Nearly 125 students filled the lecture hall in the Florida A&M University School of Journalism and Graphic Communications Thursday, to hear an alumnus talk about his journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
Aaron Arnold, a 2004 graduate of SJGC, founded Music Is My Business Inc., a multi-media music company. Arnold spoke to journalism students and visitors about his experience as a student at FAMU and the struggles he faced after graduation.
The Chicago native worked at four of the five top global public relations firms, including Ketchum and Edelman. Arnold said even with a well-paying job at a well-known company, he was not satisfied and had other goals in mind.
“My passion was really music,” Arnold said.
In 2004 he was offered a year long unpaid internship at Bad Boy Records in New York City three days after his wedding.
Instead of going on his honeymoon, Arnold packed his bags and went to New York.
“I maxed out a $10,000 credit card paying for eight and a half month’s rent,” he said.
Arnold said that one of his many duties as Sean “Diddy” Combs intern was pet-sitting.
“My dad called and asked what I was doing,” he said. “When I told him, he asked what I was complaining about.”
Arnold’s father said that he should be grateful because the year before he could not have imagined being in Diddy’s house alone.
Arnold said that watching his boss inspired him to start his own company.
“Music is a youth driven media…it drives everything we do,” he said. “I wanted my company to illustrate that… My goal is to inspire a new generation with music.”
MIMB houses several divisions including music production, television and film, and marketing and brand development.
Terrence Ward, 22, a fourth-year broadcast journalism student from Miami, was impressed to see that Arnold has accomplished so much at such a young age.
“It was empowering and motivating to get something going for you before 30,” Ward said.
Ultimately, Arnold said he wanted to be a part of the unique black college experience.
“I could get an education anywhere,” he said. “But it’s the FAMU experience that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Arnold said as a student, he took advantage of student media such as the FAMUAN and was a member of Student Government Association.
Sheric Youngblood, 23, a third-year broadcast journalism student from New Orleans, said that she’s glad Arnold came back to FAMU to bring knowledge to the students.
“I really appreciated he came back to give his testimony,” Youngblood said. “It feels good to know I’m a part of this and one day I will be able to come back and share my experience with fellow Rattlers.”
Daniel Sherman, 20, from Sanford, said he was encouraged by Arnold’s words.
“When he said not to act out on fear but to go on our instincts, that inspired me,” Sherman said.
Arnold’s main message to students was to remind them that the road to success is not easy, and he’s been rejected in the past.
“People tell me no everyday, but I stay persistent hoping that eventually they’ll say yes.”