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Ma Bell Meets Hollywood

An Illinois MBA talks about his work at AT&T's Entertainment Services division, which wrangles content for television, PCs, and mobile devices

I'm currently a director in AT&T's Entertainment Services organization in San Antonio. We have about 50 people in our organization at this time, and I oversee four managers.

This relatively new organization is responsible for acquiring content (video, music, games, etc.) as well as building and selling integrated advertising across three screens: the TV, the personal computer, and mobile devices. This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of AT&T, but we're quickly establishing a powerful presence in the entertainment industry. As the industry continues to undergo significant changes, we're poised to introduce innovative new solutions to the way consumers experience entertainment and interact with relevant advertising.

I received my MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003, which was a rewarding experience on several levels. The faculty members are exceptional as both instructors and key players in the business world. In addition, the program offers multiple joint-degree programs, which enabled me to graduate with both an MBA and a Master's of Science in engineering in two years.

Another key aspect of Illinois' MBA program is its focus on developing business leaders. Through participating in group projects and simulation exercises and leading student-consultant teams for NASA, I was able to begin building the leadership skills necessary to be successful at AT&T (T).

Although my days are quite varied, here's an attempt to outline a typical workday:

7 a.m.—Arrive at work. I usually begin my day with a quick review of e-mail to see if there's anything urgent to attend to. If I have time before my first meeting, I'll also catch up on industry news. Since the entertainment industry is so dynamic right now, I love using RSS to keep up with all of my news sources.

8 a.m.—It's not unusual at AT&T for meetings to be scheduled at 8 a.m. or earlier. This morning, I'm meeting with our finance team to discuss our organization's budget and head count...

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Trauth is the director of ATT Entertainment Services and hold and MBA and an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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