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Memphis grad works to reverse ‘brain drain’

brain drain
Philip Blackett is familiar with the talk about Memphis’ “brain drain.” As the story goes, many of the city’s students graduate from Memphis and Shelby County high schools and depart for college outside of Memphis – and Tennessee – to get their degrees, with no plans of ever coming back to their hometown.
 A 2003 graduate of Memphis University School, Blackett is determined to do his part to reverse the so-called brain drain by adding value back into his hometown, even when he’s no longer in Memphis.
Blackett attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. After graduating from college, he worked on Wall Street and within the Fortune 100 in New York City. Most recently, he worked in Memphis at FedEx. This month, he is packing his bags yet again to leave Memphis to pursue his MBA at Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Mass.
How is this unlike any other brain-drain scenario? 
Earlier this summer, Blackett started a business called Magnetic Interviewing, LLC. He was inspired by his late grandmother, a retired Memphis City Schools teacher, who passed away in 2011 from a tough battle with pancreatic cancer. The mission of Magnetic Interviewing, LLC is to help at least 12,000 young people ace their interviews, so they can get accepted into their dream schools and get hired by their dream jobs and internships.  
“I see this venture as an opportunity to pay it forward to the next generation the same way that many people – like my grandmother – helped me to succeed when I was younger,” said Blackett. “I want to be able to help my hometown that has given so much to me by helping young people in Memphis achieve their dreams too.”
Blackett is now running a crowd-funding campaign on www.Help12K.com to help raise funds in preparation for the fall when high school seniors start preparing for college applications.
“Because the application process has become much more competitive than when I was in high school, the interview has become a much more important factor than ever before. I want to help equip our young people with strategies and best practices that I used to ace my interviews, so they can do the same thing too,” Blackett said.  
He has quite a strong track record when it comes to interviews. Not only did he do well enough in his interview at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to get accepted with a full scholarship, Blackett also aced his interviews to get accepted into such schools as Harvard University, Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.  
However, his interview preparation isn’t limited to only high school seniors applying to college.
“Interviews are becoming more of a staple in our lives. Whether applying to college, graduate school, scholarships, summer internships or jobs, we more than likely have to go through the interview first to become successful,” he said.
While Blackett is studying at Harvard Business School, his business will be able to teach young people regardless of their location because his interviewing-skills training will primarily be based online.
“In 2014, more people are connected to the Internet whether at home or through their mobile devices. We want to make it easy for young people to access our trainings, so they can learn what it takes to ace their interviews and achieve what they want.”  
Magnetic Interviewing, LLC seeks to help improve young people’s interviewing skills through an interactive strategy guide, over 40 tutorial videos & audios, a group coaching webinar series, and personalized mock interviews by Blackett and his team. 
“Enjoyed the presentation! Concise and to-the-point advice (that’s) easy to remember,” said Stephen Crawford, talking about the benefit he received. “Conversational speaking tone. It was ‘real’ – not your typical interview speech.”
A.J. Hafele said more people to hear Blackett’s presentation.
“I thought that the style of presentation was excellent (using personal examples, group interactions and humor). Excellent session…”
Young people can access a free 7-Video “How to ACE Your Interview” boot camp that is accessible via email and smartphone.
Why offer the free boot camp?
“One of the main goals is to be able to provide significant value whether someone can afford our offerings or not. With this free video boot camp, I’m sharing some of my best content where someone who may be short on funds can still learn some valuable strategies to ace their upcoming interview.”
He also plans to deliver keynotes and advanced interviewing workshops to schools, career centers and non-profits when he’s available. And he hopes that Memphis becomes a significant portion of the 12,000 young people that he is trying to help.
“Magnetic Interviewing is here for the long term. We’re focused on building and sustaining our business to help thousands of young people in cities like Memphis for years to come, whether I’m in Memphis, Boston or another city. My commitment is helping our young people become more competitive and achieve their academic and professional dreams,” he said.
“It’s all about paying it forward and inspiring other up-and-coming young people to find ways to continue contributing to our city, regardless of their physical location.”


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+1 #1 Jane Venson-Talford 2014-08-16 09:53
I applaud Philip's innovative endeavor. We need this and other like efforts to make the positive changes needed in our communities.

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