SMALL CLASS SIZES AND INTENSIVE SUPPORT DIFFERENTIATE WARRINGTON MBA PROGRAM
So what is Warrington doing right? For one, the school deliberately maintains small class sizes, to ensure students receive intensive personal attention. Here, students are expected to heavily contribute in a highly experiential curriculum. They also take electives early on, giving them an advantage in both interviewing for internships and performing successfully over the summer. And this package was hard to beat for the Class of 2017.
“My cohort has 31 students in it,” deBorde explains, “which means that over these last few months I’ve been able to not only make lasting relationships with my classmates, but also benefit from an unparalleled amount of 1:1 time with our career coaches, professors, and academic advisors.” And this mixture creates an environment conducive to learning and teamwork, adds Stuber. “[It] lends itself to a congenial atmosphere where students are actively engaged in helping each other succeed.”
The “personalized experience” also drew Laura Gonzalez, a scientist-turned-marketer-turned entrepreneur, to Warrington. “Due to the small class size of the MBA program, I have been able to get to know all my classmates well, participate in almost all the activities, and receive personalized feedback not only from the professors but from the MBA staff, while adding to my personal and professional development.” O’Hara echoes Gonzalez’s sentiments. “I have been able to spend more time learning from my professors and have had more opportunities to be engaged or take on leadership roles.”
Warrington’s intimate atmosphere also smoothes the path for nontraditional students looking to switch careers, O’Hara adds. “Coming from a somewhat unusual background, it was really important to me to find a program where I felt comfortable. I focused on programs that were smaller, because I felt that a tailored program and close connections with my classmates and administrators were what I needed to guide my development. UF MBA has met, and in many cases exceeded, all of those expectations.”
HIGHLY-RANKED CAREER SERVICES PRODUCES RESULTS
In the 2016 Economist MBA ranking, Warrington’s Graduate Business Career Services placed 5th-best globally. And that’s not by accident. Staffed by former corporate recruiters and executive search consultants, the center applies a “train like you fight” model. Here, students engage in live simulations and exercises that reflect both the unforgiving nature of job hunting and interviewing along with being tailored to students’ unique individual needs.
“Career services is really top notch,” O’Hara notes, “and our counselors are available whenever needed to talk through career options, interview techniques, and strategies to best negotiate offers.” In fact, Stuber credits the center with helping him land his internship. “I have had a direct line to our career counselors and the help I have received in finding my internship has been nothing short of amazing.”
However, the career center isn’t the only team that’s heavily involved in preparing students for interviews and internships. Gauri Tambe, a former pharmaceutical executive, also commends the faculty for their emphasis on career coaching, mentoring and counseling. “UF is unbeatable in that aspect.”
ADVICE FROM THE 2017 CLASS: GET INVOLVED AND CHALLENGE YOURSELF
As the 2017 Class reflects on their first year, many are already describing their experience as “transformative.” They talk of gaining confidence, learning how to communicate persuasively, and channeling their experiences and skills into new passions. As they become the standard bearers and mentors, they offer several pieces of advice to the students following in their footsteps.
deBorde exhorts his successors to seize the day, pointing out that this is the last time when they will have so many opportunities to choose from – professionally, academically, and socially. “You can join interest clubs as a member or serve as a leader and contributor,” he shares. “You can volunteer and give back to the community. You can attend free concerts, music and food festivals. You can participate in intramural sports….the list goes on. In my opinion, not ingraining yourself in your school’s culture is the biggest mistake a graduate student can make.”
Gonzalez and Rodney Ndum, a software engineer from Palm Coast, encourages first years to be both humble and curious. “Do not be afraid to ask for help,” Gonzalez emphasizes. “We are all here to help each other through the academic and job-seeking process. Obtaining advice from people who have been in our shoes before is always better than trying to figure it out ourselves.” “Be a sponge,” Ndum adds. “Soak up everything you can because, you are going to be surrounded by amazing people who can teach you a lot.”
And O’Hara challenges students not to take the path of least resistance. “Focus on growth and push yourself. While it may be easy to stick to those classes or activities that play to your strengths, you will get the most out of school if you do things that are different and challenging.”
To read profiles of first year Warrington students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below.