Darden MBA with Media Aspirations
This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Laura Wilson...
Accepted: We'd like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Laura: I grew up in Washington, DC. I spent freshman year and the first semester of sophomore year at the University of Michigan, in their School of Art and Design. I was pursuing a BFA, but my interest in politics sparked my decision in transferring to Georgetown, where I studied government, but still maintained a major in studio art, with a focus in oil painting.
Accepted: Where are you currently in b-school? What year?
Laura: Currently I am a second year student at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
Accepted: How did you know that the UVA Darden program was the right "fit" for you? Tell us about your accomplishment of receiving the Batten Media Fellowship at Darden.
Laura: So I actually first heard about Darden through my cousin Brian and his wife, Katie. They graduated from Darden a few years before I was accepted, and they had both been raving about it ever since. I was originally planning on heading out west, looking predominantly at schools around the Los Angeles area, knowing that I wanted to continue to pursue a career in media after graduation. Darden caught my eye one night when I was working on applications and I noticed that they offered full tuition fellowships for candidates exactly like me, who had experience working in broadcast television and wanted to use their business school degrees to further a career in media. I knew that if I were to get into Darden, this fellowship would be a perfect fit for me, and was very certain that I would get it. I was far less certain that I would be able to gain acceptance to Darden in the first place, though.
Accepted: What has been your favorite part of b-school so far?
Laura: My favorite part about Darden so far has definitely been the people. The students, faculty, and administration have all proved to be extremely supportive, engaging, and uniquely interesting. There is a real sense of community that comes from this shared experience that we have all embarked on together. It still surprises me that within a program that is so demanding and competitive, students are still so supportive of each other, and collaborate so brilliantly.
Accepted: You've worked in production for both PopSugar and NBC News! How has that work prepared you for an MBA?
Laura: As different as news production is from any sort of career that I’m preparing myself for at Darden, it certainly instilled in me a set of characteristics that has been tremendously helpful during my time here, which I think will carry on through my future career as well. When working in news you have to be able to think on your feet and always be ready to take decisive action. You have to be fluid and adaptable to changing circumstances. You also learn to work with a variety of people within many different departments, so being able to be a team player is essential.
Accepted: What field of work to you plan on going into after graduation?
Laura: I plan to continue my career in media. I’m unsure which angle I’ll approach this objective at, but right now I’m considering a variety of options, ranging from tech startups, to cable companies.
Accepted: Lastly... Looking back at the application process, did you experience any challenges along the way? How did you overcome them?
Laura: Well, candidly, during my first round of applications I was waitlisted at several of my top choice schools, which caused me to reevaluate my options, to say the least. It can be disheartening when something you have become so dead set on does not end up panning out, but I think the important thing is to realize that getting waitlisted or rejected from one school has no bearing on the decision of another school. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right match.
Thank you Laura for sharing your story with us - we wish you continued success!
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