Student Podcast at MIT Sloan Looks for Meaning in MBA Careers

Student podcast on MBA careers

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For much of the academic year, two second-year MBA students at MIT Sloan have been running a podcast aimed at discussing some of the more unconventional MBA careers available to those graduating business school.

Lily Chen and Erica Zendell have been talking through the MIT Sloan experience with fellow classmates in the hope of finding out how people identify and pursue meaning in MBA careers. Along the way, they’ve also roped in a few faculty members and professionals who have made some pretty interesting career choices.

General themes within the podcast have included starting an entrepreneurial venture before leaving business school (6% of last year’s MBA class at MIT Sloan were working on their own enterprises directly after graduating) and achieving work-life balance. An episode entitled ‘The Necessary Evil of Networking’ features fellow MIT Sloan MBA, Kate Agnew, talking about her internship with DreamWorks as a ‘franchise and brand development’ intern and her thinking on MBA careers in the entertainment industry. Speaking of entertainment, the podcast also features guests naming their choice of ‘power song’ as well as the hosts’ recounting their ‘moment of awesome’ for the episode.

MIT Sloan student on the challenges of getting MBAs to listen in

“We’ve recorded in study rooms, at Lily’s place, at my place, at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepeneurship … basically anywhere that’s reliably quiet enough,” explains Zendell, who draws on her own interests in pursuing “something that involves public speaking” with the podcast while Chen, a musician, has been putting her knowledge of audio recording and production to good use.

The podcast certainly appears to be a labor of love as the duo initially spent 15 hours working on each episode. However, now midway into their second season of 10 episodes, they have managed to cut production time in half – despite the fact that the length of each episode has doubled.

Indeed, the MIT Sloan students did a bit of market research into listening behavior to determine how long episodes should be and plumped for 15-minute spots, before later deciding that lengthier episodes might work best. “At first, we wanted to have a subway ride’s worth of content targeted toward our peers,” recalls Zendell, adding that “one of the challenges of getting MBAs to listen is they’re bombarded with so much information in class. I think a lot of our peers might tune in when they’re back in the working world.”

The Business of Being Awesome, or #bizoba, podcast is set to run until the second season has a nice round number of episodes to match the first (10), even though this will take it past its makers’ graduation date in June. Only then, when their post-MBA careers have already begun, will they decide on its future.

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Written by Tim Dhoul

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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