Alumni Spotlight: Ian Wilson (MAM ’13)

me on piano-2

We are proud to celebrate our talented and successful Alumni. In this Alumni Spotlight, Ian talks about how the Business & Entrepreneurship department helped him achieve his goals. He also sheds some light on how to combat the dreaded crowded elevator phenomenon in 624 S Michigan.

What is your current job and how did you get there?

Ian: I’ve been the Outreach and Education Director at School of Rock Oak Park since I finished my MAM in 2013. The school opened the weekend before Columbia’s graduation, so the timing was perfect. I had been teaching piano and voice at the School of Rock in Lakeview throughout grad school and was already familiar with what makes a school run smoothly.

What field are you working in?

Ian: Music education—and more broadly, youth arts.

How did the Business program @ Columbia prepare you for what you do now?

Ian: I was able to tailor many of my projects and presentations towards my interests in rock music education. I’m sure my cohort was sick of hearing about SOR after two years, but it gave me a chance to research and write about some facets of the business that no one else in the company had the time to delve into.

What was your most valuable Columbia experience?

Ian: Not to sound cheesy, but some of my best friends in Chicago are from my cohort. Most people I know who went to grad school didn’t have that experience, so I appreciate the fact that the many, many hours I spent in front of Powerpoint or Prezi were with people I enjoyed working with.

Were there any particular professors who have made a significant impact on you? How?

Ian: Of course — but too many to mention, I don’t want to play favorites!

In what way did your Business degree help your career?

Ian: In my experience, this kind of degree is still relatively uncommon among directors and managers in the arts, or at least in arts education. We have a lot of people with degrees on the education side with little to no training in policy or staffing or business strategy.

Do you have any advice for current Columbia students?

Ian: If you’re fighting for elevator space in 624 S. Michigan, and the other bank of elevators (evens/odds) is less crowded, take it to the next floor up from your class and walk down a flight. Saves time, requires no real exercise.