Christopher Antola ’05S (MBA)
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Senior Vice President, Strategic Programming at FX Networks
As senior vice president of Strategic Programming at FX Networks, his job is to anticipate how the media landscape and viewing habits could change. Along with the president and COO, he oversees programming, acquisitions, and strategic initiatives across the company’s television networks and digital platform.
“A large part of my job is to assess forward-looking strategic opportunities,” Antola says. “This is becoming increasingly challenging, especially as media consumption habits are undergoing a profound transformation.”
Though all of Antola’s jobs have been in media and entertainment, he believes that the driving principles of creating products, marketing, and monetizing goods are similar, regardless of the industry. As he has worked his way through three positions at Fox, he has executed more than $20 billion in rights acquisitions, including the NFL, the World Cup, and the biggest off-net syndication deal in TV history—The Simpsons.
“I think of myself as a Swiss Army knife in the workplace,” he says. “Adapting to change and coming up with innovative solutions are big parts of what I do.”
While he was at Simon, Antola took to heart the advice of alumni and focused on learning the hard skills of finance, accounting, and analysis. He believes those skills are the essence of an MBA and that having them has been instrumental in his career advancement thus far.
“There’s no way I would be where I am today without my Simon MBA. Along with the stellar business education that I received, the alumni network has served me very well; I got my first two post-Simon jobs through it,” Antola says. He is convinced that professionalism, work product excellence, and meaningful connections with people in the workplace are the keys to getting favorable notice.
At Simon, Antola formed a special bond with Professor Ron Schmidt. “I had been studying and working in France prior to my time at Simon, and my family took us to many less traveled locales when I was growing up,” he notes. “I instantly connected with Ron’s international focus.”
Schmidt’s courses brought all of Antola’s MBA disciplines together, and he learned much from the articles and case studies used in class. But it was Antola’s love of golf that cemented a bond with his professor.
“I’m left-handed, and so is Ron,” says Antola. “I had left my clubs in L.A., so I asked Ron if I could borrow his. I was met with a friendly ‘Yes .?.?. but you’ve got to use your own shoes!’ and since that day, we shared some great times together. It was only fitting that Ron gave me my Simon hood when I graduated.”
Antola values family above all and tries to spend as much time as possible with his wife and two young children. He enjoys reading humorous essays and is a big fan of authors David Rakoff and David Sedaris.
Christopher Antola credits his Simon education and the support he received from the School’s alumni network with getting him where he is today.