Business Schools

MBA Hears Disney Voices


This Penn State business and law school grad gets a running start at the entertainment company. Here's a typical day

I live by two rules: think big and make every day count. Last May, I had an opportunity to put these two principles to work. Shortly after graduating with an MBA from Penn State's Smeal College of Business, I became a finance manager for Disney Character Voices International, a department within the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) that maintains the quality and consistency of Disney character voices across all products and languages. Prior to my MBA I received my law degree from Penn State and decided to attend business school in order to get some functional expertise. I feel the combination of these two schools of thoughts (no pun intended) will always serve me well in the marketplace—and that proved true for my current position.

In my current role, I have cross-divisional insight into every line of business at Disney and take on both financial and operational functions. This department also oversees the dubbing into foreign languages of all Disney productions, including feature animation, live-action films, home video products, TV, interactive products, and consumer products for distribution around the world. These responsibilities include the global consolidation and financial management of over 40 cost centers operating in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America, as well as the implementation and management of key operational projects that can improve the efficiency and performance of various work flows.

Here's a typical day:

6:30 a.m.—Alarm sounds. Still waking up, I eat a banana (or a protein bar if I have one), put on gym clothes, and walk out the door.

7 a.m.—Laps in a pool, cycling, running, or lifting in the gym. It's usually one of the four, but today I'm running. I got the "triathlon bug" this past year and, depending on the season, I'm either prepping for an upcoming event or just trying to keep my base. Today, I'm just keeping my base and working through a case of IT band syndrome (but that's another story altogether).

8:30 a.m.—Get into the office, eat breakfast, read the industry trades like Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Never know what sort of tidbits may come in handy.

9 a.m.—My BlackBerry is flashing red. E-mails from Europe regarding an upcoming product that needs to be adapted for foreign distribution have been trickling in. I do a quick scan and tackle the straightforward ones and then address the "thinkers" by picking up the phone and calling. Can't do everything by e-mail, right?

10 a.m.—Head to a conference room to present a project plan to a roomful of stakeholders from various business units. The project involves the design and implementation of an operational system that will help us track and manage important information related to our business. The purpose of the presentation is to explain the goals of...

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Burchett is withe The Walt Disney Company and a member of Penn State's MBA class of 2007.

Later, Baby
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