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When law students think of summer jobs, usually clerking at a law firm or in a judge’s chambers springs to mind. But second-year University of Buffalo law and business student Eric Reich decided to spend his summer in the middle of Times Square — working for MTV. The MTV program takes 24 students every year to work in their offices. This year, Reich is among five interns who are pursuing their J.D. Reich works in the Research and Planning department which he describes as “the eye of the storm.” “We are a fundamental part of everything that happens at MTV,” Reich says. KEEPING BUSY Interning at MTV is an exercise in multi-tasking. Reich serves “a marketing function with an accounting twist” by tracking all the songs played on MTV and determining which tunes are on their way out and which ones are the next big hits. Reich also does qualitative research for MTV’s Choose or Lose election programming. In this role Reich helps figure out which issues are important to MTV’s demographic of 18- to 24-year-olds. Reich also does research into potential new initiatives and partnerships with MTV. THINKING LIKE A LAWYER It may sound like Reich has moved away from the typical lawyer job. But he says that both his legal and business education have proven useful to his life as an intern. Reich says the joint degrees allow him to identify both the legal and business issues when going through a document. “You are two people in one,” he says. As an intern he often interfaces with the legal department and analyzes the liability issues that may stem from MTV’s “cutting-edge, risk-taking programming.” “We can’t just go ahead and let Tom Green interview someone with poo on the microphone. We have to find out, ‘Can he do that?’” LEARNING ON THE JOB MTV’s interns work four days a week. On Fridays they have a professional development day during which they attend a business workshop and brainstorming session. As part of their training, interns work in groups of eight to develop new programming ideas. The teams do everything involved with creating a new show including background research, putting together a pilot and pitching their ideas to MTV executives. Reich’s group came up with a new idea for reality-based program called “Hit the Road” that would follow a musician’s life in between live concert performances. Stay tuned to see if “Hit the Road” shows up on VH1 one day. NO LOOKING BACK Reich says there is no question that skipping the big law firm world is the right choice for him. “For me being in a big firm would be like being in a bad marriage. I don’t want to be in that environment,” he says. Reich enjoys wearing his sneakers to work and being in an office outfitted with a TV, VCR and stereo — often blaring at the same time. “Working at MTV is like being at college. Everyone has posters on their wall.” If Reich does practice law, he says it would only be for an entertainment company. THE PATH TO AN ENTERTAINMENT CAREER � Working at MTV is not Reich’s first step into the high-profile entertainment world. In fact, Reich has been working in the sports and entertainment area ever since his sophomore year in high school when he was a bat boy for a minor league baseball team, the Toronto Bisons. Since then he has landed gigs for multiple baseball and basketball clubs. He even helped get Michael Jordan’s after-game beer while working in the visitor’s locker room of the Toronto Raptors. Last summer he worked for the sports marketing firm, International Management Group, which represents such sports stars as Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Andre Agassi. At IMG, Reich had a chance to do some more traditional legal functions like negotiating deals and drafting contracts. … IS PAVED WITH NETWORKING So how has Reich landed so many impressive jobs by age 23? “I do it the way you get any job that seems unattainable — persistence,” Reich says. In the entertainment and sports world networking is everything, according to Reich. “You don’t have to establish a connection with someone at the top. But try to make an impression on someone in the middle or on the way up,” he advises. Reich says a media background is very important to get in the door at MTV even in a business or legal capacity. In addition to his sporty resume, Reich was also a radio and TV major at Ryerson University in Toronto. But some of it is just timing. “A lot of it is being at the right place at the right time. But after a while you figure out what is the right place and the right time and make sure you are there,” Reich says. Being quick on your feet may help as well. “You have got to keep thinking about where you’re going and keep ahead. In the entertainment industry by the time a job is listed, it’s way too late.” Those trying to get into MTV should also get very creative. Reich says one applicant even sent in a resume on a cake!

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