Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2018

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Anjin Stewart-Funai

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Former professional opera singer and talent agent from Chicago who loves yoga and BBQ chips.

Hometown: Swarthmore, PA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once was cast as a hormonal, teenage boy in the opera Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. My character was madly in love with the leading lady, and so I had to wear a short wig, heavy boots and sing high notes under hot lights all while trying to act like a boy. Quite the memorable experience!

Undergraduate School and Major: Tufts University (Art History Bachelor of Arts) and Cleveland Institute of Music (Operatic Vocal Performance, Master of Music and Professional Studies).

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: International Opera Singer, Talent Agent for Opera Singers and Classical Instrumentalists with Cadenza Artists LLC

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Singing as the chosen performer in a large awards ceremony that honored the famous pianist Van Cliburn. Cliburn was a legend in the music world and a hero of mine growing up, and I had the honor of performing a set of songs especially for him and meeting him afterwards.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? The thing is, there is no magic trick to applying to business schools – you just have to do it, and by ‘it’ I mean every necessary step of the process: studying for the GMAT, taking the time to do lots of informational interviews with MBA students, writing and rewriting your essays, keeping track of application deadlines, practicing for interviews, staying on top of your recommenders and making sure that they submit their letters in time, etc. For me, there were no shortcuts.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Ross had everything I was looking for: strong reputation, notable faculty, supportive student body, strong alumni network and proximity to Chicago and the East Coast. Furthermore, the school’s building is gorgeous, and I felt especially welcomed by the school during GBR, the admitted students’ weekend.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job is to be the General Director for one of the major opera companies in the U.S. The performing arts in the U.S. have been suffering for many years now, and quite a number of companies are barely able to meet their basic running expenses even with the help of donations on top of ticket sales. The fear that ‘opera is dying’ is extensive throughout the music community. After having witnessed the positive impact that the performing arts can have on people, I feel a personal obligation to try to guide the operatic industry towards a better financial future.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  I’d like for them to say that I am kind, hardworking, aspirational, and hopefully don’t take myself too seriously!

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