Buzz Right-Here

Digital Media Club Meets Pixar Pres.

MBA 12s Jason Lyman, Ashley Trachtenberg, Brian Dunham, and Brian Guenther, and MBA 11 Vincent Huang with Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios (3rd from left)

The buzz was right here when Pixar Animation Studios President and Co-founder Ed Catmull spoke at Haas last week as part of the Dean’s Speaker Series. Sensing a rich opportunity, students in the Berkeley-Haas Digital Media and Entertainment Club (DMEC) angled in advance for a small private audience with the man who made monster fur look real. “We knew this was a rare and valuable opportunity for our members to interact with one of the pioneers of computer animation and to hear his advice for aspiring digital media professionals,” says MBA 12 Brian Dunham, DMEC co-president, along with classmate Bradley Okamoto, who worked with the Dean’s office to help orchestrate the opportunity.

MBA 12 Jason Lyman, one of the other six student participants, appreciated the opportunity to “drill deeper” on topics covered in Catmull’s larger talk at Haas. Lyman notes that the 40-minute discussion took in everything from the impact of rapidly-shifting movie distribution channels to harnessing the genius talent at Pixar, and the reason behind the long wait for sequels (More Cars and Monsters are coming.) The key takeaway for both Lyman and Dunham was the role of the leader and of organizational structure in innovation. “A flatter structure with more equality is essential to creating an environment in which divergent ideas are both shared and seriously considered,” says Dunham. “And only certain executives have the temperament to work in that environment.”

Who makes you proud to be Berkeley-Haas? Tell us in the comments below or share your stories with vgilbert@haas.berkeley.edu.

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