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A London Posting with Sony


In describing a typical day at his Sony mobile content division, this RSM Erasmus alum emphasizes working across media, businesses, and borders

This is a free sample of premium MBA Insider content usually available only to subscribers. For more information about subscribing to MBA Insider, go to www.businessweek.com/bschools/mbainsider/

My current job responsibilities include the business development of mobile content for Sony Pictures Television International. Before starting my MBA in the Netherlands, I was working for Telecom New Zealand, where I was a marketing manager in its data services team. I'm originally from Toronto, and started my career with Maple Leaf Sports before moving over to wireless communication and spending two years with Bell Canada.

Sony Pictures Television International is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SNE), whose global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home video acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development of new entertainment technologies, and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries worldwide.

I work in the mobile content department, which develops mobile products such as video clips, games, and TV channels using the brands and intellectual properties of Sony Pictures Entertainment. These products help extend and enrich the various brands, as well as derive new revenue streams for the company.

While I work in London, Sony's headquarters are in Los Angeles. Here's a typical day.

7:30 a.m.—Wake up. I am normally out the door by 8 a.m., stopping en route for a latte and fruit salad before arriving at my office in Soho. I take the Tube to work, which allows about 30 minutes to read the paper and have a quick scan of the e-mails on my BlackBerry.

9:00 a.m.—Arrive at the office and normally spend the first 15 minutes or so reading industry Web sites. The world of new media is constantly changing and evolving, and I always try to stay on top of the latest developments. This week I'm in London. However, I spend about a week a month in the cities of my other territories (Paris and Dublin), as well as attend the occasional trade show. Most of my clients are mobile-phone operators, and the five main ones in Britain are all around London.

10:00 a.m.—Meeting with Vodafone (VOD) to discuss a new multimedia property that we are producing. This meeting is quite in-depth, with representatives from Vodafone's mobile video, TV, and game departments along with their consumer marketing director.

11:30 a.m.—Report back to my senior vice-president how the Vodafone meeting went and then send off a few e-mails to L.A. inquiring about some of the phases of this new property.

Noon—I make a phone call to an advertising agency doing a campaign for Spider-Man 3, the upcoming Sony Pictures blockbuster. I need to get them to adjust some of their creative material that they are using to make it more in line with our mobile initiatives.

1:00 p.m.—Run out and grab a sandwich or some sushi for lunch. I normally bring it back and eat at my desk and try to get some e-mailing done.

1:30 p.m.—Go over an initial contract received from a company in Ireland with my coordinator. There are a few points to negotiate with the client before it's off to our legal team to review.

2:00 p.m.—I spend some time editing a presentation for Yahoo (YHOO), which I am due to give the next day. There are so many different players in this industry, and all have slightly different strategies. Positioning Sony's content in the right manner is essential.

3:00 p.m.—I'm out of the Sony Pictures office and up the street to Sony Computer Entertainment, where I am meeting the vice-president of international publishing to talk about synergies between the mobile and PlayStation platforms. Sony has lots of possible extensions/partnerships that have opportunities involving mobile.

4:30 p.m.—A quick dash to the gym. We have a gym half a block from the office, where Sony employees get a discount. I like taking 30 minutes to quickly get a good sweat on before returning to the office for the late afternoon/evening stint.

5:30 p.m.—It's time for our weekly conference call to get updates on product development, as well as to discuss various sales/strategic issues relating to the different streams of our business. Included in the call are the offices in Berlin, London, Madrid, Miami, and Los Angeles.

7:00 p.m.—As our studio is based in L.A., a lot of e-mails start coming in at the end of the day, as the day is just starting in California! Here in London, we normally start a little later in the morning than most companies. However, we stay a few hours past 5 because of this time difference.

7:30 p.m.—I'm normally out of the office around now, to be home by 8 p.m. If I'm not catching up with friends or checking out the wonderful sights and sounds of London, then it's probably popping in a Blu-ray DVD and watching it on my high-definition Sony TV before bed!

I found out about the inner workings of Sony, and their mobile developments, from my old intern who used to work for me when I lived in Canada. He had moved to L.A. and taken a position with Sony Pictures, and spent a year ramping up mobile content deals in the U.S. I have found it essential in my industry to always keep my network of contacts informed on my career moves. This due diligence led to my move to Sony at the completion of my MBA.

Although I would say my past experience was probably more instrumental in me landing this role, I do not want to discount my MBA education in preparing me for this position. My boss as well as many other colleagues have their MBAs. I very much feel it was the right choice to help me progress within Sony and the world of new media.

An MBA education includes many areas relevant to my current job. I feel the biggest positive is that you are able to comprehend and understand all departments of a company much easier than before. I had very little experience in finance and strategy and now am using the knowledge I received in those two disciplines almost on a daily basis. Second, I work as a part of the international team, and RSM Erasmus was fantastic in providing a very multicultural setting for my studies. There are probably no less than 10 different nationalities that I deal with on a daily basis here at Sony, and being comfortable in that environment is essential.

This is a free sample of premium MBA Insider content usually available only to subscribers. For more information about subscribing to MBA Insider, go to www.businessweek.com/bschools/mbainsider/


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