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Point Park University faculty are always looking for ways to help students network with leaders in their chosen fields and connect their coursework to the real world.

This semester, faculty in the Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business program took a group of students aspiring to work in the music and live entertainment business to Nashville for the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) Conference where they met industry professionals and successful Point Park alumni, attended panel discussions on industry trends and volunteered to help staff the sold-out event.

"It was great to reconnect with so many of our alumni in Nashville and share their successes with some of our current students," said Steve Tanzilli, J.D., dean of the Rowland School of Business and co-founder of the Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business program. "Our roots run deep in Nashville, both from an alumni standpoint and corporate engagement. It was exciting to show our students how their Point Park education and passion for the music industry can come together and help them build a fulfilling career." 

Professor Ed Traversari, MBA, viewed the conference as an excellent opportunity for students focused on the music business

"Our students were able to attend various panel discussions with managers, agents and venue operators, as well as tour The Gibson Garage, the iconic guitar brand's flagship destination, and the historic Ryman Auditorium, the 'Mother Church' of country music where countless legends and rising stars have graced the stage," he said. 

@pointparku Fly to Nashville, Tennessee with Emily Lutz '25, as she highlights her trip to the International Entertaiment Buyers Association (IEBA) with fellow Sports, Arts & Entertainment Management majors! ✈️🎸👏 #IEBA #PointParkU #PointParkUniversity #EntertainmentIndustry ♬ 1901 - Instrumental - Phoenix

In the Q&A below, hear from students Sandamini Sinley and Ryan Dawson about the trip. 

Sandamini Sinley ‘26

Hometown: Fort Collins, Co.
High School: Fossil Ridge High School

What are your key takeaways from IEBA?

My key takeaways from the experience are that there are so many different directions I can take in the entertainment industry, and there are no correct or incorrect paths to any of them. I also learned that you never really know who you are going to meet at conferences like these and how much they can change your perspective or your life. I met some great people who helped me decide what I want to do with my career and life! 

What experiences outside of the conference did you enjoy while in Nashville?

I enjoyed learning about the city and exploring it. Nashville is so immersed in the music scene, so there is always a band or artist performing at the corner of every block and restaurant. 

How is Point Park’s Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business program helping you to become career-ready?

Point Park’s Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business program is helping me become career-ready by funding organizations that allow students to create live events and learn the steps and processes of managing an organization, such as Pioneer Records, our student-run record label. I serve as the director of Pioneer Records, and I am so excited to open our new headquarters on campus this semester and expand our reach. This degree program also makes career-building opportunities such as IEBA available to students so we can learn about the real world and meet people who can open doorways for us. 

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Ryan Dawson ‘24

Hometown: Irwin, Pa.
High School: Norwin High School

Describe the sessions you attended at IEBA.

We had the wonderful opportunity to attend not only as volunteers but as participants as well. I attended two panels that were based on programming for state fairs and music festivals, as well as the IEBA showcase where musicians performed live on stage. We listened to great musicians such as Sister Sledge, Chase Matthews, Phillip Phillips and Uncle Kracker.

What were your key takeaways from the experience?

My key takeaway from IEBA was to not be afraid to just walk up to someone and introduce yourself. I met the executive directors of booking for Dollywood and Silver Dollar City and made good connections with them, all because I couldn’t find an open seat for the showcase performances and asked to sit with them.

We also explored the city and saw destinations like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum and the Gibson Garage. My personal highlight of the trip was splitting a grilled cheese at a local restaurant with Dean Tanzilli.

How is Point Park’s Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business program helping you to become career-ready?

With the Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business program, I have never been afraid to put myself out there and make connections. This degree program teaches you how to be confident in your decision-making skills and abilities. This has helped me greatly in getting interviews and jobs in the field.

Why would you recommend the SAEM program to a prospective student?

I would recommend the SAEM program over and over again to any new student as long as professors Robert Derda, Ed Traversari, Melinda Colaizzi, Teresa Gregory, Paige Beal and Hagen Starz are at the helm. The curriculum by itself is outstanding, but the professors’ compassion, respect and passion for teaching and their students are what makes the program so great. It is common among college students across the U.S. to complain about either their major or professors, but I can honestly say that as long as I have been at Point Park, I have not heard even one Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business student complain about the professors, their major or the curriculum.

Learn more about the SAEM program in the video below:

Explore more SAEM student and alumni success stories:

More About: sports, arts and entertainment management, Norwin High School, student trips, alumni, Pioneer Records, success story, faculty, Rowland School of Business