Rocking With New Confidence: Laird Adamson

Adamson

Photo credit: Tommy Leonardi

Our representative from Wharton MBA for Executives in Philadelphia built lasting bonds with the School and his classmates, while gearing up for a huge step in his career.

Laird Adamson, WG’13, selected the Wharton MBA for Executives to add some traditional tools to his extensive experience in entrepreneurial type companies. As head of international for Bravado, the music merchandising arm of Universal Music Group, he oversees merchandising projects in all countries but the U.S. and U.K.

“It’s a much bigger scale at Bravado than I was working on at Magnolia,” he says. It is also a step up from indie films to worldwide merchandising for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson.It’s a job he launched into only at the end of 2012. Since 2006, Adamson had been with Mark Cuban’s film distribution company, Magnolia Pictures.

Yes, you read that right; he scaled up professionally in the middle of his executive MBA program. But according to Adamson, starting at Bravado in the middle of his second year made it slightly less of a challenge.

And he has already seen the payoff on the job. Take this example: Soon after joining Bravado, Adamson had to do a “huge” presentation on worldwide merchandising. He found himself referencing class slides from Managing Organizational Change, a course taught by David Pottruck, C’70, WG’72, which helped him to frame and outline his goals.

Particularly helpful, too, were two Global Modular Courses on marketing to consumers in China and India, for which he traveled to Beijing and Mumbai.

Overall, he describes the Wharton MBA for Executives program as “a tremendous and intense experience” that instilled a “confidence in what I know, but more importantly, in what I do not.

“It teaches you to ask the right questions,” he says.             

When he first investigated executive MBA programs a few years ago, Adamson recalls, Wharton alumni seemed “noticeably more attached”— to classmates, to the program and to the School itself. He did not find that at other institutions.

He now feels those “significant bonds, lasting bonds” as an alumnus.  

—By Anne Freedman

Editor’s note: Read more about Wharton’s Class of 2013 and five other individual class leaders in our cover article, “Diverse, Resilient, Ready: The Class of 2013.”

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