The Stereotype-Defying MBAs In The Class of 2018

Allie Eslinger

Allie Esslinger

New York University, Stern School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I love iced coffee and The Crimson Tide and believe television can save the world.

Hometown: Hazel Green, Alabama

Fun Fact About Yourself: Finally finished an entire stick of lip balm without losing it, which was a big enough step that I think I’m ready for an MBA now.

Undergraduate School and Major: Undergrad: The University of Alabama (International Affairs); MA: The New School (International Affairs and Media Studies)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: I worked freelance as a writer and digital strategist before starting my production company, Olive Juice Films. I’ve worked on sets as everything from a Production Assistant to an Executive Producer. It was through client work at content startups like Maker Studios, Major League Gaming, and Vice that I saw the opportunity to establish Section II, which is a streaming platform connecting LBTQ+ content and audiences.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It’s always a huge thrill to work with filmmakers whom I admire, whether in development or through partnerships for marketing and distribution. We’re just heading into the festival circuit with an original series, FOR EX-LOVERS ONLY. And, looking ahead, I’m really excited about the slate of original content we’re packaging right now, including a Project Greenlight Digital competition series, with GLAAD as a partner, and a feature film from one of the all-time greats.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? The thing that has kept me most sane is that I was lucky enough to meet a few current students here at NYU Stern during the admissions cycle. Having a friend who can give advice at various points through the process, provide some true perspective about student life, and offer some insights about personal preparation for heading into b-school has been invaluable.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I, of course, had to consider Los Angeles as a location where I could study the business of film and television, but ultimately I knew that NYU Stern was the better fit. It offers so many concentrations and clubs that will allow me to explore opportunities in a city with so many intersecting industries. Indie film still reigns here. And there’s still a lot of room to grow in terms of the tech scene and VC funding. All the locations we shoot at now are places I grew up recognizing as part of my goals, which is exciting and something tangible to point to when I go home and try to explain my job. It’s a tough city– I’m still getting the hang of it 9 years after moving here– but I know that I heart NY, even when NY only likes me as a friend. So to be joining an institution like NYU Stern, which is so integral to the City, is a huge honor.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I really want to grow Section II and build on the success of our content marketplace with more resources for filmmakers and a more robust access point for consumers seeking new stories. There’s a huge opportunity to provide brands with an authentic connection with our audiences through the creative teams we’ve built. We have a big vision that extends beyond a consumer platform, and even beyond our forthcoming Content Delivery Network, which allows us to program content alongside local broadcast affiliates.

There’s been such a shift in content distribution, particularly in looking at the growing ROI for branded content. My goal is to be able to approach creators with infrastructure and healthy budgets and have my job be to build out strategies that reconcile the needs of filmmakers, audiences, and brands for delivering contemporary stories that can alleviate the content-audience disconnect and quality-quantity divide for niche productions. We are certainly open to opportunities to position Section II within a more established company looking to grow their female audience share. There are a handful that I admire within the studio system that would be thrilling to be a part of, particularly as they look more closely at the accelerator models that have crossed over from the tech world into content creation and how we might be able to make them more sustainable for creators.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? That I was never afraid of hard work and kept getting better at making it look easy.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.