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Real Humans of SMU Cox’s MBA Class of 2021

Michelle Jaynes, SMU Cox MBA Class of 2021

Michelle Jaynes, SMU Cox MBA Class of 2021, Cox Distinguished Scholar, Forte Fellow

Age: 27
Hometown: Austin, TX
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Texas at Austin, BBA in Finance and BA in Studio Art

Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
I worked in merchandising for 5 years at C3 Presents, a concert promoter and event producer located in Austin, TX, primarily on music festivals like Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL).

Why business school? Why now?
I always knew I wanted to pursue my MBA. I had been with my previous company for over 8 years including my part-time work in undergrad, and I was ready to transition out of the music industry. I knew returning to school would give me the business skills and preparation necessary to transition to a more traditional industry.

Why SMU Cox? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose SMU Cox because it provided me with everything I was looking for in a program. Location was a big factor in my decision; Dallas is a great city with an amazing job market and I have family in the area. The program itself stood out to me because of the quality of the faculty and resources as well as the small class size.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I think my background brings a unique perspective as well as insight into an industry that is not as common in MBA programs.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love to paint, primarily large-scale oil paintings.

Post-MBA career interests?
Management consulting with a focus on the retail.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Travel to as many schools as possible to get a feel for the program and culture.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I wish I would have started preparing my resume and personal stories earlier, it’s not over when you finish the GMAT!

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Preparing for the GMAT was difficult with a full-time job that required travelling on weekends, creating a strict study schedule during our slow season and sticking to it got me to the finish line.

What is your initial impression of SMU Cox’s students/culture/community?
SMU Cox is a very small and supportive community. You can tell the faculty care about your success academically and professionally. Our class is very tight-knit and inclusive, the school provides lots of opportunities to get to know each other before the program starts, which makes the first weeks of class much easier.

One thing you have learned about SMU Cox that has surprised you?
I knew SMU Cox had a strong professional network before attending, but I was surprised to learn how large the network is given that it is a smaller private school. You can find a member of the SMU community at almost any company that is willing to help.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
There are so many great opportunities (clubs, social events, recruiting events, etc.) that it’s impossible to find time for everything, choosing where to prioritize time can be very stressful.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m excited for our Global Leadership Program at the end of the spring semester. The GLP takes all first-years on a 10-day international trip. I’m looking forward to going to Shanghai and Hong Kong to learn about their business practices and explore the culture with my friends from the program.

Posted in: MBA Feature, Real Humans of MBA Class of 2021, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: SMU Cox

About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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