I think I arrived at Harvard Business School imagining I was an “unconventional” applicant, the “unicorn” of sorts. This misperception is soon remedied as soon as you meet your fellow students here—I think we’re all pretty unconventional in our own ways and especially in our career pursuits.
I started my pre-professional career mostly in the creative arts. I started professionally acting at age 9 and quickly retired at age 15 when high school took priority. My brief professional acting career was always a joy. I truly enjoyed that creative outlet and professional experience (even at that age it was always important to show up on-time and be “insurable” and less how amazing a performer you were). At some point I figured out I loved the producing aspect more. I liked managing a production—from the team-building to marketing to facilitating the day-of show. This came to a forefront in college when I chaired the joint faculty-student theater production board, selecting the shows, casting, marketing, and strategizing the overall organizational creative vision. In parallel to theater, I also started the process of writing and executive producing a pilot TV show I crowd-sourced funded and completed in 2013 called “Spicy Wit” (www.spicywit.com).
During my summers I never lived at home in Boston. I bounced around the world, interning at a television show, several cable properties, a record label, and, oddly enough, a large international insurance company. I was expecting my career to end somewhere in the creative arts, maybe theater, maybe cable, maybe the movies? It was a true shock when the opportunity to do strategic consulting fell in my lap. I loved my three years working in D.C. where I learned more about myself, my work and leadership style, than ever before. In all honesty, at some point, maybe spurred by my webseries, the itch returned. I knew I loved media and I had experienced this new egalitarian system where we could all be content creators and reach an audience (if the content was good). I began to see myself in digital content and I knew I could have a hand in making something resonant and impactful. The logical next step was to come to business school where I could quickly make the career shift (back?) to where I believe I belong.
All in all, that brought me to my summer job search about a year ago. Pursuing something in the media/entertainment space is definitely a different route than some of my classmates but far from a lonely one. We have a robust and collaborative Entertainment and Media Club (EMC) here on campus, led by some amazingly inspired classmates who lead us on treks across the country and world, organize a stellar and attention-grabbing conference each year (which I worked on in 2015 with a keynote from Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner), and draw influential and forward-thinking speakers. The club is an amazing resource as well as CPD where I have a career coach I call on frequently.
The job search complexity in the entertainment/media space has always been clearly explained by my more experienced classmates. We seem to recruit a bit later and interesting job opportunities appear in the spring more frequently than the fall. I look forward to using this spring to find a great role in the entertainment media space where I can have a hand in both the creative as well as the managerial.
– Nick White, MBA 2015