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5 MBA Programs to Launch Your Career in the Entertainment and Media Industries

Entertainment Media MBAs

Written by Molly Ellison. Photo courtesy of Gnaphron via Flickr.

Do you dream of calling the shots at a Hollywood movie studio? Or taking the helm at a media empire in the Big Apple? Getting a specialized MBA will give you a strong business foundation and network to help you break into the exclusive entertainment and media industries. Read on for more about top MBA programs to launch your career in show business.

Though a small percentage of MBAs pursue careers in the entertainment and media industries, having the advanced degree can open doors in Hollywood. Creative industries need business-minds just as much all the others. Digital technologies have spurred the entertainment and media industries to change rapidly. Your MBA could position you to be at the forefront of new innovations, platforms, and business models.

Most top programs are in the U.S. and they’re concentrated in New York City and Los Angeles. If you’re more keen on working for a large film or television studio, it makes the most sense for you to head out west. It’s estimated the industry employs 160,000 people in the Los Angeles area. But, if you’re more interested in working in media or independent film, New York City may be your answer.

All the schools on our list offer specializations that cover film, media, music, the arts, and more. Most also offer dual-degree programs, allowing students to also earn Master’s of Fine Arts or Master’s of Arts in related subject areas. The programs featured here send MBA grads to work at household names such as The Walt Disney Company, SONY, NBC Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and CBS Interactive.

 

The Best Full-Time MBA Programs for a Career in Entertainment and Media

UCLA Anderson

 

 

 

University of California, Los Angeles – Anderson School of Management (UCLA Anderson) – Touch MBA Interview

Los Angeles, California, United States

UCLA Anderson’s MBA program is heralded as the b-school to prep you for a career in Hollywood. With robust academics, strong career placement statistics, a vast alumni network, and a prime location, this reputation comes as no surprise. Major film and television studios are just a stone’s throw away for Bruins. Hollywood is all about who you know, and the UCLA alumni network isn’t a bad place to start. Tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Snapchat have entertainment and media focused offices in “Silicon Beach,” which encompasses Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina Del Ray.

Entertainment and Media in the Classroom

The program offers a specialization in Entertainment that is managed by the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports. Students can take courses ranging from “Content Creation & Exploitation in the Digital Age,” to “Intellectual Property for Managers,” to “Entertainment Business Models.”

Entertainment and Media Outside the Classroom

In 2018, the b-school will be hosting its 8th annual PULSE Entertainment, Sports & Technology Conference. Speakers will include Les Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, and Steve Bartels, CEO of Def Jam Records. There will also be a special case competition being sponsored by Paramount.

UCLA Anderson’s “Entertainment that Matters” speaker series explores how Hollywood can affect social change. If you’re interested in joining related clubs at the b-school, check out the Entertainment Management Association or Sports Business Association.

Where Do Grads End Up?

6.5% of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in the entertainment industry. SONY, NBC Universal, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox have all given UCLA Anderson students full-time or internship offers.

Entertainment and Media in Practice: A UCLA Anderson MBA’s Success Story

UCLA Anderson’s MBA program boasts a slew of success stories. Highlights include Susan Wojcicki, MBA ’98, who is CEO of YouTube; Man Jit Singh, MBA ‘94, who is President of Sony Home Entertainment; Paul Hanneman, MBA ‘90, who is Co-President of Worldwide Theatrical Marketing and Distribution at 20th Century Fox; and Amy Powell, MBA ‘05, who is President of Universal Studios.

 


NYU Stern

New York University – Leonard N. Stern School of Business (NYU Stern)

New York, New York, United States

If you’re a fan of four seasons and think living in LA would be a bit too laid back, then consider getting your MBA at NYU Stern. The b-school competes with UCLA Anderson for the title of “Best Entertainment MBA Program” among industry circles. NYU Stern’s program offers more for creative types with its dual Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from the Tisch School of the Arts. Rather than heading straight to major Hollywood studios post-grad, many recent alumni have worked at indie- and tech-focused companies including HBO, Lionsgate, Showtime, and Amazon.

Entertainment and Media in the Classroom

The b-school offers a specialization in Entertainment, Media and Technology. Related courses range from “Business of Music and Film,” to “Operations in Entertainment: Las Vegas,” to “Business Strategy for the Digital Economy.” NYU Stern even offers a course that takes students to the Cannes Film Festival to witness the business first-hand.

MBAs can also pursue a dual Master’s of Fine Arts from the prestigious Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at the Tisch School of the Arts.

Entertainment and Media Outside the Classroom

The Industry Immersion program is led by an alumni from Time Warner and gives students the opportunity to executives at the company. The Entertainment, Media & Sports Association provides students with networking and career development opportunities.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Nearly 3% of the Class of 2017 pursued careers in entertainment, media, or sports, and another 1.9% went into telecommunications.

Entertainment and Media in Practice: An NYU Stern MBA’s Success Story

Ryan Heller, MBA-MFA ‘11, is currently a Senior Manager of Digital Media at Starz Entertainment. “It [NYU Stern MBA program] allowed me to build networks on both the creative and business sides of the business, sample various roles and companies (via internships) and learn about aspects of the business (i.e., digital distribution) that were previously foreign,” he said.

 


USC Marshall

 

 

 

University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business (USC Marshall) – Touch MBA Interview with a Student

Los Angeles, California, United states

The University of Southern California rivals UCLA in sports, and their b-schools are no different. Though USC Marshall’s entertainment program may not hold the same prestige among MBA circles, its career placement stats sweep the floor – 13% of its class of 2016 landed media or entertainment jobs. Students can take a broad range of elective courses covering the business of the entertainment and creative industries.

Entertainment and Media in the Classroom

USC Marshall partners with USC Cinematic Arts, a world-renowned film school, to offer the Graduate Certificate in the Business of Entertainment. The school also has MBA specializations in the Business of Entertainment and the Business of Creative Industries. USC Marshall has the most extensive entertainment-focused electives offerings on our list. Options include “Entrepreneurship in the Media and Entertainment Industry,” “Internet Law,” and “Making Money with Movies.”

Entertainment and Media Outside the Classroom

Related clubs at the b-school include the Business of Entertainment Association, Marshall Interactive Gaming Association, and the Hospitality and Gaming Club.

Where Do Grads End Up?

13% of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in the media or entertainment industries. Hiring companies included CBS Interactive, Disney Interactive, Film Roman, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

You’ll carry the school’s network far beyond the classroom. A group of MBA and MFA grads from the university established a robust alumni network, called the the Trojan Entertainment Network (TEN). It’s a selective group only accepts Trojans who will stay actively involved in the network.

Entertainment and Media in Practice: A USC Marshall MBA’s Success Story

Jeff Fleeher earned his Executive MBA from USC Marshall and is now the worldwide Chief Financial Officer of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. He previously worked at NBC Universal and is an active member of the b-school’s alumni association.

 


Columbia

Columbia University – Columbia Business School (Columbia) – Touch MBA Interview

New York, New York, United States

Though Columbia’s MBA program neighbors NYU Stern’s, its approach is vastly different. The program is less for those with their eyes on Hollywood, and more for those looking to break into the media industry. It pulls on its location in New York City, the world’s media hub, as well as its relationship with Columbia’s School of Journalism to offer students robust academic and extracurricular opportunities.

Entertainment and Media in the Classroom

The MBA program offers a “path” in Media and Technology. Through the specialization, students can take electives including “The Media Industries: Public Policy & Business Strategy,” “Internet Wars,” and “Virtual Reality & The Future of Storytelling: How Disruptive Technologies Will Transform Media.”

If you’re hoping for a more interdisciplinary approach, then Columbia is a perfect fit. B-school students can take elective courses at the university’s Film School, Law School, Journalism School, and School of International and Public Affairs. Columbia also offers a dual degree MBA-Master’s of Science in Journalism.

Entertainment and Media Outside the Classroom

Columbia’s Ivy League-sitting and prestigious reputation have helped it attract an impressive roster of guest speakers to campus. B-school students can soak in a wealth of knowledge from media moguls and industry thought leaders through the David and Lyn Silfen Leadership Series and the Paul M. Montrone Seminar on Ethics. Past guests include Bob Wright, Chairman and CEO of NBC Universal, Inc., and Van Jones, President of Dream Corps and Contributor at CNN.

Columbia offers diverse clubs for MBA students, including the Arts Society, Columbia Music Club, Innovation + Creativity in Business Society, and Media Management Association.

Where Do Grads End Up?

10% of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in the technology or media industries, with 1.7% of these specifically work in film, music, sports, or television.

Entertainment and Media in Practice: A Columbia MBA’s Success Story

Lisa Chow, MBA ‘13, was a seasoned journalist before heading to b-school. Soon after graduation, she began working at Gimlet Media, a Brooklyn-based podcast company.

 


York Schulich

York University – Schulich School of Business (Schulich) – Touch MBA Interview

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Though a b-school in Toronto may sound like a bit of a wild card, Schulich has built a robust entertainment and arts management specialization that holds its own. The program was founded in 1969 and has a strong reputation. Canada is also a hotspot for the industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that film and television production in Canada comes out to $5 billion in revenue. For students who want to hone their crafts, Schulich offers dual degree programs with a range of Master’s of Fine Arts and Master’s of Arts subjects.

Entertainment and Media in the Classroom

The MBA specialization in Arts, Media & Entertainment Management can also result in a Graduate Diploma in the subject if students choose. For the track, students must take “Arts & Cultural Management” and “Cultural Policy.” Electives include “Managing in the New Broadcast World,” “The Business of Creativity in the Cultural Sector,” and “Business Solutions for Digital Media.”

Are you more interested in the creative side of the business? Explore the arts through a dual-degree with either a Master’s of Fine Arts or Master’s of Arts.

Entertainment and Media Outside the Classroom

The b-school has an Arts and Media Management Club that hosts events and networking opportunities for students interested in the field. The Arts, Media & Entertainment Management program also hosts events throughout the year.

Where Do Grads End Up?

13% of the Class of 2016 scored jobs in the technology and communications industry, and another 12% work in law or other industries. Companies that recruited at Schulich recently include Brunswick News, Lombardi Media Corporation, Metroland Media, and TELUS Communications Inc.

Entertainment and Media in Practice: A Schulich MBA’s Success Story

Tracey-Anne Pearce, MBA ‘96, is currently the President of Distribution and Pay at Bell Media. She used her time at Schulich to learn about the industry and transition into it. In 2016, she won the Women in Film & Television – Toronto’s Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business.

 

 

Head to Head

Read below for a head-to-head comparison of top entertainment and media MBA programs. You can also contact our team to get free b-school selection help.

Interested in seeing how you stack-up against applicants to these 5 programs? Submit your profile and get an early indication of fit.

UCLA Anderson MBA vs. NYU Stern MBA vs. USC Marshall MBA vs. Columbia MBA vs. York Schulich

Last updated December 2017


UCLA Anderson MBA vs. NYU Stern MBA vs. USC Marshall MBA vs. Columbia MBA vs. York Schulich

 UCLA AndersonNYU SternUSC MarshallColumbiaYork Schulich
% of graduates going into field6.5% - Entertainment industry2.9% - Entertainment/Media/Sports

1.9% - Telecommunications

Class of 2017
13% - Media/Entertainment

Class of 2016
10% - Technology/Media

Class of 2016
13% - Technology/Telecommunications

12% - Law/Other

Class of 2016
Related courseworkElectives:
Content Creation & Exploitation in the Digital Age

Entertainment Business Models

Entertainment Law

Entertainment Marketing

Entertainment Strategy

Film & Television Finance

Intellectual Property for Managers

Making Creativity Profitable In Entertainment & Technology

Managing Changing Technologies & Business Models

Online Marketing & Analytics

There's No Business Without Digital Business
Electives:
Being Digital: Search, Social Media and Crowdsourcing

Business of Independent Film

Business of Music and Film

Business of Sports Marketing

Business Strategy for the Digital Economy

Craft and Commerce of Cinema: The Cannes Film Festival

Strategy & Finance in EMT Companies

Operations in Entertainment: Las Vegas

Television Management
Electives:
The World of the Producer

The Television Industry: Networks, Cable and the Internet

Feature Film Financing and the Studio System

Digital Technologies and the Entertainment Industry

Entertainment Marketing in Today's Environment

Graduate Film Seminar

Publicity for Cinema and Television

Seminar in Motion Picture Business

The Business of Representation

Business Models for Digital Platforms

Management and Organization of the Creative Industries

Business Strategies of Communication and Entertainment

Communication and Global Competition

The International Entertainment Marketplace

Economics of the Communication Industries

International Protection of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Entrepreneurship in the Media and Entertainment Industry

Case Studies in Digital Entertainment

The International Entertainment Marketplace

Management of Engineering Teams

Strategic Management of Technology

International Protection of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Internet Law

Making Money with Movies - Entertainment Industry Finance and Economics

Feature Film Financing and the Studio System

The Business of Representation

Distribution of Recordings: Media, Retail and Online Channels

The International Entertainment Marketplace

Legal Issues in the Music Industry

The Music Industry
B-School Electives:
Mergers & Acquisitions in Media

Internet Wars

Entertainment Marketing & the Crafting of Celebrity Businesses

Entrepreneurship in Incumbent Media Companies

Virtual Reality & The Future of Storytelling: How Disruptive Technologies Will Transform Media

Marketing the Arts, Culture and Education

Media Platforms and Content: A Foundations Course

The Media Industries: Public Policy & Business Strategy

Media & Entertainment: Strategy Consulting Projects

Entertainment Marketing & The Crafting Of Celebrity Businesses

Media Marketing and Entrepreneurship

The Digital Economy: Regulatory Conflicts and Opportunities

Tools and Principles for Managing in the Information Economy and the Media Sector

Digital Literacy for Decision Makers

NYC Immersion Seminar: Technology Disruption

University-Wide Electives:
The Role of the Producer

The Business of Television

Film Marketing & Distribution

Law in the Internet Society

Law, Media, and Public Policy

Media Law from Print to Digital

Deadline Writing: Business and Financial News

Digital Newsroom for Non-Concentrators

Making the Business of Journalism Work

Managing Broadcast Newsrooms in the Digital Age

Media and Economic Development
Required: Specialization Courses
Issues in Arts & Cultural Management

Cultural Policy

Electives
Managing in the New Broadcast World

The Business of Creativity in the Cultural Sector

Business Solutions for Digital Media
Related co-curricular opportunitiesPULSE Entertainment, Sports & Technology Conference

Entertainment That Matters Speaker Series

Entertainment Management Association

Anderson Creative

Center for Management of Enterprise in Media
Industry Immersion Program

Entertainment, Media & Sports Association
The Global Branding Center

Business of Entertainment Association

Hospitality and Gaming Club
David and Lyn Silfen Leadership Series

The Paul M. Montrone Seminar Series on Ethics

Arts Society

Columbia Music Club

Innovation + Creativity in Business Society

Media Management Association
Arts and Media Management Club
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsEntertainment SpecializationEntertainment, Media and Technology Specialization

MBA-MFA in Film from the Tisch School of the Arts
Business of Entertainment Specialization

Business of Creative Industries Specialization

Graduate Certificate in the Business of Entertainment from USC Cinematic Arts
Media and Technology Path/Specialization

MBA-MS in Journalism
Arts, Media & Entertainment Management Specialization

MBA-MFA in Film Production & Screenwriting

MBA-MFA in Visual Arts

MBA-MFA in Dance

MBA-MA in Art History & Curatorial Studies

MBA-MA in Cinema & Media Studies

MBA-MA in Dance

MBA-MA in Music

MBA-MA in Theatre & Performance Studies

 

 What Do You Think?

While we’ve highlighted our favorite entertainment and media MBA programs, we know there are many other great programs. Is there another b-school that you think deserves to be featured? If so, let us know why in the comments below.

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