The Elon in Los Angeles program added four new business courses and a business internship for fall 2023 to its mainly communications-focused catalog.

The Elon in LA program, the most popular Study USA program in 2021, attracts primarily communications and performing arts majors. This fall, business students can take new classes in Hollywood: MKT 3110 Principles of Marketing, MKT 4701 Luxury Brand Marketing, MGT 3230 Principles of Management, ECO 3702 Economics of Art, Entertainment and Culture and BUS 3985 Internship Credit.

J McMerty, director of the program, is based in Los Angeles said he thinks these courses would be a good addition to those already offered because of the business opportunities there.

“A lot of people think that everybody's an actor, writer or director out here,” McMerty said. “But actually, there's many more jobs in all sorts of businesses, here and even in the entertainment industry.”

McMerty said a few marketing students have participated in the program in the past, but most students are cinema and television arts or performing arts majors. He said he has received requests over the past 15 years from students from many majors, especially those majoring in arts or business administration. 

“All the marketing students have always kind of commented, ‘Oh, I wish we could do this for a semester,’” McMerty said. 

Like the communications track of the Elon in LA program, the business side will have two days of classes and three days of interning at a local business. 

Monica Scovell, director of global experiential learning at the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, said the Love School of Business partnered with the program to create the business track in Los Angeles.

She said the GEC chose to add business courses to the Elon in LA program because all majors in the business school, except for economics, require an internship. 

“97% of business students do an internship. Many of them do more than one,” Scovell said. “Study USA is really built on that model of internship and some kind of academic credit, so the internship really should be driving students to want to participate.”

Scovell said the business track seemed to fit well into the program, especially in finding internships. 

“Some of it is looking at the connections we have and seeing what we already have in place that could work for a business student versus a communications student,” Scovell said. “It might be the same exact place but just a really different focus for the student.”

Scovell said that while the Elon in LA program is usually seen as being just for communications students, there are many opportunities for business students. 

“The comms are the public facing that we see, and the business is everybody on the back end, doing all of the hidden work,” Scovell said. “We call it the business of Hollywood.”

Lily Hauptmann, a sophomore studying business and data analytics, went on the Innovation in Los Angeles Winter Term course last January, which visited 34 companies in Los Angeles.

Hauptmann said she was drawn to the program because of its focus on entrepreneurship. She said she enjoyed exploring the businesses and technology industries in Los Angeles.

“The amount of opportunities that are in LA in general is insane, especially from the business perspective,” Hauptmann said. “There were so many entrepreneurs who started their business in LA and then grew and expanded outward. So LA is really a home base for some of those companies.”

The Port of Los Angeles is the biggest in the U.S., and Hauptmann said she was amazed to see the scale of the port.

“It was massive and just insane to see how much commerce is coming into this country in this one spot,” she said.

While Hauptmann is not planning to attend the Elon in LA program this fall because of other study abroad plans, she said Los Angeles offers countless opportunities for business students that are unavailable in North Carolina. 

There's so many businesses. It's a massive city and there's so much out there, and even going to places we went to, like Santa Monica and Santa Barbara, it's all within an hour,” Hauptmann said. “There's just so much offered there that you really can't find in North Carolina.”

Hauptmann said she thinks this is a good option for business students who want to study away from Elon’s campus and get experience in a city.

“You're not just sitting in a classroom, listening to a lecture for three hours,” Hauptmann said. “It’s a new perspective. Seeing the different parts of the city, you can definitely see the things that you're learning in class and how they apply to where you are.”

McMerty said he is excited about this new addition.

“Diversity in every aspect is good for every program. And so this kind of diversity, which is really academic diversity in different departments, always makes it a better program,” McMerty said. “The kind of majors and the different kinds of students that we have in here will add to the culture of the program.”