Jennifer Vogt ’03
Adding Value by Leveraging Both Sides of the Brain
As the internal audit director at DreamWorks Animation, Jennifer Vogt combined the creative credentials she’d earned at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and her MBA to understand and advance both production and financial perspectives. Now she’s bringing that right brain-left brain duality to her new position as director of Contract Compliance Services at KPMG.
What drives you in your work?
I have found a unique place for myself in the entertainment industry and in the business world—one where I can use both the left and right sides of my brain. When I joined DreamWorks in 2006, having my own creative credentials as well as an MBA meant that I could communicate with both creative and business teams: I could provide insight on processes from both production and financial perspectives. I am passionate about applying both sides of my brain and look forward to bringing that to my work in my new position as director of contract compliance services at KPMG in Los Angeles.
I began working with KPMG while I was still internal audit director at DreamWorks Animation, leading a royalty audit program with healthy monetary recoveries. I worked with the KPMG team to spearhead DreamWorks’ first multi-title contract compliance audit.
The royalty audit program that I developed was designed to ensure that licensees are following their contractual obligations and paying the appropriate royalties back to the licensors. In addition, within the industry, there are opportunities for audits in residuals and participants. The high-tech, fashion and music industries also have revenue recovery issues related to contract compliance, vendor compliance, royalties, advertising expenditures, merchandising, licensing, distribution channel issues and product approval. Really, any place there is monetization of intellectual property with a third party, there is an opportunity for audit to get involved and add value.
Moving to KPMG, I am excited to see not only the other side of the process but also to observe operations at other companies. My new position gives me the opportunity to reawaken the business-building skills that I developed when I had my own business before I entered the UC Davis MBA program. Lastly—and perhaps most exciting—I will be able to execute my ideas for leveraging the unique information gained from prior audits to provide insight and improve operations for licensors.
Where is your career headed?
With more than 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry, both on the creative and business side, it is logical that I will focus on the entertainment industry and related fields. I hope to continue to leverage both sides of my brain wherever my career takes me.
How has your UC Davis MBA experience helped shape your success?
Earning my BFA and MFA at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts taught me how to see, but the UC Davis MBA program taught me how to think and become confident in my own voice. Confidence, critical thinking and the ability to use the MBA toolbox helped me stand out to senior executives at DreamWorks, who sought me out to lead special projects such as analyzing emerging digital markets or designing and implementing a new forecasting method, projects not typically led by an internal audit director.
What is the most amazing or interesting thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
That’s a tough question: I’ve had many incredible moments over the years. On the personal side, it would be the incredible pleasure of raising twin boys who are now 21 months old or the family trip back to Kenya, where I lived as a child. On the professional side, it would be my new position as director of contract compliance services at KPMG in the Advisory practice.
Your favorite GSM memory?
I often think about the courses with Professors Prasad Naik, Nicole Woolsey Biggart, Katrina Ellis and Chih-Ling Tsai—and how fortunate I was to be challenged by such talented fellow students.
How do you support and participate in the GSM now?
I send regular job and internship openings to the School’s Career Services Department, and I have often wanted to participate in Shadow Day. Hopefully, one of these years the timing will work out!