Mary Monsen, née Krappweis, comes from a true George Mason family. Monsen graduated from the School of Business in 2011 with a management degree, and additionally, seven other family members are Mason alumni. Two of those family members, her husband and an older brother, are also School of Business graduates.
At the time, Monsen, decided to attend Mason because it was a great school close to home. It was an exciting time for the university, with the men’s basketball team making it to the Final Four just before Monsen started her freshman year.
Mason’s location also kept the “big close-knit family” near to one another, and was central for job opportunities after graduation. “I thought Mason offered a very good value proposition: A great education for a reasonable price near a booming job market,” she said.
A Family Legacy
Three of her older brothers graduated from Mason, Tom Krappweis, Jr., BS electrical engineering ’04, Mike Krappweis, BS information systems and operations management ’13, and Andrew Krappweis, BA economics and BS Administration of Justice ’09. He is now working on his MBA at the School of Business. Sadie Krappweis, Andrew’s wife, graduated in 2008 with a communications degree. Two younger brothers, Tim and Paul Krappweis, also graduated with information technology degrees in 2012.
Tom Krappweis, Jr., the family’s first graduate, said Mason taught him to “think critically, solve problems proactively and provided a basis for my growth in the field of IT and engineering.” He currently works as a senior program manager at Ansaldo-STS.
Mike Krappweis attended Mason when he was 27 years old, after completing his associate’s degree at Northern Virginia Community College. He decided to major in ISOM after taking a basic database class, and realized “he had a passion and excelled at IT in business.” He’s currently employed as a software/devops engineer with Accenture Federal Services.
Andrew Krappweis, corporate financial planning analyst at Peraton, decided to take the advice of his older brother and attended Mason as well. He appreciated learning from the “brightest minds in the field” in the economics department, and recalled the excitement on campus when Mason went to the Final Four during his junior year.
“The campus was so electric and was an incredible place to be during that run. Two of my friends and I camped out in the field house for 24 hours to get tickets to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. The atmosphere on campus was amazing,” he said.
Tim and Paul Krappweis, twins, were the last of the siblings to graduate in 2012. Tim earned degrees in both IT and electrical engineering, because he “wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps to be a technical professional.” He currently works as a data analytics team lead with Accenture Federal Services.
Paul also chose Mason based on his siblings’ recommendations, along with the “accessibility to numerous opportunities residing in the Washington, D.C., area.” He also works with Accenture Federal Services as an associate manager.
The sibling’s father, Thomas Krappweis, Sr., was also heavily involved at Mason, serving as a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board for the Volgenau School of Engineering, and president of the Century Club in 2003-04.
Krappweis, Sr., works for Lockheed Martin Corporation as an engineering project manager, principal. In 1997, his manager asked if he would be interested in mentoring students and advising faculty on industry needs, and has been on the board since 1999. He also served as advisor to his daughter, when helping her decide what to major in at Mason.
Monsen’s Mason Journey
As a freshman, Monsen came in undecided and wasn’t sure what kind of career she’d like to pursue. She knew she wouldn’t follow in the technical footsteps of her brothers, and considered pursuing a career as a lawyer, taking criminal justice classes. After a couple of courses that didn’t fit what she was looking for, Monsen reevaluated her options and chose to major in management.
“I decided that business classes would allow me to explore a range of career possibilities,” she said. “I picked management because I always thought I was great at leading people, creating a vision, and achieving goals.”
On-campus, she was involved with the Catholic Campus Ministry, intramural co-ed soccer, the Golden Key Honor Society, and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. It was at co-ed soccer that Monsen made several friends also in the School of Business (formerly School of Management), including her future husband, Niles Monsen. The two met in fall 2006.
“Once I decided to major in business, Niles helped me pick the best classes and professors. We were friends for about two years before we started dating,” she said.
Niles Monsen graduated in 2008 with a finance degree. The couple married in May 2013.
Monsen said her most memorable experience at the School of Business was the capstone course, required for all business seniors. “I learned so much in this course and it really was the course that wrapped up everything I learned,” she said.
She recalls doing a full risk assessment and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the grocery industry for the capstone competition, skills that built the foundation for her career today. Monsen currently serves on the contracts negotiator staff at Lockheed Martin Corporation.
“When I sit in quarterly corporate financial reviews with our CFO or our business segment’s executive vice president (EVP) to review the state of the business, I use what I learned in these courses to understand the risk assessment for the industry and understand the impacts to our business,” she said.
The School of Business also taught Monsen the importance of teamwork and networking in the business world. She learned business basics from her accounting and finance courses, and the business law classes were directly applicable to her career due to the importance of managing contracts and understanding implications for breach of contract.
“The School of Business gave me a great foundation to begin my career and provided the tools to allow me to excel in the workplace,” Monsen said. “From writing concisely, to presentations, to working as a team. These were all skills needed to differentiate myself from my peers beginning their careers.”
She encourages Mason alumni to stay connected to the university and their respective schools, because it gives the opportunity to “continue to build their network, which may provide the next big opportunity to enhance your careers.” In addition, alumni have the opportunity to give back to current Mason students, by finding “high potential candidates or mentoring opportunities for someone seeking career advice.”
Mason: A Pillar of Success
Monsen credits Mason for its “solid foundation with a strong reputation,” citing the family’s ability to jump into great internships and careers upon graduation.
Her father, Krappweis Sr. echoes these sentiments. “Mason is one of the main pillars of my family’s success. I can’t even begin to express the incredibly positive impact the university has had on my family,” he said. “I believe Mason is the best college in the nation for those seeking a very high quality, industry focused, affordable and research oriented college education.”
Paul Krappweis went on to describe Mason as a “world class educational institute with unlimited opportunities for those who are willing to work hard and chase after their dreams.”
“We highly respect Mason and it helped contribute to our success and where we are in our careers today,” Monsen said. “Mason, especially the School of Business, can be a resume discriminator especially in the Washington Metropolitan Area. It’s invaluable.”