BUSINESS MASTER'S PROGRAMS BLOG

How My MBA Helped Further My Career

Meet Mason MBA Alum Dan Sims
Principal, Worldwide Speakers Group

As founder of one of the world’s largest speakers’ bureaus, Dan Sims (Class of 2007) has traveled from the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro through Beijing, Bucharest, Addis Ababa and dozens of countries in between. But his adventures started on Mason’s Fairfax campus where he honed his entrepreneurial instincts and prepped for success.

How has earning your MBA affected your career development?

Dan SimsThe Mason MBA exposed me to people and theories that have provided a framework for decision-making long after leaving the program. The Mason MBA definitely helped prepare me for the opportunities I could see, and also those I could not yet see. I launched my first business while I was an MBA student and considered my coursework a ‘living laboratory’ where I could test assumptions and challenge traditional thinking in a safe and collaborative environment.


What would you consider the most valuable thing you learned during your MBA studies?

My father was a very successful management consultant who always told me not to be afraid of surrounding myself with people much smarter than me. It became apparent very early on that the strength of my MBA degree was not just the instruction, but also the interaction with my peers. As my classmates and I became more comfortable with each other, their skills and knowledge became paramount to my own success and greatly enhanced my overall experience.

I very proudly continue to rely on the intellect and judgment of my colleagues and work hard to facilitate contributions from those among us most qualified in a given situation.

What attracted you to the Mason MBA program?

Several aspects of the Mason MBA program were distinctly different from other universities.

WWSGlogo

The Worldwide Speakers Group represents thought leaders from government and politics, professional sports, business, entertainment, the media and contemporary life. The firm does business on six continents and helps to connect the most innovative and progressive organizations with the people who are making the news and changing the world on a daily basis.

First, I knew that in order to learn as much as possible I needed exposure to as much diversity in people and thinking as possible. Mason has embraced this ‘melting pot’ and has one of the most diverse student populations in the United States.

Secondly, I felt strongly that the best MBA program would have a strong and very interactive relationship with the business community. MBA degree students are seeking a higher level of awareness and knowledge than just that which can be provided in a lecture. There is a great connectivity between Mason and the robust business community surrounding Washington.

Finally, on a very personal level, I was seeking an MBA program geared specifically toward entrepreneurship. In my research I determined that many MBA programs focus on very large macro issues and really only touch on entrepreneurship from a hypothetical standpoint. The Mason MBA program was flexible enough that I could cater it to my own needs, and also progressive enough that it had designed coursework specifically relating to small and medium-sized businesses. Perfect!

What do you consider to be some of your most transformative MBA experiences?

Without a doubt one of the most impactful components of the MBA experience was the opportunity to interact with successful business men and women from throughout the DC metro area. Whether it was a guest speaker sharing their experiences, a judge for a business plan competition, or a visiting lecturer, the insight and real-world access helped bring the coursework to life.

The other most significant piece of the MBA experience was the opportunity to study abroad, in my case China. The Mason MBA program provided a framework in which we could study, in a very practical and intimate way, the cultural and economic environment of a place incredibly different from our own.

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Janet Palmisano

Janet Palmisano is a member of the Recruiting and Admissions team at the George Mason University School of Business.

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