For every question, Mr. Smulyan had a life story to go along with it, which sparked our interest even more -- pointing to the strong evidence that Mr. Smulyan’s success can be attributed to his love of everything he does and his strong values that excite people to follow in his footsteps. Mr. Smulyan’s philosophy of life is reflected in the way he conducts business and is rooted in his Eleven Commandments of Emmis Communications.

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters,” Mr. Smulyan announced. His personal and business philosophy is rooted in integrity and grit, and when asked about how he implements his corporate culture, he stated that it is important to “understand and care [about your employees] deeply.”

If you have integrity, nothing else matters.

Jeff Smulyan, Emmis Communications founder and CEO

With his love of radio, Mr. Smulyan spent time talking to us about Next Radio, a smartphone app developed by Emmis that makes radio integrative and user-friendly. Mr. Smulyan compared being in radio to “pushing water uphill,” and he discussed some of the challenges with the creation of streaming services. With access to 93% of the population, radio serves a variety of exciting purposes to relay information when phone lines are jammed or during natural disasters.

In a room full of aspiring entrepreneurs, we were grateful to ask countless questions about business, corporate culture and values. Mr. Smulyan challenged us to “Find what you love and tear it apart.”

On behalf of Professor Steele’s J402 night class, we would like to thank Mr. Smulyan for his time and willingness to share his knowledge with us.

Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications, speaks to professor David Steele's corporate strategy honors class at the IU Kelley School of Business on IUPUI's campus.