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After the MBA: Media and Entertainment

Posted in Test Prep on January 21, 2011 by

This is another post in our “After the MBA” series, in which we chronicle a variety of post-MBA career opportunities to give you a sense of which might be the best fit for you. Whether you’re looking to make a career change or want to stay in your present field, this information will help guide you in your b-school decision-making process, as well as direct your studies once in school.


Entertainment and Media

What It Is:

The Entertainment and Media industries encompass a wide variety of companies, all of which at their core seek to entertain consumers — everything from advertising to television to video games to internet-based media and media technology manufacturers, and much more. For MBAs, a career in Entertainment and Media can take a variety of forms: within the industry, b-school grads might work in marketing, consulting, finance, law, international business, brand management, or business development. As an MBA, you will be much more business person than entertainer (though your responsibilities will of course be intrinsically linked to entertainment). Entertainment and media-related courses in b-school will ideally give you an understanding of the strategy and principles that drive the various sectors of the industry.

Salary Range:

Salaries for MBAs entering the media and entertainment industry vary depending on a variety of factors. Harvard Business School reports that for the Class of 2010, the median base salary (not including bonuses and other extra compensation) was $104,100; the median base salary for Class of 2010 students entering the industry from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business was $87,500.

How to Break In:

Obtaining a job in media and entertainment depends largely upon networking. There is no recruiting process for media and entertainment jobs like there is for consulting and banking (although if there is a media/entertainment student club at your b-school, they might organize events with prospective employers). If you are interested in entering the media and entertainment industry, make a concerted effort to make connections within the industry during b-school. MBAs looking for work in the media and entertainment industry should be aware that salaries are normally considerably lower than those in careers like investment banking or consulting, and that entertainment companies will not always have fast-track programs to accelerate the career of an MBA hire.

Great B-Schools for a Career in Media and Entertainment:

Going to business school in one of the two main entertainment hubs — New York or Los Angeles — will likely make it easier to make connections in the industry. UCLA-Anderson and NYU-Stern, for example, have top entertainment programs. When looking at prospective b-schools, ask the admissions office if they can put you into contact with students or alumni who have worked in the industry; also look to see if there is an active media/entertainment student group on campus, or if there are any courses offered which relate specifically to the industry.