The Name of the Game Is Success
Rocco Scandizzo MBA’04
Senior Manager—New Business, Sierra Entertainment/Vivendi Games
Los Angeles, California
After earning his bachelor’s degree in economics in Italy, Rocco Scandizzo worked as a consultant for banks and law firms but found the work far from fulfilling. He had grown up on video gaming, and in his spare time he programmed and wrote narratives for multi-user dungeon, or MUD, games. Scandizzo made the first move toward turning his passion into a livelihood when he followed in the footsteps of his uncle and entered the Kelley School of Business MBA program.
The greatest things about the program, in Scandizzo’s view? “Definitely the core courses,” he recalls. “They were rigorous and challenging, and I learned so much that I use every day.”
Now Scandizzo is senior manager of new business for Sierra Entertainment, a division of the global gaming publisher Vivendi Games. Vivendi houses four divisions that create a variety of games in different genres. These divisions include Blizzard Entertainment, home of the world’s most popular massively multiuser online game, World of Warcraft. Vivendi Games also encompasses Sierra Entertainment, which creates traditional console and PC titles such as World in Conflict; Sierra Online, which develops casual online games; and Vivendi Games Mobile, which makes games for mobile phones. It’s a dream job for Scandizzo—working with developers of new games and recommending which games should make it to market.
Scandizzo says he constantly applies the concepts learned in Michael Metzger’s critical thinking class and in Wayne Winston’s advanced decision models class. The most direct preparation for his current position, however, came through his involvement in the Sports and Entertainment Academy (an offering while he was a student in the program) and experiences overseen by nationally known faculty members Thomas Bowers and Timothy Baldwin. It was with Bowers and Baldwin’s help that Scandizzo obtained his first position in the video game industry—an internship with Atari.
“They’re just constantly telling you, it seems like every five minutes, you need to network, you need to network, you need to network,” says Scandizzo. He took that advice to heart, attending and working at video game conventions around the country. That networking led not only to the Atari internship but also to Scandizzo’s first job after earning his MBA in 2004, at THQ, the brand manager of the racing simulation Juiced.
In a career as action-packed as the games he works on, Scandizzo travels the world. Though he’s advancing, moving up isn’t the key to his enjoyment. “I’m doing it,” he says, “because I’m having fun.”
- What’s the most valuable thing you learned at Kelley?
“How to work hard.”
- Where did you hang out in Bloomington?
“Lennie’s. The Lennie’s special is awesome!”
- What’s on your MP3 player?
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, plus loads of other unabridged books. I listen to them when I run.”