William J. Brennan, Georgetown McDonough Class of 2019
Hometown: Leonia, New Jersey
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Trinity College (Hartford), history and German studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 6 years of work experience in education, international development, and legal for the Fulbright Program (Germany), Peace Corps (South Africa), and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP respectively.
Why business school? Why now? After working across the public and private sectors after my undergrad degrees, I came to believe that I had reached a plateau with my previous base of knowledge and skills. By returning to school and, to Georgetown University specifically, I knew I would rapidly gain the business acumen and practices to reach the next level in my future career and set myself up for long-term success.
Why Georgetown McDonough? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? McDonough offered the benefit of being a mid-size program within a larger university while being located in a big city. Its location offers students ample opportunities to explore their respective interests, which for me is the intersection of business and government. By being the premier educational institution located in D.C., Georgetown brings the political and business leaders in town to campus to discuss contemporary issues that affect businesses. Students also have the opportunity to explore and network across a city that is growing in terms of business environment, start-up scene, and quality of life.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2019? As a dual-degree Master’s student between the McDonough School of Business and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, I bring a unique combination of both the interest and knowledge of business practices coupled with a background and understanding of how international relations and stakeholders can affect businesses across industries. I believe the globalized 21st century economy and business practices will be increasingly intertwined across borders and between countries and an understanding of the actors and their actions will be vital for businesses to successfully navigate this environment.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I enjoy tackling hiking challenges on vacations which has led me to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, hike from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and climb the Sani Pass to celebrate New Year’s at Africa’s highest legal pub.
Post-MBA career interests? Strategy management consulting
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? Talk to current students and alumni. There is nothing better than networking and connecting with current students and alumni to find out what the program provides and how it will serve you for the rest of your career. I spoke and networked with many current students and was incredibly satisfied with their description of McDonough and its benefits to one’s career in the future.
–One thing you would change or do differently? Apply earlier. I applied in a later round and was nervous about my results and the fact that people from the earlier rounds were already picking up spots. If I had applied earlier, I would have known my status and been satisfied at an earlier point of time.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? I broke two left fingers the week before I had my interview at McDonough. As a result, for the interview I had to have my hand in a splint and deal with the complications that came with it while also concurrently doing a final assignment for work during the same week. Rescheduling the interview under those conditions would have been beneficial but I knew that I had to show my strength, both physically and mentally, to the admissions board and that the rewards of entry to the program would make it all worthwhile.
Greatest highlight so far at Georgetown McDonough? I participated and won a case competition hosted by Deloitte among seven McDonough MBA teams in a pressured environment. We worked diligently in teams of six and then presented to three senior Deloitte partners from three of their practices. I was one of the two presenters on behalf of our team to present our materials and solution on the problem and we were excited and full of sense of achievement when the Deloitte partners announced us as the winner.
One thing about Georgetown McDonough that you didn’t expect before arriving? I have been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the diverse student groups within the school and the support they provide. There is an organization for every person on campus and they are all incredibly well-run and put on events throughout the year to showcase the skills, talents, and diversity of the student body. I have been most impressed and surprised by the robust network and support of the veterans in the MBA program—McDonough thoroughly supports this group and that has been amazing to witness.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? I was most anxious about the quantitative aspect of entering an MBA program. I came from a social sciences background but the program, instructors, and my classmates have all helped me adjust to the challenges. I am now more comfortable with my abilities and am confident that my quantitative skills will be utilized for my future career.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year? I am most excited about seeing where all my gifted and driven friends and classmates from school end up in for their summer internships in 2018. Top institutions recruit at Georgetown across all industries and functions and I am thrilled to see which top employer my friends will intern and be employed at.