Earlier this week, I had the great fortune to attend the keynote address of Chapman University’s Student Research Day. The speaker was Akin C. Ceylan, COO Home Entertainment, Lionsgate Entertainment, and Chapman University alumnus, Class of 1990. It was a great speech and I wanted to share some of the career advice Ceylan offered our students.

Portrait of Akin Ceylan of Lionsgate Entertainment

Akin Ceylan

When students are considering a potential employer, Ceylan said to consult this list to learn more about the company:

  1. Culture of the company
  2. Leadership – is the company’s leadership strong, do they have a vision, and so
  3. Financial strength and stability (of the company)
  4. Reputation/core values/governance
  5. Market and product opportunities – will there be continued growth for the company?
  6. Innovation – does the company support it?
  7. Opportunity for personal growth
  8. Salary/incentives program/benefits
  9. “Gut instinct” – what does your intuition tell you about the company?

Some more of Ceylan’s great advice from the lecture included:

  • Commit to learn everyday
  • Work hard and with passion
  • Give people a reason to trust you
  • Have confidence
  • Be an optimist/solution-provider
  • Embrace your failures/don’t be afraid to fail

When asked what other career advice he had in relation to skills students should be working on, he spoke about understanding numbers and budgeting as well as the creative aspects of the entertainment industry. He also felt that collaboration is key in strategic planning. Ceylan indicated that those skills would help new workers differentiate themselves.