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Ryan Donally and Vincent GeorgieMBA student Ryan Donally and business professor Vincent Georgie will be heading to the Oscar ceremonies this weekend to learn more about how the film industry markets itself.

Hockey pro turned business student heading to Oscars

He hung up his skates to come back to school for a business degree and now he’s off to Hollywood to soak up the atmosphere of the Academy Awards.

Ryan Donally, a former captain of the Windsor Spitfires who was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 2003 and spent about five years playing in both the American and East Coast hockey leagues, will accompany fellow student Michael Ruffolo and their business professor Vincent Georgie on a fact-finding mission at the 86th annual Oscars ceremony weekend.

“I’m just going to be a sponge and try to absorb as much as I possibly can while I’m there,” said Donally, who earned a BComm degree last year and is currently working on an MBA. “This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for it.”

Dr. Georgie, whose expertise includes the marketing of the film industry and is also the executive director of the Windsor International Film Festival, says attending the Oscars helps his research and teaching, but also helps his efforts to promote the festival and boost the area’s cultural capacity. Rather than celebrity gazing, much of his time will be spent with industry marketing experts, learning more about the tricks of the trade.

“It informs so much of my analysis of what I do back here,” said Georgie. “It brings all sorts of attention to our festival because we pool all of our collective expertise together. My association to WIFF, to the university and to the film industry is beneficial all around. It’s an ultimate win-win-win.”

Georgie and his students will attend several Oscar events including one for the animated feature nominees, one for makeup and hair nominees, and another for the musical nominees, where U2 will perform a song from the soundtrack for a film about Nelson Mandela.

Donally said he’s considering a career in sports or entertainment marketing and although he’s unsure of exactly what he wants to do after graduation, he’s certain an MBA and the experience of having attended the Oscars will serve him well in the future.

“There are all these transferable skills that you learn,” he said. “Whether you’re a hockey coach or a business coach, a captain on the ice or a captain in the boardroom, I think those skills translate to anything. Those are the skills I’ve developed through my life and I’m really honing them through the MBA program.”

Donally and Georgie will both appear today on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that focuses on the work of University of Windsor researchers and airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.

Georgie will do radio reports from the Oscars as well as a blog for The Windsor Star, and all three will be tweeting from the event. You can follow them on Twitter at @VincentGeorgie, @RyanDonally, and @ruffolom.

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