Hayley Mason

Hayley Mason
Class Year
Atlanta, Georgia
Previous Education
Bachelor of Arts, Broadcast Journalism, Howard University

Post-CBS Goals:

Media Development, Content Strategy, and Corporate Partnerships at a large media and broadcast company.

CBS Activities or Clubs:

The Consortium: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison

Black Business Students Association: Assistant Vice-President of Conference

Media Management Association

Hispanic Business Association

Columbia Arts Society

Columbia Women in Business


Favorite NYC Activities:

l love a great live concert, especially jazz, soul, and R&B music. New York has no shortage of concerts and great places to eat before or after a show. I enjoy trying new restaurants with interesting design concepts and décor--a restaurant with a view is always a yes for me. Lastly, I also love nature. Wherever there are trees, plants, and green space, I’m usually a fan.

Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?

I expected the MBA program at Columbia Business School to be incredibly rigorous but also rewarding with seemingly endless opportunities at my fingertips. I also expected to be integrated into a powerful alumni network with access and influence in the places I want to go and others I had not yet considered. These are the things I’d been told about Columbia Business School through the admission process. I told myself that if I put in the work, preparation would meet opportunities when I arrived. I am pleased to say that Columbia Business School has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. The coursework is certainly challenging, but it is also useful and exciting. There is a constant flow of career opportunities and development resources.

Above all, one of the most special things about Columbia Business School is one of the things I didn’t foresee: the generosity of the students and alumni. So many people are giving their time and are always willing to offer guidance. There is a spirit of collaboration and support that fosters strong bonds across the Columbia Business School community.

Why did you choose Columbia Business School?

I chose Columbia Business School because of its reputation as a top-tier MBA program with renowned professors and alumni. I was specifically looking for a top school that had a strong media management program—Columbia was that. The professors have an incredible track record in the industry and the employment opportunities here are unparalleled. I wanted to be in New York City to pursue my career goals and Columbia Business School was the perfect place to do it.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?

I believe my background as a seasoned television journalist allows me to bring a broad range of perspectives and in-depth knowledge on a variety of topics to the class. Reporting in cities and small towns across the country for more than a decade, I’ve been able to meet and engage with people from all walks of life.  I’ve been able to live out a wide variety of experiences firsthand and adapt to new environments quickly and deeply.

Each day at work, I’ve had to take a deep dive into the stories of people from various fields and professions and understand their perspectives with empathy and a spirit of advocacy. I’ve learned to be open-minded, thoughtful, and appreciative. I believe these traits will help me to be a better informed and impactful business executive as I pivot in my career.

Which faculty or staff members(s) influenced you the most, and how?

Admissions Director, Michael Robinson has been the most influential in my CBS journey, prior to my matriculation and now that I am here. He has been a thoughtful connector and opportunity finder at every step. I am grateful to have his support in my career endeavors. Also, my academic advisor Jocelyn McArthur has been incredibly influential. She is deeply knowledgeable, supportive, strategic, and encouraging.

What has been your most memorable experience at Columbia Business School so far?

My most memorable experience so far was the welcome dinner and reception for the incoming full-time MBA class. The event was a beautifully decorative waterfront dinner at a pier. This was the first time our entire class was invited to a large and inclusive social event sponsored by the school to fully celebrate our new chapter.

What was the most challenging part of the program, and how did you handle it?

The most challenging part of the program has been juggling the demands of the core curriculum with job recruiting and social/networking expectations. I have had to be very disciplined with my time and schedule in order to allocate enough energy to academics and the job search. While I am generally good at juggling multiple obligations at once, I have become comfortable with skipping some things to make other things happen.

What advice would you give to a new student coming into the MBA program at Columbia Business School?

I would tell incoming students to plan ahead the activities they value and be clear about their goals so that when they arrive on campus, they can remain focused on their why. Continue to study and prepare for academics, and be strategic about your financial goals in order to take full advantage of the MBA experience when you arrive.

How will you apply your learnings to a post-COVID world?

I was an essential employee working in television news throughout the pandemic and that experience taught me to be resourceful and determined at all times. The pandemic fostered an easy environment to become dismayed or even hopeless, but it was also a time to lean into grit, self-motivation, and opportunities for progress. I leaned into the latter while learning to make self-care a priority.

I will take the spirit of tenacity, determination, and self-care with me into the post-COVID world.

What does the new Manhattanville campus mean to you?

Simply put, the Manhattanville campus is a beauty. Many days, I find myself awe-struck at the views. I appreciate being able to learn about business, in a state-of-the-art facility that promotes collaboration and community. I enjoy being in the Harlem community and look forward to building stronger bridges in the area.

Post-MBA career interests?

I plan to lead a major media company in media development, content strategy, and corporate partnerships. I also plan to continue to build and scale my own media and talent development firm, Mason Media.