American Experience | 体验美国

Why I Love Attending the Atkinson School of Management at Willamette University

January 23, 2016 10:48 pm | By Shuo Song

mba-Willamette Atksinson School building
From my senior year in high school till now, I have been studying in Oregon for the past seven years. At the beginning of 2015, like all my other friends, I was facing the choices of either getting a job or going to graduate school. After researching and comparing many jobs and graduate schools, I finally decided to apply for the Atkinson School of Management at Willamette University (Willamette MBA). There were many reasons why I chose the Willamette MBA program. Besides the great location, exceptional ranking, and merit-based scholarship, one of the things that caught my eyes was the PACE courses. Compared to many other MBA programs, Willamette MBA’s PACE courses provide their students a different learning experience. Besides all the textbook knowledge, PACE courses assign students to different consulting teams base on their assessment results. Every consulting team has their own clients. The teams will work with their clients for one year in order to help them solving a business issue. After one semester of working with my teammates and clients, I can already feel my progress in teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and public speaking.

Willamette MBA program has many knowledgeable and skilled professors with years of experience, and every professor has their own unique way of teaching. Because Willamette University is a private university, all the classes have smaller sizes that won’t exceed 40 students. Every professor is able to learn each student by their name, and all professors are very helpful no matter if it’s in or outside classrooms. Regardless of the topics, all professors are providing students with resources and guidance as long as the advice is within their professional areas of expertise. There are about 80 students in my class of 2017, and almost half of these students are international students from all over the world. Through this MBA program, I was able to make friends with students from various backgrounds and cultures. From master in engineering to data analyst to entrepreneur, every student here has their own unique qualities besides business. I believe from the relationships I’ve built in this program that I will have a great business network across the globe.

Most students choose to get their MBA because they believe the degree will provide them a better competitive advantage in the job market. The same for me. The summer after I got accepted, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Willamette has career counselors for their MBA students. During the summer, the career counselors started communicating with me through email to guide me on writing an appealing resume and cover letter. Each time I sent them my work, they would reply within a day with helpful notes to help me improve. After my resume was approved, they listed it in the Resume Book. The Resume Book was further distributed to many employers. After school started, the career counselors also taught students on how to job hunt through various courses and practices. Furthermore, Willamette MBA also has a mentor program. All the mentors are business professionals in Oregon, and they all volunteered to become mentors for this program. Students need to first apply for the program, and then a counselor will match students with mentors based on their career interests and backgrounds. I was lucky that I got matched with a mentor. My mentor lives in Salem, Oregon, and she is a business consultant for a local non-profit organization. We meet every month over coffee, and each time we meet she helps me with my career development. Through my mentor, I have also met and built relationships with many other professionals.

As the next semester is about to start, I’m more than excited for the new courses and challenges ahead of me. I believe the two years in the Willamette MBA program will affect me tremendously with my career path in a positive way and help me become the top business professional as I’ve always dreamed to become.

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