MBA of Impact Spotlight: Meet Jessica Lane Alexander
In this Spotlight series, GMAC showcases successful MBA alumni of color who agreed to share their personal journeys to earning their degrees and achieving career success. As each path towards an MBA is different, each graduate's story is also unique in how they have leveraged their MBA experience. We hope these professionals of color inspire you to think about how to master your unique career path and journey.
"Business school is made to help you take the next steps of your career and make the biggest impact you can at whatever role you choose – it is for everyone."
Name: Jessica Lane Alexander
MBA Program: Kellogg School of Management, Media Management & Marketing
Graduation Year: 2014
Undergraduate Alma Mater: Northwestern University
Undergraduate Major: Journalism
Current Role: Director of Digital & Social Content, TVOne
What's a typical day in the life of a Digital & Social Content Director?
Over half of my job everyday is scrolling through social media channels and reading articles – both through the TVOne platforms and all other platforms in the African-American entertainment arena. My job really starts when I wake up. Every morning I'm on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see what people are talking about to help determine what we should be talking about. I check-in to see how our platforms or any key initiatives we have for that day performed. Once I get to the office, we have team meetings to discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and what we should focus on for the day. I'm also always curating content, whether its producing videos, writing articles, revising social content, or on set shooting original content.
What was your career before business school?
I'm pretty much obsessed with television and the entertainment industry. For my entire career before going to business school, I've touched media in some form or fashion. Prior to business school, I was at TBS & TNT in the television marketing arena.
Who had the biggest influence on your decision to pursue an MBA?
My now-husband was my biggest influence in deciding to pursue my MBA. I knew I wanted to go back to school, I just didn't quite know what that looked like. He's a consultant, so it was a given that he would go to business school. He helped me to understand the components of an MBA, then I started to look for people at Turner with MBAs to understand its impact in the media space. That's when I started to realize the most influential people at the company had MBAs, one of which was a Kellogg graduate.
As a marketer, what skills or knowledge from your MBA were helpful in navigating or growing your career?
The marketing classes helped me sharpen and solidify the skills I already had, but the leadership and development classes, like Management and Organizational Strategy, are what I can't live without. The leadership and development courses continue to help me way more than any Marketing, Statistics or Finance course. These classes help you sharpen your skills, but the leadership classes are what help you win and drive results at your organization. As soon as you get to the management level, it’s about creating high-performing teams and/or helping existing teams become high-performing.
Did you join any organizations or programs to help you navigate the business school process? If so, who and how did they help?
For the admission process, I tried MLT but I wasn't accepted. That was a pretty devastating blow when I first started the application process. But with this process, you have to be in it for the long haul. It was an obstacle, but I worked hard to overcome it. I got into to Kellogg and that’s what mattered most!
What would you say to minorities who say “business school isn’t for people like me”?
Who are "people like you"? Are they able to define that? Because business school is made to help you take the next steps of your career and make the biggest impact you can at whatever role you choose. That's for everyone!