Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is used to playing basketball in June, but since his team failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, he’s turned to other activities to fill his time—namely, taking classes at Harvard Business School.
In addition to being a guest analyst on ABC’s NBA Finals coverage, Wade participated in Harvard’s intensive four-day business course, “The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports.”
Harvard Business School, whose alums include J.C. Flowers Operating Partner Thierry Porté, World Wildlife Federation president and CEO Carter Roberts, and US Department of Veteran Affairs secretary Maura Sullivan, created the course to focus on “the unique challenges of developing, distributing, and marketing a successful entertainment offering.” Those challenges include the way technology is dramatically changing how products are developed, marketed, and distributed. The course offers a change of pace from the usual MBA offerings to provide an in-depth look at what works in the field of entertainment business and how to recreate that success.
The course is taught by Professor Anita Elberse and ranks as one of the most sought-after classes in the MBA program. Elberse’s research is focused on understanding what drives the success of products in entertainment, media, sports, and other creative industries. She has worked extensively in digital media, and her book Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment describes in detail how and why certain marketing strategies work. She is also one of the youngest female professors to have been promoted to full professorship in the history of Harvard Business School.
Dwyane Wade isn’t the only professional athlete taking advantage of Elberse’s course: New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall also joined the classroom. No doubt what they learned in the course will be of use in contract negotiations and other career endeavors.