I always knew I wanted a career focused on the simple idea of helping people, whatever way that presented itself. I taught entrepreneurship classes in my time with the Peace Corps, managed English as a Second Language classes with AmeriCorps, and helped people find their grounding with their new lives in the United States through International Rescue Committee. But a few months after the pandemic had spread throughout the country, I found myself yearning for more. I had reached a point in my career where I felt confident I would be a great leader in a higher-level program management position, but I had been repeatedly denied to positions I was applying for simply because I did not have a Masters Degree of any sort, so I added a new step to my career plan: grad school.
A year of patience later, I had finally received my letter of acceptance to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, specializing in Arts Administration with the Bolz Center. I was both elated and terrified; in just a few months, I would be uprooting myself and taking on one of the largest challenges I have ever faced. I went into the program hoping to gain experience and knowledge about working with nonprofit organizations, ideally landing a job as a program manager in a social service organization after graduation. Little did I know I would be introduced to a career path that combined my love for the arts and passion for helping people: Creative Placemaking – where arts meet economic development in a beautiful way. Through the Bolz Center, I have been able to network with and interview incredible leaders in the Creative Placemaking industry as part of a speaker series that I am co-facilitating. These conversations have been eye-opening and helped me realize the invaluable position arts can play in economic development. My solution to the barriers I was facing in my career had unexpectedly become an inspiration for a new career path that I did not know existed.
Overall, my experience has been extremely challenging but just as much rewarding. The year has been full of ten-to-twelve-hour days between classes, homework, and my applied learning placement with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, but I have been rewarded with an amazing community and network I can always lean on for support, countless growth opportunities in both my professional and personal life, and doors opening that I would otherwise had never have known were there – all of these experiences and I haven’t even finished my first year in the program! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be the Bolz Center’s last MBA specializing in Arts Administration and am excited to be a part of such an extraordinary network of creative, resourceful Bolzies as I grow in my career.