Alumni Golf Outing

Networking shows its face in many different forms. For W&M Mason Alumni Engagement, a golf outing on April 28 was the latest medium to educate and entice future leaders into the importance and impact of networking. The Alumni Golf event was hosted at the Kiskiack Golf Club in Williamsburg, VA, courtesy of the owner and W&M MBA ’83 Alumni Carl Zangardi.

MGJW Fellows, Danny Priest and Brandon Staub, with the W&M Alumni Golf event panel from the left to right, Carl Zangardi (Kiskiack Golf Club Owner and W&M MBA Alumni ’83), Kelly Okun (W&M ’15 and Professional Golfer), and Lee Clarkin (Executive Partner)

MGJW Fellows, Danny Priest and Brandon Staub, with the W&M Alumni Golf event panel from the left to right, Carl Zangardi (Kiskiack Golf Club Owner and W&M MBA Alumni ’83), Kelly Okun (W&M ’15 and Professional Golfer), and Lee Clarkin (Executive Partner)

The event welcomed all forms of players from outright beginners to seasoned golfers. W&M’s own Kelly Okun (W&M Class of ‘15), turned professional golfer, opened the event with a hands-on clinic. Following the introduction to key skills for the course, teams of 4 competed in one round of 18 holes on the beautifully landscaped property of Kiskiack. The night ended with a social including dinner and discussion panel. The panel was composed of Carl, Kelly, and Executive Partner Lee Clarkin who discussed the role golf plays in a professional setting on building relationships and trust. They also fielded questions from the audience on how to apply it to the real world. Based on the strongly engaged audience who spent most of the day on the golf course and still weren’t in a rush to leave, it seems clear that it was both a enjoyable and informative outing!

Managing Crises in a Sprint

Immediately following the module returning from winter break, the entire student cohort took a week and completed our second sprint exercise. In this most current sprint, each learning team took to dealing with a [simulated] possible E.coli outbreak inside their organization which mirrored Chipotle-like restaurants. However, before each team starts off developing courses of action, each team receives insight from a current professional crisis management team which has addressed similar situations in the past. Bringing in current professionals outside the school assists in leveraging what we learned in classes thus far and helps students put a real-world spin on some direct application.

To successfully complete the sprint, each team had to make it through five days of intense team work and collaboration. For example, each team must juggle multiple operational decisions against strategic ones, while continually answering questions from customers, media, and shareholders wanting answers to the “hows” and “whys” behind the decisions. From submitting mock press releases to the media to mock hostile boardroom discussions with directors, these are just a few of the exercise design elements to move a team out of their comfort zones and hold them responsible for the words and actions.

Overall at the end of the sprint, each team has a stronger appreciation of managing an organizational level crisis. How answering one specific stakeholder with answers will generate new questions of inquiry from another. The most important sprint takeaways is that, first, there is no one right answer in a crisis and that no one person can manage it alone. And second, each organizational leader will undoubtedly need a strong, trusted team to see a crisis through and come out ahead.


Kathrine Kimball MBA ’93, CEO and Founder of Aptist Global, hosted military service members for dinner in the Dean’s Suite at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary. The night offered good food and even better conversations. Kathrine’s inspiration for the gathering was her own W&M experience and close connections with military members.  Kathrine was an MBA student and military spouse raising a family with her husband Bill, who was then Active Duty in the U.S. Navy. With the rigors of an MBA program, caring for family, and supporting her husband underway in the Persian Gulf on the USS Josephus Daniels (DLG/CG-27), Kathrine remembered the challenges that military families endure and expressed her appreciation.

Kimball with Military Students March 2018

Kim Sperling, Amanda Barth, MGJW Fellows (past and present), and military classmates enjoy an evening with CEO and Founder of Aptist Global, Kathrine Kimball.


MGJW 2018 Fellows, Myles Durkin and Brandon Staub, were featured in the William & Mary Raymond A. Mason School of Business paper for an article on the military to academic transition. You can read the article, From Military to MBA, to see how their academic experience, thus far, relates to other military service members in the MBA program.


The MGJW 2018 cohort posing in front of the infamous Anheuser-Busch Eagle

The MGJW 2018 Cohort posing in front of the infamous Anheuser-Busch Eagle

What goes well with paper writing and studying for tests?  Beer. As a follow on to our Sprint Week task of modeling beer consumption in the US, William & Mary MBAs benefited from the opportunity to see the inner workings at the world’s largest beer corporation’s brewery located in Williamsburg.  This trip occurred while we were studying Economic Analysis & Insights with Professor Deborah Hewitt, and it gave us a practical example ofproduction functions in the manufacturing environment. The tour took us through the raw material receiving station and silos, brewing kettles, fermentation tanks, aging room, quality control lab, and the bottling line.  Though there was no tasting at the end of the tour, we were left with a greater appreciation for the scale of Anheuser Bush production and efficiency.


MGJW Fellows alongside Anheuser-Busch-InBev (AB-InBev) Senior General Manager and Global Brewmaster, Brian Derr, and Director of Sales, Shareholder, & Operator of Brass Cannon Brewing Co., Matt Webb.

MGJW Fellows alongside Anheuser-Busch-InBev (AB-InBev) Senior General Manager and Global Brewmaster, Brian Derr, and Director of Sales, Shareholder, & Operator of Brass Cannon Brewing Co., Matt Webb.

What is a sprint? That is a question many outsiders to the William and Mary MBA program who listen to this year’s new 2018 schedule usually ask. For those in the military, if one has experienced a Battalion or above MDMP session then that is a close comparable. A sprint is a week-long exercise that is a standalone class inside itself worth one credit hour. For five straight days, each team either consults and gives a recommendation on an issue or deals with a crisis from the perspective of a company’s executive leadership.

The MGJW 2018 Cohort executed the Raymond Mason School of Business MBA Program’s first ever “Sprint Week”.

MGJW Fellows, Corinne Sims and Brandon Staub, recognized for outstanding performance during Sprint Week with other standout MBA students.

MGJW Fellows, Corinne Sims and Brandon Staub, recognized for outstanding performance during Sprint Week with other standout MBA students.

Students were afforded the opportunity to partner with some of the world’s most dynamic leaders in business to solvecurrent industry issues. In teams of five to six, the students tirelessly competed against each other for the opportunity topresent their recommendations to industry executives.  The week began with Molson Coors International President and CEO, Stewart Glendinning, introducing a problem to the MBA class and culminating with team presentations to former influential business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and MBA program professors. As a testament to their stellar performance thus far in the program, a couple of the MGJW Fellows were also part of the winning teams.


On 3 November 2017, several of the MGJW Fellows gathered with their international/global classmates to celebrate in their observance of Diwali. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is primarily celebrated in India to signify the victory of light over darkness according to the Hindu religion. In India, Diwali is celebrated through its citizens symbolically displaying lights on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other important religious sites. On the actual night of Diwali, many dress up in their best outfits, light up diyas (lamps and candles), and participate in family puja (prayers). After puja, there are fireworks, feasts, and exchanges of gifts between family members and friends.  The Mason School of Business, the students whom celebrate Diwali, host an annual Diwali Celebration to share their culture and heritage with new friends at William and Mary.

CPT Myles Durkin’s global teammate asked him to participate and share in the experience of Diwali. CPT Durkin would not disappoint and actively took a part in the festivities.

CPT Durkin performing a duet with Souvik Das Gupta (Durkin's global teammate).

CPT Durkin performing a duet with Souvik Das Gupta (Durkin’s global teammate).

Comment from CPT Durkin:

The program pulled out all the stops hosting the ". . .excellent Indian cuisine" catered by the local Indian restaurant. Basmati rice and chicken tikka masala. . . a couple of the amazing dishes served.

The program pulled out all the stops hosting the “. . .excellent Indian cuisine” catered by the local Indian restaurant. Basmati rice and chicken tikka masala. . . a couple of the amazing dishes served.

“One of my team members, Souvik, asked me to perform two songs with him in front of the audience. What I didn’t understand initially was that I was going to have to sing in Hindi. Nor did I grasp that the Diwali Celebration would have over 150 people attend and watch our performances. After enjoying excellent Indian cuisine and a “modest” Happy Hour, I was able to take the stage…It was a wonderful experience, and I implore future MGJW fellows to participate and attend the celebration.”

At the Mason School of Business, the MGJW Fellows, who mostly have previous experience working with global partners, enjoy taking part in festivities such as this. Building ties with international partners is but only one of the advantages here at William and Mary. The opportunity to gain more of an understanding of other cultures from those who live there is not easily substitutable.


After seven weeks of hard work and adjusting to being students again,  the MGJW Fellows have completed Data Analysis, Communicating for Results, Leadership Development  and Ethics (LDE), and Accounting classes.  The four class, seven week session structure is a new concept at the College of William and Mary’s Mason School of Business.  Previously, classes from different sessions overlapped one another, resulting in students juggling  multiple subjects in different sessions.  The new session structure is shorter but represents a more concentrated effort to both learn the material in each class and demonstrate mastery of the concepts.  All classes offered qualitative and quantitative skills that the Fellows can use to become senior leaders in the military.

Accounting focused heavily on understanding debits and credits, double-entry bookkeeping, and becoming technically proficient in recording accounting journal entries.  The Fellows were also given the opportunity to work in small teams, analyze a real company’s balance sheet and income statements, and craft a presentation to the accounting professor on their recommendations for their respective company.  This project was highly beneficial because it gave the Fellows an opportunity to use the knowledge obtained in accounting to work together and formulate a proposed solution for the company.  

Data Analysis is a quantitative class where Fellows learned the basics of probability, normal distribution, binomial distribution, and hypothesis testing.  The capstone of the course was a multiple regression project.  Students were given a data set and instructed to use MiniTab to create a regression model and explain why their model was useful.  Learning the basics of multiple regression involved understanding how different independent variables can predict the response of a dependent variable.  Conducting regression testing and understanding the model concepts will undoubtedly help support decisions that are backed not by just intuition and experience, but statistical analysis as well.

All of the Fellows have extensive leadership experience, however, Leadership Development and Ethics (LDE) gave the Fellows insight to leadership principles in the civilian sector.  There are many similarities and differences.  The Fellows completed five complex leadership quizzes based on assigned course readings.  In addition to the quizzes, the Fellows also had the choice to attend leadership forums and participate in online leadership exercises sponsored by the Harvard Business Review.  The Harvard Business Review modules offered self-development instruction on topics such as project management and goal-setting, which only aided in improving leadership abilities.

Communicating for Results began with a presentation skills assessment.  The Fellows were given a case to study and instructed to prepare a short presentation that would be delivered to the professor.  These assessments were used to place Fellows and other students in the business school into breakout groups with other students who had similar presentation skills.  Many of the Fellows have extensive experience presenting, however, it was still a great opportunity to present in a civilian environment.  After the assessments were complete, the Fellows were placed in breakout groups that met three times per week.   Each breakout session contained a different presentation curriculum.  Presentation tasks included an impromptu presentation of a picture that you were shown only for a few seconds and selling an object of the student’s choosing to the rest of the breakout group.  Communicating for Results gave the Fellows a chance to sharpen their presentation skills and assist other students that did not have as much presentation experience.

100% Success: Year Group 2008 MGJW Fellows Selected for Promotion to Major

After a long wait, the results are in.  For the year group 2008 members of the Major General James Wright Fellowship it was a clean sweep; 100% of those eligible for promotion will pin on a gold oak leaf cluster in what manyCPT to MAJ hope is the near future.  With five members of the 2017 and two members of the 2018 cohort receiving the good news; there was rejoicing in Miller Hall, TRADOC Headquarters and the Army Logistics University.

As news of the promotions reached social media, current and former Mason School of Business classmates were quick to congratulate the selected officers.  The support was genuine, laudatory, and humorous–speaking to the connection the MGJW Fellows continue to enjoy with their classmates.  As CPT–nay–CPT(P) Brian Johnson posted the news on Facebook, he was advised by Mason classmate Jeff Staker that it was “time for another mustang.”  Staker, a father of four himself, must have appreciated the response Johnson, “No new mustangs just yet Jeff…”


Clearly the mature and analytic thinking of a future Field Grade Officer.

MGJW 2018 MBA Orientation Week

Orientation started with meeting our Learning Teams, small groups of 4-5 students who you will work with throughout the year on projects, homework, and various team activities.  Among many other activities, key events included: signing the William & Mary Honor Code, meeting our Executive Partners, a Campus Discovery Tour, community service activity, and the big finale – the ropes course.


William & Mary, the second oldest college in the U.S., has a lot of unique traditions and programs.  One such program is the country’s first Student Administered Honor Code and Council.  This code guides our actions and is overseen by a council made up of students.  The ceremony is conducted in the oldest building on campus and is indicative of the standards William & Mary holds for its students.


Another unique program to William & Mary, specifically Mason School of Business, is the Executive Partner (EP) Program.  Williamsburg boasts a large community of retired executives from a myriad of industries, including the military, who wanted to help develop future leaders.  The Mason School of Business has cultivated a network of CEO’s, COO’s CFO’s, Generals and Admirals which will guide students throughout the year.


The Campus Discovery Tour was designed to send us running around campus in a timed scavenger hunt with our learning teams.  It provided a history lesson as well as a self-guided tour of campus.

Keeping with the outdoor theme for that day, the afternoon consisted of community service projects.  The faculty and students of William & Mary have a long history of community service and to strengthen the link between the college and community, Mason included an afternoon of community service.  Projects available ranges from a nursing home visit, city park landscaping and American Revolution Museum assistance.  In the end everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time, heat and humidity aside, and learned something from the experience.


To complete the week, the William & Mary Recreation Crew came out to the school’s ropes course to guide us through team building and leadership activities.  The activities are designed to challenge our strength and mettle, including one 65 feet in the air.  This it gave us an opportunity to bond with our learning teams and see how important the support of our teams and the MGJW Fellows is.

Overall, the Pre-MBA Math and Accounting Bootcamp and Orientation Week really set us up for success for our very challenging MBA courses.