Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Opera-man turning businessman, taking a musician’s discipline and creativity into the boardroom.
Hometown: Muskegon, MI
Fun Fact About Yourself: I usually use the fact that I was a professional opera singer as a fun fact about myself, but since that is obvious from the other questions I will go one step further: I once appeared completely naked in a scene on stage.
Undergraduate School and Major: BM in Vocal Performance, The University of Michigan; MM in Vocal Performance, The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Self-employed opera singer with appearances throughout the United States including The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre, The Grant Park Music Festival, Fort Worth Opera, The Cincinnati Opera, The Lexington Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera and others.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I recently had the great pleasure and fortune to create a featured role in a major world premiere opera and subsequent commercial recording.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I felt like the interview was of the utmost importance for someone like me with a very unusual background. That was my opportunity to get past the surface level information of my resume and test scores and make a deeper impression about my intellect, values, and how I thought my unique skills would be able to translate into an MBA program and beyond.
Perhaps because of my own naiveté at the time, I did not do any practicing before my admission interviews. I treated them like a conversation and I think that helped me overall. During almost all of my interviews, we would talk about not only my background but the interviewer’s as well. We spoke about shared interests, cities we enjoyed visiting, our families, etc. In fact, I got the distinct impression that the content of my responses were less important than the way I actually presented myself, my level of engagement, professionalism, manner of speaking, etc. I think this underscores what a lot of interviewers don’t want: a series of overly rehearsed, robotic answers that don’t give a lot of insight into the type of person you really are, only your ability to craft responses to a series of generally pre-determined questions.
While I don’t think it would be wise for me to advise people not to practice or think about some possible answers and examples to some of the common interview questions, I don’t think I can stress enough the importance of going beyond scripted responses and really letting your personality show.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? There were, of course, many reasons I ultimately chose The Kelley School, but the biggest reason was because during the admissions process they really seemed to treat my unusual background as an asset instead of a hurdle which needed to be overcome. Having that kind of attitude and support was very desirable to me. I already knew that I would have some kind of a learning curve to deal with. I didn’t need that reinforced by the school to which I was entrusting my education and professional development.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? At this point, I’m not exactly sure where I would like to end up. I know I’m looking for a job and company that provides a variety of challenges and that might be able to afford me opportunities to occasionally travel abroad. I’m really looking forward to digging into my first semester and learning more about where my strengths and interests lie within the curriculum and researching companies that are aligned with those interests.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? That I was a dependable, trustworthy, and hard-working colleague who valued constructive criticism, was always open to new ideas, and who was consistently willing to help when asked.