George Mason University School of Business together with the School of Business MBA Student Association recently held the first MBA Industry Summit at the school. The summit consisted of career workshops presented from School of Business Career Services, a panel of speakers from various industries, and a networking reception for students.
The highlight of this all-day event was the industry speaker panel, consisting of business professionals, professors, entrepreneurs, and former MBA students. The panel offered students an opportunity to hear first-hand how the MBA degree played a role in each person’s own personal experiences, and also what role it plays in their industry.
The panel included Bhavik Bhatt, MBA ’17, project lead for General Dynamics, Ben Diamond, MBA ’17, founder of Big and Strong and adjunct professor at Mason, Nick Hoover, MBA ’17, strategic analyst at Halfaker and Associates LLC, Caitlin Loiselle, recruiter at the National Security Agency (NSA), Shree Taylor, president & CEO, Delta Decisions of DC, Skip West, founder of MAXSA Innovations and adjunct professor at Mason, and Jim Wolfe, CEO & Co-Founder of J Street Consulting, and entrepreneur-in-residence and assistant professor at Mason.
“The MBA degree is the education that lets you figure out how the world works. Many of our students don’t want to work for ‘The Man’ their entire lives. At some point they’d like to move away from corporate entities and try entrepreneurship and start something on their own,” said Wolfe. “Events such as these give students the opportunity to learn how the MBA can help them throughout their career.”
Together with the support of the School of Business, Patrick Powell, president of the School of Business MBA Student Association, had an integral role in establishing the event. Powell said the idea for the event stemmed from survey responses of incoming MBA students. In these surveys, students were asked what industries they were interested in, and then this data was used to plan events throughout the year.
“In previous years, the MBA Student Association would take these surveys and try to set up some local business meetings with the most popular industries from the surveys,” said Powell. “This year I wanted to make a change and host our own summit and bring speakers from various industries to the students. By having the event on campus, it provided great access for students to network with all the speakers.”
The event was well attended by both MBA students and alumni. In addition to the panel, the event provided a unique opportunity for MBA students to enhance their career skills through workshops which included topics such as Career Readiness and You, Are YOU Career Ready?, and Strategic Networking Using Social Media. Career Services also discussed important skills and recommendations for networking and communication prior to students attending the networking reception that concluded the event. In addition, a photographer was available on-site for those MBA students interested in obtaining professional headshots.
“The training provided by Career Services, which involved career readiness and self-assessments, was a great benefit for students. Also, the industry speaker panel gave students insights into the skills learned from the MBA program and how they can be used in various industries,” said Powell. “The speakers also provided knowledge on their own thought processes and networking skills. Students were also able to have their questions answered by the speakers. Finally, the reception allowed for all students to have valuable access to network with all the speakers.”
Photo by Jess Wetterau