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All Access Pass

"It’s a huge, huge deal”. This was the response from the Director of Current Programming at ABC Entertainment in Los Angeles – a Yale SOM alum – in response to a question regarding the weight of the Yale brand and how it has helped him achieve the level of success that he has attained. The truth of this is something that I’m realising more and more the longer I’m here. My first Spring Break in the US was a great one. Beginning with a trip to LA organised by the Media & Entertainment Club, a group of us traded in the snow of New England for the Californian sunshine. There we met with Yale alums now in leadership positions at many of the most influential organisations in the media & entertainment sector. In four days, we packed in meetings with all of Warner Brothers, The Walt Disney Company, News Corporation, FOX, ABC, NBC Universal, International Creative Management, Activision Blizzard and Victory Studios where the 'Extra' show is filmed. We also connected with students from the Entertainment Management Club at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and were able to take advantage of SOM’s reciprocity agreement with UCLA’s career services office. A fruitful, inspiring trip to say the very least. The first years in our group then split off to a number of different locations all over the world for the International Experience segment of the core curriculum. On my way to Australia, a check in on Facebook made me smile as classmates reported in excitedly via status updates from as far and wide as Japan, Costa Rica, Western Europe and South Africa. The Australia trip saw us visiting Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne and meeting with leaders from some of the country’s most successful businesses and important government organisations including Austrade, BHP Billiton, Cochlear, Fosters, FOX Studios, Macquarie Group and Telstra. We were also lucky enough to meet with an SOM alum who founded private equity firm Anacacia Capital, meet other Australia-based alums at a drinks reception, spend time with MBA students from the University of New South Wales and still found time to enjoy the rainforests and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. A busy but truly eye-opening fortnight and one we’ll all still be talking about for years to come. In experiencing the likes of a conversation between former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the former President of Mexico, an address from Queen Rania of Jordan and lunches, lectures and roundtable discussions with the CEOs of Time Warner, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble, it’s already been a fascinating first year. I feel like our time here grants us something of an All Access Pass to some of the world’s most inspirational leaders, allowing us to learn from the best in order to prepare us for our future responsibilities as we look to follow in their footsteps. Pictured: members of the Media & Entertainment Club with Susan Cheng (SOM ’02), Executive Director, Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, Warner Brothers Pictures

Pictured: the Australia group at Sydney Harbour