Tag: MBA

Conversation with MPA CEO Charlie Rivkin

Charlie RivkinI had the opportunity today to participate in a Zoom call with the Chairman and CEO of the Motion Pictures Association, Charlie Rivkin. Among his many prior roles, Rivkin served as the U.S. Ambassador to France and the CEO of the Jim Henson Company. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School. We had a lively discussion about trends in the entertainment industry and the value of an MBA.

Entertainment Industry Trends

Many people associate the movie industry with movie stars. But Rivkin points out that the industry is filled with over 2.5 million “below the line” blue color workers. Movie-making therefore provides a significant economic boost to local economies. Similarly, piracy hurts many people, not just wealthy stars. Trying to combat piracy is like “whack-a-mole”; when one technology that enables piracy is shut down, another pops up.

Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets, was the most creative and inspirational person that Rivkin knew. He fondly remembered that Henson would bounce ideas off a worker in the company boiler room. When Rivkin asked Henson about this, Henson stressed that you can learn from anyone. Collaboration is important in the MPA. Rivkin has to get the six member companies (Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., and Netflix) to work together on common goals, even though they are business competitors. Of particular importance now is the trend to streaming and other alternate delivery mechanisms.

Rivkin’s Opinion of an MBA

I asked Rivkin how important an MBA will be for young professionals who wish to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He said that he considers an MBA essential. An MBA gives you a chance to think about where the world is heading and how you can contribute. Rivkin also believes that you will learn valuable skills that you won’t be able to learn on the job. Even though an MBA is not a traditional path for a career in the entertainment industry, Rivkin highly recommends getting an MBA.

Conversation with Goldman Sachs’ CEO Solomon

Goldman Sachs CEO David SolomonI had the opportunity today to participate in a Zoom call with Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David M. Solomon, moderated by CNBC anchor Sara Eisen. Since becoming CEO in October 2018, Solomon has navigated the 152-year-old investment bank through economic change and the pandemic. We had a great discussion about the economic environment, a post-pandemic world, and the value of an MBA.

Economic Environment and Leadership

Solomon is optimistic about the medium-term prospects of returning to normalcy. He said that we have faced other challenges before. His worst memories are of seeing the devastation in Downtown Manhattan on 9/11. Despite the horrors of this pandemic, we need to move forward. He thinks that more economic stimulus is needed, but it should be more targeted and thoughtful than the $1.9 trillion package under discussion in Congress. Solomon thinks that future generations will pay the consequences of such a heavy debt load.

Solomon emphasized that a company needs to be led with purpose. Employees want a clear purpose and want to contribute to that purpose. Social impact is important. Solomon believes that companies should contribute broadly to the societies in which they operate. He is especially proud of an initiative that he spearheaded and announced in January 2020 – Goldman Sachs will not take a company public unless it has at least one woman or non-white member on its Board of Directors (two starting this year).

Solomon’s Opinion of an MBA

At my request, moderator Sara Eisen asked Solomon about the value of an MBA. Solomon said that one of his biggest personal regrets is that he didn’t go to business school. All of his peers found value in the personal growth they experienced during their MBAs. Solomon said that he highly recommends getting an MBA if you are fortunate enough to have that opportunity. You will be working for many years, so taking a couple years to build a personal network and develop life experiences is invaluable in his opinion (and ours too!).