By Zoe Kafkes
Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 13, 2014)—What do you get when you take a high school dropout, luck, a few white lies, and a lot of hard work? The answer is Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBC Universal.
Meyer spoke to School of Communication students last Monday, October 13, in Shoma Hall on the Coral Gables campus. During a Q&A session, Meyer told students about his experiences, and gave advice on the movie industry and how to build a career.
A high school dropout and son of two German-Jewish immigrants, Meyer joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17. When his service concluded, he knew he wanted a job as a Hollywood agent and began his search, lying about his education and past employment. He applied for more than 150 jobs, and succeeded after asking every person he came across if they knew anyone in the industry who could help. His mom’s friend’s husband’s sister’s husband was the key.
Asked what students should know before entering the workforce, Meyer said, “Even though at the University of Miami you are at one of the best communications schools in the United States, you still are not special.” He urged students to differentiate themselves from others and noted that success rests on being in the right place at the right time.
Meyer made sure to answer all student questions, speaking for an hour longer than his scheduled appearance. Questions included what to do upon graduation, how to deal with disapproving parents, where the industry is headed, and about his professional experiences.
The final questioner asked Meyer if, in his more than 20 years at NBC Universal, he was ever bored. His answer was a firm no, summarizing in one word the value of his life’s journey through Hollywood.
Meyer is 70 years old and looks forward to continuing his career with NBC Universal.