After a small dip outside of the top-15, the Mason School of Business at William & Mary returned, coming in 15th this year. The Virginia-based business school ranked 12th in 2019 and then improved six spots from last year’s 21st place finish. With a slightly more selective acceptance rate this year of 25.98%, Mason’s incoming 2020 class had an average SAT of 1386 and 75% came from the top 10th percentile of their high school class.
The Mason experience is characterized best by its personalized curriculum design, a strong community of support, and plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. Mason’s education is highly customizable and designed to cater to individual goals and interests.
The Individual Program of Study (IPS) allows students to either major or minor in business, double major or minor within the Arts & Sciences, or study two different business fields through a concentration. Available majors to Mason undergrads include Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain Analytics.
All Mason undergrads take the Core Curriculum, which is structured by prerequisites, an Integrated Foundation Semester, and upper-level core courses.
One of the strengths of the Mason education is its people. When asked how they would appraise Mason’s efforts to connect them with practicing professionals, including the alumni network, in the business community, 2018 alumni gave a strong 9.2 average rating.
While every school has support initiatives in place to connect its students with alumni and resources, however at Mason, students are given a system of support that goes above and beyond.
One key example is The Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center, which offers education and support for students interested in entrepreneurship. Through the center, Mason students can attend events, get one-on-one entrepreneurship mentoring, seed funding for ideas, and even first dibs on internships.
“The William & Mary Entrepreneurship Center was a game-changer,” one 2018 alum told us in the alumni survey. “It provided broad guidance into entrepreneurial thinking and empowered me to have a headstart in the working world compared to my peers. It also enabled me to find the job of my dreams at Oracle and provide the continuing support to co-found my own entrepreneurial venture. I am continually thankful I had the life-changing experience of W&M’s business education broadly and the entrepreneurship center specifically to set me on my current trajectory.”
Advising support is strong at Mason as well, with 2018 alumni giving a 9.0 average rating for the B-school’s effectiveness of both academic and career advising.
HANDS-ON LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Mason students also have a number of opportunities for hands-on learning. And while these types of opportunities are a given now at most B-schools, Mason graduates, in particular, speak highly of the B-school’s ability to foster a true sense of teamwork and real-world applications.
“The emphasis on teamwork is by far the most important skill I learned at William & Mary,” one 2018 alum told us. “Almost every business school class [at Mason] requires a team project and you learn how to work with others to be able to succeed.”
Another 2018 alumni spoke highly about the “Applied Financial Concepts” course, where students engage in a number of real-world financial case studies.
“We were taught the case studies by true financial professionals, experts in their respective fields, who judged our case findings constructively and in a way that prepared me for the business world in a way no other class did,” the alum told us. “I had the opportunity to produce financial models both from scratch and from templates, and to develop presentation decks that parallel those I create now in my corporate finance role. These types of classes and the engagement of the professional world by our professors are what made the Mason School of Business a differentiated experience.”
The Mason education proves valuable when looking at the employment outcomes for its graduates. Some 95% of the Class of 2020 had a business-focused internship before graduation and 97.5% secured a full-time position within three months of graduating, beating out top-10 B-schools like in-state competitor, the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business
The school was able to get its graduates jobs they desired as well with 78.95% of surveyed 2018 alumni saying their first job after graduating was in their desired industry and 76.32% saying that job was at their desired company.
The Mason School features a unique B-school education that offers personalized study, a strong community of support, and hands-on learning opportunities with an emphasis on teamwork. As a public university in Virginia, in-state residents will spend less than $100K on tuition over four years. Combine that with an average starting salary of nearly $70K among recent graduates with full-time employment, and the Mason School provides one of the better returns on investment among all schools in this year’s ranking.
“We had a week-long simulation where we worked in teams to make business decisions. The teams were used throughout all of our core courses and we were able to learn all aspects of business together and how to fit as a team.”
“We ran a team business simulation in our cohort that mirrored what it was like to start a business and make strategic decisions at an executive level. That has been instrumental in my career so far.”
“I participated in a Special Topics course on Risk Management that opened my eyes to the field and sparked my interest in it. This eventually led to me pursuing a career in risk management consulting.”
Where The Class of 2020 Went To Work:
PwC – 6
Deloitte – 6
Accenture – 5
Bank of America – 3
Booz Allen Hamilton – 2
JP Morgan – 2
KPMG – 2
Genworth Financial – 2
PNC Bank – 1
Bloomberg LP – 1