Name and Graduation Year:

Ching Ching Chen, 2017

What inspires you to want to make an impact in the music industry?

I grew up studying violin, piano, and opera and my mother was a world-touring musician so music has always been a big part of my identity. What really draws me to the industry though is the power of music in shaping both people and culture. I am so excited to be working in an industry where the product we create has the ability to uplift and comfort as a universal healer, and unite as a universal language. To top it off, it is perhaps the most exciting time to be working in music, as major players make significant changes to their business model in an effort to adapt to technological changes. We are at a critical inflection point, and the opportunity to shape the direction of the industry inspires me greatly.

What are your plans after graduation? What attracted you to that opportunity?

I am going back to Universal Music Group (where I interned for the summer) but will be working for one of its labels Capitol Records as Director of Business Development / Chief of Staff to the executive team.

Tell us about your internship and what you enjoyed most there?

I interned for Universal Music Group in their Corporate Development & Strategy team. Though I have always been passionate about music, I had no industry experience prior to my internship, so the opportunity to sit at the corporate center and touch all parts of UMG’s diverse portfolio of businesses was an incredible learning experience. From projects in the technology / venture capital space, to looking into growth opportunities in emerging markets and film & TV, to working on UMG’s 5-year strategy plan, I got to touch so many parts of the music industry value chain. My favorite project, however, was working on the re-negotiation of UMG’s partnership deals with Pandora and Spotify. Though the projects involved a lot of heavy financial modelling, I got to channel a bit of my former banker self and felt especially rewarded working on a deal that would shape the future of partnerships between labels and streaming services.

What is your most memorable moment on the job?

The highlight of my summer internship, was getting staffed on projects with some of my music industry heroes including Jeff Bhasker (Grammy Winner for Producer of the Year 2016 and the man behind Uptown Funk and We Are Young), Neil Jacobson (President of Geffen Records and the senior A&R executive behind LMFAO, Blurred Lines, DJ Snake, Eminem, t.A.T.u, etc.), and Steve Barnett (Chairman & CEO of Capitol Records). Despite my background in finance, my dream in the long run is to be as close to the creative process / artists as possible and I spent much of my time last summer trying to bridge that gap. With Neil Jacobson, I had the opportunity to work with him on drafting a strategic plan for the revival and relaunch of Geffen Records. With Jeff Bhasker, I had the opportunity to work with him on the development of a business plan for his label, Kravenworks. Finally, I capped off the most epic summer internship I could’ve asked for with a week shadowing Steve Barnett at Capitol Records, and was lucky enough to get an inside look into the life of a major label CEO!