Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Jake Daniels, MIT (Sloan)

Jake Daniels

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Entertainment industry futurist. I’m building new tools and workflows for storytellers and studios.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: Every year, a meteor shower peaks on the night of my birthday. I always watch it with close friends, ideally from a beach.

Undergraduate School and Major: Northwestern University, Radio/TV/Film, minor in Computer Science with a Design Thinking Certificate

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: NBCUniversal, Drama Development Coordinator for Universal Television

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloans MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I wanted to attend a program where I could gain real-world experience designing or redesigning business processes for the future. With the plethora of MIT’s incredible talks about revolutionary technologies, entrepreneurial resources, and the emphasis on learning as a “mens et manus” (mind and hand) endeavor, there’s a pervasive energy of creativity and possibility at Sloan. I asked a few of the professors if I could see the syllabi for their courses, and I was impressed that they featured discussions around imagining the potential effects of new technologies within industries. The program feels current, skill-focused and aimed at engaging with a changing world, which are exactly the attributes I wish to exhibit in my career.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan? Given my enthusiasm for the entertainment industry, I am of course excited to be involved with the Entertainment, Media & Sports Club. As AI has trickled into pop culture, I’ve seen more interaction between the entertainment industry and MIT, so I’m looking forward to sitting right at that intersection. I’m also eager to attend events put on by The Yarn, MIT Sloan’s storytelling group.

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloans biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests? As someone with a deep interest in technology but who hasn’t worked in the field, I’m interested in Digital Product Management Lab as an opportunity to build practical experience on teams developing new tools.

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? The standout impression thus far is one of trust in the abilities and ideas of Sloanies. The resources available for entrepreneurship and the hands-on nature of the Action Learning Labs demonstrate that the program wants to support us in using our skills to build new things, now. It’s a community of doers, with a collaborative, cross-MIT infrastructure that encourages doing. MBAs team up with PhDs and other members of the community on a regular basis.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It’s really lovely seeing audiences respond to television shows I’ve helped develop creatively. My proudest moments, though, come from introducing my company (and some of the creators we work with) to emerging technologies that can help us realize stories in new, artist-supportive ways. I’ve been able to present these ideas to people I deeply admire, and I’ve been working with them to integrate new tools and ideas into everyday creative processes.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT Sloan was the dream destination. Its philosophy on teaching its students to be innovators inspired me to consider applying to MBA programs in the first place. I also applied to Northwestern Kellogg, Stanford GSB, UCLA Anderson, Harvard Business School and Yale SOM.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? As the newest wave of disruption hits the entertainment industry, I think there will be a desperate need to redesign many of the existing business models and workflows – I aim to be a part of that process. Tangibly, this either means a new, tech-focused version of a strategy role at a studio, or a hands-on role shaping new tools within a venture of my own or at an entertainment-facing startup.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? Really ponder the question of “why MIT Sloan?” What are the attributes that excite you most about the atmosphere of this program? What elements of this atmosphere have you found fulfilling when you’ve experienced them in other contexts? Those are the examples from your past that you should highlight in your application – the times when you realized you might be a Sloanie.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.