Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2021

Mahum Jamal

New York University, Stern School of Business

“I am a multi-disciplinary creative with an entrepreneurial mindset and passion for new ideas.”

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love vintage cameras and believe all candid moments look better captured on 35mm film.

Undergraduate School and Major: Barnard College, Film Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Doe-eyed Pictures, Film director and producer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I wrote, directed, and produced the feature film A Good Dream, which won multiple festival awards, was acquired by Freestyle Digital Media, and distributed on iTunes, Amazon Prime, GooglePlay, and more platforms.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? “Sternies” have a wonderful quality of being authentically interested and supportive of each other’s goals while being passionate and driven towards their own. Summed up in one phrase, they embody an authentic, emotional intelligence.

What is the best part of coming to New York City to earn your MBA? New York City is an experience in and of itself. Being able to live in the heart of industry with access to experts in your field is a rare privilege that I am grateful to have the opportunity to experience. New York offers a professional context to the MBA, providing ample opportunity to connect with industry thought-leaders while completing our studies in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It is impossible to leave New York unchanged.

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? Stern was an obvious choice for me for many reasons, one of which is that Stern is the only school to offer a dual-degree MBA opportunity with an MFA program. Not only do I have the privilege of being able to pursue a top-tier business education at Stern, but I also get to do that alongside a master’s degree at Tisch School of the Arts. The unique MBA-MFA program speaks to the culture of partnership and collaboration at NYU and highlights the university’s foresight and awareness of the need for multi-faceted creative professionals in executive roles.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m most looking forward to the Entertainment, Media & Technology Association, which plans a trip to the Cannes Film Festival each year!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question in the Stern interview for me was: “What is one thing you would like to change about the film industry?” It required me to consider beyond my own professional goals to how my work would change the way an industry functions.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to expand my professional and business skillset to be in a position to pursue executive roles at entertainment companies with the ability moving forward to develop projects with higher budgets and seasoned talent.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia, Marshall, Anderson

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The most important factor when evaluating MBA programs was the resources provided for entertainment-related career paths. Living in a city was important to me because I wanted the opportunity to develop a professional network while attending the MBA program. I also wanted the opportunity to have an internship during the school year. I spoke with alumni at the schools I was interested in to learn more about the culture. Given that I was coming from a creative background, it was important to me that the school expressed an ethos of emotional growth alongside a professional one.

I thoroughly researched the program websites to see what programs, professors, and opportunities the schools had to offer. I scoured LinkedIn for alumni from each program who were performing roles I would like to do. I reviewed all MBA related websites and forums such as Poets & Quants. I found that speaking to recruiters or people in managerial roles within my industry was helpful in providing context not only to how each school is regarded but also to how an MBA will function towards my long-term career goals. I stayed current with any informational sessions hosted by the schools in my city. The most helpful way in determining fit was visiting the school campuses, particularly for the admit weekends, where I got a sense of not just the school itself but also the peer group with whom I would be sharing my experiences.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In 2012, after a long bout of difficulty in my family, I re-examined my core values and motivations and reframed some of the experiences in my life. I made a commitment to make intentional choices, to work tirelessly in pursuit of my goals and passions, and to value my relationships with my family and friends above all else.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see myself producing films, television, and multimedia entertainment.

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