“A film kid and Army veteran who is passionate about entertainment, business and pizza.”
Hometown: Carlisle, PA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am the third of seven kids – but I’m the only one to join the military and the only one pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Southern California, Cinematic Arts
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Army – Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, S3 Operations Officer
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My first job in the Army was as a Platoon Leader in a Truck Company. It was a newly-formed platoon of about 50 soldiers and was made up primarily of new troops directly out of basic training. I had the opportunity to work and train with this team for about a year, and then deploy with my platoon. Getting the chance to know my soldiers from their first days in the Army and then watch them prove themselves while executing logistics missions throughout the Middle East was really incredible. Knowing that I played at least some role in that growth as their Platoon Leader was one of my proudest achievements in the Army.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The Sternies I have met so far are both driven and generous. Everyone is passionate and focused on their future and career goals, but is simultaneously incredibly willing to help fellow classmates and prospective students. Even though the military has such a singular and unique culture, I definitely feel like there is a similar level of teamwork found here at Stern. People are always going to set you up for success.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I was able to very clearly see how the different parts of who I am would fit into the Stern community. As I was in the business school application process, I reached out and spoke with current students in Stern’s Entertainment, Media and Tech program, as well as students in both the Military Veterans Club and OutClass, Stern’s LGBTQ organization. Within each, I found people who were passionate and driven but also who were not easily defined by one thing. I knew that Stern would be a place that would be incredibly supportive for me as I continued growing as a leader.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Stern offers so many incredible opportunities to learn more about the entertainment industry and I am really looking forward to taking advantage of activities with the Entertainment, Media and Tech Program and the Entertainment, Media and Sports Association student organization. From the experiential learning trip in May to the Cannes Film Festival to career programming with media companies like Time Warner here in New York, there is a lot to look forward to.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My time as an Army Officer gave me the chance, at a young age, to learn so much about leadership and management. However, I wasn’t sure exactly how to keep building on that experience as I transitioned from the military back to my lifelong dream of working in the entertainment industry. An MBA made the most sense to me as a way to build on my leadership experience while giving me new skills that I knew I needed for my future career.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Ultimately, the MBA for me is an investment in the entirety of my future career, from immediately after business school to thirty years down the road. I knew that the chance to take two years now to study business would be an investment that would pay off for the rest of my life.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia Business School and NYU Stern were the two schools I applied to.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? An important tool I used in helping narrow my search was the Employment Reports published by each business school. Because I knew I wanted to go into a career in entertainment, I narrowed my search by finding programs that consistently placed graduates into this more non-traditional industry. Stern immediately stood out. Additionally, I looked at schools located in cities where I could easily have access to network with working industry professionals and take on in-semester internships. Stern’s location in the heart of New York City makes connecting to the entertainment industry incredibly straightforward.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? During my sophomore year of high school, my friends and I made a movie for a class assignment and I instantly became hooked. I spent the rest of high school and all of college learning everything I could about film and the entertainment industry. There really is nothing like being a part of a creative team, making something from scratch, and then being able to show what you made to an audience. Even though my career path has been a little unconventional, that rush I got when I was 15 showing my movie to my classmates is still what drives me.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to pursue a role within a film studio or smaller film distribution company in a function that builds on the skills I will gain from my MBA, such as marketing, strategy or finance.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to work my way up to a leadership position within a film studio and begin taking on more responsibilities as I continue towards my goal of eventually becoming a creative producer and owning my own company.