Alan Phillips is founder and president of Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts), which offers vocational training in the visual, media, and performing arts. Ranked #5 worldwide for animation, gaming, and design, the school has attracted top talent from Hollywood for instructors, starting with Academy Award-winning animator and director Lee Mishkin as founding director.
Alan graduated from MIU in 1991 with an MBA degree and founded VanArts in 1995. His timing turned out to be excellent, as Vancouver was emerging as an international center for the film industry. With the growth of the industry, the school has also gradually expanded from one class in classical animation to eight one-year diploma programs, including 2D and 3D character animation, game art and design, visual effects, and broadcasting/online media.
Alan is grateful for his MBA education and the essential skills he acquired to run a business. “Preparing a business plan, reading financial statements, preparing budgets, all those practical things we covered in our studies really helped a lot,” he said.
The Transcendental Meditation® technique has been an important part of Alan’s life and he became a teacher of the TM® technique at 19. He says it’s an important tool for him as a businessman as well. “Running a business can be very stressful,” he said. “The TM technique has given me an edge to be able to deal with that more effectively and not get so overwhelmed by challenges.”
The Transcendental Meditation technique is also available to the students at VanArts. The school offers regular introductory lectures, and students get partial scholarships towards the cost of instruction.
In spite of the steep and arduous path to success, Alan doesn’t regret his decision to become an entrepreneur. “I would encourage any student who has an idea for a business to learn about what they need to do and launch it,” said Alan. “It’s not easy, but persistence really pays off in the end; it certainly did for me.”