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Opportunity knocks

I came to business school with a very specific end goal in mind, namely a return to the media & entertainment sector. Throughout the application process I was told by various people that, if I was serious about this, I needed to go to school in either New York or LA. These cities are the main hives of sector activity and proximity to them could certainly be an asset. However, after sounding out more or less anyone who would give me the time of day throughout the post-application phase, I decided against both. Business schools tend to be defined in the market - rightly or wrongly - for certain specialisms or for their strength in faculty, teaching or research in particular facets of business and management. By this definition, Yale would not be seen as a “media & entertainment school” and, let’s face it, New Haven is never going to be the be all and end all for the industry. So why choose Yale with this goal in mind? Well, the fact is that this institution opens doors and if it doesn’t open the door for you, it at least ensures that the door is built and ready to be opened with a little focused effort on your part. Less than two months into my time here, the alumni network and speaker series has already blown me away. In the past 6 weeks, the school has given me the opportunity to spend 90 minutes with the CEO of Time Warner and MBA leaders in each of the company’s divisions, have lunch with a Senior VP from Vivendi, meet and have lunch with a Director from NBC Universal, hear from Playboy Enterprises’ former President of Media, hear from NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw discussing the future of journalism and to attend a panel and networking reception in New York this Wednesday surrounding "The Future of Media". In addition, the media & entertainment club has facilitated opportunities at the Cannes film festival and is also concocting a plan for Sundance, almost every other classmate I talk to knows someone in the industry who they can introduce me to, and an hour spent with the alumni database revealed alumni at practically each and every one of the big players in the media & entertainment sector. So, is Yale SOM a “media & entertainment school"? The answer - based on my experience so far - is that, with the strength of the school’s brand, its diverse student body and the University’s alumni network, it can be whatever you want it to be.