There and Back Again: Juan Capdet ’02CPS, ’04MBA Excels in the Entertainment Industry

Friday, February 28, 2014

From the sun-kissed streets of Los Angeles to the harsh winters of New York City, St. John’s alumnus Juan Capdet ’02CPS, ’04MBA is accustomed to both coasts. And although he currently lives nearly 3,000 miles away from the University he loves, he’s remained an active member of the SJU community.

“Going to St. John’s was one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Capdet, who was born in Barcelona, Spain, raised in California and currently works as Executive Director, Creative Advertising at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles. “Your college years are some of the most formative ones of your life, and it’s where I made some of my closest friendships, so I’d say it was a great experience from start to finish.”

In addition to his outstanding academic career at SJU, Capdet was a member of the Red Storm Fencing team, helping the squad win the NCAA Championship in 2001. 

“That was an absolutely amazing experience,” he explained. “It’s always special to be part of a championship. When I was on the team, I participated in both foil and epee, which gave me some versatility, allowing me to jump between events whenever there was a need.” 
After receiving his M.B.A. from St. John’s in 2004, Capdet returned to California to look for a job in the entertainment industry. That’s when he faced a difficult realization: “If you’re looking for an entry-level position, an M.B.A. can be both a blessing and a curse,” he said. “Everyone kept telling me, ‘We really like you, but you’re overqualified.’ I was almost ready to remove the M.B.A. from my resume!” 

Eventually, Capdet applied for a position at Twentieth Century Fox – in the mailroom, of all places.

I figured I’d be just like those characters you see in movies or plays – the guy who worked his way up from the mailroom.” 

While interviewing, he was asked about being overqualified, so Capdet calmly explained that the M.B.A. was a degree on paper. It was the practical training and foot-in-the-door opportunity that he truly desired. 

“I said, quite simply, that I’m not too good for a job,” he recalled. “I was willing to do anything.”

That answer floored his interviewer, and although he ended up not receiving the mailroom job, he was contacted just weeks later about an even more promising position in International Print Services. Since then, he’s held a variety of positions at Fox, Paramount and Sony, allowing him to work on films like The Call, Evil Dead, About Last Night, Pompeii and previously on the most recent Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies, among numerous others.

“It’s humbling to think about all these unique projects that I’ve worked on,” he said. “Also, I’ve always been a huge comic-book and movie geek, so it’s been a lot of fun for me.” 

Through it all, Capdet has remained close to St. John’s, serving as one of the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter Leaders, helping to organize events and programs in the area for fellow alumni and friends. In fact, during a recent week of events in California, Capdet facilitated a dinner reception at Sony Pictures Studios. 

“My hope is that the Los Angeles Chapter can be more than just a social chapter,” he said. “In the Vincentian spirit, I hope that we can also find opportunities to give back to the community. And it’s also important that we interact with prospective students and their parents, to show them that just because their children may travel 3,000 miles to St. John’s, they’ll be okay and they won’t be gone for good – they’ll get a great education and probably even return to California.”

Since he graduated, St. John’s has undergone a number of changes, and Capdet is excited with the direction the University is headed.

“Now that SJU has a residence village, it’s developed a much more prominent national reputation,” he noted. “Students are coming to St. John’s from all over the country and all over the world, and I can’t wait to see how the community continues to grow in the years to come.”