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Virginia Tech’s Director of MBA Programs Answers 5 Questions

Virginia Tech Director

In our latest installment of the MetroMBA “5 Questions” series, we speak with Dana Hansson, the Director of MBA Programs at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. Hansson talks about the school’s culture, the faculty, and the networking opportunities available for students.


How would you describe the culture of Virginia Tech Pamplin?

“We are a community of professionals seeking greater opportunities through learning and networking.  Our faculty scholars love to teach graduate students and build relationships,” says Hansson. “Our student body is engaged, curious and supportive.  Our MBA program is flexible, allowing you to choose the pace, which meets your lifestyle and select courses to expand your horizons.”

According to Dean Robert Sumichrast, “Pamplin has large and expanding programs in Northern Virginia, including our MBA and other planned programs that take advantage of the business and government environment of the Washington metro area.”

What type of student is the best fit for Pamplin’s MBA program (career goals, experience, interests, etc)?

“Pamplin MBA students have professional experience and are ready to take the step in their career, be that seeking a promotion at their employer, shifting from one sector to another or making a pivot to something new such as launching a business concept,” explains Hansson. “Our students are service oriented, embracing the ‘Ut Prosim: That I May Serve at Virginia Tech,’ with many having military service. They enjoy the large and active alumni base, feeling a part of something dynamic.”

Speaking of military service, MBA students with a military background looking to transition to a civilian career or move up the ranks will find lots of support at Virginia Tech. A few of the benefits provided include:

  • Military application fee waiver.
  • There are Student Affairs specialists available to liaison with the VA on your behalf.
  • Financial aid is available including Post 9/11 help.
  • Alumni and current students can speak with you about their experience.

If there was just one piece of advice you could give to an MBA applicant considering Pamplin, what would it be?

“Do your due diligence as you explore programs; learn the basics of the program, talk to current students, alumni of the program and faculty,” Hansson encourages. “You will be making a large investment in time and money, as well that from your significant others and employers, so make sure you have chosen the best program to meet your needs.”

Dana Hansson, the Director of MBA Programs.

To help you with your research, Pamplin regularly hosts information sessions all about their MBA programs.

How accessible are Pamplin professors? Can you give an example?

“MBA program faculty reside in Northern Virginia and have weekly office hours, and are available to meet you at your convenience,” Hansson says.  “Emails work well too.”

In terms of faculty and staff, Pamplin is a very small college. This makes it a rather intimate experience. In addition, the school recently appointed “some of the most promising new and accomplished faculty from around the world,” says Dean Sumichrast. He admitted that this was an “intentional change” to increase diversity, raise expectations, and improve faculty research and teaching.

In particular, the school has made prominent strides toward diversity. Among faculty, the percentage of underrepresented minorities is now 16 percent from 0 percent four years ago.

Sumichrast also states, in the same speech, that the college is a very open and friendly environment, “An important part of community is becoming more welcoming and inclusive of everyone, and we have become more welcoming,” he says.

What club would you recommend for a student to check out and why?

“As our MBA program is a part-time offering, our students are busy with life and work,” Hansson explains. “Clubs are not available. However, we offer several networking and alumni mentoring opportunities each semester.”

In regards to networking, the MBA Career Network, launched in 2014, is an opportunity to match MBA students with alumni volunteers. And with a vast Hokie Nation to choose from, there are many mentoring opportunities across Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Roanoke.

As for opportunities beyond clubs, Evening MBA students can choose to participate in a study abroad course to gain international experience. This two-week study abroad portion, allows students to visit several multinational and international corporations, local businesses, and cultural venues.

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