Even after an eye-opening and wonderful summer in Washington, DC interning with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, I could not have been more excited to return to Madison at the end of August. I was very much looking forward to celebrating the last few weeks of summer sitting by Lake Mendota at the Terrace, shopping for local produce at the Dane County Farmers’ Market, biking through the Arboretum and indulging in Wisconsin cheese and beer! Before leaving for the summer, I had not realized how much I would miss my incredible MBA friends and the staff and faculty in the Wisconsin School of Business. Needless to say, I was excited to get back to Madison to reconnect with everyone and hear about their summer experiences. Although I’m missing the Class of 2015, I’m really looking forward to getting to know the new Bolz Center students!
The year is already off to a very busy start with a lot happening in the Bolz Center. We have new faculty and staff working with us, including alumnus Julia Nicholas, who is coordinating the applied learnings and the APAP Research Project. We’re looking forward to a trip to the Madison Children’s Museum, American Players Theatre, and site visits in Chicago! In addition, Julia is working with Sherry on the new Beauty Initiative, which will bring Diane Ragsdale to the UW in the spring semester. We’re gearing up for Collegium on October 3rd, which will bring back the Bolz Advisory Board members and other Bolz Center alumni! My fellow second years and I started off the year acknowledging that we are so grateful and inspired by the alumni that have paved the way in before us, and we are honored to be a part of this community.
Within the Center, I think what I am most looking forward to this year is embarking on the new 2nd year Capstone Project. In teams of two or working individually, we are being led by Dennis Johnson from Forward Community Investments through the consulting process to do a project for a local organization. Sara Woldt and I are working with the WormFarm Institute in Reedsburg, Wisconsin to build its financial capacity. We are looking forward to helping the organization develop systems to build stability in a period of rapid growth (having been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace for its innovation in connecting art with a rural agriculture community). The majority of the consulting project will take place in the fall and then we will activate our work and share it with the wider field during the Spring semester. The two other teams are consulting with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Arts Business Initiative and a local music education organization, Music con Brio. I am really looking forward to topping off my MBA experience with a practical application of my skills by helping an organization get to the next level, and while learning the consulting process and best practices.
Although it is going to undoubtedly be a busy school year, we have a lot of exciting opportunities on the horizon and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to learn and grow alongside my fellow Bolz students. I’m savoring the time because I know the year will fly by and I’m not ready to leave yet.