2019 Best & Brightest: Mary Sell, College of William & Mary (Mason)

Mary Sell

Raymond A. Mason School of Business, College of William & Mary

“Determined, hard-working individual that loves a challenge and meeting new people.”

Fun fact about yourself: I am on the Division 1 swim team and have helped lead the team to two conference championships.

Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

High School: Mountain View High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Public Health

Favorite Business Course: Money & Debt

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: William and Mary D1 Swimming, Smart Woman Securities Chief Investment Officer, James Monroe Scholar, Dean’s List every semester, Martha Barksdale Award for highest GPA of all rising senior women student athletes, three-time Dudley-Jensen Scholar Athlete Award

Where have you interned during your college career? EY as a Financial Services Business Advisory Intern in NYC, Scotiabank as a Global Capital Markets Intern in NYC, Fredericksburg Urology Associates as a Medical Billing Intern in Fredericksburg VA

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Co at the Atlanta office

What company do you admire most? Honestly, I admire Bain for its commitment to excellence, employee support, and impressive client support. Voted the #1 company to work for in 2018, Bain sets the bar for how to treat and support employees in a variety of ways. This is one of the key reasons I wanted to work there after graduation and I am so excited for this opportunity to start. The clients Bain works with are some of the top companies in the world and provide an unparalleled experience.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I enjoyed the great professors that made classes engaging. I took classes in a variety of different fields in the business school from Marketing to Finance to Consulting and had a fantastic professor for every single one.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I gained from studying business is to view a problem as an opportunity to learn and grow. Business taught me to take a step back, look at all possible outcomes and impacts, and make an informed decision. These skills have allowed me to take on any challenge and grow from it, regardless of the outcome.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would advise students looking to major in a business-related field to push themselves outside of their comfort zone, both in the classes they take and the networking opportunities available. Talking to people in various fields of business is the best way to decide what you want to do and the company you want to work for. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but it can really make all the difference for your future.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The various applications of business across all fields surprised me. Going into the business school, I only thought of financial advisors, accountants, and advertisers when thinking of business jobs. Being a business major has shown me that it’s necessary to understand business regardless of the field one chooses to pursue. There are so many situations where having a background of business allows you to better assess and determine the best solution.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…international relations. I would pursue a career in non-profit work with the goal of working for the Gates Foundation, assisting in their global health projects and education initiatives.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My brother is the reason I am studying business. He is three years older and studied business at Notre Dame. He’s always been my role model and he helped me realize that a degree in business can be incredibly beneficial regardless of the role that I want to go into.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of winning the 2017 CAA Swimming and Diving championship. We don’t have a diving team, so we start every meet behind our competitors and have to out swim everyone by a significant margin to win. The final day of CAAs we were down by almost 100 points and came back to win. Being able to contribute in all my events and swim on several winning relays was one of the best feelings of my life. Standing on top of the podium with my teammates was incredible.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate Annie Miller for her determination, intelligence, and kindness. She is my teammate in the pool and classmate in the business school. She participated in Girls Who Invest, an incredible program for women interested in finance, and will work for Blackstone after graduation. She has been an incredible friend and has encouraged me through all the ups-and-downs of my college career. I look forward to seeing all the success she has in the future.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my brother for showing me what true resilience and determination look like. He inspires me every day and I aspire to be more like him. He’s great at connecting with people and always knows what to say. He has pushed me to be my very best and supported me through every challenge. He’s the person that helped me prep for interviews and study for exams, making me believe in myself even when I doubted my abilities. I’m so grateful to have him as a critical influence in my life.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I want to travel to every continent before I’m 30 (only 3 to go!). I also want to see the northern lights while sleeping in a glass igloo in Finland.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include reading, traveling, spending time with friends, visiting the local Humane Society, playing with my dog, and finding new workout classes to try.

What made Mary such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“As a student, Katie is a complete package—smart, engaged, altruistic, ambitious and wrapped in a charismatic yet kind personality. In my class, she sits in the front row, willingly participates in class discussions, and is never afraid to go out on a limb to defend a position or float a new idea. She challenges the status quo and has the rare ability to take another’s perspective to see the world through an unbiased lens.  For example, in class last week, we were discussing a media company that was embroiled in a self-inflicted scandal and was in the headlines. The class was unanimous in the apparent carelessness of the media company and how surely they would suffer. But then Katie shifted our collective voices by suggesting that the company could potentially benefit from all of the new attention. And you know what… she might be right. She opened our minds. Now that’s Katie—a true asset to the Mason School and the class of 2019!”

David M. Long, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior







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