Swizz Beatz on attending Harvard Business School

Already successful music artists tend not to bother attending Ivy League business schools mid-career. Exceptions include L. A. Reid who did a stint before grabbing the reins at Arista. Swizz Beatz appears the latest attendee. He is interviewed here at The Breakfast Club Power 105.1 on his latest trek in the HBS Owner/President Management Extension Program.

At issue for him are “graduating your brand” and “being an owner for real.” The artist’s hustle has relocated from the street corner to the studio to the board room. Beatz distinguishes “real” ownership (Dre’s Beats deal with Apple or Diddy’s Diageo-led portfolio driving a recent honorary doctorate) from puffery label deals with bad ratios.

Music industry players–regular first movers but also creative last movers and re-mixers of 1st movers–are consummate taste-makers and masters of technology, marketing, culture, and brand extensions. Beatz makes the case for an academy-based management competency and breakout collaboration networks offered by selective academic stints. Artists like Beatz who enroll to “sharpen their pencils” and do a brand upgrade may inadvertently rebrand some B school culture.


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