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Hershatter shares value of entertainment

Andrea Hershatter, associate dean of the BBA Program, taps successful industry insiders--including former students--in her courses on the entertainment business.

Andrea Hershatter is passionate about preparing students for careers in business and entertainment. You can tell by the way she speaks about her work, and you can see it in the results.

Her extensive list of BBA grads now in the entertainment industry includes producers, studio owners, actors, branding experts, and money managers. Hershatter, associate dean and director of Goizueta’s BBA program, and a senior lecturer in organization and management, says the success of Goizueta graduates in the industry is a vital resource, ensuring that the program continues to evolve in the right direction.

“While we teach from a functional rather than an industry-specific perspective in academic courses, we do try to cover the arenas that are most interesting to our students,” says Hershatter. “Entertainment is certainly one of these.”

One way Goizueta achieves this is through senior seminars, which are designed to give students professional knowledge outside the scope of traditional BBA courses, as well as access to “more in-depth industry expertise.”

By way of example, Hershatter notes that for two years the BBA program has offered a seminar called The Business of Producing for Film and Television. The course is taught by an industry professional, Being Bobby Brown producer Tracey Baker-Simmons.

Hershatter says the ability to attract industry insiders like Baker-Simmons is a defining strength of the curriculum. In her own seminar, The Entertainment Industry, which she has taught for more than 10 years, Hershatter brings in “great speakers who provide amazing insights into the structures and trends operating in this very complex industry.” The course, says Hershatter, makes students aware of the wide range of available opportunities, while also underscoring the commitment and hard work the business demands.

“One consistent and cautionary theme is the importance of networking,” she explains. “Another is the harsh reality that even the most talented graduates must be willing to start at the very bottom doing whatever sort of menial tasks are needed.”

Hershatter’s course also explores the changing nature of the industry. Historically, she notes, entertainment has been relatively immune to recession because it “provides escapism at a relatively reasonable cost.”

But today’s studios are often part of large conglomerates that are increasingly focused on containing costs and doing a better job at predicting and delivering returns.

“Clearly, a background in business is a valuable asset, and a strong cohort of our BBA graduates are thriving in the industry,” Hershatter says. “It is so rewarding to me to invite some of my successful former students back to the school as speakers and to listen to them share their experiences and success with the next generation.”

Marty Daks and Cynthia Blakeley

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