Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Cameron Russell, MIT (Sloan)

Cameron Russell

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Introspective, impulsive (for a lawyer) and adventurous.”

Hometown: London, United Kingdom

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve been chased by a bear while mountain biking.

Undergraduate School and Major: Queen’s University, History

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Kirkland & Ellis, Associate (Debt Finance)

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloan’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Something that might not always be apparent about me is my deep love for sports. It’s an area of my life and work that I’m very passionate about, especially considering the challenges I’ve faced due to a double spinal fracture and subsequent major surgeries that have restricted how actively I can participate in certain sports. While MIT Sloan’s reputation for pioneering programs and cutting-edge faculty in technology— particularly artificial intelligence—is widely known, it’s worth highlighting that the Sloan is also a global leader in the sports industry. Sports business and analytics are an offering specific to Sloan that set it apart from other schools for me, and something I’m genuinely excited about as I look ahead.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan? I’m incredibly excited about the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. In the classic MIT tradition of analytical outside-of-the-box thinking, this conference discusses and explores the expanding integration of mathematics and analytics within the realm of sports. It is of major significance in the sports industry and is the largest student-led conference in the world. I have a number of friends and connections at M7 and European business schools who have attended this conference and subsequently secured valuable internship and job opportunities. I’m looking forward to making the most of this as a Sloan student and getting involved!

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloan’s biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests? I’m really looking forward to the Enterprise Management Lab. It seems to play on the part of being a lawyer that I most enjoyed: taking a step back and thinking through the major interrelating issues affecting a business, then creating a holistic plan to resolve these problems. The course should be a lot of fun and seems like a great opportunity to work with some of the most innovative and high-profile companies in the world on complex challenges that they are facing.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? Creativity.

The view of MIT as historically focused on technology and engineering isn’t wrong, but what has struck me is the University’s success in applying its wealth of knowledge and experience in these areas to other industries and societal challenges.

There is an incredible array of success stories of MIT students leveraging the learning and platform provided by MIT in creative and unexpected ways. My favorite—especially given how messy some of my housemates have been over the years—is actually the Roomba, which was a venture created by MIT students in the 1990s!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Over the course of my legal career, there are a number of pro bono and personal achievements that I take immense pride in. However, from a professional standpoint, one deal that springs to mind is my work for Blackstone on its financing of the acquisition of a majority shareholding in VFS Global, a visa processing company. As part of the deal, and given the inherently international nature of the company, I spent months delving into and learning about VFS’s operations and financial activities across more than 100 countries.

In my experience, there is a growing expectation that lawyers should go beyond simply applying the law by actively exploring and understanding the commercial intricacies of the deals they handle. My experience with VFS underscored how interesting and exciting these types of deals could be from a commercial perspective. This deal is, consequently, a major factor as to why I am now pursuing an MBA. My end goal is to become more consistently involved in companies’ commercial decision making (which sometimes seemed to be a fair bit more exciting than the legal work!)

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia, GSB, Haas, HBS, Wharton

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? Like a lot of Sloan MBA students, I’m still working this out!

I’m very interested in management consulting, which is a field with a lot of parallels to law. Consulting is an advisory role, working on the same deals as firms like Kirkland & Ellis (and my former firm, Skadden), but from a high-level strategy perspective.

That being said, Sloan offers an extraordinary (and almost paralyzing) range of opportunities, many of which I’d never considered or encountered. The breadth of these opportunities – spanning from start-ups to management positions at multinational companies to strategic roles at sports franchises – continues to amaze me and reaffirm my decision on coming to Sloan. I’m looking forward to exploring some of these as I start and progress through my MBA.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? MIT Sloan values applicants who express genuine enthusiasm and a clear sense of what they can achieve both at and through their experiences at the School. Both MIT and MIT Sloan offer a unique platform and applicants should have an idea about what they want to do with this. Your idea does not have to be finished and polished, but it should be something you’ve thought about and are passionate about – if it is, that passion will come through in your application (including the video portion) and interview.

If it makes you feel any better when you are preparing to apply, I filmed the video segment of my application in London in April – I spent about two hours outside in the pouring rain before I filmed something even remotely serviceable. Sloan’s application is different to a lot of other business schools –make the most of it and try to have fun!

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