Beyond the MBA Classroom: MIT Sloan’s Business in Gaming Conference

When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Launched at the MIT Sloan School of Management in May 2009, the innovative Business in Gaming (BIG) Conference brings together industry leaders, game developers, academics and students from leading MBA schools to discuss the newest business trends and the future of the gaming industry. Its inaugural theme, “Marketing and Distribution in the Digital Age,” explored the evolution of the gaming industry  and focused on creative ways to market and distribute games less expensively by using digital media.

Representatives from Google, Massive, Gamer DNA and Mana Potions participated in panels, and Curt Schilling, three-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, was another featured speaker. Ken Levine, president of 2K Boston—who led the creation of the multimillion-selling title BioShock, winner of multiple game-of-the year awards—served as the inaugural conference’s keynote speaker. Wrote one of the conference organizers on the event’s Web site, “Few gaming industry conferences focus exclusively on the business side of the gaming industry. MIT, in conjunction with MIT Sloan, is the birthplace of companies such as Harmonix Music Systems, giving it a unique edge to lead in this area.”

In an interview with mbaMission, one of the organizers who conceptualized and organized the first BIG conference remarked, “I believe that there are very few places where this could have happened. Especially in this economy, trying to fund and run a new conference is very difficult. In addition, most of the game publishers are on the West Coast and thus a business event for the video game industry on the East Coast is harder to pull off. In addition, the brand name of MIT (and MIT Sloan) really helped us pull in speakers and panelists via cold calling and personal connections within the MIT alumni network.”

The most recent BIG conference, held in March 2013, continued the exploration of the business of gaming through panels on such topics as “Funding Your Game Company,” “Big Data in Gaming” and “The Business of Competitive Gaming.” The CEO and founder of Insomniac Games delivered the keynote address, and the event was followed by a networking reception.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at MIT Sloan and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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