Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Christina Charlery

Columbia Business School

“A creatively driven, culturally curious human, dedicated to positively impacting this world.”

Hometown: Englewood, New Jersey

Fun Fact About Yourself: Three years ago I founded a mentoring program in Harlem called Career Girls, helping middle and high school-aged girls explore various career paths.

Undergraduate School and Major: American University, Journalism

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Manager, Creative Solutions; Live Nation

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment so far was having a part in launching Clairol’s new millennial-focused hair product, at one of the biggest dance music festivals in the world–EDC Las Vegas.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Everyone I’ve met so far at CBS has broken all stereotypes of “a serious business school student.” They’ve been wildly charismatic, caring and open individuals.

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 loved Columbia’s wide range of media and entertainment classes—from The Crafting of Celebrity Businesses to Virtual Reality & The Future of Storytelling: How Disruptive Technologies will Transform Media. The course selections at Columbia really spoke to me—touching upon my wide array of interests. Not to mention, Columbia Business School is located in the best city in the world—New York City!

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I look forward to attaining a leadership position in the Media Management Association. I hope to leverage my own network when planning our next Media and Entertainment conference. I’m also looking forward to meeting with various companies during the club’s annual LA trek.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? There are a few reasons in particular that I decided to pursue an MBA at this point. One is realizing the importance of effective leadership. Now that I’ve been in the workforce for about 6 years, I see the impact leadership has on the success of the company. This is something that I feel very passionate about, and I’m dedicated to learning the tools I need to be an effective leader in the workforce. Secondly, I wanted to sharpen my data analytics skills. Although I consider myself to be a creative at heart, I realize more than ever that data has the power to spark creativity and tailor branding in ways that could never be done before. It’s mandatory to embrace data in the world of media and entertainment, and it’s a language that I surely want to be fluent in.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? It’s a huge financial risk. With that said, speaking with my support system of family and friends, I knew that it was ultimately an investment in myself—and there’s no better investment than that.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Michigan Ross, Duke, Kellogg, University of Maryland Smith and NYU

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The factors I prioritized were location, entertainment courses and cultural fit. I wanted to be in a city where I could constantly be networking with the companies I hope to work for. Additionally, I wanted the option to take courses that delved into the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. Lastly, I wanted to be someplace where (as my Management for Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) coach Holly Jackson put it), “I’m celebrated not tolerated.” I felt a connection with the students and faculty I met at CBS from the beginning.

I researched the culture by attending numerous on-campus events, especially the diversity and women’s days. Their tailored programming was exactly what I was craving during my applications process.

In terms of knowing how a school fit my career goals, I searched for current students on Linkedin who were working in fields similar to mine. I reached out, set up calls and asked them questions about what sorts of resources the school provided.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I was in high school, I went on a trip to St. Lucia with my father for his brother’s funeral. This was a definitive moment in my life, where I personally witnessed the birthplace of the values that were instilled in me thus far. From the work ethic to the unconditional compassion of the Caribbean culture, this trip really grounded me in my family’s immigrant roots.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I’m hoping to become a product marketing manager in the entertainment technology industry. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself becoming an executive of color—fearlessly leading a team that roots itself in the merging of creative prowess and strategic thinking. In my rise to success, I’m also dedicated to guiding younger generations of color along a path to greatness.

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