An Invaluable MEIM Experience
Nikita’s story wouldn’t have had the same arc without graduate school at CMU — and its 1,000 hours of real-world industry experience via internships at entertainment companies.
In Pittsburgh, she interned with Quantum Theater, a local arts organization, and attended South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. In year two of the program in LA, she attended the Sundance Film Festival. These opportunities afforded her the chance to network extensively.
“Traveling with my classmates brought a special kind of camaraderie that has been invaluable in a competitive field where relationships are everything,” she says. “CMU definitely helped me get where I am today. Without CMU, I wouldn’t have gotten the Legendary internship, and I wouldn’t have an extensive network in the entertainment industry of people I know I can always talk to and rely on.”
Beyond relationships, she also gained knowledge, which she still uses on a regular basis from courses like Measuring Social taught by Heinz College’s Distinguished Service Professor Ari Lightman.
“We worked with an actual client to help with a specific issue,” Nikita says. “My cohort helped a Netflix show use data to increase their social media engagement. So that project has absolutely stuck with me.”
Lightman remembers Nikita’s embrace of how the course’s content could impact her future readers.
“Nikita was fascinated with how all media, especially social, could be used to engage and understand online audiences, ultimately leading to strategies to increase awareness,” he says. “I can absolutely see how Nikita’s curiosity, analytical approach and love for media translated into a promising career in comics, storytelling and editing.”
And as for that economics degree? She’s found those skills were actually quite transferrable.
“The finance stuff has definitely come in handy,” she says. “It’s helped me to skillfully review and create profit and loss statements. Everyone needs a numbers person.”
Are you new to comic books and graphic novels, or are you a long-time fan? Either way, alumna Nikita Kannekanti has suggestions for your reading list!