There is no specific path that talent agents need to take to have a successful career. Many are self-taught; a lot begin as talent themselves and transition into agent positions. Others come from business and marketing backgrounds, while some could be scientists or engineers. There is no set rule. No matter what your educational background is, you will, however, need to learn and understand the industry, network extensively, and be business-savvy in order to make the right decisions for yourself and your clients.
For this reason, many talent agents come from a business background, which teaches them how to manage the financial aspects and promote their clients, while they also learn to be great communicators. Such degrees as business administration, marketing, communications and public relations, are all great starting points for someone who would like to become a talent agent. From there, it is a question of whether you have an eye for the right type of talent, good negotiation skills and an ability to easily make connections with the right people.
WHAT IF I DO WANT A DEGREE TO BECOME A TALENT AGENT?
Here are some of the top schools in the US for business programs.
- University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School of Business at UPenn offers 20 concentrations to its undergraduate students, which include marketing, communications, strategic management, as well as an individualized study track. Students can choose to further pursue an MBA or master’s level studies. Tuition for undergrads averages at $49,536 per year.
- University of California – Berkeley
Offering a degree in Business Administration, the HAAS School of Business provides undergraduate students with fundamentals of business and management, as well as opportunities to pursue international exchanges, global management concentration studies and a variety of minors. Students from other disciplines may also take a summer certificate introducing them to business. MBA, master’s level, executive, and doctorate level studies are also available. Tuition averages at $48,747 per year.
- Indiana University
With two campuses in Indiana and Bloomington, the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University offers a variety of majors to undergraduate students, including Marketing, Professional Sales, and Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation. Students may also pursue business minors, MBA and master’s level studies. Tuition here is an average of $10,388 for Indiana residents and $33,240 for non-residents.
- Duke University
The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, offers a variety of MBAs, including international, executive and part-time studies. They also offer management and executive programs. First year students pay $58,000 tuition.
- Northwestern University
Located in Evanston, Illinois, the Kellogg School of Management at the Northwestern University offers certificate programs for undergraduate level students, a number of MBAs, as well as Master’s level studies in management. The MBA costs average between $65,000 and $88,000 per year.
GETTING MY FOOT IN THE DOOR
Most talent agents start out as interns. There is a lot of leg work that needs to be done within a talent agency. Making calls, managing calendars and databases, organizing and scheduling meetings, going out to run errands – this is often done by interns, who are at the same time, learning the ropes. Many agencies will hire their interns after their initial contract for assistant positions, and then it is up to you to grow into a talent agent role.
Considering the industry, it is also extremely important to network. An agency might hire you because of your contacts; meanwhile, you might meet talent you would like to manage, as well as others in the industry, who can lead to jobs, auditions, bookings, tips, and at the end of the day, commissions. To succeed, always have a professional and relevant to your industry appearance, be on top of the latest related news, and have your digital image up to date as well.