UMEM students travel to Nashville for national conference

Nov. 18, 2019

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MISSOULA - Every musician, regardless of genre, knows Nashville’s importance to the music industry. Known as the Music City, Nashville annually brings in top talent from around the world to play venues large and small, almost every night of the year.

With all these live entertainment opportunities, it should come as no surprise that the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) is headquartered in Nashville. IEBA is a leading nonprofit trade organization for live entertainment industry professionals who buy, book, and sell talent.

Students from the University of Montana’s Entertainment Management (UMEM) program had the unique opportunity to experience Nashville’s entertainment industry at the IEBA 49th Annual Conference. The UMEM program was one of just eight other collegiate entertainment organizations throughout the U.S. to attend the three-day conference.umem-students-eating-nashville.JPG

“It was a tremendous experience for our students,” UMEM Program Director Mike Morelli said. “The advice and opportunities our students received from people currently working in entertainment is an invaluable piece to their education and development.”

Five upperclassmen in the UMEM program went to the IEBA Conference and were able to attend panels, watch artist showcases, go behind stage at concerts, and network with industry leaders. Many of the UMEM students left with job opportunities from some of the top entertainment agencies and firms.

“IEBA was an amazing experience that taught me so much about what I want to do with the rest of my life and how to get there,” UMEM student Campbell Collins said.

To attend these events, each student volunteered to work two four-hour shifts during the conference. They assisted with everything from sound checks to handing out materials.

All of these experiences helped make the event extremely educational for UMEM students. One of IEBA’s goals since its founding in 1970 has been education outreach. In fact, the University of Montana College of Business partnership with IEBA dates back to the creation of the UMEM program.

One of those proponents of the UMEM program was UM alum and IEBA Hall of Fame inductee, Ron Baird. Ron helped to establish the UMEM program, and with a partnership through IEBA, also began a summer internship scholarship program to help supplement unpaid internships for students. Last summer, UMEM student Aeriel Martens was one of 15 students in the U.S. to receive a scholarship from IEBA to help supplement her summer internship at Insight Management in Scottsdale, Arizona. Martens also attended the IEBA Conference this fall.

nashville-performer.JPG“I’m hopeful that in the next couple of years I’ll be back at IEBA, but on the other side as someone working in the music industry,” Martens said.

The UMEM program hopes to make the IEBA Conference an annual trip for dedicated upperclassmen. However, students that were unable to attend will get more information on IEBA this December when Pam Matthews, IEBA Executive Director, comes to campus to speak with UMEM classes.

UMEM covers entertainment business, including music, television, film, sports, live performance, literary and visual arts. UMEM introduces students to the business of entertainment while giving them the opportunity to learn from top professionals in the industry, both alumni and additional industry leaders, in a relaxed classroom environment. This one-of-a-kind program offers an incredible opportunity for students looking to break into the entertainment industry.

To learn more about the University of Montana Entertainment Management program, please visit their website (

The University of Montana is the flagship university of the state. The College of Business at UM is nationally renowned and has been named the top business school in the Big Sky Conference by U.S. News and World Report for four consecutive years.