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Empowered by a dual degree, Gianna Marchese BA’22, MBA’23 lands an impressive role at Warner Bros.

by Melanie Moyer,

Less than a year after graduating from Willamette’s Dual-Degree BA/MBA program, Gianna Marchese BA’22, MBA’23 can be found in Hollywood brainstorming publicity ideas for popular movie titles or in New York City for press tours, awards screenings, and talk shows in her new role as a Global Publicity Coordinator for Warner Bros. Pictures. Most recently, she’s worked on the team promoting The Color Purple, which received many nominations this award season.

For many, this dream job is reserved for those with established connections in Hollywood, but Marchese attributes her post-graduation success to the sophisticated networking skills she learned in her MBA. One of her first assignments for her Practical Application for Careers and Enterprises (PACE) class was to set up fifteen informational interviews with career professionals. “I spoke to anyone and everyone from the industry who was willing to share their experience,” said Marchese.

This networking was invaluable when she began her hunt for internships with the help of the team at the MBA program, including Tony Cassinerio and Nathan Naggi. Fulfilling requirements for her degree, she spent one summer as a film marketing intern for MGM Studios and another as an event marketing intern for the National Association of Television Program Executives.

“I learned the skills needed to find an internship, like networking and speaking to senior executives,” she shares. Marchese also served as a student ambassador for the MBA program, helping her engage meaningfully with the program’s system of support.

Her established connections in Tinseltown opened doors when it came time for her to seek full-time employment. After a summer of hiring freezes related to the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Marchese’s persistence paid off when her MGM connections led her to seek opportunities at Warner Bros., to whom she was an appealing candidate.

“My MBA made me confident with negotiation power and selling myself. I played softball all through college, and having student-athlete on my resume while achieving two degrees made my employers look at me as someone with grit and time management skills,” Marchese adds, fondly remembering the lessons and support she received from the Head Softball Coach Paige Hall.

“When you start college, a big question is where you see yourself in five years. I had no idea, and looking back, Willamette is the whole reason I could figure it out.”

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