Words often used to describe the typical Loyola Marymount MBA student are driven, ambitious, intelligent, curious and inspiring. Spend 10 minutes inside one of the program’s evening courses, and a wonderful diversity begins to reveal itself. Students hail from various industries and backgrounds, bringing with them work experience that ranges from extensive to next-to-none. In this series, we scour our B-school student body for standout individuals to see how the LMU MBA Program has benefited them—and how they plan to apply their hard-earned degree.
Meet Pamela Corante, 2nd Year MBA Student and Communications Expert
After exiting the world of corporate communications to launch her own consulting business, Pamela embraced the challenges and joys of trading in security for self-employment. Seven years later and one quarter of her MBA down, the budding entrepreneur sat down to discuss her unusual path to the program, her surprise breakout as a wine industry blogger, and what’s next in her professional development.
What made you pursue an MBA?
My background is in public relations and corporate communications, and about seven years ago I took a big risk and left the traditional work world to start my own consulting business. I was at a point in my career where I wanted to do something completely different, and I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning.
I was attracted to LMU because of the small class size. I came to an orientation session and it was very no-nonsense and straightforward. They told us right off the bat this is going to be a rigorous program but that there’s a whole support network to help you get through it. I’m blown away by how incredibly open minded and bright and inquisitive everyone is.
How do you plan to apply your degree?
Four years ago I started a wine blog, which picked up a lot of traction. I was the only Hispanic woman blogging exclusively about wine, so it got attention from ABC 7 and NBC Latino. More recently I was quoted as an expert on La Opinion. While it was exciting to build that platform, I thought, “How can I turn this into a viable business idea?” Ultimately, I’d love to consult in the wine industry. I’m working toward this formula where I can combine my writing experience with four wine certifications and an MBA, and turn that into a business where there are many possibilities.
What I didn’t expect was for the program to open doors before I graduated. Last fall I secured a corporate communications contract with DIRECTV. My boss is an LMU alumnus, and during our first phone interview he was thrilled to hear I was an MBA student at Loyola Marymount.
What’s your take: Get some work experience or go directly from an undergraduate to a graduate program?
Absolutely go get some life experience, even if you just go travel, work or study abroad. Working a few years before you enter an MBA program gives you an opportunity to try different sectors—public, private, non-profit—so that you can get a better sense for the environment that best suits your skills and work style.
Best piece of advice for an MBA student?
Relationships are key to building your career. I’ve been involved in various professional business associations such as the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the American Marketing Association, and the Society of Wine Educators. Ninety-five percent of my clients came from networking or word of mouth, so make it a priority while you’re in the MBA program to meet other students. Introduce yourself, ask questions about what they do and connect on LinkedIn. And remember it’s a two-way street. You have to give to get, and sometimes it’s just good to give. I’m a firm believer in karma, and it also applies in the business world.
By Emily Lundquist, MBA ’17