Rachel Verbout, alumna from College of William and Mary Mason School of Business, reflects on the strong support network she found at the school, and the decision making process she used when choosing an MBA program. She also discusses how she continues to utilize her alumni network after graduation.
MBA College of William and Mary- Mason School of Business
Sportswear, VF Corporation
What are some activities you were involved with outside of class? How did you balance your time?
The William & Mary MBA program has numerous social and professional groups. I was the President of the MBA Social Committee, responsible for planning on campus-activities as well as outings for my classmates. Throughout my two years I also participated in events with the professional groups, attending on-campus speakers and visiting local businesses. I felt it was easy to balance my time because all my activities, whether academic or social, ultimately supported my goal of building relationships and preparing for a successful career.
What do you think is your program’s greatest asset?
The greatest asset of the William & Mary MBA program is the support network: the academic and career staff, program coordinators, Executive Partners, and alumni. From day one of the program you are welcomed into this group of peers and mentors who want nothing more than to see you succeed.
How did you fund your MBA? Can you offer any advice to students looking to fund their MBA?
I used loans to finance my MBA, like most students. For me it was the only option, as I did not want to work and attend a part-time MBA program. It is a big decision to take on years of debt, but your career advancement after graduation makes you realize the burden is short lived.
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice to students on how to make a decision?
I chose the William & Mary MBA program because it was the best fit. That sounds like a generic answer, but choosing the right MBA program comes down to your goals and personality. All the top programs are very similar academically, both in the class structure and offerings. The best program is different for each person. I had a few must haves: small class size, East Coast, strong career services, and a mentorship program, to name a few. Ultimately I made my decision because of the admissions team at W&M; their excitement and passion for the program made me want to experience it for myself.
How often are you in touch with your alumni network? Are they helpful in making connections?
I participate in several alumni events and gatherings each year and continue to have very strong friendships with many of my MBA classmates.
The alumni network at William & Mary is extensive and very active, especially for such a small student body. The MBA alumni group is more informal but with strong relationships within each class. I have found both networks beneficial in making connections, most notably when I relocated this past year. In my experience, W&M graduates feel a strong sense of loyalty to the school and want to support current students and fellow alumni in any way possible.
If you had the chance to do your MBA program again, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?
I started my MBA program just one year out of undergrad. When reflecting back on the program my lack of work experience is the only thing I question. At times I may have been at a disadvantage, but my age and unique situation gave me a different perspective from my classmates. I would not change anything, but I know had I worked for a few years prior to my MBA my experience would have been completely different.