It’s often said that there’s no business like show business. And that seems to be a mantra adopted by a growing number of business school students. Demand from students and employers has spurred growth in the number of MBA programs focused on the media and entertainment industry.
MBA programs in Media or Entertainment typically deal with the marketing, finance, management, accounting, legal, and economic issues facing entertainment and media firms; and the programs often cover film, television, music, sports and publishing.
The industry is undergoing a digital revolution, with a growing number of digital players entering the market as consumers increasingly “cord-cut” their TV and media packages in favor of on-demand streaming from companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. That is reflected in curricula, with a bevy of the business schools teaching students how to adapt, rather than fall victim to, the onslaught of digital upstarts — or indeed establish their own startup.
Here are the 10 best MBA programs in Media / Entertainment.
New York University’s Stern School of Business runs an MBA program in Entertainment, Media and Technology. Stern is one of the world’s top schools, consistently placed in the upper echelons of the most prestigious MBA rankings. No doubt, the school draws on its fortuitous location in the Big Apple, a leader in media. The media MBA’s advisory board includes senior executives from news site Buzzfeed plus Amazon.View School Profile
MBA students at this top business school in California can take a formal Graduate Certificate in the Business of Entertainment. The certificate includes in-depth courses on the business of film, television and new (digital) media. Noteworthy is the fact that the course is taught by veterans of the media industry, sometimes off-site at media studios or agency offices. That is a fantastic way for students to develop networks that can help them succeed in a business famous for being quite cliquey.View School Profile
CUHK Business School, based in Hong Kong, is better known for sending its students into the financial services sector, but a large portion also go into the media and entertainment business: nine percent in 2018. MBA students studying media and entertainment in Hong Kong know that China is an up and coming media and entertainment industry powerhouse. As rapid economic growth lifts millions of Chinese into the middle classes, they have begun to embrace creative sectors such as film, which is actually the world’s fastest-growing film market, according to Deloitte. With that growth comes increased job opportunity.View School Profile
UCLA Anderson runs a specialization in Entertainment Management and Technology Leadership that covers everything from entertainment to sports, content creation and media innovation, plus digital technology. The school leverages its location in Los Angeles, which puts it very close to Hollywood and some of the biggest names in the media business. Of a recent graduating class, about seven percent of the school’s MBAs were hired into the entertainment industry, employed by companies including Paramount, Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers.View School Profile
MBA students at Columbia Business School in New York City can take a diverse range of courses on media and entertainment, crack a range of case studies with media and tech companies, and can participate in active student associations. With over 200 members, for example, the student-run Media Management Association is one of the biggest and most active on campus. What’s more, the course gets superstar media executives as speakers. Among them are Jeff Zucker, chief executive of CNN; Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO; and Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times.View School Profile
The Darden MBA offers pretty exceptional preparation for a career in the media or entertainment industry. The school runs job treks to New York and Los Angeles to meet companies such as ESPN, Sony Productions, ABC, NBC, MTV and Reuters. But also its campus in Charlottesville is close to a number of music management and film production enterprises and the famed Virginia Film Festival. The Media, Entertainment and Sports Club is also a source of networking for students to get into the sector. In terms of programming, there’s a popular second year elective course focused on theatre and creativity, while students can choose to do their final practical business project in media or entertainment.View School Profile
Harvard Business School in Boston runs a second-year MBA course focused on the business of entertainment, media and sports. It covers film, television, music, publishing, video games, arts, and more. Harvard is perhaps one of the best-known business school brands, having essentially created the MBA degree and having brought the case study method from law to business schools. That name recognition, plus a thorough education in the business of media and entertainment, is surely a winning combination for anyone hoping to work in the industry.View School Profile
Chicago Booth has a Media, Entertainment and Sports Group that is dedicated to helping MBA students land jobs in these highly dynamic industries. The student-led group develops solid relationships with alumni and corporate recruiters, preparing members for internships or full-time jobs in the field.View School Profile
Cardiff Business School in Wales, part of the UK, runs an entire MBA program in Media Management that is designed to give students a solid background in business management, married with specialized media knowledge. The course is highly-regarded. It draws on 25 years’ experience among faculty from Cardiff University’s renowned School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, who teach part of the program.View School Profile
Schulich runs the only English-language MBA with a Specialization in Arts, Media and Entertainment Management in Canada. Founded in 1969, the course provides specialist schooling in broadcasting, digital and social media, nonprofit arts and social enterprise. It’s taught by world-leading faculty, plus senior industry executives. The advisory board includes directors from Random House of Canada, Sundance Production and the Toronto Arts Council. Graduates go on to work in global senior management roles across the arts, creative industries, even in government.View School Profile
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Entertainment MBA programs are uniquely positioned to prepare graduates for an industry in transition.