Thursday, July 12, 2012

Artists & MBAs - Interview with Business Because

Below is a brief interview I received from Jessica Bradley at Business Because, the online community for business schools. I had received another BB interview from Kirti Dhingra back in 2009 when I was in the AGSM MBA program: When Right Meets Left: An Artist at B School

Hi Jonathan

Hope you are well!

I'm a journalist at and I'm getting in touch with a small request.

I'm working on a story about the dreaded business school interview and would love to hear your advice for candidates who are preparing for their interviews now.

Specifically, was there a question that you found particularly tough in your interview for IE Business School? How did you answer at the time? And how would you answer it now, having done your MBA?

It would be great to hear about your experience, so that others can benefit from your wisdom!

I'm sure you're very busy so a brief response is fine!

Thanks in advance for your help and look forward to hearing from you!


Jessica Bradley

Business Because

Dear Jessica,

Regarding the interview for business school, let me first tell you that I was a visual art major in undergraduate at Duke University and came at the whole MBA experience from a much different perspective than most applicants.

The most challenging preparation for my application was not the interview but studying for and passing the GMAT. I'm very proud to this day of that accomplishment, and honestly find the grammar and syntax training useful to this day.

Now on to the interview. My interview was with Sharyn Roberts, who was then the director of the AGSM MBA Program at the newly formed Australian School of Business.

Sharyn was the kindest, most motherly figure I could have imagined, and the interview was in New York. I had taken the Amtrak train from my home at the time in Durham, North Carolina with my girlfriend at the time, and the whole trip was really fun.

Sitting across from Sharyn, I simply presented my interests, my passions, and my character as accurately as I could, not knowing what to say or even how to prepare for something like this.

She filled me with more confidence than I had going in, and encouraged me that I would "be one of the new leaders they are looking for". This could have simply been an excellent sales tactic, but I'd like to believe her and feel that I am living into that; my highest potential.

So, to fully answer your question. She was not the "grilling" type of person in her interview style. There was no question I couldn't answer, only experiences I didn't have yet and would not have until I'd completed the degree.

If I were sitting in that chair again, I would have stated just as much that I know the MBA would be a humbling experience, I just had no idea how much and to what extent it would have an impact on my psychological constitution.

I agree with Roger Martin in his book "The Design of Business" that more people looking to do an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) should get an MBA, so our Masters of Business Administration are leading from our own collective future of highest potential.

With creative business leaders, we will see more of our problems being solved through businesses in the free market that are not afraid to lead with a positive intuition based on the creative spirit that keeps artists feeling truly alive.

It is my calling in life to show that artists, when given business knowledge, can truly lead if not simply add value to the otherwise intimidating world of business that has driven the global economy to where we are today.

As we start using more of our right brains to match the traditional left brains in business, we also open up the creative and feminine energies that we all posses. The more creative our business leaders, the more women and minorities will also have a seat at the table.

I'm infinitely glad that I completed the MBA, and the interview was one small part that I'm glad was not a source of discouragement. If you want a story about discouraging interviews, ask me about case interviews for management consulting firms!