Billboard Once Again Ranks Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business Program Among the Best

KENNESAW, Ga. (Apr 8, 2019) — For the second year in a row, Billboard Magazine has recognized the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program for making Kennesaw State University one of the top music business schools in the country.

Launched in 2010 within the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the MEBUS program teaches students to thrive in the fast-paced world of film, television, and music, production, as well as in artist, venue, and live event management. With courses taught by professional actors and Grammy Award-winning recording artists, students exit the program prepared to work real entertainment industry jobs.

Billboard Magazine

Billboard published its list of the top music business schools in the magazine’s March 23 issue. The MEBUS program, which also made the list last year, was featured alongside other programs from prominent schools like Belmont University, Berklee College of Music, New York University, and Syracuse University.

MEBUS Program Director Keith Perissi says that receiving the honor two years in a row clearly demonstrates the strength of the young program.

“It was definitely an honor and privilege to be included as one of Billboard Magazine’s Top Music Business School in 2018 after only eight years of existence,” he says. “The fact that it was not a one-time recognition means that we are achieving national prominence for our University, our students, and our namesake, benefactor, and legendary entertainment attorney, Joel A. Katz.”

Among the elements of the MEBUS program praised by Billboard were its curriculum – including courses in accounting, marketing, management, entrepreneurship, audio & video production – and its frequent partnerships with entertainment industry businesses.

MEBUS Abbey Road Trip
Education Abroad exeprience for MEBUS students to London includes a visit to Abbey Road Studios.

The magazine specifically called out last fall’s Future X Live conference. MEBUS partnered with marketing firm Moxie to produce the largest augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality conference in the Southeast. FutureX Live focused on the entertainment industry’s response to new and emerging technologies.

Among the guests at FutureX Live were Scott Tigchelaar, president of Raleigh Studios, Dan Rosenfelt, president of Third Rail Studios, and Chaka Zulu, co-founder of Disturbing tha Peace Records and manager to rapper and actor Ludacris.

Dr. Yamma Brown with MEBUS students
Dr. Yamma Brown, CEO of Daughter of Soul Productions, and the daughter of legendary recording artist James Brown, leads a class in the MEBUS program 

MEBUS students not only have the opportunity to interact with working entertainment industry professionals at conferences, but also in the classroom. Two members of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, John Driskell Hopkins and Coy Bowles, are artists-in-residence, while Beth Keener, a local actor recently on the Walking Dead, also lectures on the Georgia film and TV industries. MEBUS students worked with Billboard-charting recording artist Leah Culver during the lead-up to FutureX Live to create a first-of-its-kind augmented reality concert.

“The Katz MEBUS program is a training ground for bringing entertainment industry experts to campus to teach students on state-of-the-art equipment,” Perissi says, “and to give them the chance to learn from industry professionals on up-to-the-minute industry practices to get them hired.”

This strategy works. MEBUS alumni can be found working for high-profile entertainment businesses like Live Nation, Turner Sports, State Farm Arena, Sixthman, Red Light Management, Coca-Cola Studios, Moxie, Polay Financial, and even Joel Katz’s law firm Greenberg Traurig.

MEBUS Student Sirena Grace at State Farm Arena
MEBUS student and aspiring recording artist Sirena Grace performing at State Farm Arena.

Built on a foundation of three key principles – experiential learning opportunities, entertainment industry partnerships, and exemplary education – the MEBUS program is one of Kennesaw State’s most unique academic offerings, and one that continues to garner international recognition.

–Patrick Harbin
Photos courtesy of the MEBUS Program
Sirena Grace Photo courtesy of Reymundo Villa.


Part of the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the Katz MEBUS Program is a 24-credit certificate program offering three capstone courses in music & entertainment business as well as marketing, management, production, communication, and entrepreneurship courses that prepare students for successful careers in the entertainment industry. MEBUS is open to all KSU undergraduate majors with a desire to work in the entertainment industry in areas such as film and television production, audio and video technology, venue and artist management, and concert and event production.

©