Mastering The Business of Entertainment

By IC News staff, March 19, 2019
IC School of Business launches innovative MBA in Entertainment and Media Management.

Ithaca College’s School of Business is launching an innovative master of business administration degree program in fall 2019. The new MBA in Entertainment and Media Management will leverage the strengths of IC’s School of Business with that of its nationally renowned communications and music schools. In less than a year, graduate students can earn an MBA that provides them with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop, manage, and distribute creative content.

This distinctive and specialized MBA program will help students quickly advance their careers, establish themselves as entrepreneurs, and thrive in the dynamic entertainment and media industries.

“This MBA degree was designed both for business students who want to understand the creative arts industry and creative students who might know how to create a script, a film or a record but don’t know as much about the business of entertainment,” said Sean Reid, dean of the Ithaca College School of Business. “It really grew from a need in the market that students and alumni felt was not being met.”

School of Business Dean Sean Reid

School of Business Dean Sean Reid

The college’s deep and diverse network of creative professionals and business executives in film, television, music, theatre, and journalism provided insight and feedback on the curriculum as the program was being developed. An advisory board of professionals also will help guide the program, as part of this collaboration between the IC’s highly regarded School of Business, Roy H. Park School of Communications and School of Music.

Combining IC’s expertise and leadership in these three areas — business, entertainment and media — this degree program will offer graduates a differentiating advantage in the marketplace.

“Every filmmaker, scriptwriter, recording artist, and record producer needs to understand the entertainment business. In fact, the more successful a creative professional is, the more incumbent it is upon them to know the business side of the industry,” said Phil Blackman, an assistant professor in IC’s School of Business who helped create the program and also will serve as the program’s director.

“This MBA program is designed for people who want to bolster their music and arts training with business principles and those who are launching their own entertainment or media business. It’s a dynamic way to accelerate your career in a fast-paced, competitive and rewarding industry.” 

Dean Sean Reid

While many MBA programs require two years of study, IC’s MBA in Entertainment and Media Management allows candidates to earn the degree in 10 1/2 months and at a cost that’s less than half of other similar MBA programs. Students in IC’s new MBA program will gain valuable industry experience and networking opportunities through the extensive experiential component and participation in industry events. The engaging curriculum will cover the business of entertainment, entrepreneurship, entertainment law, negotiations, leadership, marketing, economics, organizational structure, and more.

The MBA program’s robust experiential component includes running a multimedia production company as students seek actual licensing deals, develop recording artists, build music catalogs, and manage live music productions. IC’s partnerships in entertainment and media will help leading industry professionals engage with students not just in the classroom but also in native work environments like media headquarters, broadcast studios and even international film festivals. That includes South by Southwest (SXSW), where students will broaden their networks across the screen, music, and new media industries. All travel costs are included in the tuition.

“Students who complete this program will know how to manage production budgets, understand how to license creative content, monetize intellectual property, and be able to determine whether a contract with a production company, distributor or broadcaster is fair and reasonable,” Blackman added.

The program’s students and graduates also will benefit from the strong presence of talented and energetic creative professionals in the Ithaca, N.Y. area and surrounding region. In addition to experiential learning opportunities in New York City and other major metropolitan areas, students will have the benefit of working with Ithaca-based regional promoter Dan Smalls Presents and such local venues as the State Theatre. A partnership with Syracuse-based Public Broadcasting Service affiliate WCNY also has been established to collaborate on the development and broadcast of content created by IC students, faculty and alumni.

The first cohort of MBA students will be drawn from IC’s business, communications and music schools, creating a five-year experience (four undergraduate plus one year in the MBA program), but there also will be openings for students with four-year degrees from other colleges and universities. This approach will allow the program to enroll a diverse set of students who complement one another as they will come from communications schools, music schools, business schools and more.  An MBA “Boot Camp” will be offered prior to enrollment to help prepare students who do not already have competency or coursework in several areas of business.

“This MBA program is designed for people who want to bolster their music and arts training with business principles and those who are launching their own entertainment or media business,” said Reid. “It’s a dynamic way to accelerate your career in a fast-paced, competitive and rewarding industry.”

For more information about IC’s new MBA in Entertainment and Media Management, visit:

Find out more!

Attend one of four upcoming info sessions:

  • Friday, March 29 at 4 p.m. - in BUS 104
  • Tuesday, April 2 at 4 p.m. - in Park 223
  • Thursday, April 4 at 12:10 p.m. - in Textor 102
  • Tuesday, April 9 at 12:10 p.m. - in Whalen 2330