Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program Again Recognized by Billboard Magazine

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 5, 2020

Kennesaw State University’s Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business (MEBUS) program has been recognized by Billboard Magazine as one of the country’s top university music business programs for the third year in a row.

The honor comes at a time when Kennesaw State’s unique music and entertainment business program is expanding its scope to include a broader range of students by offering the option to minor in music and entertainment business. In addition, MEBUS continues to provide more hands-on opportunities with major entertainment businesses like Disney and Pandora.    

Billboard Magazine Names Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program a Top Music Business Program

Billboard recently published its feature on the Top Music Business School in the country for 2020, which highlighted 28 college programs. Along with Kennesaw State, other universities profiled include New York University, Pepperdine University, Syracuse University, and the University of California Los Angeles.

“It’s absolutely amazing for such a young program to be named alongside those institutions,” said Keith Perissi, director of the MEBUS program. “I’m extremely honored and proud of the opportunities this will create and the doors this will open for our students in terms of getting hired.”

Launched in 2010 within the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the 24-credit MEBUS certificate program teaches students to thrive in the fast-paced world of film, television, and audio production, as well as in artist, venue, and live event management. With courses taught by entertainment industry executives, professional actors, and Grammy Award-winning recording artists, students exit the program prepared to work in entertainment industry jobs.   

Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program students in the MacLab
MEBUS students working on their state-of-the-art production equipment

The Billboard article cited several recent collaborations between MEBUS and prominent entertainment brands, including a partnership with Walt Disney World Resort to establish a new immersive learning experience. Launched this year, the interdisciplinary KSU Disney Interactive Entertainment Study program sees MEBUS students and their peers in the College of Computing and Software Engineering traveling to Orlando to learn from Disney executives and Imagineers. Participants study music, film, and videogame production, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, and augmented and virtual reality.

“As with everything we do, the goal of working with companies like Disney is to put students on the front line of entertainment industry opportunities,” Perissi said. “The focus is always on our students.”

A critical element of the MEBUS program’s success is its ability to connect students with entertainment industry insiders. Billboard praised the program’s selection of Bryan Calhoun, director of artist marketing and industry relations for Pandora Media and head of digital strategy for Blueprint Group/Maverick, as executive-in-residence.

Calhoun has developed digital strategies for Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, T.I., and the Roots. As executive in residence, he offers valuable guidance to students on marketing in the music industry, using his industry specific learning portal, Music Business Toolbox.

Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program Executive in Residence Bryan Calhoun
Executive in Residence Bryan Calhoun leading a MEBUS class

As MEBUS continues to attract a wide array of entertainment industry professionals and brands, a recent move to offer a minor in music and entertainment business will also allow the program to appeal to a wider selection of Kennesaw State students. This spring, the University accepted the program’s application to offer the minor. The 18-credit-hour minor in music and entertainment business will be open to students in all majors when it launches in the fall.

“While the full certificate has more room for film, TV, and audio production,” Perissi said, “the minor focuses more on business courses and a few custom-made electives. It offers students a faster track towards completion.”

With Kennesaw State’s MEBUS program continuing to garner national attention while also building new relationships with entertainment industry partners and opening the program up to more students, Perissi hopes to build on these successes to help students find fulfilling careers in the thriving state, national, and global entertainment industry.

“We’re always trying to grow, build, and innovate new initiatives for our student’s benefit,” he said.

-Patrick Harbin

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