By Matt Meade
As the first half of the summer has flashed by in the blink of an eye, I find myself suddenly at the last portion of the MSLCE program with graduation right around the corner. Luckily, as part of MSLCE’s experiential learning requirement, I sought out and secured a position with 2112 Chicago, a business incubator focused on the music, film, and tech industries in the city. This has put me into a vast network of creative industry professionals and has given me hands-on professional experience.
My role at 2112 focuses on the educational opportunities and programs. I support leadership with programming, planning, and executing various educational opportunities and demonstrations offered to members for free and to the general public for a small fee.
“Getting Noticed Through the Noise” was a panel that took over our space a few weeks ago. A committee of industry experts — which included representatives from Spotify and Atlantic Records — joined us for a discussion about DSP (digital streaming platform) playlisting, social media strategies, effective use of metadata, and other creative ways to build your fan base in an increasingly digital world. I coordinated logistics, delegated tasks, and generally made sure the entire finished product conformed to the specific guidelines of our plan. Around 150 attendees filed into our main stage throughout the night and the end-result was a well-informed, satisfied room.
This has been essential experience for someone who will launch a career in special event programming and management upon graduation. I am getting to see how the creative industry works from the inside, while also learning to manage and coordinate professionals in fields such as film, music, and creative industry-focused technology.
In relation to industry-focused technology, our upcoming Immersive Tech Summit is another project that I have been involved in planning. The day-long summit will include industry leaders and experts presenting cutting-edge case studies, workshops, and demos exploring virtual, augmented and mixed reality conceptualization, production and post-production, branding and marketing case studies, trends, best practices and standards, and market adoption. My responsibility is to book and manage speakers and potential demo applicants over the course of the summer to ensure we are booked and ready for execution day come October.
With multiple projects in addition to the daily office tasks on my plate, my time spent with 2112 has been very active. I have not only been able to work on coordination of events, but I have also been able to pitch potential ideas for the future. During our weekly meetings, we practice our 30-second pitch, announce current project updates, and propose potential projects for the future. Leadership is open and honest, and they have been great mentors along the way.
The MSLCE curriculum has enhanced my skills in communication, leadership, adaptability, and overall professionalism. Combined with the hands-on involvement I have received at 2112, these skills continue to evolve each day. I lean on the Problem, Cause, Answer, Net Benefit model from Professor McKinnon’s The Power of Pitching and Persuasion class often to pitch myself and my ideas in the most effective way possible. The classes and professional development I participated in at Northwestern have been fundamental stepping stones up to this point.
Ultimately, my internship has exceeded my expectations. I continue to build my network as I meet more people each week and I find my place. Now that I have established myself within the incubator, I am excited to see what the next few weeks has in store.