University of Michigan

Real Industry and Turtle Beach Join Forces at the University of Michigan for Game Industry Night


Game Industry Night

Presented by Turtle Beach & Real Industry

At educational non-profit Real Industry, we have the mission to educate, inspire, and empower university students to thrive in the arts and technology industry. To accomplish this, we like to collaborate with partner organizations that believe in the next generation of industry leaders just as much as we do. Joining forces with Turtle Beach for the Arbor eSports Game Industry Night at the University of Michigan was an exciting way for us to connect passionate students with an amazing and innovative company in the gaming industry.

We were thrilled to join Turtle Beach in Ann Arbor on Friday, October 26th at the Ross School of Business. Also in partnership for this event was the student organization Arbor eSports. This student-led club recognized the growing trend of eSports entertainment while also noticing a lack of opportunities for students to get involved. To fix this problem, Arbor eSports provides high quality events for its members while also expanding the eSports presence at the University of Michigan.

Before Game Industry night kicked off, University of Michigan alum and CEO of Turtle Beach Juergen Stark joined the Center for Entrepreneurship as the Entrepreneurial Hour (E-Hour) guest speaker. The Center for Entrepreneurship at U-M works tirelessly to create opportunities for students to meet and learn from entrepreneurial alumni like Mr. Stark.


Kicking-off at 5:30 PM, students found a series of stations where they gamed on their own PCs while experiencing first-hand the different brands of PC Gaming Headsets. As they went through the various circuits, students worked with mentors from Turtle Beach to give insight on personal preferences, provide suggestions, share ratings, and leave comments on each of the models they try.

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After this experience, Turtle Beach will analyze and review the feedback to enhance and improve their gaming headsets. This is an exciting opportunity for students to contribute to the future of Turtle Beach products. With such a direct application to real-world business and technology concepts, this product-rich session provided students with hands-on insights that they can use as they explore future opportunities in the gaming industry. Plus, participants received an inside look on the daily life and culture of Turtle Beach and its employees.

The best way for students to learn about the product development process is to immerse themselves in it. At the evening event students receive hands-on experience with new products.
— Jay LeBoeuf, founder and Executive Director at Real Industry

And if that wasn’t enough, all participants received a newly released Turtle Beach Elite Atlas PC Gaming Headset!

Game Industry night was packed with an awesome blend of learning and fun. To stay updated on all things Turtle Beach and learn more about the other innovation and design work going on in the exciting eSports and gaming space, check out Turtle Beach’s blog page.

University of Michigan Pandora Challenge with Bryce Vine & Barn Sanctuary

September 25th, 2018 | In partnership with Bryce Vine and Barn Sanctuary, presented with the University of Michigan #PandoraChallenge 

We are so excited to host the Pandora Challenge: Music and Social Impact here at the University of Michigan. The Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership (in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance) is committed to catalyzing pathways for passionate, creative students who believe in the potential for music to make the world better...the chance to work with rising star Bryce Vine to support a local organization like Barn Sanctuary is exactly the kind of experiential learning platform our students need as they develop their professional voices...all while applying the UM traditions of leadership, innovation, and social responsibility.
— Jonathan Kuuskoski, Chair, Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, Director, EXCEL Lab, School of Music, Theatre & Dance - University of Michigan

Photo Credit: Sam Goldin

On Tuesday, September 24th, Real Industry and Pandora took the Pandora Challenge:Music & Social Impact tour to Ann Arbor, Michigan! University of Michigan students came together for a kickoff event in partnership with Bryce Vine and Barn Sanctuary. Barn Sanctuary is a hands-on animal sanctuary dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for farm animal refugees. This includes any animals that have been abused, abandoned, sentenced to death or are victims of natural disasters. Bryce grew up with Dan McKernan, the Founder and Executive Director of Barn Sanctuary, making this organization and program especially significant to him and everyone involved.

At this event, students formed teams to create music marketing and playlist campaigns to support Barn Sanctuary in it’s mission to better the lives of farm animal refugees. After receiving instruction from the Pandora team, students got to work on creating their campaigns.

The Real Industry Pandora Challenge events give students a look behind the curtain into real-world artist marketing technologies and scenarios. This is the type of work they can put on resumes during future internship and job searches.
— Heather Ellis, Manager, Artist Marketing at Pandora

Photo Credit: Sam Goldin

The assignment is to create, launch, market, and optimize playlists that drives awareness to the Barn Sanctuary. The playlists will include an introduction from Bryce Vine and student-created voice messages that educate listeners about the non-profit’s mission. The student teams have three weeks to grow their listenership and influence their audience to become activated in the conversation around the power of music in transforming lives and access to music resources for all.

The University of Michigan Pandora Challenge wrapped up on October 16th! A big congratulations to the students on the winning team.

Andrew Reed - UX Design and Business - Class of 2020

Naman Gupta - Business Administration - Class of 2021

Tiana Colovos - Economics - Class of 2020

Sanjit Johri - Business - Class of 2022

Muskaan Bajoria - LSA Undecided - Class of 2021

On November 13, 2018, Pandora’s executive team invited the winner team for a half-day mentorship session with:

Tony Calzaretta, VP Listener Product & Design, Bill Crandall, VP Editorial Content, Shamal Ranasinghe, VP Catalog & Creator Product, Lauren Nagel, VP Executive Creative Director, Beckie Wood, VP Content Programming, Catalog & Insights and Heather Ellis, Manager, Artist Marketing.

In addition, Pandora shared the team’s winning playlists across its social media outlets.

For more on the Pandora Challenges, check out Pandora’s article:

Pandora Challenge at the Univeristy of Michigan

A massive campus-wide design challenge reaching hundreds of students, helping one rising artist, and exposing the
next-generation to Pandora and Next Big Sound.

The winning entry, submitted by Charles Shin & Prashant Toteja.

October 6-18, 2016  |  In partnership with Pandora, Next Big Sound, and Daniel Passino.

The Pandora Challenge was a weeklong design challenge open to all University of Michigan students that included 3 activities: a kick-off event (225 students), appearances in Center for Entrepreneurship classes/workshops (500 students), and a 1 week online design challenge competition (95 students). These activities served University of Michigan students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation within the digital media, music, and entertainment technology industries. The winning team got an all expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with executives at Pandora and Next Big Sound. 

The challenge was announced with a 90 minute high-profile event featuring Mike Herring (President and CFO, Pandora) and a live performance by The Voice contestant and U-M student Daniel Passino.

Partnering with Real Industry enabled our students to engage with key industry leaders and dive-into trends they only hear about in our classrooms. We are frequently approached with partnering opportunities and Real Industry has proved itself to be among the most effective organizations we have engaged. From the initial connection to the execution of our executive event, Jay and his team consistently demonstrated collaboration and professionalism. The partnership with Real Industry provided a real ‘value-add’ for our students via a coveted opportunity to learn how one of their favorite companies operated in the ‘real-world’.
— Tom Frank, Executive Director, University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship       & Eric Bacyinski, Director, M Engage Program

Entrepreneurship Hour

Panelists presented to 425 students at the University of Michigan's flagship entrepreneurship course, later continuing the conversation in smaller workshops and 1-on-1 meetings with 40 students. The panelists included:

  • Jay Troop, Head of Analytics, Next Big Sound and Pandora

  • Justin Evans, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, LANDR

  • Mike Jbara, U-M Engineering Alumni & CEO, MQA Ltd.

  • Jay LeBoeuf, Real Industry, iZotope, Avid, Stanford lecturer, startup advisor


The challenge

Using a custom-configured online portal, students browsed Next Big Sound insights, articles, and Pandora AMP data on Daniel Passino. 39 students submitted entries.

The challenge was to design a go-to-market plan for the next phase of Daniel Passino's career. Students were told to leverage all available artist data, trends, and reports provided by Pandora and integrate the latest technological advances and opportunities in their strategies. We asked participants to embrace innovative music distribution strategies, new products and partnerships, data science, events, branding, sponsorship opportunities, digital marketing platforms, and growth hacking strategies.

Questions to address included:

  • Who are the key supporters and demographics Daniel should target? Why?
  • How could we create and engage with those fans?
  • What are some early experiments we could try?
  • What are some innovative technologies that are particularly suited to Daniel?
  • How will you measure success during your campaign?


Inside the Music and Video Technology Industry

In partnership with University of Michigan.

In this 8 week course, offered through University of Michigan's School of Music Theater & Dance, students were given a behind-the-scenes look into how the media technology industry really works. We provided a high-level overview of the media technology industry — focusing on the music technology space. We introduced the product development process from ideation through shipping, explored a variety of industry roles, explored the types of companies available for students' future careers, and presented the business fundamentals used by all companies, engineers, and product teams.


EXCELcast: Jay LeBoeuf & Careers in Media Technology

Founder and director of Real Industry, Jay LeBoeuf, visited University of Michigan's School of Music Theater and Dance EXCEL to share his own pathway from jazz drummer through start-up entrepreneur, offering advice to students who wish to combine their love of music with tech careers in audio and video.