Graduate accounting student spends summer working with licenses, royalties of celebrities and brands

This summer, Kelley students have had internships across the world – from Ireland, to Chile and right here at home in Indianapolis.

Graduate Accounting student Tingna Xu, MSA’18, found a unique internship this summer, spending it as a finance intern at CMG Worldwide, which holds its corporate headquarters in Indianapolis.

CMG represents world-renowned celebrities’ intellectual property rights, like their names, images, copyrights, estates and assets; celebrities include, for example, Neil Armstrong, James Dean, Jackie Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald and Amelia Earhart, to name a few.

The company’s main goal? To protect their “clients’ legacy by keeping the public’s memory of them alive for years to come.”

Xu has spent the summer working with licenses, royalties and contracts for CMG, as well as developing executive strategies for an Asia market expansion with top management.

“I have looked forward to going to work each and every day,” said Xu. “My main responsibilities have included reviewing and analyzing active licenses and royalties reports in the financial system. It’s also been exciting to be involved in a strategic planning project with the team, as help them work on how to open within Asian markets, like Japan and China, where I’m from.”

From left to right: Photos on the wall depict current and former clients at CMG. A room of Marilyn Monroe's dresses is also on site. The third photo depicts Lou Gehrig, one of CMG's baseball legend clients.

Xu says she’s learned a lot in just a couple months with the company – explaining that nearly every industry is involved in some capacity with the intellectual property of a CMG client.

“I had no idea about intellectual property, intangible property, like brands, pictures, even the client’s sayings,” said Xu. “For example, if anyone wants to use an image of our client in a commercial way, they need to work with us when it comes to clearing the rights. And it’s not only people. Take the National Baseball Hall of Fame, or Canter’s Deli. We also represent them when it comes to their trademarks and licensing matters.”

“The company is very creative,” Xu adds. “They’re really proactive when it comes to working on the Asian market, and looking at different ways of marketing and business opportunities. It’s rare for an entry level intern to have this kind of experience.”

Xu found the internship first by applying through the Kelley Careers website, and then she spoke with a company representative at a World Intellectual Property Day event held at CMG. From there, Xu went through the interview process and was hired for a summer internship.

To find an internship, you have to trust yourself and know your value.

Tingna Xu, MSA’18

“To find an internship, you have to trust yourself and know your value. It can be challenging, but if it’s something you’re interested in, see if there’s an opportunity there. Find a good fit for both you and the company.”

Xu says she decided to pursue her MSA because she’s always had a passion for accounting, and even after her undergraduate degree, she wanted to learn more.

“I want to become a CPA, and I truly wanted to continue to learn,” said Xu. “Kelley has been a great program for me – it’s flexible, and the professors are intelligent and have been very approachable and friendly.”

Xu’s last semester taking classes will be this fall, and she says she’ll pursue a full-time internship in the spring.