Professor Glenn MacDonald’s Economics of Entertainment has been a popular course for business school students for several years. Starting next fall, students will be able to pursue a Business of Entertainment minor based on an interdisciplinary combination of courses. Student Life reports on the new concentration and gives Prof. MacDonald and freshman Zach Alter credit for proposing the minor.
To further the minor’s interdisciplinary reach, students will be required to take three of their 15 units outside of Olin. The course options, which include classes in the film and media studies and American culture studies departments, seek to provide perspective on the media industry and its culture.
“Professor MacDonald knew from talking to his friends in the entertainment industry that…media culture and understanding how the media works is really important when going into the entertainment industry,” Alter said.
Members of the administration agreed with MacDonald and Alter that taking classes outside of the business school would provide students with the most well-rounded view of the industry.
“With the business of entertainment minor, our faculty felt that classes offered in other areas of the University will provide the students with a holistic view of the entertainment industry, and I expect that trend to continue, as there is very strong collaboration at the undergraduate level across Wash. U.,” Steven Malter, the associate dean and director of undergraduate programs at Olin Business School, wrote in an emailed statement.
The business of entertainment’s keystone course, the Economics of Entertainment, will be offered this fall and is taught by MacDonald. Even though the course predates the new minor, he believes the class provides students with an understanding of the unique economic conditions, decision-makers, and institutions in the industry.
“It’s basically three things. It’s a straight-up economics class where we talk about economics and the peculiar economics of the music and movie business…Then they learn a lot of straight-up institutional stuff like how the heck do you make a movie…Finally, I have a bunch of different people come in from the industry…and I have handpicked them to be people who my students will really be inspired by,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Strategy.
Image: 3Lau, Justin Blau, professional DJ and former Olin student.