Applicant Voice: TV Exec Eyes Top-Ranked MBA To Make The Transition Into Entrepreneurship

Bryan Johnson wants to start his own media company one day. He’s applying to top b-schools like Columbia, NYU Stern, University of Virginia Darden and Johnson at Cornell

“It’s the best and the worst of times to work in television,” says Bryan Johnson, an MBA applicant and manager at the CBS Corporation.

Television is experiencing something of a golden age in terms of its programming. Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad are leading examples of smart TV. At the same time, traditional TV networks face stiff competition from internet disruptors like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Bryan has spent his entire career in local and national television. While he’s successfully worked his way up to a management role, he feels he needs to enhance his business skills and take the next step in his career with an MBA.

With this in mind, Bryan is applying to a range of top-ranked b-schools in the US, including Columbia Business School (CBS), Johnson at Cornell, NYU Stern, UCLA Anderson, University of Virginia Darden Business School and USC Marshall. He took the GRE over the GMAT.

Bryan is not only looking at programs that provide immediate results however, he’s looking at this as a long-term investment. With his long-term goal to found a media company that champions underrepresented voices, Bryan sees the MBA skillset as integral to achieving his career ambitions.

Why have you decided to pursue an MBA?

I'd like to spend the next phase of my career developing skill sets and establishing contacts in the entertainment industry that will allow me to start my own media company. There are so many great stories that women, minorities and LGBT people want to tell, but can’t tell because they don’t have the resources, funding and connections. I want to invest in their vision.

The programs I’m applying to are all prestigious and have a strong network of alumni. They are all strong in general management, marketing and entrepreneurship and have the best of the best teaching at them.

I also need my MBA to give me the analytical tools and reasoning to look at a problem from different points of view. I also want a program that places a premium on leadership development and the critical soft skills that any executive needs to succeed in business and in life.

All these skills will be increasingly important as I get closer to establishing my own firm.

Why did you decide to take the GRE over the GMAT?

I believe the GRE offers the most flexibility of any standardized test for graduate school. I am also considering doing a dual MBA-MPA as I have a strong passion for social justice issues especially when they involve media and entertainment.

How do you plan to fund your degree?

Loans! Because business school is very expensive, and I’m borrowing from my future earnings, I’m looking at Return on Investment (ROI), prestige and course offerings. I view this as a significant investment in myself.

What advice do you have for others considering an MBA?

The MBA is a major investment and should not be taken lightly. I would encourage those seeking an MBA at least obtain a junior level management role first. Being a star individual performer with high potential is different than being a star manager with high potential.

You want to be able to demonstrate that you’re not only management material, but that you will be able to function at the highest levels of management with the right guidance and experience which the MBA will certainly help in that endeavor. Show that you can not only ‘talk the talk’, but ‘walk the walk’ too.

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