Kennesaw, Ga – Billboard magazine just named Kennesaw State’s music and entertainment business program one of the “best” in the world. It’s a familiar recognition for a program that has won the honor four years in a row.
It’s the kind of place where high-profile entertainers like John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band can casually join a class like it’s nothing.
Students at the Joel Kats Music and Entertainment Business School on KSU’s campus know they are the next generation of leaders in the entertainment industry.
“I call them real-world practitioners,” said program director Keith Parisi, “everybody that’s here is actually in the business.”
Keith Parisi, Director of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business (MEBUS) Program at Kennesaw State University. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
Parisi is a musician himself. He said he emphasized the program so that students learn from those who work in the industry.
“That’s everything to me,” Parisi said, “when I was their age, these are people I would have loved to have met on my journey.”
One of the program’s students, Kayla Young, is here on a unique journey of her own.
She wants to start her own aviation acrobatics business when she graduates next year, so she said she came here to learn how to be an entertainer.
“What I really gained is the confidence to be an actor, the knowledge of how to produce an event or what to do with entertainment from the ground up,” Young said.
He is in a perfect place to do so.
Billboard magazine’s school rankings have named it among the top schools in the world for the fourth year in a row, adding to Kennesaw State’s top spot.
“For us, it’s unbelievable because we’re such a young program to be named with all these other great programs,” Parisi said. “Anybody can walk into this building and be successful. We’re like the United Nations in the entertainment business.”
Talking about the entrance of the building, you will find walls full of memorabilia of industry titans. From Michael Jackson’s artwork, to too many platinum records to count, Joel Katz has donated it all. He was the legendary lawyer for many of these stars.
“Joel Katz means everything to this place. He is our namesake and major donor, our inspiration,” Parisi said. “It’s opened doors for us that most students wouldn’t have access to.”
Katz has crowned more recording superstars than anyone else in the industry, and through his philanthropy and involvement, he’s grooming the next generation.
“We are all artists,” said Chris Sinclair, a junior in the program. “We all love music, or film or theater. And we’re all interested in the entertainment industry. And we all create together. Everyone’s really creative. And it’s like one big family.”
Perhaps this is the secret of its success.
Billboard recognition is still an important milestone for the fairly new program.
“That’s the spirit of our program,” Parisi said, “whether it’s on camera, or in a studio mixing, or if it’s in business, once you get that opportunity, it’s in your hands to make it happen.” Get it and be successful.”