Share This Page
Stephen Cirillo

The Best of Both Worlds with a JD/MBA

by Stephen Cirillo Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Milking It for All It’s Worth; Pursuing a JD, then MBA

Now that I am nearly finished with my fourth year as a graduate student of the University of Wisconsin, I think it is safe to say that I made the right decision to finish my JD before pursuing an MBA.  Despite the fact that I will have to endure yet another year of finals, I am very grateful for the opportunity to fully engage in both institutions separately. It allowed me to develop my skillsets in ways that would not have been possible through an expedited dual degree program.

When I first entered the University of Wisconsin Law School, I was fully invested in becoming a trial attorney.  While I enjoyed my classes, I have always been more of a hands-on learner and found that the law school provided excellent opportunities to put my new found legal knowledge to work.  Not only did I work at the Oxford Federal Clinic within the Frank J. Remington Center, assisting numerous federal inmates with drafting post-conviction motions, I was also a member of the Wisconsin Law Review, the Wisconsin Moot Court Board, and the University of Wisconsin Mock Trial Program.  These opportunities have vastly improved my legal research and writing skills, while also providing valuable experience in both trial and appellate advocacy.

It was not until my third year of law school that I was given the opportunity to assist Wisconsin Public Television’s (WPT) Contracts and Compliance Division. I have always had a passion for film and entertainment, but WPT helped me realize that a strong business acumen, especially in finance, is a huge asset in the entertainment business.  In pursuit of my MBA in corporate finance, I have had the privilege of continuing to work part-time at WPT, expanding my knowledge of FCC regulations and copyright law, while also developing a strong understanding of financial valuation through my specialization at the business school.

Today, I am proud to announce that I will be spending my summer in Denver, CO, assisting DISH Network’s programming division with content acquisition. Not only will I be valuating television programs and films, but I will also have the opportunity to negotiate directly with the networks in order to obtain the right to broadcast their content.

It has been wonderful journey through professional school thus far and it is astounding to see how every bit of my education has helped prepare me for an exciting career in entertainment.  Much of the hands-on experience I’ve gained would not have been possible with a fast-tracked dual degree and I am glad I took the time to fully embrace the plethora of opportunities both academic institutions have made available.

Stephen Cirillo is very pleased to be a member of the Nicholas Center for Corporate Finance & Investment Banking - Class of 2016. Originally from San Francisco, Stephen has had the privilege of residing in Madison for the past three years as a student of the University of Wisconsin Law School. While attending law school, he worked as a law clerk for the Frank J. Remington Center, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Public Television’s Contract Services Division. Stephen will continue to assist the Wisconsin Public Television staff with legal matters regarding contracts, trademarks, FCC compliance, and fair use while pursuing his MBA at the School of Business. Stephen plans to utilize his MBA in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking to help develop new financing structures that will allow production and programming companies to fulfill their investment return objectives and successfully compete in today’s entertainment industry.