Jason Gurtata – Gabelli School of Business
Happiness is key: How an MBA expands your opportunities
The process of applying for an MBA is long, expensive, and complicated. Prospective students have to jump through any number of financial and logistical hoops to get to where they want to be: inside an MBA classroom on day one of the program. So, why do they do it?
The motivations for each individual are different. Some want to change industries, some want to earn more money, some dream of starting their own business. For Jason Gurtata, an MBA was all about opportunity. He equated an MBA with the chance to take his career to the next level, expand his horizons, and gain more opportunities. Ultimately, though, he wanted to be happy.
“I explored a lot of my options and realized that I was doing well in our small business,” Jason tells us. “I thought that if I can just take the ideas that I’m using here and push them at a different company, or maybe create something of my own, it would make me the happiest person.” (01:29)
“Happiness was the key for me. I didn’t want to be stuck in a job that I hated every day – similar to going to physics when I was 19-20 years old I suppose – and because of that I realized that the MBA would be the best option to give me the widest range of opportunities.” (01:44)
Choosing a business school in the epicenter of business
Jason is one of the millions of second-generation Americans who give New York City its vibrant diversity. He knew that he wanted to stay close to home when it came to selecting a business school, and in New York, he was spoiled for choice. Despite the close proximity of Columbia Business School and NYU Stern School of Business, he eventually settled on Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University.
“I knew that if I wanted to stay in New York [and] if I wanted to stay close to my friends and family and be in the epicenter of where business occurs, [Fordham] would be one of the better options. It was the smallest cohort size and I would probably get the most individual attention. That was the main reason I chose Fordham,” he says. (04:04)
What also stood out to Jason was a pre-MBA onboarding program called Gabelli Launch. Over the course of four intensive weeks, Gabelli MBA students explore a range of business topics together and get a chance to bond with each other before the start of the MBA.
The centerpiece of Gabelli Launch is a week spent abroad for a social impact project, where student teams are assigned to local NGOs and tasked with helping them to solve the problems they’re facing. This was an opportunity that Jason felt rival business schools simply couldn’t compete with.
He says, “I didn’t find that [program] anywhere else. I didn’t find that Columbia offered a six-week program that started prior to the first day of classes. It doesn’t occur at NYU, which has a significantly larger class size in their MBA program.” (06:37)
When is the right time to take the next step?
When is the right time to study an MBA? The answer is different for every individual and there’s no right or wrong answer. For Jason, the idea of doing an MBA had been floating around his head for almost seven years. For seven years it wasn’t the right time – until it was.
“An MBA is something that I wanted to do. I didn’t have the ability to do it [then], but I wrote it down and figured that one day I will eventually come back to this. Luckily I did.” (02:29)
“Everyone is a little different so patience is definitely the key,” he adds. “Understanding when and how to take the right step is very important.” (03:48)
His advice for prospective MBA students? “Don’t rush into the decision. Only you will know when it’s the right time.”
“My best advice would be: find it within yourself to say when you’re ready to take the next step. That may be right after college, that might be two or three years after, or it may be an extended period of time. I think that where you are in your career really justifies when you’re ready to take the next step.” (03:13)