Real Humans of the York University Schulich School of Business
Elizabeth Owens Skidmore, York Schulich MBA
Why business school? Why now? I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in theater and a minor in history, and was a performer for twenty years. Almost three years ago, I realized I wanted to stop performing and get into the business side of the entertainment industry, so I started considering grad school. After a considerable amount of research into different masters programs, I decided that business school would be the best way to learn what I wanted and needed to learn. It seemed to be the most versatile degree that could translate to any industry or profession I might want to pursue in the future.
Why the York University Schulich School of Business MBA program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? Schulich was the only MBA program and the only grad school I applied to and it was because of the Arts, Media & Entertainment Management specialization. It is one of the only programs like it in Canada. In addition, I attended the MBA Tour and a Schulich information session, and I immediately felt a connection with the recruitment staff. I loved the spirit and camaraderie they displayed and their genuine enthusiasm for the program. I also really liked that Schulich’s MBA had flexibility built into it, from taking some classes at the downtown campus to the opportunity to do an international exchange semester.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your MBA class? Because of my non-traditional business background, I was worried that I would be at a disadvantage. However, that point of differentiation has turned out to be my greatest asset. I have communication, presentation, and people skills from my time as a performer and administrator that have proved to be extremely valuable.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I am an Olympics junkie. Those few weeks every two years are so much fun and I hope to attend in person one day!
Post-MBA career interests: I plan to pursue a career in sports and entertainment business, specifically in corporate partnerships and events for major league sports teams.
Advice to Prospective MBA Applicants
One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? I approached the application as a learning process. I took it seriously, but I tried not to stress too much about the outcome. I also tried to bring my true self to the table and didn’t worry too much about trying to fit into a traditional business student mould. I was either going to be a good fit or not, and past working hard and submitting an application I was proud of, it was in Schulich’s hands.
One thing you would change or do differently? I would have attended a Schulich-specific recruitment event to try to meet more current students and alumni and see the campus. My first time seeing the school was on the first day of orientation in September!
Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? Preparing for and writing the GRE was a huge task, especially having been out of the school and studying routine for four years. What helped me get through it was a rigorous study schedule that I made myself stick to and endless encouragement from my friends and family.
Greatest highlight so far at Schulich/York? The highlight of my time at Schulich has been my experience being an executive on our Graduate Business Council. The incredible team of people I get to work with every single day on the GBC is what gets me out of bed each day! Spending my summer term on exchange in Copenhagen would be right up there as well.
One thing about Schulich/York that you didn’t expect before arriving? I did not expect the community of students to be so warm and welcoming. I had heard how great it was from my interviews and speaking with staff at the MBA Tour, but I did not know how incredible my classmates were going to be. To have found such an inspiring and supportive group of friends at school has been a huge gift.
Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? I was anxious about my core courses in the subjects I had never taken before, like finance and accounting. Thankfully, my professors were extremely supportive and took the time to track along with me.
Thing you were most excited about in your first year? I was most excited for the chance to learn again for two years. I wanted to see how far I could push myself and figure out what I was actually capable of. I found that every class pushed me past what I thought my limit was and I am in awe of how much personal and professional development happened in first year.