Billboard calls KSU’s music and entertainment business school the “best” in the world

Billboard Magazine just named Kennesaw State’s Music and Entertainment Business School one of the “Best” in the world. It’s familiar recognition for the program, which has earned this award for four consecutive years.

It’s the kind of place where high-profile entertainers like John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band can just casually walk into a class like it’s nothing.

Students at Joel Kats Music and Entertainment Business School on the KSU campus know they are the next generation of entertainment leaders.

“I call them real practitioners,” said Keith Perissi, the program’s director, “everyone that’s here is actually in the business.”

Keith Perissi, director of the Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business (MEBUS) program at Kennesaw State University. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Perissi is a musician himself. He said he built the program with an emphasis on students learning from those who work in the industry.

“For me, that’s all,” Perissi said, “when I was her age, I would have loved to have met those types of people on my journey.”

One of the program’s students, Kyla Young, is on a unique journey here.

She wants to start her own aerial acrobatics business after she graduates next year, so she said she’s here to learn how to be an entertainer.

“What I’ve really gained is this confidence in being an artist, this knowledge of how to build an event or anything entertainment related from the ground up,” Young said.

She must be in a great place to do that.

The school’s ranking by Billboard Magazine ranks it among the top schools in the world for the fourth consecutive year, giving the state of Kennesaw high-profile prestige.

“For us, it’s incredible because we’re such a young program that we’re getting a name with all these other great programs,” Perissi said. “Anyone can enter this building and be successful. We’re like the UN of entertainment.”

Speaking of the building’s entrance, you’ll find walls covered in memorabilia from the titans of the industry. From artwork by Michael Jackson to far too many platinum records to count, everything was donated by Joel Katz. He was the legendary advocate for many of these stars.

“Joel Katz means everything to this place. He is our namesake and main donor, our inspiration,” said Perissi. “He opened doors for us that most students wouldn’t have access to.”

Katz has crowned more recording superstars than anyone in the industry, and through his philanthropy and dedication he nurtures the next generation.

“We’re all artists,” said Chris Sinclair, a junior in the program. “We all love either music, film or theatre. And we’re all interested in the entertainment industry. And we all create together. Everyone is really creative. And it’s like one big family.”

Maybe that’s his secret of success.

Billboard recognition remains an important milestone for the relatively young program.

“That’s kind of the spirit of our program, whether it’s on camera or in a studio mixing or in the shop, once you get that opportunity, you can take it and be successful,” Perissi said.

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