Audrey Wobst Stanley earned her MBA from William & Mary. Now a Management Consultant at Deloitte, she shares her "dos and don'ts" with prospective students.
Name: Audrey Wobst Stanley
School: MBA, Mason School of Business, College of William and Mary
Profession: Strategy & Operations, Deloitte Consulting, Denver, CO
What are some activities you were involved with outside of class? How did you balance your time?
Outside of the classroom, I was very involved the MBA Association through various leadership positions with clubs and the executive committee. In these roles I was responsible for organizing MBA and club-wide events and activities that would add value to the student experience. I also enjoyed serving as a Graduate Assistant, which allowed me to gain experience teaching and mentoring other students. Social events and intramural sports were always high on my priority list as well. Balancing time is always a challenge in an MBA Program. While coursework was important and provided me with strong foundational skills, I recognized that activities and events outside the classroom were just as crucial in terms of networking and career development. I did my best to say ‘yes’ to all value-add opportunities and events, and I believe that was a differentiator for me.
What do you think is your program's best asset?
The Mason School is fortunate enough to have an incredible and large group of Executive Partners (EPs) who are there to provide career guidance, coaching, and mentorship. Our EPs have had significant and successful careers in a wide range of industries, which nicely augments the MBA curriculum and program through a real world lens. Executive Partner SMEs consistently serve as judges in case competitions and classroom presentations. They serve on club panels, conduct mock interviews, and candidly provide feedback and advice when requested. This group of individuals played a large and important role in my MBA experience, and I believe the EP Program is the Mason School’s best asset.
Why an MBA?
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
I chose Mason for its sense of community. The culture at Mason is one of openness and togetherness – this was evident to me from the very beginning of my application process. The admissions team truly got to know me as an individual rather than as a combination of statistics. That attitude resonated throughout my Mason experience. When selecting a business school, ask yourself where you would feel most comfortable and at home, since you will be spending the vast majority of your next two years insides the school’s walls, surrounded by your classmates and program faculty and staff.
What were the biggest challenges of pursuing your MBA?
The biggest challenge I faced in pursuing my MBA was focusing my job search. I knew that I wanted to use an MBA to redirect my career, but when I first began I was very unsure as to which direction that would be. Yet, at the same time, I recognized the importance of starting my internship search and application process early. I ended up spreading myself thin by trying to apply to positions in many different industries and functions. Classwork, speakers, and Executive Partner conversations helped me to narrow my focus over time to consulting, but it was not an easy decision from the get-go.
Advice for future applicants
What are some do’s and don’ts in the MBA preparation process?
- Do study for the GMAT/GRE and do as well as possible. You may receive scholarships as a result.
- Do give yourself a break before the program starts. The first year is intense, especially in the beginning.
- Do start thinking about your job search and functions that interest you. Get the resume ready early. Make a list of companies you might be interested in.
- Do push yourself outside your comfort zone. Your MBA experience may be your last opportunity to take risks and pursue challenges in a risk-free environment.
- Don’t worry if you haven’t had previous business experience; you are not alone.
- Don’t wait to apply to internships.
What is it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?
Transitioning back to school can be difficult. It will take a few weeks before you feel comfortable managing your time and workload, as with any new experience. My advice would be to not let your anxiety about school limit the scope of your MBA experience and development. There is much to be gained and learned outside the classroom through clubs, events, and activities. While grades are important, in the post-MBA world your boss is less likely to care about your exams scores as she is your ability to build relationships and lead your team.
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