Now that finals are taken, ICA is completed, and I am officially on Winter Break, I can truly sing that joyous Christmas carol line! Since Thanksgiving, it has been a blur of flash cards, PowerPoint, and spreadsheets. During the week of December 7th, all 99 first-year MBA students took finals in our four core classes: Financial Accounting, Introduction to Financial Management, Data to Decisions, and Marketing Management. Then, last week, we all presented our ICA (Integrated Company Analysis) projects to our core faculty. It was a challenging two weeks, but now that I’m through the first quarter of my MBA experience, I can take a moment and reflect on how much I’ve already learned since arriving in Madison.
The Arts Administration Seminar class and my project assistantship (PA) with Li Chiao-Ping Dance best highlight the knowledge and skills I’ve gained via the four core classes. Arts Seminar is based around weekly guest lecturers, experienced, local art administrators, who come and speak to the first-year Bolz Center students about a topic. Our last seminar of the semester was focused on strategy with Dennis Johnson from Sol Sort Group. During the seminar, we revisited the Business Model Canvases (BMC) for our PA organizations that we started in October. I was able to analyze my BMC in more depth and with more understanding. First, because I had spent more time at my PA since October and had gained a greater understanding of the company’s mission and structure. Secondly, because I was able to apply new financial and marketing terminology, theory and practices from my core classes. Since the core classes mainly focus on the utilization of skills and methods in the corporate world, Arts Seminar gives us the opportunity to see how many of these skills can apply in the non-profit, arts industry. Both our strategy seminar and our final presentations on our PA’s the following week showcased the impact of the Core and how it has already started to better inform us as arts administrators.
When I was considering the Wisconsin MBA and speaking with Bolz alums, one of them said that she knew getting her MBA was worth it because she wouldn’t have been able to do her current job without the skills and knowledge she acquired during the program. I think of that comment often, especially in relation to my PA. Three people comprise Li Chiao-Ping Dance’s staff: Li Chiao-Ping (Artistic Director), an undergraduate Junior Journalism major (Communications Director) and me (General Manager). Due to the small staff, I have had the opportunity to report financials, write grant proposals, and manage the winter concert series, all since starting in September! I started using accounting and financial principles such as debits and credits and accruals right away in order to close the FY15 books so I didn’t even have to wait until after graduation to realize how valuable a Wisconsin MBA is.
Next semester, all 99 first-years will take three more core classes together – Operations Management, Economics for Managers, and Business Strategy. I can’t wait to explore these new topics and see how they each work together and apply to different challenges and issues at my PA and eventually my summer internship!