The Business of Entertainment: Mackenzie Baker’s Path to Broadcast Media

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Mackenzie Baker likes business; but when it came time to choose a major, she didn’t want something “traditional” because she doesn’t really like numbers and formulas. So she was immediately drawn to Bentley’s Creative Industries major.

“Creative Industries was my chance to build a solid business foundation but be able to tailor it towards my passions for writing and entertainment,” Baker says. “While studying Creative Industries I have gotten to learn the business side of so many different industries and have found that I’d like to use my degree to work in broadcast media.”

In short, Baker says the major gives her the chance to study business in a more contemporary, artistic fashion; and her courses reflect that. Her favorites so far? It’s a tie between Web Design and The Television Industry.

For Web Design, Baker mastered Photoshop and designed her own website, which she uses when applying to jobs. During the Television Industry course, she got to watch some of television’s top-rated shows during the past 20 years. Sounds fun — and she says it was — but Baker found it even more fun to then study the programs in a business context.

“We looked at aspects like the marketing techniques employed by media companies and the effects shows have on the economy,” Baker says. “It allowed me to see the shows and all of the work behind the scenes that goes into making them.”

Baker is clearly getting her fill of broadcast media, but she says Bentley is helping her pursue another passion too: news and writing. “My career adviser is the one who connected me to the Office of Advancement Communications, where I was hired as a student writer, writing profiles of significant alumni and special events. Through Bentley I was also able to get credit while abroad in Italy where I wrote, edited and published my own articles for a luxury lifestyle magazine.”

Much of the reason that Baker found opportunities where she could learn and do so much on the job is thanks to the industry experience of her professors. A sophomore when she took her first class with Liz LeDoux, Baker couldn’t get enough of the professor’s stories from the field.

“She was always telling us stuff about the work she’d done or friends she knew in the industry so I started going to her office hours more and she gave me all kinds of advice on getting internships in media but making sure I got to do more than just grab coffee or file papers,” Baker recalls of LeDoux, who went on to become her internship adviser senior year and help her earn credit toward for an internship at NBC Sports.

“During the internship I would meet with Professor LeDoux every few weeks just to talk about the experiences I was having and the connections I was making, and to look toward the future if I found a role I would like to pursue in the industry.”

Their relationship didn’t end when the internship did, however. The two would meet to chat and LeDoux would review cover letter and writing samples and connect Baker with people in the field.

The first time Baker went to office hours for professor Jennifer Gillan, she shared her 10-year career plan and the kinds of jobs she wanted after graduation. Gillan, who has worked in the television industry, gave Baker advice on using LinkedIn to find people with the kinds of jobs that Baker wanted.

“Professor Gillan gave me a whole run-down on current industry trends and how my goals and experience align with what people in the television industry are looking for,” Baker says. “She is the one who convinced me to apply for a job I was somewhat on the fence about, but after leaving her office hours I thought that I should at least give it a shot.”

It’s not surprising that some of Baker’s best moments with both professors took place outside the classroom when she heard honest advice and encouraging words. “These are women who have ‘been there-done that’ and are now looking to mentor and inspire women like me.”

And Baker is confident she is prepared to get out and make her mark in entertainment industry. She says the Creative Industries major has given her experience in digital and social media, content creation and public relations.

“Having a solid business foundation allows me to fully understand the inner-workings of a company, creative or not, so that I can contribute all of my talents and knowledge without parameter.”

Baker’s dream job is to host the fourth hour of the TODAY show (watch out Kathie Lee and Hoda) or be a writer for Saturday Night Live. “I love live television and how it can bring entertainment to such a wide array of people, covering virtually any topic.”

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