In a way, life on Netflix and life in an MBA program aren’t a million miles apart. You’ve just finished an episode of problem solving and communications and a small bar pops up in the right-hand corner of the screen—it loads quicker than you can react, and the next episode begins, this time it’s ethics and sustainability. In both scenarios, it’s a fast-paced way to gain vast amounts of information and input.
The road to the MBA
Shakti spent the first 18 years of her life in Mauritius. She says that academically, the culture is very results and grade oriented.
Her performance-based education was combined with an outward, global upbringing. Shakti’s mother is from India but was born in Mauritius, and her father is half-Chinese, half French. She says she was raised to be tolerant and open minded, and to strive to understand the differences between people, cultures, and beliefs.
Shakti left the island to move to the UK when she was 18, to pursue an undergraduate degree in marketing management. After graduating, she spent three years working at dunnhumby, the marketing agency of Tesco.
But that role entailed working for Tesco’s different partners and Shakti began to crave a position that would allow her to use her marketing skills to build out a single brand. That’s when the MBA came into play.
With offers from INSEAD, Oxford Saïd, and HEC Paris on the table, the latter prevailed. Shakti says she had heard a multitude of strong reviews about marketing and the HEC Paris MBA.
The 16-month length of the program was ideal, she adds, as well as the diversity of the program. As a bonus, she also had the chance to go on an international exchange.
How the MBA prepared me for a career at Netflix
During the MBA, Shakti didn’t take any modules specifically targeting big tech and entertainment. Even though marketing was her planned direction, she didn’t envisage joining a company like Netflix.
However, the MBA prepared her to succeed in her current role, as a partner marketing creative, in myriad ways.
“It prepared me to understand the different aspects of a business, and to have a broader view of the business world, which is very important.
“Right now, with the sector I’m working in, it’s also very important to understand different cultures because entertainment and how you market entertainment is very subjective,” she explains. “So, being in a group of students from all over the world was very useful.”
In addition, a slice of serendipity was on the cards. The first working group Shakti was placed in at the HEC Paris MBA was made up of students from China, Mexico, and Russia. There was also Johann Matthai, from India.
Being in the same group as Johann was complete chance, Shakti says, and they became close during the program. But it wasn’t until after their separate international exchanges—her in Barcelona and him in the US—that they knew they wanted to be together. They’ve been a couple ever since, officially getting married in 2018 in Mauritius with 21 of their former MBA classmates in attendance.
The cultural diversity in the MBA helped Shakti to see things from multiple perspectives, to broaden her approach to problems.
It also trained her to deal with different types of workloads, she says, from interview preparation, to group work, to individual assignments. That helps her manage her workload now, and to know how to prioritize her time.
Joining the streaming war
It took two roles after graduating before Shakti ended up at Netflix—first as a marketing intern at Orange for six months, and then a year as EMEA marketing project manager for ZOO, Google’s creative agency.
Six months after Johann landed a job in Amsterdam with Deloitte, Shakti began looking there for a new challenge—she soon came across her current role and has been with the company since February 2018.
So, what’s it like working for one of the biggest companies in the world?
“It’s a very performance-driven culture, which they always put forward—they want their people to do their best,” Shakti explains.
“I’ll have been there for two years in February and I don’t think there’s been a day where I’ve ever been bored, or thought I’m not learning enough.”
New shows are continuously being released for different markets, so Shakti’s role involves a constantly changing workload. There’s also a lot of emphasis put on freedom and responsibility within Netflix’s teams, something Shakti says is a strong incentive for employees.
There’s also a direct link back to her childhood. “In terms of culture, you’re always working with different groups, so being open and tolerant is very important,” Shakti says.
Her favorite recent shows have been Sex Education and Money Heist—but she admits that you have to watch a lot of content to keep up to date with the latest releases and whether certain shows will fit certain markets.
Is she concerned about the nascent streaming competition?
“The CEO of our company has said a lot of times the competition will only help, and we should focus on the content and product being great because that’s why people come to us.
“As long as we keep doing this really well, that’s how we’ll keep going and not lose to the competition. We’re not focusing on what the others are doing, but on making sure what we do keeps getting better.”
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I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.
Internationality and diversity of opportunities
About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.
Great selection of people
While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.
Best in France for Grande ecole
A prestigious business school. Languages are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.
Diversity and quality of fellow students
Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.
The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs
The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.
HEC Paris awaits you
HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.
A dream institute
Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!