Prior to joining the HBS Class of 2014, I worked in strategy and planning at HBO and spent a summer at Univision in the office of the CEO.  Media has been my industry of choice ever since I was exposed to it in high school through the Emma Bowen Foundation (EBF).  I had the opportunity while in college to intern at Broadcast Music Inc. for four summers and through EBF I got to know and learn from network and studio executives about all facets of the industry.

When I arrived at HBS I was determined to enhance my knowledge of Entertainment and Media by being involved in the student club and working with Anita Elberse, the famed media and entertainment professor at HBS.  I had read about Anita even before applying to business school.  She only teaches in the EC year, however, I reached out once I stepped foot on campus to inquire how I could help as a research assistant on media cases and began pitching ideas to Anita. 

The nature of RC year is one that gives you exposure and access to experts in many fields.  My section (Section H - go honeybadgers!) had great professors.  They were always very accessible to us and available for brown bag lunches and one-on-ones.  There was one professor in particular whom we all loved, Ryan Buell.  We were his first class at HBS and we could tell every day that he loved what he did, and he made us all feel special.  He taught the first year course of Technology Operations Management (TOM), admittedly not my favorite class, but somehow Professor Buell made the subject exciting. I still remember some of the comments I made in this class because I looked forward to engaging with him.  Overall, RC year was an exciting opportunity to learn about different industries and careers but the more I learned about other fields, the clearer it became that media was the right one for me. 

Second year I finally got to take Anita Elberse’s Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries class.  And I loved it! I also pitched an idea for a case, about Shonda Rhimes, one of the most successful TV showrunners and writers of our day.  Anita loved the idea and partnered with Henry McGee in order to write it.  It was published this year and is by far one of my favorite HBS cases.  I love Ms. Rhimes’ stories and her incorporation of multicultural characters in prominent roles or, as she calls it, her “normalization of TV” to reflect more accurately our cultural makeup in the U.S. and the world at large.  While I didn’t get to work on the case [due to scheduling conflicts], it was nonetheless rewarding to see something that I believed in be pursued with such passion by professors who I admired.  I continue to keep in touch with Anita, who actually mailed me a copy of the case to frame.

 I think faculty members are extremely important to our education and development, so much so that my one-on-one chats with Anita, Henry, and Mukti Khaire were some of my favorite educational experiences at HBS.  I loved sharing my dreams with them and hearing their stories of encouragement as well as of caution.  I greatly appreciate that the three of them are in my corner.  I can e-mail them anytime I want to discuss a business issue or career opportunity.  It truly makes the MBA experience very worth it.

If you’re coming to HBS take advantage of the once in a life opportunity of being taught by so many accomplished professors. Don’t think only those professors who focus on your industry are the only ones with whom to connect.  For example, my finance professor, Carl Kester, was extremely helpful when I was asked to complete a modeling assignment at work that I had no idea how to begin.  I was touched that Professor Kester was on a trip to Asia when I emailed him and upon landing responded with three pages of notes on how I should go about solving my problem.

There are a lot of exciting ways in which you can make your experience at HBS memorable.  My favorite part of my time at HBS has been the relationships that I got to build - with sectionmates, classmates, and professors.  That’s the thing about HBS, anyone can teach you an extremely valuable lesson, often when you least expect it but likely need it most.