reputation, I ultimately chose to apply early decision due to the unique people that make this campus feel like home. The students I met here were not only driven, but also curious, kind, and authentic. Moreover, the professors were passionate about undergraduate teaching and mentorship. I found the Mason School because I had become interested in financial regulation after learning about related current events. The complexity of the financial markets, and the challenge of attempting to understand and model them, continue to fascinate me.
Finding her Perfect Path
My IPS is designed to prepare me for graduate school in finance by supplementing my major with additional research experience, technical training, and teaching opportunities. Through the Boehly Center, I had the chance to work as a research assistant for both Professor Guthrie and Professor Skimmyhorn. I found that these roles let me approach finance with the perfect blend of concrete statistical analysis, deep and creative thinking, and persuasive communication. Despite these great experiences, I didn’t realize research was something I could turn into a career until I spent the summer on Wall Street. Once there, I learned the vast differences between industry and academic work. After conversations with my professors, I realized an academic career would be a great fit for me. Returning to campus, I amended my IPS by self-designing a second major in the mathematics department. It merges econometrics coursework, which provides a method of framing and answering questions, with mathematics coursework that has given me the tools for understanding economic reasoning in a rigorous way.
A Network of Mentors
My favorite thing about the Mason School is its sense of community. Every year at the Women's Leadership Summit, I meet alumni who have been away from Miller Hall for years, yet are still eager to help each other and mentor the next generation of business students. This culture has been most apparent through the Women in Business Club, which I led for two years. When I was interviewing on Wall Street, young WIB alumni made calls on my behalf, taught me how to use the subway, and even invited me to stay in their homes. Since then, doing the same thing for younger students has been incredibly rewarding.
Taking her Education Full-Circle
After graduation, I will be working for the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Division of Economic Research & Statistics, assisting an economist with his work on the microstructure of the treasury markets. In five years, I’ll hopefully be in a Ph.D. program in finance or economics. In ten years, my dream is to be a professor at a school like William & Mary.
Finding the Perfect Rhythm
I decided to come to William & Mary because, out of all of the places that I visited, this campus felt the most like home. I visited many schools in the Northeast and nothing felt quite right. When I came down here for a tour and info session, I knew as soon as I started to walk around campus that this would be my new home. I decided to apply to the Business School because I wanted to continue to develop my music career in college and knew it could be augmented with entrepreneurial skills. I thought I would have an edge over most musicians by attending one of the finest business schools in the country, and I have already applied so much of what I have learned from my classes and mentors to my career thus far.
Turning a Passion into a Business
I wanted to find a way to fuse my passions for music and business but wasn’t sure which discipline I wanted to major in. After settling on Music, I decided to minor in Innovation & Entrepreneurship because I wanted to learn more about starting a business and how to set myself up for a long-term career. As an artist, you are the company and the music is your product. For example, just the nature of your social media presence is a key driver in what makes people want to explore your product. Studying I&E has opened my eyes up to more efficient business management techniques, product development ideas, and ultimately how to provide more value to my listeners. This minor has pushed me to think outside of my comfort zone and to approach my own entrepreneurial obstacles differently.
Success from Support
I really enjoyed taking intro to I&E with Graham Henshaw and Customer Insights with Michael Luchs. Both classes offered really interesting perspectives regarding what it takes to run a startup, how to ensure longevity, and how to design a product efficiently and effectively. These classes have given me crucial entrepreneurial building blocks, and now it is up to me to take the tools they have given me and implement them in the music industry appropriately. Moreover, I have built relationships with both of these professors and I am extremely thankful to have them involved with my career.
An Unstoppable Path
In five years I see myself either in Manhattan or LA pursuing my music career. Ideally, I will be in the studio with a diverse range of artists and also be touring somewhat regularly. Ten years down the road, I envision doing music full time, touring regularly, producing every day, and making a massive international impact with my projects. I will not stop until I am living my dream to the fullest extent.
A Dream Turned Reality
I remember first stepping onto William & Mary’s campus on a 5th-grade field trip and immediately feeling at home. I fell in love with William & Mary and all of its history and so, when I started to look at colleges, I recalled my earlier visit and decided to look into William & Mary. I saw everything William & Mary had to offer and knew I wanted to attend due to its academic rigor alone. At first, I wasn't sure what I wanted to study, so I took many different classes, ranging from kinesiology and philosophy to business and economics. I found I most enjoyed studying the prerequisites for business, which led to my decision to apply to the Business School.
I knew I wanted to be a marketing major when I took Professor Szykman’s class, Principles of Marketing. I loved pitching a marketing plan based on a real company, and it was so valuable to have Executive Partners critiquing our ideas. I also enjoyed the course's in-class discussions because I found myself really engaging with the material. My IPS evolved to an international level when I studied abroad in Cadiz, Spain. It was in Spain where I researched the Mediterranean diet, fast food chains, and the role of marketing in each of them. I also had the opportunity this past summer to intern at Campbell Soup Company in Camden, NJ.
Classes that Excite
Two classes that have stood out to me at William & Mary are Professor Dawn Edmniston’s “Advertising and Digital Marketing” and Professor David Long’s “Management Consulting.” I really enjoyed these courses because the professors brought a lot of energy to each class and the group work involved projects aimed at finding solutions for real clients, which made the class concepts feel so applicable to the real world.
Finding a Voice at W&M
In five years, I have no idea where I will be, but I hope that I will be making a difference in the marketing or consulting world. The biggest takeaway I have from my undergraduate experience is that I have to be my own advocate. Whether this is in networking, problem-solving, or group work, I am the one in control of bettering myself. I know I can do this by having mentors, but I must seek out the help. I also have to earnestly try to incorporate their advice into my life, something I believe my William & Mary experience has helped me achieve.
Seeking a Driven Community
I always knew that I wanted to go to a school where the people were academically driven and passionate about their work. At the same time, it was important that I found a place where people seemed genuinely happy. Since my mom went here, I'd grown up going to Tribe basketball and football games, and so William & Mary was always on my radar. Initially, I thought I wanted to go somewhere different, but I eventually realized that I was looking for that signature William & Mary atmosphere in every school I toured. So, William & Mary, it was! As for the Business School, I knew I wanted to be a Marketing major when I first applied. I already had most of the prerequisites completed from high school, and I wanted a business-oriented education to complement my English major. Marketing gives me a way to communicate the writing skills I've acquired through my English major, and my Entrepreneurship concentration gives me a platform to pitch my ideas, while also helping me learn how to successfully run a business.
A Holistic Business Education
I have loved being a student in the Mason School. The first class I took was Principles of Accounting with Rachel Stephens; a class I was certain would be incredibly challenging. However, Stephens' enthusiasm and organized teaching style helped me learn the material easily, and I ended up doing really well! Even though I don't want to go into accounting, I knew the Business School was the right place for me. I've also loved getting to work in the Mason School's Marketing Department, where I write articles for the official Business School website. Moreover, my time as a Fellow for the Miller Entrepreneurship Center has been so impactful, as the friendships I have fostered with the other four EC Fellows has culminated one of my most rewarding college experiences.
From Classroom to Corporate
The ability for me to combine all of my interests through my IPS has led me to some incredible opportunities. The summer after my sophomore year, I worked as a Trade Editorial Intern at Scholastic Inc. in New York City. This was such an awesome experience because I got to edit all of Scholastic's Graphix books, such as Captain Underpants, The Babysitters Club, and Amulet. I also worked at Arts & Letters Creative Co. in Richmond this past summer, where I conducted marketing research for different projects for Google and worked on a commercial for ESPN. I credit much of my success in these positions to all that I have learned in my classes at the Business School.
Passions Take Precedent
While I'm still not sure exactly what I want to do after I graduate, I'd love to be working in communications for a non-profit organization. Ten years from now, I just hope that I'm doing a job I'm really passionate about! I believe that my biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience will be the self-confidence I've gained, both in terms of my skill set and abilities and in my understanding of who I am and what I aspire to. William & Mary is a place that teaches you to stand up for yourself and always be your own advocate, and I've certainly gained the skills to do so as a student in the Business School.
The Perfect Mix of Programs and People
I decided to come to William & Mary because of the welcoming environment, the prestigious Business School and the wide offering of study abroad programs. I also knew that when I went to college, I did not want to be just another face on campus - I wanted to see people I knew throughout the day, and so the size of the student body here was perfect for me. From the time I committed to William & Mary, I knew I was interested in business, and so I applied a year early for the Mason School for admission in the fall of my sophomore year. My desire to study business was fueled by my passion for working with numbers, coupled with my desire to have a career in which I could be working directly with people.
Confidence Through Exploration
I really appreciated my first semester in the Business School; ‘The Block.’ During this foundation block, I was able to experience a class in each of the majors offered by the Business School, which ultimately helped to confirm my passion for finance. Although the semester solidified my love for the analytic side of business, I was grateful for the opportunity to explore all business-related disciplines before focusing solely on my intended major. My experience in the Business School has been highlighted by working with patient professors in office hours, challenging myself in tough courses and gaining confidence for my career post-graduation.
Taking an IPS Over-seas
My Individual Program of Study has allowed me to combine Finance and Hispanic Studies courses. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take my studies abroad to Seville, Spain, where I completed my minor. I was also able to take an international marketing class, where I gained business knowledge from a completely different cultural point of view. Studying abroad not only grew my global perspective but provided me with some of my best memories from college. On-campus, as I explored finance, I also realized my interest in business analytics. For that reason, I applied and will be completing the Masters of Business Analytics program also through the Mason School. I am so thankful that Mason has allowed me to explore different interests as they arose, and has been accommodating with my plans, in turn allowing me to realize my passions to the fullest.
Endless Possibilities on the Horizon
In five or ten years, I see myself in an analytics career. I am excited by the limitless possibilities that come with analyzing data. Filtering, modeling, and interpreting data can lead to so many insightful conclusions in any industry. Thus, a large part of my passion for analytics stems from the prospect of ending up in any field - health care, finance, sports, etc, because analytics is so widely applicable and useful. I also believe that in the future, I will look back and remember my college experience as a time when I explored many new interests both in and out of the classroom. I am learning more about the values I have and am excited to see just how my experience at William & Mary will propel me to my future career.
Both my parents went to William & Mary so the campus has always felt like a second home to me. Besides feeling a sense of security here, I wanted to attend a school that allowed me to pursue all of my academic interests, while also encouraging me to try new subjects. By providing a top-level liberal arts education, William & Mary gives students the ability to explore really diverse and niche subjects throughout their undergraduate careers. I applied to the Business School because I have always wanted to major in Finance. I always take a very quantitative approach to problems, and so I wanted to pursue that interest. Furthermore, I was able to capitalize on the Business School’s integrated curriculum, which is unique in that it introduces students to all aspects of the business world.
An Unlikely Pairing
William & Mary's push for students to try to news things has always inspired my Individual Program of Study. I would have never dreamed that I would be a religious study minor, but I took a religion class as a Coll 150 and absolutely loved it. I try to continue to study and experience different things, such a studying abroad and pursuing subjects outside of my major and minor because it really makes you think and approach problems from multiple perspectives. The Business School constantly pushes me to do this as well. For example, I thought I would hate marketing, but, after taking my Intro to Marketing course, I found that I loved it. I also was not planning on studying abroad more than once, but the Business School offers an amazing opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia over Winter Break, and so I had to capitalize on it.
Value in Networking
I have never experienced a more caring and helpful professor as Professor Stauffer and Professor Agnew. I felt like both of them were constantly rooting for me and pushing me to be the best student and businesswoman I could be. You can tell they really love their subject matter and are passionate about teaching it to students. I also really enjoy the annual Dog to Wallstreet event. It was amazing to see how many alumni took time from their busy schedule to meet with students and give us real-world advice about navigating our upcoming career. You really see that alumni care about the school and want to help its students. It's comforting to know that you will always have that network.
Falling into Place
In five years I hope to be a manager at Deloitte and living in Northern Virginia. I interned with the firm last summer and will be working with them upon graduation, which I am so excited about because it is such an amazing environment to work in. In ten years I can see myself moving to Charleston, South Carolina, to stay close to family. I will most likely stay in consulting, but I would also like to somehow integrate advising for adults in my free time. My biggest take away from William & Mary is to do what you love. Don't go into college with a set plan because it never works out exactly as you intended. Do what you love, work hard, and everything else will more or less fall into place.
Feeling a Perfect Fit
In high school, I was like most students and very indecisive about where I wanted to go to college. For the longest time, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and was worried I wouldn't find a good fit. However, I remember being really excited about William & Mary after Day for Admitted Students. Just being on campus for that brief time, it was clear that students really loved to be here. Even amongst all my uncertainty, it was then that I knew W&M was a special place, and that I wanted to be a part of such a tight-knit community. Once I got to campus, I quickly became interested in the Business School. I recognized the value of the resources provided to students here, so I knew I wanted to be a part of this community, too.
Beyond the Numbers
I've always loved problem-solving, and finance has been a really cool way to apply my analytical mind to very concrete and applicable scenarios. Through my time at the Business School, I've come to appreciate how finance is so much more than just numbers; it's been really interesting to learn about the different aspects of the field and, more importantly, how I can apply what I'm learning to the real world.
Classes that Excite
One of my favorite classes at the Business School has to be Professor Agnew's course entitled Money and Debt Markets. Professor Agnew is such an engaging professor; she is really excited to teach the topic, which not only made the content more interesting but made me just as excited to learn. She truly cares about her students, even after they've finished her class, which is something I think is pretty unique to our professors here at the college. Her office is always open for advice or encouragement when you need it!
Taking every Opportunity
Hopefully, in five to ten years I'll be applying concepts I'm currently learning to real-world problems in a useful and engaging way. One of the things I've learned since being here is to be open to new experiences. Often, when I've stepped out of my comfort zone on campus, I've been exposed to awesome opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise known about. Hopefully, in the future I can keep finding these opportunities to learn and grow!
Programs that Excite
I came to William & Mary because I was very impressed with the University's commitment to undergraduate teaching. Additionally, when I was considering W&M, I was always impressed by the down to earth attitude of the people who I interacted with. I was drawn to the business school specifically because of the business analytics major, which I saw as a great program for developing technical skills, as well as cultivating a robust understanding of the world of business.
Learning Transferable Skills
My IPS has evolved primarily as a result of my internship experiences during my time at W&M. After my sophomore year, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to work at a medical device start-up company. It was a challenging position, however, I used the skills I learned at Mason to assist the executives of the company in the development of their sales strategy. Through this experience, I discovered an interest in consulting and a passion for working in healthcare. The following summer, I worked in the healthcare segment at FTI Consulting. This was an incredibly valuable opportunity, primarily because I learned what the everyday life of a consultant is like. As I go through my classes this semester, I now have a different lens on the lecture material because I am challenged to frame it in terms of how it may apply to my future career.
Finding Meaningful Mentors
To me, the most influential part of my experience in the Business School has been the people. Professor Williams and Professor Long have both assisted my academic trajectory, not only in their courses but also in their contributions to my personal growth outside of the classroom. Both of them have contributed greatly to extracurricular activities that I'm involved in, and have given me great advice when it comes to building my vision of my career. Additionally, I've learned a great deal from my involvement in the consulting club. Through leading projects with local clients, I've been able to act as someone in a very senior position at a consulting firm, and have seen what it takes to be with a project from beginning to end.
Making an Impact with a Mason School Education
In five years, I hope to still be relatively in shape. In ten years, I hope I still have a decent head of hair. In all honesty, I have no clue what the 5 or 10-year plan is. Right now, I hope that I'll still be working in the healthcare industry. I think 10 years from now, big data, AI, the IOT, and general advances in technology will be drastically changing how we look at healthcare. Ultimately, I want to be a part of a group that is making that change occur. I think my biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience will be an underlying confidence in my ability to perform relative to my peers in the workforce. I think that W&M has contributed to both my intellectual and personal development in ways that I will still be appreciating 10, 20, and hopefully even 50+ years from now. Ultimately, I believe that W&M has provided me with a great education and a sense of humility that will carry me far.
Both of my parents and my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family are William & Mary alumni, so I have spent many years coming to Williamsburg for homecoming and basketball games. I had always loved the school, but it wasn’t until after I toured other universities that I decided William & Mary was right for me. Not only did I love the area, but I valued the many study abroad programs and was really excited about all of the unique opportunities William & Mary had to offer. I decided to apply to the Business School because there are so many career resources and opportunities available, which could help me gain more professional development experiences. Moreover, the classes available really interested me.
I just started the foundation semester in the Business School, however, I plan to study finance, a decision inspired by a past summer internship. Throughout this experience, my boss taught me how to analyze the weekly company metrics, and afforded me hands-on experience with other financial programming and tasks. It was interesting and somewhat surprising to see that I really enjoyed the analytical side of Finance. I also chose to double major in Hispanic Studies because of my interest in the ability to learn another language, as well as my desire to gain perspectives on other cultures. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain last spring where I honed strong language skills and immersed myself in an entirely new environment.
Exploring Unique Opportunities
The Women in Business club has been a great experience so far. Their mentorship program was very helpful when I was a sophomore figuring out how the internship process works. Additionally, they host very interesting career development events that have broadened my perspectives on the careers that can come from a business education. Moreover, the business school was really critical in helping me go aboard. Many people are under the impression that it is difficult to be gone for a semester and still fulfill the requirements of a double major, but, in working with my advisors, I was able to ensure that I could take classes that interested me in Spain, and still on track with my majors.
Honing Skills for a Lifetime of Success
In 5-10 years I see myself working and living in Washington DC. My biggest takeaways from my undergraduate experience will hopefully be the relationships I formed, as well as the valuable life, interpersonal, and professional skills I have gained.
Meaningful, Provoking and Refreshing
Leveraging the Freedom to Explore
I chose William & Mary because I was confident that I’d be able to explore a variety of academic interests alongside equally motivated and passionate students. A big part of my decision to come to William & Mary was that I felt comfortable with being unsure of the exact professional direction I was headed in. I came in thinking I would study Finance and Hispanic Studies, but now I’m a Business Analytics (supply chain focus) and Environmental Policy dual major. The freedom I knew I’d have at William & Mary to explore classes outside of the Business School for at least my first three semesters is what brought me here, and it has since helped me realize new passions and refine my career aspirations.
Using an IPS to Find New Passions
While my initial plan was to study Finance and Hispanic Studies, I’ve since pivoted thanks to many of the classes I was exposed to through my IPS. The first driver of this change was an Introduction to Environmental Studies and Policy course (ENSP 101), which I took in the fall of my sophomore year in hopes of adding a sustainability concentration to my Finance major. After just a couple of classes on the history of environmentalism and the disconnect between policy and science, I knew a concentration was not going to satisfy my newfound passion for environmental issues. I knew friends already in the Business School who were double majoring, so I decided to shift to an Environmental Policy major in pursuit of a career in business that could focus on evaluating the environmental costs of operational decisions.
The second course which helped to redirect my focus was Intro to Business Analytics (BUAD 350), where I was exposed to a realm of operations previously unknown to me. It was fascinating to learn about the methodologies focused on building more efficient business through data-driven techniques. This approach to problem-solving in the workplace attracted me because it seemed applicable to making businesses more sustainable by reframing issues through data analysis in order to find their true root cause. This is what inspired me to change my Finance major to Business Analytics.
Lastly, my internship with a third-party logistics firm the summer prior to my junior year brought my attention to the careful organization and execution necessary to get raw materials and finished goods to the proper parties. I interned with NFI Industries in their Burlington, NJ warehouse and was thrown into the ever-changing daily environment of a 3PL. I learned a lot about logistics and operations, mainly how they’re each subject to a seemingly endless list of outside influences, such as roadside inspections and labor shortages. It was also evident that there is opportunity to improve the efficiency and sustainability across both industries, so I chose to focus my Business Analytics major on Supply Chain.
Coursework Shapes a Career
Every class in the Business School has taught me some new skill along with a new approach or consideration to view situations in, but a few certainly stick out.
The first is Lean Six Sigma Toolkit (BUAD 461) with Professor Blossom.
This course took a deeper look at the methodologies touched on in Intro to Business Analytics and consisted of a gradual case study completed in small groups. The case study was extremely helpful in learning how to apply Lean and Six Sigma tools to solving business problems and how to communicate the process responsible for these improvements.
The second is Sustainability and the Chesapeake Bay (BUAD 492) with Professor Boone and Professor Scheld. There really couldn’t be a better course for someone interested in supply chain and environmental policy, as the focus is all on interdisciplinary issues influencing sustainability in the Chesapeake Bay from the perspectives of ecology, business, and public policy. We heard from guest speakers nearly every class, and. whether they were discussing their research on local responses to sea-level rise (Professor Sarah Stafford) or journey with sustainable agriculture (Charlie and Miriam Maloney of Dayspring Farm), each visitor brought a new perspective to consider.
Finally, my experience studying Sustainable Food Production and Consumption in Copenhagen, Denmark last Spring was a dream come true. I hope to work within the food industry and solve problems related to equality, nutrition, and sustainability. This unique experience would not have been possible if not for the Business School’s dedication to letting students explore interests beyond business. This approach to education is integral to developing multi-dimensional, dynamic problem solvers.
Food, Farms, and Analytics
In five years, I hope to be working with a company in the food industry that is committed to increasing the accessibility of sustainable food through education and innovative business practices. My desire to work in the food industry is a combination of a number of passions, from cooking and exploring new restaurants, to focusing on a basic human necessity and the associated environmental effects are too often ignored or overlooked. Ideally, my focus would be on logistics or operations to help the company build the most ethical, traceable supply chain possible. Later in the future, I hope to start a philanthropic organization that is committed to teaching kids how to cook with local, seasonal, and sustainable produce. It’s upsetting to see the art of cooking and sourcing a fresh, healthy, and home-cooked meal be replaced by more convenient, yet more wasteful, alternatives. I hope to do something to curb this worrying trend!
My biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience will undoubtedly be the concept of evaluating business and societal issues through a variety of perspectives and then solving the issues fairly. My courses within the Business School have helped me build my problem-solving toolkit through data-driven approaches. When combined with my courses beyond the Business School, which have helped me expand my ability to understand problems through multiple lenses, I’m confident I’ll come out of William & Mary with a fresh, well-informed approach to business.
Everyone is Multidimensional
Feeling a Perfect Fit
I knew William & Mary was a great school, so naturally, it was at the top of my list. I was deciding between W&M and UVA, and ultimately felt that the overall campus feel at W&M was more in line with my personality. I didn't decide I wanted to apply to the Business School until my sophomore year. I was initially following a biology track but decided I wanted to work in the corporate side of the outdoor industry, which stemmed from my newfound passion for rock climbing. Competitive climbing has become a big part of my life through college and applying to the Business School seemed like a good first step towards working with that passion.
Discovering an Unexpected Passion
My biggest surprise throughout my Business School experience came during my Principals of Accounting class. I had heard that the course was a hard, so I was pretty scared to take it. Moreover, it was the last required class I had left before I could apply to the Business School. Despite my initial worries, I ended up having a great, passionate professor who made accounting fun. I also realized that most of the material felt very intuitive to me. This inspired me to apply as an Accounting major and I could be more happy with my decision to pursue the accounting path.
Finding Value in Diversity
One of my greatest highlights from my experience thus far has been working with my foundation block group. These assigned groups have connected me to people I probably wouldn't have known otherwise. Through my connections with this diverse network, I feel even more integrated into the William & Mary community. I love learning about what others are passionate about and it's especially gratifying when I can come into contact with people who have very different interests from my own. I think this is something really unique to our undergraduate business program and is invaluable in forming both career and personal connections.
Exciting Next Steps
After graduation, I would like to work on the financial side of a climbing gear or gym company. I hope to stay in that industry for the duration of my career, as I believe it is career with a lot of growth and potential opportunities. The biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience is my newfound understanding of the multidimensionality of others. Through working in diverse teams and with many people unlike myself, I understand that everyone has a unique story and everyone deserves a voice. My undergraduate experience has brought this truth to light and in doing so has shown me the true value of collaboration and embracing differences.
A Home Away from Home
I chose William & Mary because I am attracted to the school’s history, as well as the wealth of academically and professionally-driven individuals at the university. Moreover, small class sizes offer me more chances to interact with students and professors, enabling me to get to know them on a more personal level and truly benefit as much as I can from each course. Finally, I was attracted to the strong alumni network and presence in the Washington D.C. area, because it provides so many opportunities to stay involved both on and off-campus.
Combining Passion and Adventure
My time in the Business School has helped hone my interest in Accounting, while also presenting opportunities to explore other areas of business. For example, in addition to my major, I have a concentration in Finance and have also been exposed to topics, such as real estate, throughout the Business School curriculum. To keep a global mindset, I participated in a William & Mary sponsored study abroad program in Southeast Asia. This experience not only enabled me to take unique classes, but afforded me a culturally immersive experience. With opportunities such as this, the undergraduate program has really encouraged me to explore all possible areas in business. Through the flexibility and opportunities that Mason has provided me, I believe I’ve been able to grow into a well-rounded business professional.
Using Business to Open Dialogue
I am involved in Gibbs Accounting Society and have served as president both my junior and senior year. It has truly been an invaluable experience leading a student organization, planning the annual Accounting Edge Conference, and maintaining firm relations. I enjoyed bringing together the accounting community and encouraging dialogues in accounting careers. I also gained so many invaluable soft skills through the undergraduate business program. Students are repeatedly challenged to stretch themselves in areas such as teamwork and presentation skills, as these abilities are stressed across almost all business classes. Studying abroad in Singapore and Indonesia through a Mason-sponsored program is another valuable experience where I feel I sharpened my cultural intelligence. I also learned a lot from talking with Executive Partners, who are willing and able to donate their time in order to help students professionally.
Right now, I am keeping my eyes open for opportunities. In the short term, I am interested in working in the tax consulting or the real estate industry, or a place where both industries intersect. I envision myself providing service to clients and counseling them on their various business issues. In ten years, I see myself leveraging my expertise to start my own business, in a sense bringing everything full-circle. My biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience is that success is never easy, and achievement comes from being persistent and never give up. Moreover, staying well-connected and aware of what is going on in the world is crucial to business success.
William & Mary was a clear choice for me because I wanted to attend a world-class institution that had a genuine sense of community. On my tour, I fell in love with campus and the feeling of rich tradition that was evident everywhere you looked. Furthermore, I knew I wanted a school where I could seek out leadership positions and exceed my comfort zone. It's no surprise that, since starting at William & Mary, I have found nothing but boundless opportunity. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to study either business or economics, however, once I had the opportunity to take accounting classes and the DISTINGUISH Financial Management course, I knew the Business School was going to be the environment in which I would truly excel.
A Diverse Mindset
When I began at William & Mary, I was interested in working in the financial services industry. Moreover, after spending my summers doing equity research for Tocqueville Asset Management Firm and marketing for Green Giant, I realized I wanted an opportunity to utilize the skills I acquired to make a real impact. Thus, I made a concerted effort to take a wide range of classes in my first few semesters in the Business School, in order to see what I enjoyed and what I was good at. After taking upper level finance and marketing courses, I determined that investment banking was the best way for me to utilize my ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skillset. Not only can I exercise my analytic skills as I work on financial reports, but I must utilize my interpersonal and creative skills to position companies in the best light possible. I have been fortunate enough that, through the flexibility of my IPS, I’ve also been able to expand two other passions of mine: Marketing and Chinese Studies. I think my Chinese minor especially, has given me a global perspective and is a perfect complement to my business mindset.
Thinking Like a Leader
Professor Bob Williams’ class on Global Strategic Management has undoubtedly had the largest impact on me since I’ve entered the Business School. As undergraduates, I think we often get so caught up in the seemingly small day-to-day operations of our prospective jobs that we lose focus of what our actions mean in the greater scheme of things. Professor Williams’ class made me appreciate a way of thinking in which we acknowledge the larger impact of our actions. As the President of both a social fraternity and club sport, I have really been able to implement Professor Williams’ teachings while approach the tasks these roles entail. Moreover, I think the things fraternities teach you – leadership, working as a team, and critically thinking – are all vital not only to the world of business, but to how you approach the challenges of everyday life. Thus, I see these experiences as having a large, and lasting, impact on my future.
Making a Lasting Impact
After I graduate, I will be working for Harris Williams in Richmond doing sell-side M&A advisory. In five to ten years, I hope to be back in a larger city working either Investment Banking or Private Equity. Moreover, I’ve also always been passionate about starting my own company. I hope the future will afford me the opportunity to leverage the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet here at W&M, in order to start something that can have a lasting impact in the financial services field.
Finding A Passion for Business
I decided to attend William & Mary on Day for Admitted Students due to the vibrant energy each student showed and the school's overall focus on community. I also wanted to be at a Liberal Arts school to experience a variety of different topics and people. I applied to the Business School through the Global Business Minor, which has since caused a massive pivot in my life. Ever since applying, I have become very active in the Business School. While I have loved courses such as Innovation and Design Thinking, I really cherish my time in the Business School because the environment itself exemplifies a culture of productivity.
Business Through a Unique Lens
Government is my main academic study, and I originally chose Government because it is this fascinatingly adaptable structure that regulates society. Now, because of the flexibility of my IPS, I’ve been able to use business as a lens to study government. I now see my study of Government as an avenue where I can practice the innovative skills and mindsets that I learn in the Business School. Thus, I now see how the creative, analytic, and communicative skills that I have developed through my business studies are really tools that can be applied to all facets of my life.
Learning Through Innovation
The main highlight of my Business School experience has not been a single moment in time, but more of an ongoing experience as I have co-created the Innovation Consulting Group on campus, Tribe Innovation. The course that sparked my desire to design and create was Customer Insights for Innovation taught by Professor Luchs. It was in this class that I was first introduced to the design thinking process, which I immediately fell in love with. I was drawn to how the course, and this thought process itself, is structured, yet imaginative. Professor. Luchs encouraged me and a few other students to restart the Innovation and Design Thinking Club. Since IDTC's restart, it has evolved into Tribe Innovation under Luchs' advisement. Professor Luchs has been an integral part of my education, as he has guided my leadership of Tribe Innovation, has taught me in multiple classes and has been an advisor and investor of my startup, The College Cloud.
In five years, I'm aiming to work within an industry that has an innovative culture (hopefully in Scandinavia!) In ten years, I hope to have gained enough experience so I can start my own business, ideally centered around an innovative opportunity concerning sustainability. My biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience would be the relationships I have made with my peers and professors in the Business School, all of which have greatly impacted my education in innovation and entrepreneurship.
A Clear Choice from the Start
I decided to come to William & Mary after visiting on Day for Admitted Students. Compared to some other schools I was looking at, the environment was so welcoming, and every student truly seemed like they loved this school. Now being here, I know that that's completely true. Everyone has such a sense of pride for this community. My mom also went to William & Mary, and knowing how much she loved her experience here definitely influenced my decision. I knew I was going to apply to the Business School ever since my freshman year. The Business School has amazing opportunities, from study abroad programs, to guest speakers, to great clubs and organizations that can really help make an undergraduate experience impactful. I also saw how much older students here valued their experiences and the amazing opportunities because of Mason, and I hoped to get that same value out of my experience as well. I saw business as a great way to channel my passions and interests into a career.
Analyzing the Consumer Brain
I've always been interested in the way people think, which is why I first declared my Psychology major. However, I knew I was also interested in business. After completing my first semester in the Business School, I realized that marketing and psychology have a lot in common. Figuring out how consumers think about products and brands is important to marketers and business people everywhere. You have to understand the consumer to understand what products to sell, how to sell them, where to sell them, and everything in between. After realizing how seamlessly these two subjects fit together, I decided on my Marketing major. Since then, I've been able to pursue classes and internships that combine my interests. For example, I took Consumer Behavior with Professor Szykman and then had an internship at Colonial Behavioral Health (a community service board here in Williamsburg that provides mental health services) designing their marketing materials.
Innovation in the Community
Legal Environment of Business with Professor Stauffer was by far my favorite class I've taken at the business school thus far. Not only did I learn a lot from that class that I will use throughout my life and career, but Professor Stauffer is an amazing resource for career, internship, and life advice. He truly wants every one of his students to succeed both at Mason and in the real world! I'm currently taking Customer Insights for Innovation with Professor Luchs, and it's one of the most interesting courses I've taken. I think it's important to learn design-based thinking for every major, not just Marketing - it's a different way of seeing the world, and it's helping me use my creativity in product design. I'm also a member of Agency 1693, a student-run marketing organization at the business school. It's so rewarding to work with real businesses in strategy and design, and the fact that we get to execute this work through a school club is pretty unique to our business school.
Bringing it all Together
In five years, I hope to work in the marketing industry, specifically in social media and digital marketing. This past summer, I interned with Lumber Liquidators here in Williamsburg running their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and blog; something I definitely what I want to do in the future. I hope to either stay in Richmond or move to a different city on the East Coast, like DC or New York. I want to use my combination of psychology and marketing knowledge to promote products in a way that truly speaks to the consumer's way of thinking.
Driving Business with Data
An Unlikely Choice
Before deciding where I wanted to go to college, I applied to all tech and engineering schools because I thought I was going to be an engineer. My older sister, who at the time attended William & Mary, convinced me to at least apply to the college. After a campus visit, I could see myself making this picturesque liberal arts college my home for the next four years. What made a difference to me was the amount of attention dedicated to undergraduate studies, the smaller class sizes, and a welcoming campus community. Entering as a freshman, I took many computer science courses but ultimately decided that I wanted something more from my future career than simply coding for the next 50 years of my life. Business was this gateway, as it enabled me to use my technical skills in productive ways in order to solve real-life problems. Just as important as knowing how to solve a problem is the ability to tell people why it matters, and I think that my Mason School education has truly elevated my ability to learn and grow after college.
An IPS for the Future of Business
My individual program of study was inspired by overlapping themes of Computer Science and the wild growth of Business Analytics within the past couple of years. I think that the future of many businesses has to do with being able to distinguish the information that matters within an age of information overload. I have taken classes in accounting and finance as well but found that my interests naturally leaned toward topics like project management and predictive analytics. I would say that my time in the Business School has been a multidisciplinary one, and I greatly appreciate the chance to have dipped into such a wide array of business courses. In the spring semester following my introductory business block, I was lucky enough to squeeze in a study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain. This period of time solidified my interest in global business, made me think about what I wanted out of a future career, and established a few relationships with sponsors who could vouch for my work ethic. Overall, I felt challenged and energized by this environment that put my education at William & Mary into perspective. Even during this fall semester of my senior year, I shifted my Computer Science major to a minor and added a Finance concentration. I hope to take more courses in Business Analytics in the upcoming semester and am particularly interested in learning more about modeling techniques and applied predictive analytics.
Success Through Collaboration
One of my favorite highlights from my business school experience was with my business block in Principles of Marketing, when I worked throughout the semester with a team of four other students on developing a strategy for an assigned company. This experience was a fantastic way to understand the challenges of working in a team to achieve something greater than I could have done with only myself. The group project was pretty rewarding and fun to present to executive partners and other members in the class at the end of the semester. I am hugely grateful to Professor Szykman for being one of the most engaging and down-to-earth professors I have had in the Business School. Some of the takeaways from this experience were finding a balance between relationships and work ethic and challenging each other's ideas to achieve a greater goal.
Educational Experiences with Impact
Professor Stauffer, my professor for Legal Environment in Business, not only offers profound lectures but is an absolute joy to have as a role model and professor. He is a great resource full of knowledge, eager to establish relationships with his students, and energetic during every class period. I think his course is very applicable, many times humorous, and a great way to prepare students to transition into their professional careers. Most recently, I was invited to lunch with Dan Ackerson, the former CEO of General Motors. It was pretty surreal to be able to talk to someone who was so accomplished, genuine, and humble. Hearing him speak gave me and a dozen other students the chance to hear his advice on life, leadership, and how to build on a career. I am pretty grateful to have gotten the opportunity to hear him speak in such an intimate environment.
Using Skills to Lead Others
In five years, I hope to see myself in a position where I have found meaningful work with a supportive team and room for personal growth and learning, perhaps as a consultant or working within the public sector. In the next ten years, I want to pursue a higher degree in education to further my knowledge and skill base in the field of work I find myself in. To be very honest, I have no idea where exactly I will end up, but wherever I go I hope to have the ability to mentor and lead others. My biggest takeaways from my undergraduate experience will probably be the soft skills, communication, and leadership that I have developed over the past few years. Taking classes at William & Mary for undergraduate studies has taught me a lot about resilience and balancing academics with all other moving parts in my life. Moreover, my undergraduate experience has shown me the importance of putting ethics and character before anything else and taking responsibility and accountability for your involvements and work. Above all, I am grateful for having learned the importance of building relationships and trust with mentors, peers, and people who will support me throughout my career journey.