California native Kimberly Mallory moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, at 16 when her dad, who worked at Edwards Air Force Base, took a new job. She earned her MBA from the University of Tennessee and worked at the university for more than 27 years.
“In 2012, I decided it was time for a change since my son, Spenser, was grown,” Mallory says of the decision that led her to Hampton Roads.
Today she is director of the College of William and Mary’s (W&M) Flex MBA part-time evening program and the director of the school’s MBA Programs for Working Professionals.
In August 2017, W&M’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business Peninsula Center held its grand opening on Old Oyster Point Road, where it moved after being located on Fishing Point Drive for several years. The Flex MBA program taught there is W&M’s Newport News connection. The state-of-the-art facility is designed with wide hallways for students to mingle between classes.
The school’s 220 students range in age from 24 to 60. Admission to the MBA program requires two years of professional experience in the business world but the average student has 10 years of experience.
“Our students represent every industry you can imagine,” Mallory explains of the program’s diversity. “You get access to industries you would never have otherwise.”
Once students are admitted, Jennifer Nelson, associate director of the Flex MBA program, is their advisor.
“My biggest role is being their cheerleader,” Nelson says. “We work to rebuild their confidence and assure them they are going to do this. It’s exciting to see the transformation of the student who comes to orientation to the one who crosses the stage on commencement day.”
“The resources and support at W&M really make this transition very easy,” says Amy Soucek, MBA, sports medicine community liaison for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, referencing Flex MBA Program’s staff.
“We’re very responsive and know students have a million other things going on in their lives,” Mallory says. “So their MBA needs to be hassle free.”
Part of the extreme program flexibility is that students can take up to five years to earn their degree. “You can skip a semester and come back,” Mallory says. “The average flex student takes two classes a semester and finishes in three years.”
This program offers one concentration: a Management of Engineering and Technology Development. Students must take 16.5 credit hours of electives in their 54-credit-hour curriculum, and 12 of those must be concentration electives to earn the concentration. Student programs are cohort-based, meaning group members come in at the same time, take all the same classes together and graduate at the same time.
The program has an international component focusing on immersion in an international business in another country for 10 days. Students have traveled to Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Poland. Eastern Europe, India and Russia. They learn the culture, administrative components of international business, geography and technology.
Mallory says, “These students take away global knowledge which can be applied to any work they’re going to do in a global environment.”
W&M’s Flex MBA program is an AACSB-accredited school.
“Students choose our program because it’s W&M and they want the face-to-face component in a classroom with other students and faculty,” Mallory says. One such student, Gaurav Basu, PhD, MBA, wanted that bond. Prior to earning his MBA, he applied for operational management jobs and was told he needed a business degree. “It’s ironic that now I work for one of the top two healthcare companies,” he says of his position as a business information manager. “Now I have the MBA to back me up and that’s what changed.”
This level of education significantly impacts students. The evening format frees up students’ weekends. The faculty loves the students. They have a great deal of respect for them, working all day and coming to school at night.
The Flex MBA faculty is primarily W&M full-time faculty with a stellar industry-based, clinical faculty who teach a few courses.
Students receive career services for life and have access to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business Executive Partner program-mentoring network.
“Many executives retire in Williamsburg,” Mallory says. “So there is an abundant network of retired executives and military officers—in both the private and nonprofit sectors and in all branches of the military.”
W&M’s Flex MBA program is currently ranked 33rd in part-time MBA programs with Bloomberg BusinessWeek and boasts an award-winning faculty. The center is available during the day for off-site corporate retreats and board meetings.
“Sometimes, I think we’re the best kept secret in Hampton Roads,” Mallory explains. “Part of that is because it’s a part-time evening program which is a little more obscure.”
TO THE POINT:
Raymond A. Mason School of Business, College of William & Mary
Address: 401 Old Oyster Point Rd., Newport News, VA