New Forks, New Facets

New Forks, New Facets

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This semester was a whirlwind 3 months. Somewhere in there, I undertook two HUGE group projects with my fellow classmates that I would like to share to give some idea of what we actually get up to in the classroom and beyond.

The first was a case-study on Pitchfork Music Festival as part of our Revenue Generation Strategies for Live Entertainment class. We were tasked with analyzing the box-office strategy of the organization and making some “bold” recommendations for that strategy. The paper was to be 30 pages, singles spaced plus some appendices. Bearing in mind that it was a group project, that is a fairly intense undertaking, especially given everyone’s busy schedules. Nevertheless we battled through, and it was actually a fantastic project to complete. My group was great to work with because A) we all brought unique skills to the table and B) we are all die-hard music lovers and musicians.

The project was really interesting because we got to dissect the festival’s box-office operations from every angle—the consumer experience, pricing, technology, management, competition, marketing…you name it we looked into it. After that, we made our “bold” recommendations. You may have noticed that I am using the word “bold” in quotation marks. That is because our teacher, Philippe Ravanas, was looking for us to get a little cray cray, if you will. Perhaps our most ridiculous (but thoroughly researched and absolutely viable) recommendation was to move the Festival. If anyone knows how tied to Chicago Pitchfork is, you may appreciate the insanity. The project was the culmination of an amazing semester in a class that I “boldly” recommend everyone in the program takes.

The second big project of the semester was part of the Entrepreneurship and New Business Creation class. Again, this was a group project, but this time we had to create a business plan for a start-up venture. The business was to be a branch of Facets Multi-Media, an organization here in Chicago that preserves, presents, and distributes, independent and hard to find films. The idea was to think of a way of getting Facets into the movie streaming game and then formulate a business plan around it.

Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. This was one tough project. Despite having five members on my team, there were so many angles and different components to consider. We also had to manage our time and negotiate five ludicrously busy schedules in order to arrange meetings (one of which somehow took place in a bar right beneath a 50″ flat screen showing the NFL…don’t ask). We got it done though, and it actually became a great learning experience. I walked away with a very deep understanding of the movie streaming business and a firm grasp on what it takes to put a business plan together (answer: a lot, including but not limited to, tears, more tears, laughter, long nights, early starts, coffee, huge brainstorming sessions spanning weeks, and Google docs). Here is a demo our group made that summarizes what we came up with:


So, there you have it. A quick run-down of the big projects from this semester. One resolution that will definitely make it into the new year’s list is to be bold!