I'm looking into getting my master's degree, but due to a full time job, I'm going to have to go the online route. I'm particularly attracted towards Full Sail's Entertainment Business program since it's a package focused on the side of the media/entertainment industry and you earn your masters in 13 months. The only problem is that it's super super expensive and it's basically a full-time schedule, which I would have to complete in addition to a full time job.
Has anybody pursued any degrees geared toward the media industry? Any thoughts on Full Sail or some similar options? I'm more interested in the business/marketing side of things, as it seems that the skills you pick up in a program like that would be more applicable in more situations than something more specific like editing or photography.
I would be careful of spending this type of money also. If you ask around, you will find out that most people do not really value a Master's Degree all that much. It is only good for people wanting to go into education. The only reason besides that to get a master's in just about anything is to make contacts with people in the industry. If you are taking the class online, you will not be likely to get personal contacts. Thik this through before spending the money.
KIDY, KIDZ, KXVA
[Jonathan Pitzer] "If you ask around, you will find out that most people do not really value a Master's Degree all that much"
Yes and no, Jonathan. It all depends on the environment in which you work and the TYPE of Masters. I could easily see that a Masters degree in editing, sound design or some other production skill wouldn't mean much in a job where how good your chops are is a lot more than the piece of paper you have. In this case you're much better off working in an apprentice capacity somewhere you can learn from others and build those chops. Second best would be to spend as much time as you can studying the work of others and trying to learn from it. Of course COW tutorials like those from Aharon Rabinowitz and others are worth their weight in gold.
The environment where a Masters degree WILL mean something is in bigger corporations. For better or worse many HR people will regard someone with an advanced degree as being more desirable to the organization than someone without one. If HR is doing the hiring rather than someone who knows the appropriate skill set and degree of chops the degree wins out.
Now as to the type, consider a Masters in something besides the kinds of things a Full Sail teaches. An MBA degree (even one from night courses which you can take over a number of years) will improve your chances of advancement in many companies, especially larger ones. A few years down the line the guy with a financial skill set, in addition to his editing skills, is more likely to be offered the chance to manage a department than is someone who is just an editor.
But then, what do I know? While some of my friends were getting their MBAs several years back I was just using a lot of nights and weekends doing the same kind of production work I was doing 9 to 5.
[Nick Griffin] "I could easily see that a Masters degree in editing, sound design or some other production skill wouldn't mean much in a job where how good your chops are is a lot more than the piece of paper you have."
Exactly! I think a Masters in Journalism or English - with a passion for communication on the broad front, read, media in all its flavors - is much more valuable. I suppose that holds up where content is king - which is to say, not everywhere. But if it's not everywhere else, who needs the advanced degree working amongst techno-idiots? Dummy-down and call it a day.
There are elements of truth in all of these statements. Just like Nick said, it all depends on where you want to go with the degree. If you want to teach or go the corporate route, it can be very valuable. My father-in-law took an early retirement a few years back from his sales vp position in a Fortune 500 company because he didn't have his masters. He got real tired of all the young MBAs that were being hired by the company that he had to then train on how to really do the job, and then watched as they all got promoted to higher level positions.
But that being said, if you are planning to run your own shop, a business background will be invaluable. Although you may not need an full master's degree. A few select and specific business courses may suffice. I remember when I was in college back in the late 80's, I didn't want to have anything to do with any business classes. Business was the degree all the clueless students seemed to go into. Don't know what I want to do with my life, might as well get a business degree. Nowadays, the business side of our industry is what seems to attract me more than anything. I can only imagine where I would be these days if I had a clue years back about creating a business plan, or proper marketing or customer needs analysis, etc. How many of us out there have more ideas than there is paper to right them down on but have no idea of how to market them, or raise the capital to produce them, or how to connect with right partner to execute the ideas? I think that is one of the main reasons this forum is so popular.
A few universities are starting to see the value and are offering degrees in the business side of the media world. So if you decide you need to pursue the Masters, but from a business side, maybe you could go the MBA route but with a more affordable and flexible scheduled school that will allow you to tailor your learning from the media side.
Thanks for all the advice guys...The more I think abut it, the more I'm inclined to seek out some business classes elsewhere, as Tom said, and space them out a bit so I'm not going through 13 months of full time academic load.
Tom, you also mentioned that several universities are offering degrees based on the business side of the media world. What sort of classes or programs should I be looking for? Full Sail offered things like Media Publishing and Distribution, Product and Artist Management, and Internet Marketing, among several others. Are these a good place to start?
Brad, those sound like potentially good classes, but I would start by first identifying where you want to end up? Are you hoping to get a management job with a media company where you can manage a staff and projects, or are you looking to start your own place and work for yourself? If you know you want to end up in Denver, you will look at the map and find the best way to get there. If you just hit the road and go where it takes you, you may or may not end up in Denver. If you want to work for a corporation, your initial preference may be to take classes to learn how to manage people, how to project manage and how to not fall asleep in staff meeting. But if you are wanting to run your own shop, you may want to first tackle marketing and sales since you'll need to bring in the bucks to keep the door open each day. Sure, you will need to have some marketing and sales skills if you manage a corporate department, since you may have to "sell" your ideas or projects to other divisions or managers, but if they have a sales and marketing dept, that load won't fall on your head like it will with your own shop. And if you want to create your own content and get it aired and sold, then you will need distribution and capital knowledge.
I know USC and Full Sail offer courses that focus on specific media business topics, so you may want to check out their class offerings on-line to get an idea of what is available. Or you could always take courses in a traditional business setting and focus all your work in a media direction.