Just 25 minutes from Washington, DC, spread across 677 acres, you will find over 37,000 students at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
George Mason University School of Business hosts a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including the 11-month Master of Science in Management (MSM) program, a business master’s uniquely positioned to introduce students with liberal arts or non-business backgrounds to a foundational grounding in business.
BusinessBecause spoke to students and faculty from Mason’s MSM program, who told us everything you need to know about applying, the curriculum, and what career opportunities lie ahead for graduates.
George Mason University School of Business MSM | Class Profile
The George Mason University School of Business MSM program is a pre-experience program, meaning students mostly come straight from their bachelor’s degree, with an average age just over 23.
As for any business school program, building the right class balance is of great importance. Victoria Grady, director of the MSM program, describes three things they are thinking about when they are putting together each MSM cohort.
First of all, a balance of domestic and international students. The MSM Class 2020 intake is 20 percent international.
Secondly, gender balance is important—the MSM Class is 44 percent female.
Thirdly, diversity of degree background is important, with a combination of students from liberal arts backgrounds, science and engineering backgrounds. This is to achieve a diverse mix which is pivotal to the classroom experience.
“Our goal in terms of creating the classroom environment is to simulate an organization,” Grady says.
George Mason University School of Business MSM | Cost, Admissions & Interview
Tuition for the MSM costs $35,100 for residents of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC, and $57,600 for other domestic and international students. There is a $75 application fee, which is waived if applications are completed before the priority deadline on February 1.
To apply, candidates must meet three criteria: a bachelor’s degree from a non-business background, a strong academic record, and no more than two years of professional experience. Applicants can submit a GMAT score, although GMAT waivers are offered to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher during their undergraduate studies.
Successful candidates are invited to interview, where they may be asked some of the following questions:
1. Please tell us about your interest in the MSM program.
2. How does the MSM program align with your career interests?
3. How do you think an MS in Management degree will help you reach your career goals?
4. Our program requires an internship/work experience. What type of internship are you envisioning? Is there a particular space that interests you?
5. Some of the MSM courses include a quantitative component (Statistics, Finance, etc.). Please tell us about your experience with quantitative courses in your undergraduate program.
Jackie Buchy, senior assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University School of Business, explains what they are looking for in interviews.
“We’re seeking people who have found an interest in business during their undergraduate studies and want to combine their non-business background with business experience in a meaningful way.”
George Mason MSM | Curriculum
The MSM program runs for 11 months, and is split into five modules. During each module, students follow a structured progression of coursework in topics such as organizational behavior, information technology, economics, and operations management. The 12 courses are intended to provide a rigorous introduction to business fundamentals with a global emphasis.
“We attract a lot of students because they can complete the full degree in 11 months. One initial conversation is helping them understand that the year is intense and fast-paced,” Jackie says. “It’s similar to the first year of an MBA.”
This structure is intended to provide candidates with an overview of how a business is run. Concepts like decision making and conflict management are woven through the quantitative subjects such as finance and accounting.
The MSM faculty are committed to providing a classroom experience that will enhance the practical application of theory as students enter the workforce. Internships are carefully planned in coordination with Kimberly Blue, the School of Business’ graduate career manager. Blue assists in connecting students with placements that support their skills, professional interests, and academic background.
The Global Residency and course work during Module 5 introduce students to the nuances of being part of a global organization. The course work begins with three-to-four weeks of in-class preparation for the seven-to-nine day international residency. The trip is focused on company visits to learn more about conducting business in global organizations. Previously, students traveled to Argentina, Iceland, and Ireland.
“The Global Residency and internships are the places where the theory comes to life,” Victoria says.
George Mason MSM | Careers
George Mason University School of Business MSM graduates earn on average $62,000 upon graduating. Graduates have found jobs in a wide variety of industries, with recent graduates hired in consulting, federal government, health care management, and education.
Uno Izegbu made his way into the public sector after his MSM. He came to the MSM a few years after earning his bachelor’s in French and communications. He had spent a number of years since high school working in hospitality but was keen to break away from the industry.
The Mason MSM was a strong addition to his liberal arts background, and felt that it would allow him to apply for the jobs he was interested in. Overall, it gave him a strong introduction to concepts that he had little knowledge about.
“The program actually helped me to understand certain facets of the business world that I didn't really understand before, topics in finance like compound interest, principles for investing,” Izegbu says.
The program helped him identify three facets that he was looking for in a job: “I didn't want to have to sell anything, I wanted somewhere there would be room for career growth, and something that would be meaningful to me.”
He is now working in the District of Columbia Human Resources department as a special assistant for mayoral appointments, where he advises and aids with on-boarding for cabinet appointments, boards, and commissions.
“The master’s [degree] helped me to see life in a different way. I feel better prepared for whatever comes my way.”
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