May 12, 2020 | By Grace Davis | Back to blog

Graduating from business school amidst a pandemic is certainly not how I imagined the conclusion of my graduate school education. Watching my virtual MBA commencement on the couch with my family in my pajamas was a bit strange and bordering on surreal. However, this less than usual conclusion has also allowed me to take additional time to reflect on and realize the incredible things I have learned, the experiences I have gained, and the lasting relationships I have formed.

Over the past two years, my understanding of what I can do with an MBA specializing in Arts Administration has expanded immensely. While I thought I would only be honing in on what I imagined for my career, the possibilities have actually continued to expand and change the way I look at the entire third sector. My first year included a crash course in “how to do business” which was supplemented with our arts administration seminar and my applied learning position at Dane Arts Cultural Affairs. The intervening summer included an invaluable experience working at the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, MN which bolstered my knowledge of what it takes to successfully run a small arts organization. My second year gave me my first taste of consulting as we partnered with the incredible communities and residents of Ellsworth and Baileys Harbor. I also worked with the wonderful marketing team at Wisconsin Public Radio for my second year applied learning position. Finally, I was able to focus on areas that interested me most such as environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and even a little analytics thanks to the encouragement of my peers. Discovering the gem that is the Bolz Center for Arts Administration has been such a blessing, and I am so excited to translate all that I have learned into something meaningful.

It may be a scary and unstable time, but I know there is going to be some valuable work accomplished as a result of these changes by the unbelievably resilient community of nonprofit and arts champions. Even though my classmates and I have graduated with much of the future looking uncertain, I have confidence that the skills we have developed while earning our degrees will serve us well.

The past two years have been nothing but wonderful, and I can’t thank everyone at the University of Wisconsin School of Business enough for their dedication to my educational and professional growth. I’ve made great friends and created lasting memories during my time here in Madison, and I am excited to see what the future holds for all of us.

Times may be unsettling, and the conclusion of my MBA experience was certainly unconventional, but I am so grateful for everything that I gained from my Bolz Center experience.


Shameless plug: I am still unemployed, and I welcome any and all help regarding prospective employment. I have a background in television and film production, I am proficient in Adobe Suite, and I have officially earned my MBA.

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