Choosing to study an Executive MBA is uncommon in the entertainment industry.
Having spent the majority of my career working in the music industry, I knew it was not an obvious choice. Working in music requires no formal education and many people simply don’t have one. Many roles within music require little to no specific training, regulations or practices in order to start – some basic industry knowledge, great networking skills and a good ear will get you started. This does, however, provide both a benefit and a hindrance… the benefit being that anyone can be anything, and therefore if you’re intelligent you can get very far very quickly. The hindrance being that occasionally you find yourself working with cowboys and there were many days when I felt I was in the Wild West. All success stories in music involve a certain degree of luck.
I became curious about traditional business theory and desired to broaden my skill-set to see what I might be missing and not much else provides the breadth of learning quite like an MBA. There was a period of about 18 months before I started my MBA, when I tried to tackle problems regarding the business models of artist management agencies and found myself flailing. The music industry is cut-throat, exciting and intense and artist management is as close to the action as possible. I couldn’t understand why the industry was bouncing back, but management companies were starting to shrink and in the last few years I saw many either consolidate or disappear.
However hard I tried I couldn’t find the answers. Having now spent some time learning about business models through our corporate strategy modules, it’s crystal clear why this was happening.
I’ve found Cass to not only be the most dynamic in terms of the cohort but also the only business school which genuinely asked me what I wanted from the investment. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted when I started, I just knew I wanted something different. Studying the Executive MBA provided me with a new way to progress my career. Which, with the help of the Cass careers team I’ve been able to do successfully.
An Executive MBA is not for the faint of heart, but I can now confidently say it is definitely for the entertainment industry. In fact, if more people in the music industry had an MBA, it might be a very different landscape today.
Soraya Sobh, Executive MBA (2021)