Olin Business School to offer new minor
The Olin Business School is set to launch a new business of entertainment minor, following a two-year curriculum revision that began in December 2014.
The minor, which will be open to undergraduates in all of Washington University’s divisions, is designed to provide students with an understanding of the entertainment field and to prepare them for success in the business side of the industry.
Following the creation of a business of sports minor, the addition of a business of entertainment minor to the business school curriculum continues a general push to create interdisciplinary opportunities that will give students skills that are applicable to their lives after graduation.
The minor was jointly proposed by Glenn MacDonald, a John M. Olin professor of business, law, and economics; and Zach Alter, a freshman and professional DJ. Both have a long-standing passion for music and business and wanted to find a way to provide interested students an opportunity to learn about both.
“We’ve had a lot of program improvements in the last couple of years, and they’re looking for interesting things to add in. And this is very distinctive,” MacDonald said. “There are very few places in the business world where you can get something like this, so the BSBA Committee and the administration, like Dean [Steven] Malter were extremely supportive.”
To further the minor’s interdisciplinary reach, students will be required to take three of their 15 units outside of Olin. The course options, which include classes in the film and media studies and American culture studies departments, seek to provide perspective on the media industry and its culture.
“Professor MacDonald knew from talking to his friends in the entertainment industry that…media culture and understanding how the media works is really important when going into the entertainment industry,” Alter said.
Members of the administration agreed with MacDonald and Alter that taking classes outside of the business school would provide students with the most well-rounded view of the industry.
“With the business of entertainment minor, our faculty felt that classes offered in other areas of the University will provide the students with a holistic view of the entertainment industry, and I expect that trend to continue, as there is very strong collaboration at the undergraduate level across Wash. U.,” Steven Malter, the associate dean and director of undergraduate programs at Olin Business School, wrote in an emailed statement.
The business of entertainment’s keystone course, the Economics of Entertainment, will be offered this fall and is taught by MacDonald. Even though the course predates the new minor, he believes the class provides students with an understanding of the unique economic conditions, decision-makers, and institutions in the industry.
“It’s basically three things. It’s a straight-up economics class where we talk about economics and the peculiar economics of the music and movie business…Then they learn a lot of straight-up institutional stuff like how the heck do you make a movie…Finally, I have a bunch of different people come in from the industry…and I have handpicked them to be people who my students will really be inspired by,” MacDonald said.
Although students cannot officially declare the minor yet, Malter expects it be available on WebSTAC shortly after spring break.