Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ben Antoine, UCLA (Anderson)

Ben Antoine

UCLA Anderson School of Management

A humble and multi-faceted socializer, striving to leave a social impact.”

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: Professional Stuntman and 4-time American Ninja Warrior Competitor

Undergraduate School and Major: Carnegie Mellon University | Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Boeing Company | Service Engineer

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? UCLA Anderson’s MBA program was, and still is, the only program that offered a specialization in Entertainment Management, which was the key part of the school’s programming that piqued my interest and led me to choose the school. This was important to me because I quickly developed a passion for the entertainment industry, having briefly worked as a stunt performer, and desired to learn more about the business behind entertainment.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Los Angeles (LA) is a great place to earn an MBA because, for one, the weather here is unmatched! I can’t recall wearing more than a wind breaker, even during the “winter” season. Additionally, LA has consistently proven to trump all other cities for fueling my skillsets and passions. Since moving to LA, I have been afforded the opportunity to work as an engineer, stunt performer and disc jockey. I can’t think of another city that encompasses the best of these worlds in such a fashion. That said, I believe LA is a perfect city to venture into any industry, post-MBA. Looking for tech? Silicon Beach is here for you! Entertainment? Hollywood is right at your feet! The sky is truly the limit in LA.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? The quality that best describes my MBA classmates is radiant. Every Anderson student I’ve come across had this aura of excellence, ambition, warmth, and drive. Even in the virtual space, given the current climate with COVID, I could still feel the energy and passion to learn and uplift each other.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at UCLA Anderson? What makes you most nervous about business school? What makes me most excited about getting my MBA at UCLA Anderson is being exposed to one of the largest networks of extraordinary alumni and students who are all driven to climb to higher heights in their respective lives/careers. I believe it is akin to being inducted into an illustrious guild.

What makes me most nervous about business school is the first year recruiting season. I hear that recruiting can be quite exhausting, especially when juggling coursework, social activities, leadership roles, and sleep, ha-ha.

What makes me most excited about business school? What makes me most excited about business school is knowing that I am going back to school with a purpose, to shape myself into a prime leader.  I eagerly look forward to acquiring the necessary skillsets, resources, and network to achieve my purpose so that I may empower and serve others to do the same.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Being selected from a pool of top tier stunt performers to support motion capture work for the Avatar sequels!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Within the last couple of years, I reached a point in my engineering career when I realized that I was intrigued by the managerial aspects of my field more than the technical aspects. I also felt pigeon-holed in the aerospace industry and wanted to have more mobility across industries and geographical locations.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? In addition to UCLA Anderson School of Management, I also applied to Emory University – Goizueta Business School, New York University – Stern School of Business and University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question I was asked during my admissions process was, “What would one of your colleagues say is a weakness of yours?”

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Prior to applying to business school, I recall reading a Wall Street Journal article that stated, “It is not where you go to school, it is HOW you go to school.” This statement truly resonated with me and set the tone for how I evaluated my schools of interest.

My first criteria for determining my fit for a school was location. Since I grew up in New York City, I wanted to attend a school in a major city that spoke to my passions and/or skillsets – engineering, entertainment and diversity. This first criteria narrowed my search down to schools based in New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.

My second criteria for finding a good fit for a school was prestige and affiliation with The Consortium.  This further narrowed my search down to UCLA, USC, NYU and Emory, which were all coveted business schools and partnered with The Consortium.

My final criteria for discerning my fit for a school was culture. Through conducting informational interviews with friends (current students and/or alumni), attending pre-MBA conferences/information-sessions and participating in diversity weekends (i.e. Inside Goizueta), I saw and heard first-hand what the experience would be like at the respective universities. This, in turn, helped me finalize and solidify the list of the four abovementioned schools, to which I applied.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was when I purchased study materials from Barnes & Nobles and a subscription to Magoosh to begin studying for the GMAT. Prior to this investment, it had been over five years since I studied for such a significant exam. The fact that I willfully opted to invest in study materials to prepare for such a daunting exam was truly indicative of my sincerity surrounding business school. I actually remember thinking to myself, “Well Ben, this is it…let the games begin.” I believe my ability to push past my anxiety and to strategize an exit strategy from my comfortable corporate job certainly prepared me for business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company thus far is McKinsey & Company, given its stellar reputation amongst the top management consulting firms. I believe business students can learn how to think strategically and fearlessly from them.

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