It’s difficult finding the right job after spending years in school, but Cal State LA Marketing major Austin Brown managed to do it--while still attending school--with one of the biggest production companies in the world, Universal Pictures.
Austin started college off at Pasadena City College where he was in the TVR (television and radio) program. He was almost done with the program before he decided to go back to school for business. “I was naive when I started my TVR career; I thought if I took these courses at community college that somehow I was going to be recognized by some major producer and be offered a job to direct an upcoming sitcom or million-dollar film. It was going to take a lot more than that, and that most of my work would be what they called, ‘below the line,’ or physical, trade work,” says Brown, “I realized I didn’t have to abandon my passion for entertainment. I had always been good at business, and I figured I could go to school for business and still easily be part of the entertainment industry.”
Many undergrads think all they have to do is receive good grades throughout college, and after they graduate they’ll be hired in their desired field based off their GPA. Trust me, it doesn’t work like that.
Now, Brown is a Finance Coordinator at Universal Pictures. He was offered the position as a result of the High-Performance Marketing class that he took with Cal State LA professor and alumnus, Bill Teitelbaum--an entertainment industry veteran and co-creator of the Pink Panther comic strip. The course was more rigorous and demanding than other marketing courses, but it was special in that it paired Cal State LA students with NBC/Universal executives to try and develop new and exciting ways to market current projects that NBC/Universal was develping. Some of these projects included marketing the new Harry Potter based theme park for Universal Studios and also finding a way incorporate social media into the horror movie, "The Visit".
I consider Professor Teitlebaum my mentor, or as he puts it ‘Teacher for Life’. I never know if I’m ready for whatever lies ahead, but somehow he always does.
Brown credits his friends and family for all the success he’s achieved thus far. “I have to give credit to my two little brothers, my friends, ironically the ones that haven’t graduated college yet, my parents and my grandmother, and Professor Teitelbaum.” Says Brown, “Now, I consider Professor Teitlebaum my mentor, or as he puts it ‘Teacher for Life’. I never know if I’m ready for whatever lies ahead, but somehow he always does.”
Like many major life achievements, Brown stumbled upon this one, however, he worked hard to get here. Brown’s advice to undergraduates hoping to explore career options while still in school is:
Just do it.
“Many undergrads think all they have to do is receive good grades throughout college, and after they graduate they’ll be hired in their desired field based off their GPA. Trust me, it doesn’t work like that.” says Brown, “Not only will working in the field provide you with the experience to get you a leg up on your competitors, it will provide you with the insight into what you want your career to be, something that is commonly underestimated in value.”
You can get so much more experience from working at place where you plan to set roots down. By interning or working in your desired field, you get first hand knowledge on whether or not this is the career path for you.
Remember, experience overpowers grades any day. School is important, but don’t be afraid to branch outside of your comfort zone.