George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

The Mason Experience: Student and Alumni Voices

Written by Katherine Johnson Dias on .


Nathaniel Sisay

Nathaniel Sisay
Information Systems and Operations Management
Expected Graduation: May 2020

Why is being involved and connecting with peers important?

It’s very important to form relationships with not only other students in the School of Business, but also faculty, since they are the ones who can help you succeed in your four years at Mason. Expanding your network can create opportunities to build relationships that can lead you down the right path in your career.

Christine Ly

Christine Ly
Expected Graduation: May 2020

Who has played a role in your success at the School of Business?

Some of my most meaningful and helpful connections have been within my major’s department. Finance itself is already a challenging profession to get into, especially as a woman, and all of my professors have been so fundamental in helping me further my growth in this field. Two specific professors who have guided me along this journey are Steve Pilloff and Shelly Canterbury. I have grown extremely close to these two, and they have been huge mentors for me, along with Yena Kim, my advisor. These three people have consistently helped me find opportunities within and outside the university, and have had a large hand in developing my understanding of finance to get me where I am right now.

Cheyanne Andaya

Cheyanne Andaya
Expected Graduation: May 2020

Why should students start to build their professional network at Mason?

Building a professional network is extremely important as a student because when you surround yourself with other driven individuals, it encourages you to push yourself to try new things. A professional network can help you realize your potential and help you reach or adjust your goals.

Courtney Burchett

Courtney Burchett
Accounting and Information Systems and Operations Management
Expected Graduation: Fall 2020

How can fellow business students make the most of their time at Mason?

Take the time to understand the resources available to you and then use that information to determine what you want your future career to be. That research will guide you throughout your years at Mason. Additionally, being active on campus helps students find a greater purpose or even long-lasting relationships. It’s great to find others who are passionate and motivated like you, and, once you start, so many other doors will open.


Sirena Johnson

Sirena Johnson, BS Accounting ’99
Partner, Co-practice Leader, Government Contracting Citrin Cooperman

How did your experience at the School of Business prepare you for career success?

I felt that when I left school and entered the workforce full time, there was practical application for what I learned at the School of Business. This put me ahead of my peers because I not only knew the theory but also how to apply it in the business world. It really set me up for success.

John Gustavo Blair

John Gustavo Blair, MBA ’04
Emerging Technologies Business Investment Manager, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority

Why is it important to stay connected and engaged as an alumnus?

My life is richer because I have kept my friendships that I developed as an MBA student at Mason. Just as important as camaraderie are the professional relationships and opportunities that have come from those friendships. During the MBA program, we got to know each other not only by working on projects together, but also by spending time with one another outside of class. For me, this has led to new opportunities, and my network of friends from school continues to be part of my life.

Shauntae Barber

Shauntae Barber, BS Marketing ’04
Senior Data Analytics Specialist, General Services Administration

What School of Business faculty member left a lasting impact?

I still keep in contact with Laurie Meamber. I’ll never forget her course on consumer behavior. We had to watch a movie and understand the different consumer behaviors in that movie and how they applied to the real world when it comes to marketing. She helped us see how to apply these concepts and recognize them in our everyday life. I took that course more than 15 years ago, but I still remember it and her. Anytime I have questions, I can still email her. That’s what a professor should be. She still wants to help us be that great marketer or businessperson in the workplace.

Mike Creasy

Mike Creasy, BS Accounting and Decision Sciences and Management Information Systems ’91
Audit Services Practice Leader, Atlantic Coast Market Territory, Grant Thornton

What’s something you would go back and tell your college-aged self now?

One thing I’d say is slow down. Don’t race through the four years. I graduated in four years, so I was on a traditional path. But when I graduated, I don’t think I was ready for the real world. Some people might be, but I knew I was not. I think I probably would have benefited from slowing down and taking a fifth year. Obviously, the cost of a fifth year factors into that decision, but I will encourage my sons to take a gap year to do something meaningful between high school and college and/or to graduate in five years. If possible, don’t sprint to the finish...enjoy the ride.