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Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Laura Hyland, Columbia Business School


“Curious, tea-loving Brit, passionate about the entertainment industry and its ability for positive impact.”

Hometown: Southport, England

Fun Fact About Yourself: I swam in the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Connecticut, Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: IMG, Senior Business Operations and Development Manager

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? For me, CBS’s emphasis on dynamic leadership with a forward-thinking curriculum really stood out. Specifically, the Media and Technology Program is a great example of this and offered an incredible opportunity to get into an area of study that really interests me and is directly applicable to my long-term goals. With the media and entertainment industry being driven by adaptability and the need to remain at the forefront of rapidly shifting trends and technologies. I felt the leading faculty and diversity of courses from Media & Entertainment: Strategy & Consulting Projects to Public Policy and Business Strategy would place me in a great position to engage in thought-provoking discussions and gain unique insights and perspective that can be leveraged in my future career.

What has been your first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best CBS story so far. In my experience so far, it’s clear how supportive CBS students and alumni are, each with a genuine passion and excitement for the school. Being an international student and applying amid COVID travel restrictions, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit CBS. As a result, the conversations I had with students and alumni were crucial in helping me develop a more in-depth understanding of the school and community. Everyone I reached out to was incredibly kind which made me even more excited at the prospect of being a CBS student!

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What course, club or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School? I’m really excited about the opportunities available with The Chazen Institute and the cross-cultural learning this promotes – I’m hoping to join one of the Global Immersion Programs and gain hands-on experience working on a project internationally.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my favourite moments was being part of the team producing one of London’s first events, following the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. After a challenging year where, for the most part, the events industry had been brought to a standstill, it was deeply rewarding to be part of a team that put so much hard work, effort, and due diligence into creating a fun, yet safe experience. Being on-site and witnessing the joy and happiness of audiences with the return of experiences and entertainment was also an important reminder of its impact.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I reached a pivotal point in my career where I wanted to take the time to invest in my professional and personal growth to achieve my goals and I knew an MBA would be invaluable in helping me bridge the gaps in my knowledge, expand my network, and develop into a better, more confident business leader. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of professional mentors who encouraged me to take this step and hope to return to the entertainment industry in a corporate development/strategy role.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? A book I discussed in my essay is the extraordinary story of Andy Grant: You’ll Never Walk. His journey was catalyzed by a single sentence – “99.9% need not apply” – and has an important narrative around pushing beyond your comfort zone and chasing opportunities. For many, including myself, applying for MBA programs can be a daunting process warranting a lot of self-reflection, and I found this book great motivation to believe in yourself and go after what you want.

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What other MBA programs did you apply to?  HBS

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? Be yourself! It sounds cliché, but as a non-traditional applicant the best advice I got was that everyone has a story to tell; the application process is about capturing your story and telling it in a way that demonstrates both how you can add value to CBS and why the school and program is the right fit for you.





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