LMU’s prime location in Los Angeles not only benefits students seeking a career in film but also those interested in entertainment finance. The university’s proximity to the major movie studios provides access to coveted jobs and internships and numerous opportunities to network with alumni in the industry. Not surprisingly, the Entertainment Finance course in the College of Business Administration is one of the most popular courses among finance students.
David Offenberg, associate professor of finance, began teaching this course in 2014 because he thought it would give students more opportunities to find jobs. He had no idea it would be this successful. In his spring 2017 class, 55% of students earned a job or internship in entertainment finance, up 40% from the year before.
“The jobs that our students and alumni are entering are solid, corporate finance jobs that offer a path to an analytical career both inside and outside of entertainment,” said Offenberg.
One example is Jake Provencher ’17, who worked as a financial analyst at Lionsgate Entertainment.
“Entertainment Finance was by far my most beneficial class,” said Provencher. “The Film Model Project completed during the course is a great tool to bring to an interview and shows off your Excel skills. The mentorship program was also a major asset.”
All of the major movie studios have been involved from the initial design of the course, and they continue to influence its content. Several are trying to directly connect their HR departments with students early on in the semester.
The success of the course is also attributable to LMU’s Entertainment Finance Alumni Network, which includes over 150 local alumni working in entertainment finance who advise Dr. Offenberg, mentor the students and hire from within the LMU community.
“We’ve been successful because we get buy in from alumni who mentor our students and take an active role in helping them find jobs,” said Offenberg.
Senior finance major Elliot Britt spent the summer working as a production finance intern at FX Networks. He previously interned at Lionsgate and Miramax.
“The Entertainment Finance course taught me a lot about the fundamentals of finance within the entertainment industry,” said Britt. “The course was also incredibly useful for networking, as Dr. Offenberg matched us up with mentors and other great contacts within the industry so we could have points of contact already working in the field.”
Natalya Mahaindra ’17 spent a few months over the summer interning as a film and television auditor with Brauer & Co. before joining the firm full-time after graduation.
“My advice is to start applying for internships in the industry very early; don’t wait until senior year to find something,” said Mahaindra. “Having more internship experience in the industry greatly increases your chances of getting a job in entertainment once you graduate, and it’s a great way to build your network early on.”