Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Alana Blaylock, Columbia Business School

Alana Blaylock

Columbia Business School

“I’m an open minded, even-keeled individual who enjoys amplifying underserved voices through storytelling.”

Hometown: South Orange, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: As a bonified adventurer, I’ve been skydiving three times!

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgetown University, English and Media Studies Major; Spanish and Sociology Minors

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Apple, Producer

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? NYC serves as one of the most prominent entertainment centers in America. Given this, there was no better place to pursue a career in Media Tech. The courses at Columbia focusing on show business, such as Media Strategy Consulting Projects, and courses analyzing the internet landscape, such as Internet Wars, caught my attention because entertainment is constantly evolving. For the past few years, streaming has been altering the way people consume content. With its trek options, conferences, and panels, and the Media Management Association, CBS offers an array of opportunities to meet with potential future employers and classmates with similar interests. Given that Columbia operates strongly in my career area, applying there was a no brainer.

What has been your first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best CBS story so far. CBS students are known to be collaborative, curious, and down-to-earth – attributes I hold in high esteem when looking to join a community. The people I’ve encountered are multi-faceted and authentic, values I seek when making new friends.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School? I’m looking forward to joining the Columbia FinTech and Blockchain Club to enhance my knowledge of all things Web3. Earlier this year, I assumed a leadership role within an NFT project called the Iconic Miss Crypto Clinic. This women-based collection focuses on mental health and offers wellness benefits like daily meditations. As a Community Engagement Leader, I held Twitter Spaces, moderated on Discord, and performed outreach to influencers for partnership opportunities. As an investor in crypto and a NFT holder, taking on a position in the FinTech and Blockchain Club would be incredibly fulfilling.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: A turning point in my career occurred when NBC News’ Documentary Unit delegated me with producing “Caught on Camera: Race and Justice” on MSNBC. The special centered on the racial pandemic of police brutality in the African-American community, prior to the 2020 murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor that rocked society. It showed footage of police involvement in the incidents with Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, and the like. The special gave the families of these slain individuals a platform to advocate for their loved ones. Visiting Sandra Bland’s grave in Prairie View, Texas, and hearing Walter Scott talk about his brother and how much he loved his kids is forever imprinted in my memory. This project garnered over millions of views and knowing that I played a critical role in bringing these narratives to light served as fuel to continue telling gripping, powerful stories.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I pursued an MBA with the intention to accelerate my career as a creative, forward-thinking businesswoman. Taking core curriculum in finance, marketing, and management will make me more well-rounded and help me develop crucial skills for my future role devising strategy at a streaming platform. After receiving a multidisciplinary view of business from Columbia, I’ll contribute insightfully to future meetings with people from a plethora of departments within my workplace. With my MBA, I’ll learn to communicate complex business decisions and become a wiser leader.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I’m a big fan of Beauty Boss Lady Marianna Hewitt and I enjoy listening to her podcast, “Life with Marianna.” On a recent episode, she talks about reassessing one’s goals periodically. Something that stood out to me is to recognize the difference between what you can control and what’s out of your hands.  She urged creating a habit of reflecting on your monthly intentions and evaluating the list items that are coming along smoothly and those that are not panning out. Then, brainstorming ways you can alter your approach to conquer the more difficult targets.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?

Wharton at UPenn
McCombs at UT Austin
Kellogg at Northwestern

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? Learn how to tell your personal story in a compelling way that differentiates yourself. Write essays that make your application stand out in the sea of thousands. Assess the unique capabilities you can bring to the student body that will make you add value to the incoming class. Really meditate on your distinct career journey and outline from there.

DRAFT: MEET COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL’S MBA CLASS OF 2024

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