When people dream of a career in Hollywood, a business degree isn’t considered the best way to get there. But in reality, the film-making industry has developed into one of America’s most lucrative and exciting business ventures.
In fact, some would argue it has never been stronger as a record $11.1 billion was grossed at the box office alone in 2015, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Earlier this semester, a group of Carey Business School students from the Business of Entertainment Club visited Los Angeles for a behind-the-scenes look at the big screen business. They returned to Baltimore with some insight and ideas about the role MBA students can play in entertainment industry.
“Right now is a great time to come into the entertainment industry for MBA graduates,” said Puneet Ruparel, a Global MBA student and co-founder of the club. “The industry needs finance people, they need marketing people, and they need analysts with big data skills. The skill sets we are honing here at Carey are exactly what a lot of these companies are looking for.”
The students met with professionals from across the industry, including studio executives, writers, directors, and talent agents. Highlights included a set visit at the Warner Bros. studio for the taping of the television show Mom starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney; sit-down meetings with the chief financial officer of Lionsgate and the chief administrative officer of United Talent Agency in their offices; and a chance meeting with Sony Chairman and Baltimore native Steve Mosko.
Ruparel said a watershed moment of the trip came when the group visited Maker Studios – a short-form video company boasting the largest content network on YouTube. The group was led on a tour by cultural ambassador Emily Hughes.
“We saw a new age corporate culture where an executive was running on a treadmill while making edits. We all were surprised and intrigued,” Ruparel said. “Another surprising factor was – they didn’t have a single MBA in the whole company. This is a startup that was bought for $950 million by the Walt Disney Company in 2014.”
Hughes even said she’d look out for the students resumes if they were interested in applying, according to Ruparel.
For Ruparel, the theme of the trip was clear: Hollywood is putting out a casting call for MBA students.
In addition to learning, the goal of the trip was to develop a network that could be leveraged for internships and employment for both current and future Carey students. Toward that end, the group spent time in their meetings discussing the mission of the Carey Business School with industry professionals.
Part of their pitch included describing their work in the Innovation for Humanity course, a talking point that Ruparel said made an impression on several people.
“Since Carey is a relatively new school, we wanted to inform them about who we were and where we were coming from and I would like to believe that we did leave a great impression,” Ruparel said.