Each week, we sit down and get to know one of our MBA Consultants.
And your MBA is from…
Why did you go for an MBA?
I decided to get an MBA when I was a journalist covering private equity and venture capital. I had spent so much time talking to partners and CEOs and investors, I decided that I, too, could make “things” happen rather than write about “things” happening. When I actually did apply to MBA programs, I had been working in the non-profit sector, and thought an MBA would be a gateway to a non-profit consulting career. Once I actually began my program at the Yale School of Management, a whole world of possibilities exploded in front of me. That’s when I realized the value of the MBA wasn’t necessarily a stepping stone toward a single career path (though for many of my classmates, it was that exactly, and more power to them); rather, the MBA, for me, was a way of thinking, a way of approaching problems and challenges, regardless of what sector or industry or functional role, that can be applied to any company or organization or situation imaginable. The MBA is the most cross-functional and most versatile degree for today’s ever-changing world.
What’s your all-time favorite memory from business school?
At the Yale School of Management, all MBAs participate in an International Experience as part of their curriculum, and from the options available my year, I chose South Africa and Namibia. We spent a week across these two countries, meeting with leaders, business types, and the like across the for-profit and non-profit sectors. My favorite memory, though, was visiting the Gobabeb Research & Training Centre in the middle of the Namib Desert. When it became dark, one of the centre’s workers took a group of us to the top of the sand dunes, and we lay in the sand while staring at the Milky Way Galaxy above us. I have never seen the night sky so clearly in my life. Every 15 seconds, a shooting star would graze the heavens. It’s my favorite memory, because at that point, we were all these intellectual MBAs at such a remote place, reminding us, that as much as we should take immense pride in our knowledge and capabilities, we must remain humble, because we are just a small part in a greater whole.
What do you like most about being an MBA consultant?
Throughout my many incarnations spanning media, non-profits, and corporate consulting, the common thread has always been a passion for stories – hearing stories, telling stories, writing stories, PowerPointing stories. Whether talking to venture capital investors about opportunities in the Israeli tech sector or asking potential funders to support theater education programs for NYC public schoolchildren, I revel in learning new things, meeting new people, and being able to fully understand, appreciate, and communicate what I’ve uncovered to others. This is why I feel so privileged to be doing admissions consulting: working with applicants to develop their stories for admissions committees is also an opportunity for me to discover from them something about the world that I would never have considered before.
What’s the COOLEST place you’ve ever been?
In January 2008, along with six other of my MBA classmates, I climbed to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Over the course of a week, we hiked higher and higher from one base camp to the next. We saw the climates and wildlife change before our eyes; we woke up each morning surrounded by clouds below us because, yes, we had climbed above the clouds; we pushed ourselves more and more each day as the oxygen levels dropped and the exhaustion increased. That final summit, when we started our ascent in the middle of the night with a freak blizzard whipping knife-like snow and ice at our faces, when we were all sleep-deprived and delirious, when all we could see ahead of us during our climb to the crater at the top was a string of headlamps of the hikers ahead of us and nothing more, we were rewarded with a dawn of the sun atop the mountain, atop a now-melted glacier (thanks, Climate Change) that lit up with pinks and blues the color of circus cotton candy. We were at the top of the highest point in Africa. We were literally on top of the world. Maybe I cried because my body was so physically and mentally exhausted. Or maybe I cried because it was the cooooooooolest place I’d ever been in my life (it also gets pretty coooool, temperature-wise, 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level.
What’s your most embarassing moment from school?
My MBA school experience coincided with the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. Students volunteered to represent a candidate in class for a debate. I thought that meant dressing the part too. My candidate was Hillary Clinton. I dressed up in a female pantsuit I bought from the New Haven Salvation Army. Nobody else dressed up. Thank heavens I didn’t buy that wig I had been eyeing….
Tell us something surprising about you.
I’m a first-generation American citizen – my parents are both immigrants from Poland. My sister and I grew up in a household where we were encouraged/required to explore our heritage: speaking Polish at home, adhering to culture and tradition, attending Polish school each Saturday. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, after completing a Polish poetry and literature course, I spent an academic quarter with Prof. Clare Cavanagh, the English translator for Polish Nobel poet laureate Wisława Symborszka and other noteworthy post-WWII Polish writers, learning how to translate Polish poetry and prose into English.
Get to know more about Arthur Janik, Admissionado MBA Consultant.