Category: GEMA, GEMA Externship

Title:My Externship Story: Jason Williams (B’05)

When I originally applied to the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance Externship program during my first year at the McDonough School of Business MBA program, I wrote on my application that I hoped to “gain exposure to both the creative and executive management aspects of the media and entertainment industry.” Almost a year after I submitted my application and months after attending the externship week in Los Angeles, I can proudly say that the GEMA program has enabled me to achieve that goal, AND MORE!!!

The GEMA Externship Program offers a unique experience for those interested in the “business” aspect of “show business.” Whether you are a former investment banker who is interested in working in a strategic planning or business development role at a major television studio, or a former consumer products marketing manager who is interested in becoming a creative executive at a film production company, the GEMA externship allows you to meet successful and influential leaders from the entertainment industry in face-to-face meetings and seminars and gain valuable career planning advice.

Personally, I had entered business school in order to make a transition from a career in consulting to one in strategy and business development at a major media company. Before pursuing my MBA, I had spent a few years in communications industry information technology consulting at both Accenture Consulting and a startup dot-com consulting firm. However, I had always desired to pursue a career in entertainment and media, but I was hesitant to make the big move away from Washington to either New York or Los Angeles. I decided to remain in the capital city, where I spent nearly a year as a business and programming development associate at an independent television production studio that produced television shows for networks such as Discovery and ESPN.

During this experience I learned how the television production industry functions by being involved in activities ranging from TV program concept creation and development, to program pitching, to pre-through-post production. I then launched my own media production and consulting firm, which focused on creating multi-media marketing campaigns for corporate, non-profit, and government agency clientele. After running my own small firm for nearly 2 years, I decided that in order to gain a higher level of business expertise and best position myself to pursue opportunities at a major media and entertainment company, I should pursue an MBA.

The GEMA Externship Program complemented both my previous career experiences and my MBA studies perfectly by matching me, in both group and one-on-one meetings, with entertainment executives at many of the major television studios, cable television networks, and independent TV production companies based in Los Angeles. During the week of the externship, I met made contact with top executives at leading media companies such as Fox, HBO, Freemantle, Mark Burnett Productions, E! Entertainment, Direct TV, and Warner Brothers. From these experiences, I was able to receive first hand advice on how to best prepare for a career on the business side of the entertainment industry.

Over the year, I was able to remain in contact with many of those that I had met during my externship week, and one of the relationships that I had developed actually lead to a summer internship opportunity. I spent the summer of 2004 in Los Angeles working for the Senior Vice President of Non-Fiction Programming Development at Fox Television Studios. While spending the summer on the Fox studio lot, I gained invaluable exposure to both the business and creative sides of the entertainment industries. I created a financial forecasting model to determine the viability of entry into new global television markets, developed new reality format programs to be licensed by Fox to domestic and international television networks, and assisted the Senior Vice President (who also has an MBA) in supervising television programs currently in production for cable networks such as Discovery and A&E.

The GEMA Externship has provided me access and opportunities like no other program could. Whether you are in a Georgetown business, law, or undergraduate degree program, if you are interested in a career in the media and entertainment industry, the GEMA Externship Program provides a week of career-transforming activities that you will treasure for years to come.