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Tight-Knit Business and Entertainment Program Fosters Growth in and Out of the Classroom

From hands-on curriculum to valuable experience at the student-run record label, this Kogod School of Business student feels prepared for a career in the music industry.



From a young age, it was clear that music would, somehow, figure prominently into Miranda McCoy’s future. 

“Ever since I was in preschool, my parents would pick me up from school and the teachers would say, ‘you guys, she was singing all day,’” McCoy said, laughing. 

How she’d foster that love for music, though, came into clearer focus as she reached high school and considered what she wanted in college and beyond. 

“I thought you either had to be a performer or you couldn’t really work in music,” McCoy recalled. “As I got older, I realized there was this whole other side of the entertainment industry, and all these people working behind the scenes to make it happen.” 

Now, halfway to her bachelor’s of science in Kogod’s Business and Entertainment program, she feels poised for a career doing just that thanks to a hands-on curriculum, a strong professional and peer network, and valuable experience to go alongside her coursework. 

Gaining foundational business skills, from accounting to management and marketing, has helped. 

But, as an aspiring agent, it’s the specific instruction within McCoy’s “agency” specialization that stands out most—students in the program pick from four specialties: agency, audio technology, film, and music performance—or design their own. 

McCoy recalls a class, Representing Talent, in which a key project required students to go out into the DC community to find and help a local artist in need of promotion.

“Our job the entire semester was just to promote them and manage them” she explained. 

As valuable as the coursework has been—not to mention the support of a faculty comprised of top industry veterans—it may be what McCoy has done outside the classroom that’s had the most lasting impact. 

In addition to being one of the 97 percent of students in the program that hold an internship, McCoy serves as co-president of Second District Records, the on-campus, student-run record label housed in AU’s Kreeger Building. 

With more than 100 members in the club as of last December, as reported by The Eagle, the group, founded in 2015, finds and develops musical talent from within the AU student body.  

“There’s no faculty telling us here’s how you’re going to run it,” McCoy said. “It’s completely student run.” 

From producers to A&R representatives and audio specialists, the Second District Records team provides artists with space to record. They help artists get their music onto streaming platforms and assist in promoting the music while identifying live performance opportunities.

It’s proven to be a uniquely hands-on opportunity for artists and students at Second District Records, faculty members say.

The label has provided a very strong experiential opportunity for students to work with regional recording artists, assisting them in making records, in marketing and distributing records."

John Simson 1x1

John Simson

Program Director, Business and Entertainment Program

The group even puts on a flagship event each year at Union Stage, a venue at DC’s Wharf, as a showcase for the label’s talent. 

The on-campus label has proved to be something of a launching pad. 

“A lot of Second District Records (SRD) alums are now working at major companies like Sony, Warner… just doing it on a bigger scale,” McCoy noted. “And they say SRD is essentially a mini version of what they’re doing now.” 

She knows this because the Business and Entertainment program also provides students with critical networking “treks —an essential ingredient in breaking into the entertainment industry.  

These immersions have allowed McCoy and her classmates to travel to New York and Los Angeles to visit the likes of Live Nation, AEG Worldwide, and Creative Arts Agency, taking tours and cultivating a professional network of Kogod alums. 

But wherever she goes, McCoy is confident the relationships she’s forged in class, at the record label, and the AU Student Union Board, where she collaborates with classmates to bring artists to campus. 

That tight-knit cohort, strengthened through social gatherings like Grammy Awards watch parties, has— perhaps above all else—reinforced, for McCoy, that she’s in the right place. 

A lot of people don’t view Washington DC as a hub for music or film. But if you take the time to look a little deeper, you’ll find that there’s a whole community over here who really loves entertainment.”


Miranda McCoy

Business and Entertainment student, Kogod School of Business

Where might McCoy land after the classes end and Pomp & Circumstance plays at Bender Arena? She’s keeping an open mind….it’s more than a year away, after all. 

One thing is certain, though. 

“The goal is to be as close to the artist as possible,” she says. “Whatever I do, I know I want to be working directly with artists and helping them, understanding what they want, and helping to achieve it for them.”