board member spotlight
kristopher e. ahrend '92
Major: Environmental Studies
Title: Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs
Employer: Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company
Location: Los Angeles
Residential Community: Dickinson Community (Johnson Hall)
Campus Involvement: Student Government (Dickinson Town Council, Student Association), DC Players, Admissions Tour Guide, Orientation Advisor, Lifeguard-West Gym, Teaching Assistant for Department of Physical Education, School Mascot
1) What experience at Binghamton most relates to what you do today?
My participation in DC Players. As a student, I helped produce several shows. Doing so required not just creativity, but also business acumen, technical knowledge and management skills. Managing a record label or an entertainment company requires all of the same skills.
2) If you could go back in time and take a class today what would it be?
I would definitely take a business or accounting class of some sort. I spend more time these days working in Microsoft Excel than I ever imagined I would as a student!
3) What did you think you would end up doing on graduation day and what are you doing now?
At graduation, I was reasonably certain I was going to go to law school, but I assumed I’d wind up becoming an environmental lawyer as that would have combined my interest in the law with my background as an environmental studies major. I never really contemplated the possibility that I might combine my interest in the law with my creative interests. That said, I did not realize that possibility immediately. I worked as a lawyer for five years - two in federal judicial clerkships and three in private practice for a large corporate law fim in New York City - before landing my first job in the music business, at Sony Music. During that five years, I worked on a variety of different types of matters, while pushing to get more experience in areas of the law that I thought might be relevant to a career in music, specifically intellectual property law. Ultimately, the hardest part of it all was trusting that I was on the right path, even though the reward was not immediate.
4) What do you miss the most about Binghamton University?
Basketball games. My favorite Friday nights as a student were those when I could meet up with friends in the Student Pub for an early dinner and then head down to the West Gym to catch a game. I say catch, but in reality, I was participating in games for three of my four years at Binghamton as what was then the school's unofficial mascot - the Colonial Chicken. Although living in California has made it difficult for me to make it back for many games, I do make it back from time to time - and when I do, I always enjoy seeing how many students participate in games - from the cheerleaders and mascot, to the Kickline and Dance Teams, the Pep Band, and the BU Zoo. I think it's fantastic that so many students come out to support the team and help to create a "big time" atmosphere in the Events Center.
5) What one thing should every student do before he or she graduates?
Attend a Bearcat game of any kind and show some school spirit! Attend a show produced by the Theatre Department or one of the student theatre groups. Attend any event on campus that showcases the talents of your fellow students. There is so much happening on campus on any given night. Take the time to participate while you can!