John Musto received his MBA from St. John's Rome, Italy campus and is using his degree and international expertise at Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
Name: John Musto
School: MBA, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John's University, Rome, Italy Campus
Profession: Brand Management, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Sonoma County, CA
Why an MBA?
How did you decide that an MBA was the next step for you? Do you have advice for students considering an MBA on how to make that decision?
Following my undergraduate degree, I worked for several years in a position and industry that I did not feel passionate about. A desire to open up more career options while following my passions led me to pursue an MBA. I didn’t want to solely make a professional side step, but also a leap forward by improving my skill-set.
I would advise anyone pursuing an MBA to always have a long-term plan in mind. The plan may evolve, but by keeping your long term goals in mind before, during and after the pursuit of your MBA, you’ll be able to leverage the opportunities presented and skills acquired for success.
How did you highlight your personal and career achievements on your resume?
While a full-time MBA will open up many opportunities, there is a very competitive job industry awaiting your return. It’s important to understand that your MBA is only a chapter of your professional story. Your resume is an opportunity to tell that story in its entirety.
Speaking personally, I was interested in pursuing a career in Wine & Food. I decided to use my experiences and studies in Italy to build my story in this new industry. Beyond my graduate degree, I focused my MBA projects and internships on the wine industry, I traveled and learned about Italian wine and food culture; following graduation I ended up working with a family-owned international wine company in Sonoma County, it was a perfect match and rational next step in my career’s story that I was able to rewrite with my MBA experience.
When it came time to look for jobs, did you find yourself interested in a new career that you hadn’t considered before doing your MBA?
Applying for jobs, I focused on one industry specifically that I was interested in. If I didn’t have an MBA, I would have only been able to apply for positions in my undergraduate major, Finance. Obtaining an MBA allowed me to apply for and receive interest for positions in Marketing, Analytics, Finance, Sales and Operations.
What advice can you give to ease the transition to a new country?
Prepare yourself by acquiring a base understanding of the country’s language and cultural norms. Make a genuine and constant effort to respect the culture, traditions and history of the country you have chosen to study in. Don’t expect a vacation but embrace change, obstacles, and excitement; be prepared to learn and grow.
What inspired you to pursue your MBA abroad and what have been the greatest benefits of doing so?
I originally planned to take a gap year stemming from a desire to live in a foreign country, specifically Italy. My post-travel plans involved pursuing a full-time MBA. After speaking with advisors and faculty at St. John’s I determined not only would this opportunity allow me to achieve both of those goals but to do so in a way that would improve my life, character, and professional career.
By succeeding through the challenge of learning a new culture and language I felt an incredible sense of empowerment. To do so while pursuing and completing an MBA, I felt I developed all of the tangible and intangible tools necessary for professional success. I find the lessons I learned both inside and outside the classroom at St. John’s-Rome help me on a daily basis in my current profession.
Advice for future applicants
What is it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?
The transition can be a difficult one that takes you from a daily task-based schedule to one that is more project-based. In MBA study, you are constantly working on both group and individual projects. You must learn to stay organized so you don’t lose focus on looming deadlines, while utilizing self-management techniques as you don’t have the same set 9am-5pm schedule. It’s also important to note in MBA study that professors are resources and not bosses, they will not force you to do that work, but assist those who are putting forth the effort. MBA study is the perfect example of getting out what you put in.
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