MEDIA PROFILE: MBA Jungle shows the fun side of life in the white-collar world

MBA Jungle, soon to be known simply as Jungle, eschews stock advice and other serious subjects for an entertaining look at what it takes to succeed - and make life more fun.

MBA Jungle, soon to be known simply as Jungle, eschews stock advice and other serious subjects for an entertaining look at what it takes to succeed - and make life more fun.

For three years now, MBA Jungle, a general-interest magazine for business students, has been making sense of the dense world of business school and the careers that follow it while maintaining a focus on humor and fun. So, it's not all about mock business plans and case studies. Its editorial mix strays well outside the world of b-school, and, to reinforce this, the publication's name will soon change simply to Jungle. When targeting this magazine, its editors ask that PR people approach with a well-developed angle and a real feel for the magazine's mission. "Have a strong idea that goes beyond the promotion of your client," says editor-in-chief Rogier van Bakel. "We want pitches that include the client, but that also encompass something larger in the business world. If we wanted to do a story about how to sell American animation abroad and someone happened to represent an animation studio, then we'd love to talk to them. But we'd want them to be able to talk more about the general trend than about the specific client." Launched in September 2000, MBA Jungle's mission has always been to inform, entertain, and provide its audience with the tools it needs to succeed. The magazine is published seven times a year, and has a circulation of 120,000, with a median demographic of highly educated, well-off young people in their 20s and early 30s who have gone from school into a six-figure salary. With its irreverent tone, MBA Jungle infuses its content with humor and a nod to pop culture and consumerism. Having avoided the seriousness of Harvard Business School, the magazine is more likely to write about the business of dating than the business of stocks. In the Executive Summary section of the summer 2003 issue, the editors had the president of, the leading online dating site, analyze two personal ads from a marketing perspective. "The guy's name was 'MBAPILOT' and the girl's was 'msfinances,'" recalls van Bakel. "That was a great story for us because it really showed how playful we are." MBA Jungle's three main sections include Executive Summary, which includes funny takes on current news issues; Insights, which is dedicated to service journalism, interesting careers, and indulgences; and the features well. The content is focused on the lifestyle of business with a specifically consumer-driven angle and pointed, practical career advice. While van Bakel does claim to be open to pitches across the board, he does feel that more often than not publicists are too inclined to present a packaged story that doesn't jibe with the magazine's voice. "We'd be ecstatic to see a really good idea come from a publicist," says van Bakel. "But there's something intangible about our magazine's voice that most people just can't get right. You know what it is when you see it, but you can't define it, so people should really watch and read where we're going with our stories. When a publicist actually tries to get us a great story with a trend or a larger story attached instead of just promoting their client, then we're really receptive. A great pitch says, 'Company XYZ is an example of something larger in our culture, and here are some other companies in the same field.'" Elizabeth Romero, account executive at Florida-based O'Connell & Goldberg, recently pitched MBA Jungle with a profile idea on Florida International University. "It was a very positive experience," says Romero. "We continued to go back and forth with them on various ideas, and there was a lot of two-way communication. Our idea happened to be right for them, but I would say that people should just get a copy of the publication, check out the media kit, and see where their client fits into what they're trying to do." Van Bakel is very quick to point out what he says are the "pitch don'ts" for MBA Jungle. When pitching the magazine, don't attach large files to e-mails without first asking permission, don't send pitches out as a way to fill a quota to prove something to a client, don't pitch unless you've seen the magazine, and finally, don't expect a response from the magazine unless the editors are interested. "What publicists should really know is that our readership goes beyond the MBA circle," says van Bakel. "There are snippets of Vanity Fair or Maxim in MBA Jungle. Our scope is not limited, and is really just about making life more fun." ----- Contact list MBA Jungle Address 632 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10012 Tel/fax (212) 918-0152; 352-9282 Website E-mail firstname/firstinitiallastname Editor-in-chief Rogier van Bakel Senior editor Rob Medich

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