I had the opportunity to intern this past summer at NBC Universal in Universal City, CA. As a Business major with an interest in consulting and finance, I desired a position that would expand my knowledge of these areas beyond the classroom. As a result, I ended up getting offers from various departments of the company but decided on the Business Operations department, as it seemed like the perfect intersection of my interests.
At NBC Universal, there are numerous business sectors including the parks (Universal Parks and Resorts), Film, Cable Entertainment, and so on. My department covered all the Cable Entertainment Groups. Within Cable Entertainment included networks such as Bravo, E!, Universal Kids, Esquire, Syfy, USA Network, and the list goes on to even include some studios. All in all, the company is extremely large. To my surprise, I was actually the only intern in my department so you can imagine the amount of work there was to do in order to oversee such a large department. As a result of being the only intern, I got to work directly with the manager, which isn’t always the case with interns at such a large cooperation.
One of the core responsibilities of the department was managing and tracking the budgets for the individual cable groups. Covering so many cable networks was difficult and I had to learn how to use their financial coding systems, which were highly specialized. As a result, I gained a greater understanding of predetermined budgets and the importance of sticking to budgets. I used to think a few dollars and cents would make a minor difference in the financial reporting of such a large company. But as the summer went on, I realized that a few dollars and cents in a single department can be millions when evaluating the financial health of the entire company which is why it was so important to gain a high-level understanding of the financial systems used by management. This is a common trend when working in the industry. There may be specialized systems used by a specific company but they all serve the same purpose—to produce accurate reports that contribute to the overall evaluation of the company.
While I enjoyed the work, I was doing at NBC Universal, I also loved the access to managers and executives. There was a point in the summer that I was meeting with multiple Presidents, VPs, executives, and assistance from various departments in a single day. It was incredible to be able to receive such amazing advice from experienced professionals. Although they all worked in the entertainment industry, they all had unique backgrounds. In fact, many of the executives I spoke to were lawyers at some point.
When looking back on this past summer, I can truly say I gained a greater understanding of how a large cooperation operates. It was amazing to be part of a company that plays such a vital role in an industry. The creativity of NBC Universal is driven by the minds working tirelessly to create new content while driving the portfolio of the business as they continue to expand.