Brianna Chacon

BBA in Digital Media Management, Class of 2016
Interned at Warner Bros. Pictures and Disney ABC Television Group
Attended Variety’s MASSIVE Entertainment Marketing Conference

Why did the Digital Media Management major interest you?

Since my first steps, I wanted to dance. Since my first words, I wanted to sing. Since my first lie, I wanted to act. I have never imagined myself working anywhere else than within the entertainment industry. I wanted to always be on stage or in front of the camera. Then reality hit me in the face, and I learned that I am not Beyoncé or Meryl Streep. I knew I had to get into the industry another way.

My first semester of college, I was a PR major with a minor in Business. I quickly learned that I was enjoying my business classes more. I began exploring the other majors that SEU offered and came across Digital Media Management. “What the heck is that?” I remember thinking. After speaking to Dr. Russell Rains about the major, I immediately submitted a request to switch majors and voila! I found the perfect major for me, a balance between business and entertainment.

What did you take away from your coursework?

Had it not been for my coursework, the majority of the opportunities that I sought after would not have been successful. I am a true believer that the best learning happens outside the classroom, so I love it when professors assign projects/assignments that challenge us to face the real world. For example, during my sophomore year, I was enrolled in Business Communication taught by Dr. Michelle Region-Sebest (she’s the best), and we were assigned a career project that required us to seek out a career mentor. Considering I want to be in the television or film industry, I went against the status quo and asked my professor if I could seek a mentor outside of Austin. She encouraged me to do so if I could make it work.

There I was, day in and day out, sending messages to people on LinkedIn requesting informational interviews. In total, I sent over sixty messages and connection requests… I can count on one hand how many people responded, and of those who responded, only one followed through. This person happened to be the VP of Entertainment Marketing at ABC Television. My request for a 15-minute informational interview turned into an hour-long conversation, which consequently lead to her asking to send my resume for a real interview for the summer internship position. One thing led to the next, and I found myself interning for the Disney ABC Television Group as the Entertainment Marketing Intern last summer. Had Dr. Region-Sebest not assigned the project, or mentored me throughout the process, I think it’s safe to say I would not have had that experience last summer.

What are some lessons you learned from professors or mentors in the business school?

This past spring, I was researching online to seek out conferences that would be beneficial for me to attend. I came across Variety’s MASSIVE Entertainment Marketing Conference that was being held in Beverly Hills, CA. The only problem was that it was two weeks away, and tickets to the conference were over $600. As a college student with a wallet full of dust, I knew that this would be a tricky endeavor. Not only did I not have a ticket to the conference, but I also did not have plane tickets or a place to stay. I immediately began seeking ways to make this possible. I found out about SEU’s Student Conference Fund, which funded me $500. This money did not cover the full ticket to the conference, but it was a start!

I began seeking advice from professors, some of which logically told me that the trip would not be realistic, considering the time restraints. Then I spoke to my advisor, Dr. David Altounian, who encouraged me to create a GoFundMe campaign to raise money. I immediately took his advice and ended up raising $1,000 and buying a conference ticket, as well as a plane ticket, within a week. Had Dr. Altounian not believed in me or given me the idea, I would have given up.

Had I given up, I would not have been the only college student at the conference, where I met key people in the industry. I ended up sitting at lunch with Warner Bros.’ Worldwide Marketing Promotions team. Conversations continued with the team upon my arrival back in Austin, and a few interviews later, I was offered the Promotions Intern position. This past summer, I worked alongside some of the most brilliant people at Warner Bros. Pictures in LA.

What I love most about the professors at St. Edward’s University is the genuine interest they have in their students and their success. A valuable lesson I have learned is to surround yourself with those who encourage you and challenge you to do your best.

How did you hear about the Diversity Awards Dinner, sponsored by T. Howard’s Foundation?

While at ABC, I worked alongside another intern who was a part of the T. Howard Foundation, which is an organization that helps minorities get internships in the entertainment industry. I applied to become a part of the Talent Development Program with the foundation and was accepted. The Diversity Awards Dinner is an annual event they host. I could not actually attend the dinner due to the fact that it was too expensive attend, but earlier in the day they had a networking event for members of their Talent Development Program and Alumni. I reached out to Dr. Nancy Schreiber to inform her about the networking event. We began to have conversations, and I drew up a budget that was approved. I flew out to New York City and was able to network with professionals from companies such as HBO, ESPN and Disney, just to name a few. When I arrived back in Austin, I continued to have conversations with the professionals I met and now still have connections within those different companies.

What are some unique experiences you had or lessons you learned during your internships?

I think the best takeaways from my internships are: work your butt off, nothing is beneath you and take advantage of your resources. Every single project given to you may not be glamorous, but if you do the best work you can possibly do for every single project, you are showing that you can be given larger responsibilities and granted more opportunities.

If you find down time in your internship or job, set up meetings with people outside your department to getter a broader view of how everyone contributes to the bigger picture. Not only will you learn more, but you will also make more connections. Stay in touch with these connections – you never know where they will lead!

Have your internships clarified what you want to do after graduation?

Each and every one of the internships has helped me narrow the career path that I want to take on. I have learned that I love being creative, but I also love being strategic, so I am looking for a position that allows me to be in a sweet spot for both. I have also learned that company culture is extremely important, so as I apply for full-time positions, I will be seeking places that have cultures that I can fit and prosper in.

What advice do you have for current SEU business students?

Go after it. Whatever it is. If you want to do something, then go after it and don’t stop until you achieve it. The answer is always no unless you ask. Send out emails, make phone calls and pay visits. You can’t assume that everything is going to come your way, so be aggressive about making it happen for yourself. Find your passion and turn it into a career. There’s not a better time in your life than in college that you can try something out for a few months and decide if you like it or not.