How to Succeed in the Entertainment Business Master's Degree Program
Published on Oct 1, 2017 by Amy Cassell
Today, the most successful entertainment executives are creative, hard working, motivated, and career-oriented. Full Sail’s Entertainment Business master of science degree program aims to create the industry’s future executives through specialized courses, networking opportunities with industry leaders, and a collaborative and project-based environment.
“[The Entertainment Business program] is a higher-level business degree that prepares executive leaders and entrepreneurs for advancement in the entertainment industry,” says Heather Torres, the Entertainment Business program director. “Many of our courses are very unique to the entertainment industry – you wouldn’t typically find them in a regular MBA program.”
The fast-paced 12-month program, offered both on campus and online, definitely requires a commitment, but it can lead to great opportunities. Entertainment Business grads have gone on to work as lawyers, tour managers, entrepreneurs, and more. (Grad Ed Wimp, for example, went to law school post-Full Sail and launched his own artist management and business development company after managing tours for A$AP Rocky and Earth, Wind, and Fire; and grad Alyssa Velazquez is a senior manager for social media and fan engagement at MTV.)
Here are some of the traits and skills you need to bring to the table to succeed in the Entertainment Business program:
Before entering the Entertainment Business program, you don’t need to have a business degree, but some practical work experience in a business or creative field is a plus. The program’s best students, says Torres, are those who are driven leaders, are aware of how everything affects the bottom line, and understand the importance of moving a company forward.
This is an advanced-level business degree, so you’ve got to be serious. “[The program is best for] people that are looking for advancement in their careers and are willing to make a sacrifice,” Torres says. “Those who are ready to really focus on their studies and put their all into it.”
Be Ready For: Campus students spend 56 hours per month in class, plus extra time beyond that working on homework and other projects. Unlike undergraduate business programs, which are test and quiz-heavy, writing is a core part of the Entertainment Business master’s program – students write a 20-30-page paper in the Business Plan Development course, for example. “Students need to be very motivated and focused on their studies to find success,” Torres say. “If you don’t pay attention to deadlines, the program’s accelerated nature can get away from you.”
Outside of the classroom, it’s important to make time for networking too, especially because it could lead to an opportunity in the future. “We really put an emphasis on networking and connecting with the industry in a unique and positive way,” Torres says. “Students need to leverage guest-speaking and networking opportunities here as much as possible. If not, they’ll miss out on a huge chance to build those connections.” Entertainment executives speak on campus regularly, via the Entertainment Business program and Full Sail’s Career Development department, while students in the Sports Management track were recently invited to work with College Football Playoff. (Online students can view almost every event on GoTo Training, and are also encouraged to network with industry executives.)
More Keys to Success: Great Entertainment Business students have strong leadership skills, a knack for self-motivation, and a good handle on time management, which is one of the most important skills to master while at Full Sail. The accelerated track means you’re getting a master’s degree in one year instead of the typical two. It’s a huge benefit – you’ll graduate with a head start in the industry and you get to focus on one relevant course per month – but it requires commitment and organization.
If Your Focus is Sports: “[Entertainment Business – Sports Management] is a higher-level business degree with a specialized focus on the entertainment industry,” says Torres. “Students take the same classes as Entertainment Business students until months eight, nine, and ten, when they take sports-specific classes related to marketing, management, and law and sponsorship.”
Full Sail offers its 12-month Entertainment Business master’s degree program both on campus and online, but the Sports Management courses are currently offered only online. The advanced-level courses prepare executive leaders and entrepreneurs for advancement in the entertainment industry. Entertainment Business grad Phillip McKibbens, for example, was working as a senior director of technology support at ESPN when he enrolled in the master’s program, Torres says. “People were asking him, ‘Why are you in this program?’ He told them, ‘The next step in my career is to be a VP, and the only way I will have access to that is if I have a master’s degree.’ He chose Full Sail because he was so impressed with the program.”
More questions? Check out the Entertainment Business degree page here or call an admissions representative at 800.226.7625.