The MBA in Media Management
MCNY's Media Management Blog
In the MCNY Media Management MBA program, we believe learning is made more effective and efficient when studies are applied toward a specific goal. Our purpose centered education learning model directs students to plan, produce and promote new media ventures as part of the MBA studies; students learn by doing. Last year, students were asked to plan a film festival as a live case study for one of their classes.
Recently I took the opportunity to interview two of our program alumni, Cherice Monique Bedford and George Kevin Jordan, both of whom helped develop and implement the first film festival. Cherice Bedford is a screen writer, film editor, and independent filmmaker and has an extensive production background. George Jordan is a published journalist and author. His experience includes reporting for the Milwaukee Journal – Sentinel, The Sunday Paper Atlanta, and Bleu magazine, where he served as EIC and then Executive Editorial Director for three years. His debut novel That Moment When and his follow-up Hopeless were both released on Urban Soul Kensington Publishing.
This August Ms. Bedford and Mr. Jordan both received their MBAs in Media Management from MCNY. They have returned to partner with the MCNY Media Management MBA program to institutionalize the festival as an annual event and assist current students to develop and host the 2nd Annual MCNY Media Management Short Film Festival in April 2011. It is my pleasure to spotlight their voices from the global village…
Kristie Velasco: Why don’t you share a little bit about the first MCNY Media Management Short Film Festival? How did it get started?
Cherice Bedford: The MCNY Film Festival was a project created in our Organizational Behavior class during Purpose 2, which focuses on preparing us to develop and master actual managerial skills and prepares us to work with other people from different backgrounds in a company. During the film festival, I had the opportunity to feature my filmmaking talent as well as serve as manager of fund-raising and social media marketing.
George Jordan: It was a chance to see what we as students could create, plan, manage and market within a certain time frame. I was assigned as project manager and my only goal at the time was to get it done. It was a success, and we learned a lot about each other. I am so pleased we are partnering with the Media Management program to incorporate the festival into the curriculum and mentor the students managing the actual process this semester.
Kristie Velasco: Why do you think holding a film festival is such an important activity that it should be made part of the Media Management MBA curriculum?
George Jordan: As a creative person I found that I was always looking at the content, or the product, and making it look pretty, making sure it was copy edited, written well. In the program I learned that as a manager, before I touched anything, I tried to figure out what was the purpose of what we did, and then come up with a plan and budget that always aligned with the overall purpose or mission of each project. That is something this program helped to instill in me.
So for me, the film festival was really a chance to utilize all the things I have learned as an MBA Media Management student. I held several management positions at magazines and organizations, but it was during my time at the school that I really learned how to marry the business and creative skills together. To that end I think an MBA media management student should be able to walk away from the program able to produce, events, movies, whatever it takes…It doesn’t matter the medium. We should be prepared to be line producers, managing editors, CEOS, etc…The film festival is like a live incubator to test our skill sets.
Cherice Bedford: When we did the film festival last April I not only learned business skills, but it was important to me as a filmmaker because it gave me an opportunity to introduce my short film to 118 people and make the connections I needed to create my short into a full length film.
The things I learned in the Media Management MBA program helped me create a plan to find funding and create my films. At the same time, I gained invaluable experience and confidence knowing that I can produce this event. When I finished MCNY program I was able to take the skills I learned and apply them and create my own business with two other students from the program. Having an MBA will also allow people to believe and trust that I know what I’m doing.
Kristie Velasco: George do you agree with Cherice that creating the festival was beneficial to your MBA education and can help you now that you have graduated?
George Jordan: Again for me it was about creating a plan of attack, rather than attack and seeing what shook from the tree. A plan actually helps me be more creative and a business plan is standard for getting funding. But also, not only do you need to create a business plan, which many people can do, you need to be able to execute it if and when you get funds, which many people CAN NOT. That is what I think I learned at MCNY…To create and plan, and execute.
Kristie Velasco: How will the 2nd Annual MCNY Media Management Short Film Festival be different from the first?
Cherice Bedford: What’s different this year is that the film festival will be two days instead of one. This year we also want to build partnerships so that the filmmakers can get something out of this; meaning some kind of connection. The current students will learn how to market, produce, make decisions, and deal with unexpected problems that may occur.
George Jordan: Last year it was a one day event, which in hindsight was a lot to absorb and execute in the few hours we had. This year we are adding another day and trying to create partnerships to ensure that both the students and the filmmakers walk away with important knowledge and a connection in this industry.
Kristie Velasco: What else are you working on right now?
George Jordan: I am a journalist and author and right now I am working on my third book. My first two, That Moment When and Hopeless, were released worldwide via Urban Soul/Kensington, one of the largest African American owned publishers in the world.
Cherice Bedford: As of now I’m working on my full length film TOYA, I’m also working on my nonprofit business, Harlem’s Writers for Change. I’m also teaching a drama class at the Children’s Aid Society.
Kristie Velasco: Wow, with all that you are working on, why did you come back for this?
Cherice Bedford: I came back to work on the film festival because I always want to be a part of MCNY for one. More importantly though, the film festival was created by 7 students who never did any kind of event as such and it was a success and I will always want to be a part of it; it meant a lot that staff and students from the school were contacting me asking when it would be this year…I couldn’t not do it.
George Jordan: I always knew I wanted to be more involved as an alum. I really didn’t have that opportunity as an undergraduate because I was too busy trying to establish myself as a writer. But here, I realized coming back and working on projects that showcase what MCNY Media Management students can do, builds brand equity, and people begin to associate the students with the amazing things that they can do.
Kristie Velasco: As new MBA’s and media professionals, what do you think of what is going on with new media and how do you think the program fits into the larger media industry?
Cherice Bedford: I say media is changing all the time…MCNY has to stay current and be ready for change as well.
George Jordan: We are in an amazing and scary place. It is amazing because you are only a blog away from being a millionaire, or creating that great business…But it is scary because the current powers that be are scared. They don’t know how their business models are going to shift, and many people are jumping ship. It is our responsibility in my opinion to be the problem solvers, and create new businesses that can navigate this turbulent time. As Media Managers we have to be the solution, and also educators in what we do, because most media managers today worked their way from the bottom up and learned that way. We have to be able to prove the knowledge we gained can be applicable in the workplace. That is our challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
There is always this period with new technology where the owners of the old technology fight over the reach of the new technology. We saw that with TV and now the Internet. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS an alliance is built because you cannot stop progress. To that end it is the schools, and the students’ responsibility to be in the room during these changes and to be present in the transformation of the medium. If we are defining the direction we can define our place in the revolution.
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