Our Executive MBA profile series continues with a Q&A with First Year Executive MBA student Nate Scott (Class of 2022). Scott is an editor at For the Win, a USA Today sports and entertainment blog and is an investigative true crime podcast host for The Sneak, a project of USA Today and Wondery. “One man took the fall, but was he the only one responsible? We set out to report a story about a man escaping a robbery in an inner tube, what we found was so much more.” – Introducing the Sneak, Season 1.
Scott was recently featured in the UVA Today article, Murder Mysteries, March Madness and an MBA.
Catch up on our earlier profiles with Aisha Pridgen (Class of 2022), Jean Borno (EMBA ’17), Christy Sisko (Class of 2022) and Stephen Beaudoin (Class of 2022), Pro Tip: Nate was also a recent guest on The ExecMBA Podcast.
Q: What is your current role? What is your professional/academic background?
A: In my current role I serve as the managing editor at For The Win, a sports and entertainment blog that’s owned by USA TODAY. I manage a team of 11 writers, editors, and videographers who create content for an audience of around 10 million people a month. I also host an investigative true crime podcast for USA TODAY called The Sneak.
I’ve worked in and around digital media for most of my career. Just out of school I was briefly on the academic track. I earned a Master’s in English Literature at Tulane University, but then decided I would hold off on teaching or a PhD for a bit and give it a go as a writer. There were a few (pretty destitute) years where I had a personal blog and eked it out, but eventually I got some chances at bigger publications — ESPN, Newsweek, The Daily Beast — and then corralled that into jobs with Fox Sports, Vox Media, and now USA TODAY.
Q: How did you decide to pursue an MBA?
A: I wanted to pursue an MBA for reasons that range from big and large-hearted to mundane and very practical. The large-hearted reasoning was that I was worried about the future of journalism. It’s a scary time for my industry for lots of reasons, but one I noted was this breakdown in communication between the business side and the editorial side. Traditionally in journalism we’ve kept that divide, our own industry-wide separation of church and state. Yet sitting in meetings between the two, it seemed to me that the two sides were speaking almost different languages — two teams that should in theory be working together, or at least understanding one another, if we were going to innovate and compete for subscribers, advertiser dollars, etc.
That leads to the mundane reason I wanted to apply: I honestly didn’t know what our sales and finance teams were talking about a lot of the time. I needed to understand the lexicon and core concepts to push forward new ideas or contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
Q: What led you to Darden?
A: At first I was led to Darden by its reputation and the fact that I’m based in Washington, D.C. After meeting with Admissions Committee member Katherine Alford, I was totally won over. I very much do not have a “traditional” background for an MBA candidate, yet Katherine made clear to me that was the very reason I was a compelling candidate. More so than any other school, Darden made clear to me that they wanted me because I brought a unique perspective and background. Several times during the application process I said myself “What are you even doing? You run a sports blog. Let’s not embarrass yourself, eh Nate?” But the Admission Office’s confidence in me gave me the confidence in myself to apply and then enroll.
Q: What has been the impact of your Darden experience so far?
A: At work, simply enrolling in the MBA program has given my colleagues a new understanding of what I’m interested in and what I’m capable of. I’m being entrusted with new responsibilities already, just a semester into the program.
At school, the professors are amazing, but it’s my cohort that has truly changed me for the better. Specifically my learning team, a collection of four other brilliant, kind, incredibly accomplished people who have challenged me, supported me and given me confidence in my ability to … do Accounting, for example. They’ve gone from study buddies to friends to confidants and career coaches, all in the span of a few months. Having that support system has proven invaluable, and meeting them alone has validated my decision to come here.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for prospective students?
A: My biggest piece of advice is to trust in your own abilities and know that, whatever your background, you can contribute in really meaningful ways. I’m a reporter with a literature background who hadn’t taken a math class since I passed the AP Calculus exam, and coming in, I wasn’t certain that I could contribute anything of value to my classmates. Yet I have, in ways I couldn’t have anticipated, and it was that very background that allowed me to do that. Trust the Admissions Office — if they admit you, it’s for a reason. They believe in your abilities, and you will have chances to shine. Trust them, and trust yourself.
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