KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 1, 2023
For the fifth year in a row, Billboard Magazine has recognized Kennesaw State University’s Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program (MEBUS) as one of the top college music business programs in the world.
Billboard recently released their report of 2023’s Top Music Business Schools, featuring 42 music business programs from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Europe. Editors chose the schools based on entertainment industry recommendations, alumni information, and program-specific details. Kennesaw State’s MEBUS program has been in this report every year since 2018 (no report released in 2020).
Keith Perissi, executive director of the MEBUS program, credits their success to the work of the leadership team, including associate director Danny Howes and program coordinator Cammie Conn.
“We are all extremely dedicated to our jobs and to our students,” Perissi said. “We expect a high level of professionalism from ourselves and that permeates to our students. We have created a safe, ethical, all-inclusive, equal opportunity, student-focused environment that has allowed our students to thrive.”
Among the other programs Billboard featured alongside Kennesaw State are Berklee College of Music, New York University, and Abbey Road Institute in London.
Part of the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the MEBUS program comprises a 24-credit certificate program and an 18-credit undergraduate minor. Both options teach students to thrive in the fast-paced world of film, television, and audio production, as well as in artist, venue, live event management, and entertainment entrepreneurship.
“[The program] teaches the business side of the industry while providing practical experiences, on-the-job training, and exploration of career opportunities,” wrote authors Cathy Applefeld and Thom Duffy in the Billboard report.
The magazine highlighted several elements of the MEBUS program that help it stand above its peers, such as bringing on David Ryan Harris – John Mayer’s guitarist – as artist in residence, and establishing a partnership with the Dolby Institute, the educational arm of the audiovisual technology company.
“Audio and visual post-production is quickly becoming the leading center of technology careers in the state, nationwide, and internationally,” Perissi said. “Our partnership with Dolby will allow our students to be trained in the latest technologies and have the opportunity to be hired in this exciting and lucrative profession.”
Other MEBUS highlights called out in the report are the program’s annual education abroad trip to London featuring meetings with executives at Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, and the program’s ongoing relationship with Bryan Calhoun, creator of the Music Business Toolbox, a suite of tools, forms, templates, and guidance to help students manage their music careers.
MEBUS student and media & entertainment major Abbie Rice credits the program and its focus on experiential learning with her recent success landing a marketing job with events services firm Topeka.
“Joining the Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business program was the best decision I could have made to kickstart my career in the music and entertainment Industry,” Rice said. “I feel honored to be a part of a program with directors and students who prioritize learning through real industry experience. This specialized program is molding future industry leaders year after year.”
For Perissi, being named one of Billboard’s top music business programs is important not because it brings more attention to the MEBUS program, but because that attention translates to more career opportunities for his students.
“Recognition like this means the entertainment world is aware of what we’re doing and how we’re preparing students to succeed in all facets of the industry,” he said. “Anything that raises our profile raises theirs.”
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