Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Mélanie D’Mello Génin, Columbia Business School

Mélanie D’Mello Génin

Columbia Business School

“International classical harpist and producer passionate about immersive technologies, music, and empowering women.”

Hometown: Reims, Champagne-Ardenne, France

Fun Fact About Yourself: Recorded as a soloist the soundtrack of the recent Kaufman Netflix movie, I am thinking of ending things

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSM / Paris Conservatoire)
  • Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music (MSM)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Harp Soloist, Harp Teacher (Independent)

What word best describes the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Bold, Smart, Inclusive and Determined women. The men are lovely, but as a Forte Fellow and a passionate advocate of women empowerment, I have mainly focused on connecting with my female counterparts before the start of the program.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? CBS has an excellent track record of selecting brilliant art professionals and helping them to successfully pivot into roles at top Consulting, VC and Media companies. Materializing your MBA into a top job is a heavy lift for people with non-traditional backgrounds. We have many of the entrepreneurial and soft skills, but often people don’t know what to do with us. It takes a lot of translation work and convincing. It is a tremendous asset to have a school which values you and your skills and knows how to accompany you on this journey.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School? I am looking forward to leveraging the resources offered by the Consulting, Media Management Association (MMA), and Technology and Data Analytics (TDA). I am very excited to collaborate as a Forte Fellow with the Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) and The French Connection club, which represent two parts of who I am and to which I feel I can contribute a lot.

What makes New York City such a great place to earn an MBA? It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and an international center of business. Beyond the walls of CBS, NYC is a place where you will meet the most determined and ambitious people. It keeps you on your toes and inspires you to push yourself harder.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was succeeding in building my brand as an international soloist, chamber musician and artistic director, away from the traditional orchestra path. Making my way through a very competitive and male dominated industry that tends to objectify women and doing so as a young woman, first generation student, on a new continent.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID put an indefinite hold on the performing arts industry with the closure of concert halls. It was, and still is, a brutal disruption. However, it finally gave me the time to think and address certain shortcomings of my career. This includes scale, due to how niche Classical Music is, and reach, often being limited to the concert hall. COVID also posed the question of “Who are you besides what you do (when you can’t do it anymore)?” We often define ourselves by our careers rather than our values and interests. It is a tricky distinction to make and artists have difficulty separating themselves from their work.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? After dedicating myself to music since the age of 6, I am ready to take up on a new challenge and use my brain in different ways. Having an impact in my industry and my community is very important to me. I realized that I needed to deepen my business skills and expand my network to realize my ambitions. I hope to work in Telecom Media and Technology (TMT) Consulting right after graduation. I hope to get a 360 degree business experience and learn to solve complex issues in different sectors of TMT. Long term, I want to explore the intersection of immersive technologies (AR/VR/XR) and Media either from the Tech side, or the Music and Media side. During COVID, I was given the opportunity to transition my music outreach project online and play my harp every week remotely for patients in palliative care. I plan to leverage my business network to give back to the community with music educational workshops for underprivileged youth.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Kellogg, NYU, Wharton and HEC

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? Look for people with a similar background as yours who went to CBS in the last five years. Leverage your alma mater network and LinkedIn. If possible, target people who align with your post-MBA aspirations; they will be the most valuable resources. When you have a solid draft of your essays, request a 1:1 session with the CBS Adcom. Make sure to mention your specific ties to Columbia and/or NYC if applicable. Think from their perspective, if CBS makes you an offer, they want to be sure you will accept it. Specific ties are always a plus.


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