Learn why William & Mary School of Business student Frederick Schwarzmaier chose to pursue his MBA abroad and read his advice to future MBA candidates!
- Name: Frederick Schwarzmaier
- Business School: William & Mary School of Business
- Originally from: Munich, Germany
- Previous Role: Assistant Manager, Ernst & Young (EY) Advisory Services, Doha, Qatar
Q: How did you choose your MBA program? What are your program’s greatest assets?
A: Over the years, I created and maintained a spreadsheet with dozens of business schools. This file would ultimately allow me to come up with a balanced scorecard helping me to make an objective decision on where I want to end up for my MBA. Numerous factors weighed into my decision ranging from rankings, over student body, to career support; all in alignment with my career aspirations. Aside from the good and aspiring position in various rankings, the William & Mary MBA had several highlights that stood out. One unique highlight, which goes beyond the classroom, is the Executive Partner Program; a network of former business leaders who have achieved what I strive to achieve serving as coaches. These coaches challenge and guide my interpersonal skills, expand my leadership potential, and support me in landing my dream job. Another highlight is the practice-oriented and innovative curriculum, which consists of eight sessions over the course of the two-year program. It gives me the necessary flexibility concerning course registration to successfully gear myself towards my mid-term career goals. Finally, the size and diversity of the class was a key factor for me. With a class size of roughly 120 students, I can learn in an intimate setting while, at the same time, build an extensive network and make lifelong friends.
Q: What has been your favorite classroom experience?
A: Naming just one specific experience is difficult. I can assert without exaggeration that I look forward to every new day at William & Mary School of Business. Being a member of the William & Mary Tribe allows me to live my academic dream. The program offers me the chance to challenge, collaborate, and chase big dreams. If I had to name one experience, I would name our so-called “sprint weeks.” The sprint week, a Google invention, brings classmates together in teams of five to work on a business case and simulation over the course of one week. These comprehensive weeklong work sessions conclude every semester and require students to apply taught content from previous classes to solve issues that are affecting today's businesses. Moreover, it allows us to merge theory with practice by collaborating with top business executives in authentic business settings.
Q: What activities are you involved in outside of class?
A: Williamsburg and the college offer students plenty of options to distract from academic duties. For my part, I have the honor to represent our class as the President of the MBA Association. My team and I are continuously working on helping ease the rigors of business school through a welcoming social network where students, faculty, alumni, and Executive Partners expand their classroom involvement to include frequent meetings in non-academic settings. Together, we engage in diverse activities where the many cultures represented within our community are embraced through arts, language, and food. Other than these responsibilities, I participate in the vast offerings of intramural sports and meet up with classmates in one of our iconic college bars, for a hike, and even for ax throwing in Colonial Williamsburg.
Q: How have your classmates influenced your MBA experience?
A: No matter where you go, your experience is most significantly shaped by the people around you – same goes with my classmates. Because of the diversity in the classroom (40% of students from outside the States and 15% with a military background) provide me perspectives I might have never considered otherwise. Recalling the emphasis on personal fit during the interview with our Admissions Office, it seems we are a very thoroughly selected group of students who have formed strong bonds with each other. This cohesion makes the MBA journey truly special. Besides the influence of my classmates, the program’s emphasis on group work and collaboration helps to strengthen teamwork and leadership skills significantly.
Q: How did you decide that an MBA was the next step for you?
A: During my undergraduate studies, I interned with three different companies. At the end of each internship, I summarized that the classroom experience is often significantly disconnected from the actual work outside academia. I rationalized that if I opted for a Master’s degree right after my Bachelor’s degree, I might end up specializing in a field that I ultimately do not enjoy. To mitigate this risk, I decided to become a Management Consultant after graduation and expose myself to as many industries and functions until I find a business topic that I truly relish. Once I had found it, I would apply to business schools to specialize in the respective field and acquire the skills necessary to succeed in my desired profession.
Q: What inspired you to pursue your MBA abroad, and what have been the greatest benefits of doing so?
A: College life in the United States has always fascinated me. The close-knit culture, solidarity, and abundance of extracurricular offerings is something that does not exist on European campuses. Moreover, U.S. colleges place great emphasis on practical application of knowledge and development of soft skills rather than rote memorization of theory. I believe having a degree from Europe and North America is a great academic blend that I can capitalize on in the future. Other perks that come with studying abroad are the opportunity to build an international network and the challenge of getting out of my comfort zone to grow in my own development.
Q: Do you have any advice for future MBA candidates?
A: Make up your mind about what you want to achieve with your MBA, the career you want to pursue, and start networking as early as possible. Once you commence your studies, you will soon notice that time is a precious commodity and preparation is key to success. There won’t be much time contemplating about what you want to achieve in life; come prepared! Furthermore, you will be exposed to a diverse cohort of classmates with differing backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives; keep an open mind!
Interested in receiving an MBA or Business Master's Degree? Check out William & Mary School of Business to learn more about their graduate business opportunities!