Q&A with Sam Klein ‘19, Former NBCUniversal Page
Sam Klein ‘19, Coordinator of Program Scheduling at USA & SYFY shares how he transitioned from Duke to his current role at NBCUniversal and offers advice for students pursuing careers in media and entertainment.
Major: Political Science / Minor: History / Arts of the Moving Image
What are 2-3 ways your Duke experience helped prepare you for your current career role and/or previous roles?
My involvement with StudioDuke and DEMAN was instrumental in preparing me for a career in media and entertainment. StudioDuke is a great opportunity to work with others interested in creative media fields and an important resource for learning about how the industry approaches content development. DEMAN really helped me gain experience in making contacts and forming connections in the industry.
How did you make the transition from Duke to your career? What are a few helpful takeaways from your first years out of Duke?
The biggest takeaway is that the transition is difficult and it’s important not to get discouraged. It can be difficult to find an entry point into a career, but remember that everyone has gone through this and are so willing to help you because of it. The Duke Alumni and DEMAN communities are filled with unbelievable people who are willing to guide you and provide key insights as you begin your career.
How did you decide what you wanted to do after Duke? And how did you make transition(s) to different fields?
I made my decision based on where I felt I could learn and grow. That’s one of the primary reasons I was drawn to the Page Program at NBCUniversal. In the Page Program, your professional growth and development is a major priority and you are given opportunities to gain new skills and knowledge while taking on high level projects and responsibilities.This allowed me to develop a solid skill base that made transitioning to different fields much more manageable.
What is your favorite thing about working in your profession? Most challenging?
My favorite is that I am surrounded by people who are passionate about the same things I am. Everyone is genuinely excited about TV and film, and being able to share a similar enthusiasm was so exciting. The most challenging is that there are so many interesting avenues in this industry that it can be overwhelming. But I did eventually find a path in scheduling and content strategy that I genuinely love.
What are 2-3 pieces of advice you would offer to a student interested in your field(s)?
The first is to make connections. Reach out to alumni or anyone else who you might know directly or indirectly. They might not necessarily just get you a job, but they’ll be able to give you some great advice and point you in the right direction. The other is to just be open to opportunities. There’s no set path to making it in media and so you need to be flexible in how you approach the industry.
Anything else to add?
Don’t ever get discouraged! Finding a way to start your career is difficult but there are so many people who will be willing to help you get there.