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Andi Garavaglia

Degree:

MBA

Location:

United States

Industry:

Sporting

Year:

2017-18

By Andi Garavaglia

Introduction to Andi Garavaglia

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far

My role at the National Hockey League allowed me to give back to a sport that shaped many childhood conversations around the table, that motivated both of my brothers through echelons of elite competition, and that backdropped most father-daughter outings. Helping the league develop engaging content, inspire young athletes, and provide families with treasured memories was an honour and a lot of fun, hard work.

What one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?

Start early. The decision to go to business school is probably not a whim, so do not create your application on a whim. There are a lot of pieces and parts to tackle. I had calendar appointments set 90 days, 60 days, and 30 days out from my submission deadline to keep myself on task.

Evaluate your application holistically, as though it’s a brand portfolio. All parts of the application— essays, recommendations, interview— should convey a consistent, clear vision of yourself and your ambitions. Consider jotting down a few key themes and ideas that reflect you as a b-school candidate; then, allow those ideas/themes to inform how you draft your essays, who you ask for recommendations, and what you reinforce in your interview. This designed approach will allow you to submit your application with confidence that it emphasizes your strongest merits.

Study the GMAT, specifically. My most critical error was that I studied math covered by the GMAT as opposed to “GMAT-math” specifically. I strongly recommend accessing online resources (such as Magoosh.com) that mimic the GMAT experience, and studying with someone trained in GMAT-specific quant strategies. After focusing on “GMAT-math,” my cumulative score increased by more than 100 points.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this programme for your MBA and why was it so important to you?

I attended University of Oxford for a study abroad term in 2011 where I self-designed curriculum in Psychology of Social Media. My tutors did not ask me to regurgitate information; rather, they empowered me to read widely, draw my own conclusions, and defend those analyses. This experience convinced me of the enormous value of Oxford’s educational philosophy.

My interest in the disruption potential of technology did not subside; in fact, it characterized a good deal of my professional experiences. Computer-mediated workforces, economies, and marketplaces are rapidly changing the nature of business as well as the skill-sets demanded of organizational leaders. For this reason, it was important to me to attend a business school with a global network, an emphasis on world-class research, and a modern approach to curriculum. University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School uniquely meets these criteria and, accordingly, was my only application.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?

As one of the first candidates to enter directly from a professional sports league, I feel a profound obligation to favourably represent my industry. I hope to introduce classmates to the dynamic microcosm of society and industry that sport represents, as well as some of the complex challenges facing the industry today.

Additionally, I want to enhance my awareness of internet and society research, potentially even pursuing an MSc in the subject. I want to be an organizational leader that can navigate offline and online ecosystems with sophistication and respect for the capabilities and limitations of each.

Finally, back when I played soccer (football), I developed a bit of a mantra. Before each game began I would tap my goalposts and say aloud, “For those who came before me. For those who come after me. And just a bit, for me.” My vision of a leader is not someone who is solely concerned with his or her individual legacy, but someone who honours past efforts by learning from them and improves the way forward for future generations. In one year, I want to graduate poised to become that type of leader. I want to have created, not solely consumed. I want to have engaged in self-reflection, not solely in self-promotion.

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