Real Humans of the Miami Business School
Ethan Pastel, Miami Business School MBA Class of 2020
Hometown: Lexington, MA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Denver, Marketing Major, Italian Minor
Pre-MBA Work Experience: I worked for 5.5 years in the consumer products industry at Reebok and New Balance as a product cost analyst.
Why business school? Why now? I wanted to go to business school to pivot towards a career in marketing. Also, I felt that I wasn’t learning and developing as much as I wanted in my current role. It was ideal timing because my wife and I had been considering moving to Florida, and business school offered me a chance to have a fresh start in a new location.
Why the Miami Business School MBA program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? I chose the University of Miami for multiple reasons. UM has been ranked near the top 50 business schools in the country. It has a tremendous reputation and is the premier option in the South Florida area. The location was ideal for me because it’s close to family. Finally, UM is unique in that it provides amazing exposure to Latin American business and culture.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your MBA class? There are two contributions I made to my MBA class. Along with some other students, I founded The MBS Sustainability Club, an extracurricular club focused on learning about the business incentives supporting environmental and social sustainability. I also brought my five-plus years of professional experience from prominent corporations. I used this experience to provide insight to some of the younger students about how work really is.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? My first job out of college was a temp job doing data entry at a health insurance company. I was hired to complete a specific project that was only supposed to last one month. When the project was complete, I was asked to stay on with the company for another month. I was the only one offered an extension out of a group of ten. I ended up being kept on for five more months. In month five, I negotiated a three-day work week so that I could pursue full-time employment. Near the end of month six, I found a job at New Balance which launched my career.
Post-MBA career interests? My post-MBA career interests lie in the marketing industry. I would like to either be a brand manager or involved in product, as a product developer or product manager. I also think that my creativity with brainstorming ideas could lend itself to entrepreneurship
Advice to Prospective MBA Applicants
One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? Before getting my MBA, I tried to talk to as many people in my office as I could about graduate school. I got a lot of feedback both positive and negative. I learned that it wasn’t absolutely necessary to succeed in my industry without it. In the end, it was helpful to hear from multiple perspectives before making my decision and I ultimately decided that an MBA was the right move.
Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? I wish I could have skipped taking the GMAT. To help me get through the GMAT, I took a prep course. Since the GMAT is a major component for scholarship consideration, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I like to think that the class paid for itself because the scholarship I received far outweighed the initial investment for the class.
Greatest highlight so far at the Miami Business School? The greatest highlight was the Miami Leadership Challenge. It was a great experience where they throw you in to a mock crisis situation. Your team then has to come up with a press release, go through a boardroom meeting, and if you get far enough, participate in a press conference.
One thing about the Miami Business School that you didn’t expect before arriving? One thing I didn’t expect about University of Miami is the diversity. There are many people from all over the world. I didn’t expect to see so many countries represented.
Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? I was most anxious about grades. My scholarship has a performance incentive attached to it, so I really wanted to do well in all my classes. Luckily, I got my internship early in the year, so it did not dominate my anxiety.
Thing you were most excited about in your first year? I was most excited about meeting my fellow classmates. It is a great networking opportunity and I developed some great relationships. The program has many great people in it and I feel like everyone is friendly with each other despite cohort separation and friendship cliques.