Sarah Deborah Austern: Breaking Into the Music Industry

Sarah Deborah Austern: Breaking Into the Music Industry

After enrolling in the Business Certification program at Columbia in 2012, Sarah Deborah Austern secured an internship with Warner Music Group in New York City. (“That would never have happened if I hadn’t been a student at Columbia,” she says.) Later she parlayed the internship into a full-time job at Warner Music in London, where she is CRM Manager.

What was your academic experience like?

My major [at Copenhagen Business School] was international marketing and management, so I had some freedom to apply to courses across different schools as long as there was a link to business. At the School of Professional Studies, I took Introduction to Negotiation. At Columbia Business School, I took Retailing Leadership and Entertainment Marketing, and I got to study with other M.B.A. students. It was a great learning experience to connect with other professionals from the U.S.

What was it like to be in New York City?

So many doors open when you’re living in New York and attending Columbia. I was fortunate enough to hear the CEO of Warner Music, Stephen Cooper, as a guest lecturer in a class. I applied for an internship at his company, and I got it.

Where I am today is solely because I was a student at Columbia.

How did you transition from the internship in New York to getting hired full-time in London?

I wrote my thesis for Copenhagen Business School on Warner Music and the digital development in the music industry. I did all my research when I was in New York and interviewed several key people – Stephen Cooper among them. After my internship in New York, I went back to Copenhagen and wrote my master’s thesis. When I graduated from Copenhagen Business School in 2014, Warner Music offered me a job.

Is there anything else you wanted to mention about your time at Columbia or your time in New York?

Columbia is able to attract the most talented people around the world. Therefore, I learned from the best faculty. In my case, that led to building a really good network, having good connections, and preparing me for real-life business cases. Even now, what I learned at Columbia helps me every day.