Jessica Missé, MBA alumna of William & Mary's Mason School of Business, discusses how her MBA program was a crucial part of her development into a well-rounded business professional, and her career success at Intel Corporation.
Name: Jessica Missé
School: MBA, William & Mary, Mason School of Business
Hometown: Ahoskie, North Carolina
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
When choosing my business school I decided that there were three main things I was looking for: community, education, and career preparation. When I interviewed at William & Mary the culture that I saw there was something that I wanted to be a part of. The students showing me around had a sense of pride and this awesome energy. I felt like I needed to be a part of that. At William & Mary our professors are top rated. They figure out the best ways to bring current events into the classroom and force us to think differently. Additionally, our career services office helped to equip all of us with the tools we needed to go land our dream jobs. My best advice is to identify the things that are important to you and find that in the school you choose. It really is possible to find a school that gets you where you want to be. I feel so lucky that I found what I needed at William & Mary.
What is something that you learned that was unexpected?
The most important thing I learned at Mason is that leaders come in all shapes and sizes. I came to the program with the idea that Mason would shape me into a particular type of leader. The reality was Mason shaped me into, and helped me develop my unique leadership style. I uncovered many of strengths that may not have been apparent to me before entering the program and I left the program with a greater understanding of my areas for development that I continue to work on.
What resources and support did your school offer you through your career search?
The Mason school is extremely career focused from day one. When we first begin the program we are given executive partners (EP’s). These individuals are a mix of current and former industry executives. They have a wealth of experience and provide 1:1 coaching for students. They help with general career advice, coaching and mentoring as well as interview prep. We are able to work with them throughout our two years. We also have an excellent career services office that forms relationships with companies and works to understand what we are interested and which companies will be the best fit for us. The career services office also preps us for the various career fairs and networking events in such a way that we are prepared and in a position for success.
How much are you in touch with the alumnae network? Are they helpful in making connections with companies? What did you learn from creating and utilizing networks during your MBA?
I’m in regular contact with my alumnae network. It’s been a huge asset to me as I have examined various opportunities across industries. Being in the bay area I’ve learned that employee referrals are sometimes the only way people get opportunities to interview at certain companies. So when people say that you are as strong as your network I think it’s very true. In school I learned that networking is hard work but I can be truly rewarding, whether it’s through your ability to find an opportunity for yourself or serve as a connector for others.
Did you have an internship during your MBA? How does/did that experience influence your education and career?
I think it’s important to understand that what you see in the classroom will always be different from what it really is like to be at work. I think I was fortunate in going to William & Mary because our professors were very careful to give us some real life situations to apply what we’ve learned. But there is still nothing quite like being in the job itself. I was an intern at the World Bank which was such an amazing experience! I got to see what it was like to be an analyst first hand. Having that experience I returned to my MBA program with a focused understanding of what I wanted to learn to round out my skills and also areas that I would need to develop. I was able to take that experience and bring it to my full time job at Intel. I felt like I was ready and possibly even ahead of the curve on my first day at Intel. I think the MBA internship is a crucial part of your development into a well-rounded business professional.
Advice for Future Applicants
What was it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?
The transition from full time work to full time school can definitely be challenging, but business school is such an amazing experience. You learn how to get a lot of things done in a short period of time and have fun doing it. So I wouldn’t look at going back to school as pure fun, its definitely a lot of work but it really prepares you for real life where you’ll need to balance your job, continue to expand your network, and make time for friends and family. I would say my biggest piece of advice is to embrace the experience. I feel that by a certain age we get comfortable with ourselves and life in general. Step out of your bubble when you come to the MBA program. Bring an open mind and be open to new experiences, new people and most importantly new discoveries about yourself. I find myself still reflecting on the changes that have happened to me pre vs post MBA.