Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Brett Davidson, Yale SOM

Brett Davidson

Yale School of Management

Southern charm crossed with SoCal swagger”

Hometown: Bossier Parish, Louisiana

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a lifeguard at a pool in high school. Besides getting a really great tan over the summer, when the pool was empty, I would often practice holding my breath underwater while doing a light amount of swimming. I worked up the ability to hold my breath for 4 minutes. It’s also a great way of hiding from your boss!

Undergraduate School and Major: Louisiana State University, Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Walt Disney Company, Strategy and Business Development Senior Analyst

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? Irrespective of where I land after graduation, I aim to lead others with a distinctive focus on values like honesty and integrity. I think the most effective leaders set the culture of an organization by the behavior they demonstrate every single day. SOM’s approach of understanding academic material from the perspective of all parties involved will allow me to better understand how my own results impact the world around me.

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? SOM’s “raw” case approach was a unique draw for me to the school. Rather than hand you a tightly packaged case narrative, the raw case approach replicates the information abundance often encountered in the real world. Determining what information is relevant is a crucial skill to develop and I look forward to tackling cases organized in this way.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Optimistic. There are a number of learning and socializing challenges that have been placed on our class due to the pandemic. I’ve met so many classmates that see those challenges as opportunities to innovate and grow.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? Yale Hockey! I can count the number of times I’ve been ice skating on one hand, but assuming I have some patient teammates, I plan on lacing up and giving it a go. I also really liked I, Tonya¸ so if the hockey team won’t have me, I’ll go the figure skating route.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Moving to Los Angeles and entering the professional world of entertainment has allowed me to go behind the curtain and take some small part in the massive effort that goes into crafting a slate of compelling content. The role was rewarding in that it gave me perspective of both the creative frictions and the financial hurdles that studios face.

Following a TV series or a movie from the early script stages all the way through its production and eventual release is an incredibly satisfying process. Over the last several years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on films like La La Land and John Wick and on TV productions like Good Trouble and Grown-ish.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I came out of undergrad knowing that I had some edges that needed to be smoothed out and that an MBA would provide a useful toolkit to address those weaknesses. About a year ago, I felt like I had attained a mix of professional and extracurricular experiences that would allow me to add value to a class and that could be packaged together into a compelling application.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Anderson, Tuck, Columbia, Stern, Haas

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?SOM’s “Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made” essay question was the hardest essay I had to write. I found the question difficult to answer without sounding trite.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Although it would be difficult to pull off in today’s restricted travel environment, I found campus visits to be the most informative method of determining fit. A huge part of the business school experience is the social aspect. Unless you’re immersed in a campus environment in-person, it’s difficult to judge which school would best allow you to forge the network on which you’ll rely after graduation.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? It was the summers I spent solo traveling during undergrad. I took a motorbike through some far-removed places like Siem Reap, Cambodia and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Isolation for the sake of isolation was a very powerful self-development tool.

The sights, sounds and experiences of solo traveling in a foreign country can’t help but stock your mind, and give you a deeper, richer mental framework from which to operate. It encouraged me to be adaptable, flexible, to shrug off the inevitable frustrations and ask for help when needed. These qualities strike me as very useful for business school.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? I highly value a sense of ownership over my work and the latitude to take a path less traveled when making any decision.


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