Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2021

Tony Lashley

Columbia Business School

“Music obsessive focused on uniting the best artists in the world with a passionate audience.”

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Fun Fact About Yourself: Citizen of the smallest country to ever win a gold medal at the Olympics – Grenada.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Chicago, English Literature and Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Blonded, Head of Marketing and Operations

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Getting Spotify to support more emerging hip hop artists with marketing dollars to better match the rate of change within the genre.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Genuine and down-to-earth. For how common it is for those interested in media and entertainment to have outsized egos, everyone I’ve met at CBS interested in the industry has been kind and unpretentious.

What is the best part of coming to New York City to earn your MBA? Living here for two years, I’ve realized that New York City allows me the greatest access to a technicolor tapestry of opportunities, people, and experiences, all of which will help me accomplish my goal of reshaping the music industry with my own company.

Aside from your classmates and location, 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? Columbia’s Media & Technology program was hugely important to me given that’s the industry where I’ve spent and want to continue to spend most of my professional career. A resource like The Entrepreneurial Sounding Board at the Lang Center was also critical for me to pressure test the ideas I have for starting my own company.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m most excited to take full advantage of all of the resources and courses that the Lang Center offers.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Why do you think you’re ready to start a company soon? Why not gain more experience somewhere else after school and then start it?

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The network, credential, and skills all seem vital for me taking the next step of starting my own company.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, NYU, London Business School

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Columbia combined my desire for two things: going to a world-class school that would expose me to people deeply interested in various industries and from all walks of life with my desire to go to a school located in a media & entertainment capital. With both a strong media program and great resources for entrepreneurs, it was an easy decision once I got accepted.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Selling my home-made Caribbean lunches for $3 in fifth grade (brown stew chicken – $2; 3-4 plantains – $.50, brown sugar-glazed carrots + broccoli — $.50) to my classmates and surviving on eating only bologna slices for months at lunch in order to save up $200 to buy my first iPod. Buying an iPod poured gas on the flame of my love for music. That process showed me that I could make something that seemed very improbable to happen through determination and perseverance.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Taking my company public or negotiating for its acquisition while beginning to invest my own money in the latest wave of companies taking over music and media.

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