Business of Entertainment Club

Puneet Ruparel
Puneet Ruparel

Puneet is a rising second year GMBA student and the Founder & President of Johns Hopkins Carey's Business of Entertainment Club (BoE). Recently, he won the prestigious "Johns Hopkins Brand Ambassador Award" for advancing and promoting the brand of the Johns Hopkins University & the Carey Business School in an outstanding way. Puneet has 10+ years of experience in Entertainment & Entrepreneurship. He has a diverse background in business and arts that gives him a unique understanding of how to come up with creative solutions for making strategic decisions. Post graduation, Puneet is looking to get into business strategic consulting or business development roles to hone his skills.

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There were a few questions raised by my family and friends when I decided to join Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and leave BU and Babson. Not because it was a new school but because BU and Babson have strong Entertainment & Media concentrations and Carey does not. Coming from an entrepreneur and entertainment background, my aim is to transition into the business of entertainment either in a strategic or a corporate role.

Trusting my instincts, I joined Carey. The Johns Hopkins brand, and the advice given to me by Abhijeet Bharauah, a second year GMBA student, made that process easier. Abhijeet informed me that as a new school, Carey often gives students freedom in what activities they want to get involved with and I thought maybe I could start a club related to the Entertainment sector.

Carey offers a Summer Intensive program where international students get to know each other. During the second week of Summer Intensive, staff had organized a trip to Washington. Little did I know the trip would turn out to be one of the most defining points for the Entertainment foundation at Carey Business School.

On the trip, I met Shreyas Koti, an MS in Marketing fellow, and I was surprised to discover his interest in entertainment. We spoke for hours about the Indian entertainment industry and decided to reach more people and gauge interest in the field. Mary Somers introduced me to people in the MBA/MA in Leadership Design program (a joint program between JHU and the Maryland Institute College of ArtMICA). After our interaction, I was very much surprised to find more than 10 people showing a keen interest in entertainment. Ten people might sound like a small number but it was what Shreyas and I needed. We both knew if we get the right support, we both had what it takes to reach out to the industry professionals, attract their attention and bring them to Carey.

Thus, Shreyas and I decided to start a club that would encompass interest in the entertainment sector, not only in Carey but also at MICA. We found our next team member—Amadeus Guchheitone of the most creative persons I’ve ever met.

Thus, the Business of Entertainment Club was born on a trip to Washington organized during Summer Intensive. The mission of our club is to provide Johns Hopkins community with educational resources and industry exposure to foster learning and opportunity for the employment across the international entertainment and film industry.

But no good things come without a struggle; our club had an uphill task to climb. We didn’t receive funding as we were an infant club. After speaking with tons of people and pitching the idea of our club, we still had trouble getting the wheels to turn. There were times when Shreyas and I just sat in our meeting room and wondered what our next step should be.

All changed on October 14th. I received a call from Michael Mort, a fellow JHU/MICA student; he said he was amazed by our passion and for that reason, Julia Jenks, VP of Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) would be more than happy to have an event at Carey.

The news was too good to be true. I had a call with Julia and she assured me of one hour of her time in November. Shreyas and I immediately looked at the calendar and scheduled our event on November 18th.

Once we secured the time, we began burning the midnight oil. Shreyas took care of the logistics as Julia would join us via Skype from LA and I managed the content and flow of the event. We also decided to make maximum use of the minimal resources we had. We only had 5 posters but we placed them in high traffic areas. We opted for a color that would catch eyes: Amadeus designed terrific posters!

Come November 18th, Shreyas and I were nervous. We had done everything we could: from booking the most elegant room in Carey, to speaking to IT team a day in advance, to keeping an eye on the RSVPs.

We had hoped for 27 people but despite having three events on the same day and at the same time, we got 54.

The event witnessed a tremendous response. We had a long queue of students, with many standing in every corner and taking notes. Apart from few technical glitches, the event was a great informative session. Julia broke down the entire industry into basic components and was so impressed by the questions asked by the audience, she invited our club to meet her in LA during our Studio Trek.

This was the first event in the history of Carey where not only a new club had gathered double the expected headcount but also had a mix of students from all programs – MSF, MSM, GMBA, E-MBA, Flex MBA and MBA/MA. This was also the first time Carey had a VP of a studio joining us LIVE via Skype from Hollywood. Alumni began reaching out asking about other events. The event put us on the map as a serious player.

For our next event, we aim to bring an HR representative in the entertainment sector to review our club members’ resumes and tailor them to match the Entertainment industry.

For me, the proudest moment of this event was receiving an email from Katy Montgomery, Associate Dean of Student Development, saying she was proud of our club. I remember when my club was struggling to find an advisor and with lack of funding, Katy had my back. Katy decided to be our club’s advisor and sponsor our event because she saw the potential in my vision.

For me, this is what Carey stands for. There is always someone who is ready to help you out. There is always someone who is ready to guide you. All we have to do is ask.

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