Sara Anwar ’06
Event Planner. Networker. Businesswoman.
After working for Sean “Diddy” Combs, this graduate found her calling for event planning at the National Basketball Association.
Upon graduating from Columbia’s Business and Entrepreneurship program with a Music Business concentration, Sara Anwar quickly moved to New York City to pursue an internship with Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records. This experience would ultimately lead her to work for Bad Boy Entertainment, the company founded by producer/rapper/entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs—an internship secured through her work with Columbia's Urban Music Association (CUMA) and producing industry events near campus. Anwar worked in the executive offices of Combs for nearly six years in different capacities. After working in the music industry for 10 years, she found her passion for event planning. Anwar now works in the event department at the National Basketball Association and also teaches applied marketing in Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship Department.
What was your most valuable Columbia experience?
The most valuable experience was when I joined Columbia’s Urban Music Association—and networking! We coordinated industry panels and produced beat battles, artist showcases, and music industry conferences for students to connect and network. We held a few fundraisers and were fortunate enough to fly out a few legends. This would ultimately lead me to an internship in NYC with Roc-A-Fella. I was [also] a residence assistant in the dorms. This position helped build my character as well as meet more students. The friends/mentors/colleagues I would surround myself with were all determined, focused and driven individuals pursuing dreams. You become a product of your surroundings.
How has Columbia and the Business and Entrepreneurship program prepared you for your career path?
I would constantly be reminded to network and create change. With that mind-state, I took advantage of my internship [opportunities]. The department prepared me in a huge way by [allowing us to] meet alumni who [were] working in their respective fields, allowing us to physically see how it goes down in the real world.
Any advice for students?
Do as many internships as you can. Internships not only help build relationships but also help determine which position, which department and which pathway is the best for each individual. Network as much as you can. Your network determines your net worth. It’s not about who you know, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who knows you. Dreams do come true!