Curricular Role

The Media Program is a unique approach to the study of media management. It was inaugurated in the 1992-93 academic year as an MBA concentration, and chaired by Eli Noam until 2003.

The concentration is designed for students interested in converging areas of:

  • mass media such as television, film, and arts & entertainment
  • telecommunications and electronic network services
  • information systems, including computers and office automation
  • “Information Management,” a rapidly growing function responsible for the management of companies information flows
  • electronic commerce

The philosophy of the concentration is to: (a) create synergies across divisions, such as Marketing, Finance, Management of Organizations, Business Economics, etc. (b) prepare students for the merging of the major components of the information sector - media, communications, computers, information systems, etc. The curriculum provides the inter-media exposure and perspective needed to succeed in the future information environment. (c) take advantage of Columbia's location in New York, the country's most significant business and information center.

Jonathan Knee, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Media Program, heads the concentration. Faculty involved in the courses of concentration includes Profs. Bruce Greenwald, Kathy Harrigan, Morris Holbrook, Eli Noam, Eric Johnson, and Bernd Schmitt. Distinguished practitioners and observers of the media and information sectors also offer courses.

Courses that can be taken at other Columbia Schools for purposes of the concentration include:

Law School: Law and Film Library; Law and the Music Industry; Law and Sports; Comparative Mass Media Law; Secondary Liability on the Internet; Securities Law and the Internet

School of International and Public Affairs: Creating a Successful Magazine

School of Journalism: Media and Contemporary Society; Comparative Media Systems

School of the Arts: History of the Producer; The Business of Film.

Student-Run Activities

For student-run activities at the Columbia Business School, see the following web sites: The Technology Business Group and the Media Management Association.

Ph.D Program in Communications

CITI also played a role in co-founding the campus-wide Ph.D. program in Communications. The goal of the program is to “connect the strengths of the Columbia journalism tradition with intellectual work in the humanities and human sciences in a way that enhances the practice of and our understanding of journalism.”

The program offers an interdisciplinary approach to students in one of four specialities (Journalism and Public Life, Social Impact of Media, Economics and Regulation of Communications, Information and Technological Systems) and brings together faculty and courses from other departments and Columbia divisions, including Political Science and Sociology, and the schools of Business, Law, and Engineering. Successful completion of the program indicates a mastery of the theory, technology, economics and social aspects of communications and media. The Director of the program is Andie Tucher.

Media and Information Management

A major effort is the creation of a textbook and professional book series in media and information management. It involves the integration of substantive tool content for media and communications management. The traditional approach to this has been to survey various media industries, such as telecom, TV, cable, etc. Our mission is to instead introduce students to concepts and tools of management from all parts of the business curriculum.

  • media accounting
  • financing media
  • pricing of information products
  • marketing media
  • demand analysis for media products
  • media production
  • media human resources management
  • media strategy
  • entertainment law and regulation
  • media technology managmement
  • media distribution
  • intellectual asset managment 

These themes cut across the various media industries, and integrate many aspects of the entire B-School curriculum.

The four Business School courses regularly supported by CITI are:

B8210-001: Media & Information Management Instructor: Eli Noam

  • The course brings together many of the strands of the entire MBA program and applies them to the media sector. It covers business functions, tools and intellectual concepts across the communications industries. Topics are media finance; content production management; network economics; audience measurement; the pricing of information goods and licenses; intellectual asset management; media accounting and valuation; media HRM; media technology management; and entertainment law. In terms of format, the course provides lectures, cases and invited experts. It also uses the tools of electronic media: lectures are available online in video, audio and text formats, enabling off-site study.

B8599-007: International Media Business Instructor: Eli Noam

  • This course deals with the international aspects of communications industries and information flows. It provides tools and analysis for several media: film production and distribution; TV, cable and satellite; print and online publishing; global telecom and mobile networks; and broadband Internet. It covers such global topics as e-commerce; storage technology and music; transformation of old media; and entertainment law and intergovernmental regulatory policy; trade in copyrights and patents; privacy protection and international information flows. In terms of the format, the course provides lectures, cases and invited experts. Lectures are available online in video, audio and text formats, enabling off-site study.

B9377-005: Communications, Internet, & Media (Master Class) Instructors: Robert Atkinson, Raul Katz, Eli Noam

  • In this course, student teams act as consultants to client companies in the telecommunications, internet and media industries. The consulting projects will address real problems and opportunities facing the companies and will involve hands-on interaction with the management of the companies. Teams interested in entrepreneurialism will focus on the internet, new media, and content projects. Teams oriented to finance and strategy will work with telecom and media companies that are trying to adapt to new challenges. In the aggregate, the projects will provide understanding and skills for dealing with management challenges in a sector characterized by rapid change and boom-bust cycles, and to integrate the MBA curriculum with management practice in a feedback loop. In addition, early lectures will provide frameworks for how to do consulting and for thinking about the telecom/internet/media businesses in order to provide teams with a sufficient basis for their projects. These lectures will therefore cover such topics as the business dynamics, drivers, technologies, and policy framework of the telecom/internet/media industries. Throughout the course, classes will also include analyses of notable success and failure stories, with the participation of guest who are high-level insiders in the telecom/internet/media industries.

B8599-008: Developing Strategies for High Tech Firms Instructor: Raul Katz

  • This seminar explores strategy development and implementation, with a specific focus on international high technology industries (e.g., telecommunications, content distribution, software, electronics and semiconductors). This requires in-depth exploration of sector-specific dynamics with a tailored set of tools to ensure successful implementation. Issues driving complexity range from national/regional markets segmented by different stages of technological development to national regulatory frameworks constraining industry evolution, amplified by the management imperative to achieve competitive advantage in a global market.
  • The seminar examines the specific features of strategic management as related to international high technology firms, followed by in-depth focus on four critical issues. First, the alternative frameworks for competitive strategy formulation and implementation regarding the management of a multinational high technology company are discussed. Then, factors involved in making direct foreign investment decisions as well as cross-border mergers and acquisitions are examined. The next area of focus is the management of global innovation with regard to product development processes and regional customization. Special attention is given to global entrepreneurship, with a discussion of high technology start-ups. The final section turns to the public sector, with an examination of industrial policies and national technology competitiveness strategies.

CITI contribution to students can also be seen through one testimonial of an alumnus, who recently wrote:

“Your unit gave me during 1983-84, while completing my MBA, the environment to research the then primitive concept of pay TV... I can recall the exact moment and place (on Broadway, near 116th St) where the solution occurred to me, and intend revisiting it on the way to seeing you on the 11th. I pitched the idea to an investor group of newspaper owners immediately after leaving Columbia in April 1984, they bought in, we set up a company called M-Net, launched the service, broke even in 1988 and did an IPO in 1990. ... Over the years the group expanded out of its base in South Africa to become the biggest media group by far on the continent of Africa (you may have seen some recent coverage in [Time or on CNN]. We also manage the pay TV platforms (much like your DirecTV) in Greece and Thailand, and own 50% of the biggest instant messaging service in China called QQ, which some 48 million Chinese use... I should like you to know that, if your unit never existed, at least my life and the lives of our 11,800 employees in almost 50 countries would have been very different.”