In early January, students participating in Media Management Association’s (MMA) annual trip to Los Angeles were given an insider’s view of the shifting media landscape from the practitioners and behind the scenes players in Hollywood. Highlights of the trip included studio tours of Universal and Paramount, an alumni mixer event at the Sofitel Hotel, and an inter-school mixer at the Standard on Sunset that included students from Wharton, MIT, Stern, UCLA, and USC. At the alumni mixer, current and former CBS students were treated to readings and a discussion led by Media Program Director and Adjunct Professor Jonathan Knee from his new book “The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies?”, coauthored by Professors Bruce Greenwald and Ava Seave.
The first day of the trip began with a private tour of Paramount Pictures' legendary Hollywood lot, where students from CBS and MIT were given a behind the scenes look at the film and television production process and then went on an intimate question and answer session with senior executives. This was followed by a visit with Activision/Blizzard where CBS students learned the ins and outs of brand management from the publisher of Guitar Hero.
The following day, students were given the opportunity to visit the Cartoon Network where they met with Rita Morales-Patton, Assistant General Counsel of Turner Broadcasting and Rick Blanco, the Senior Creative Director of Product Development of Cartoon Network Enterprises. Students also visited Dreamworks Animation where they were hosted by Rich Sullivan, Head of Corporate Finance and Bill Damaschke, President of Theatrical Production who gave them a sneak peak of their 2010 film slate.
Other activities during the trip included a mix and mingle with top executives at Warner Music, a walk- through of the filmmaking process, from concept to theatrical and DVD release, from CFO Larry Wasserman and heads of marketing and acting, a roundtable discussion with MBAs at NBC Universal, a behind the scenes tour of the lot, and finally a meeting at Showtime to discuss the evolution of the cable business with Pearlena Igbokwe-Robinson ’92, Senior V.P. Original Programming.
The trip concluded with a visit to the Disney Studio Lot in Burbank where MBA students from around the country listened to Rich Ross, newly appointed Chairman of Walt Disney Pictures, discuss the upcoming film slate for 2010. Students had an opportunity to speak directly with recruiters about job and internship opportunities across Disney’s many business lines.
The Annual Media Trip is an invaluable experience for students interested in the media arena at Columbia Business School. The annual trip continues to be one of the most popular career treks at the School; plans are already underway for next year!