Ligia Sandoval is a senior with hopes to pursue her passion for musical theater and leadership in the live and performing arts industry. She is already making strides to reaching her goals through interesting projects in and outside of Columbia such as the annual TEDx event and managing artists. The interview below tells her Columbia journey and how it has prepared her for a career in the arts.
What is your major or BA? When is your expected graduation date?
I’m a double major in Musical Theatre and Live & Performing Arts Management expecting to graduate in May 2016.
Why did you choose Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship program?
I started at Columbia just as a Musical Theatre major. During my third semester I decided to take Introduction to Management as an elective and ended up really liking the subject. Therefore, I declared a minor in Arts Management, but by the end of my sophomore year I decided to make it a double major as I found myself becoming more and more engaged with the business side of the arts and entertainment industry.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about creativity and the arts. About the ability to surpass traditional concepts and conceive new and non-conformist ideas, interpretations, and methods. About the expression and application of that creativity and imagination, resulting in works of art meant to be appreciated for their unique aesthetics, emotional appeal, significant meaning or powerful message.
What projects are you currently working on outside of classes?
I am part of the ensemble for The Vagina Monologues, February 11 at Haus (623 S Wabash) at 7pm, with the goal of raising funds for V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls, and starting conversations about gender equality and women’s empowerment within our community.
I am also choreographing the next Columbia College main-stage production Love and Information, written by Caryl Churchill and directed by John Green. It will run from March 9-18 at the Sheldon Patinkin Theatre.
I am one of the Managing Directors and the SOC Representative for TEDxColumbiaCollegeChicago, the student organization composed of more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students that produces and presents the annual TEDx event on campus, featuring 10+ speakers from across the country. This year the main event will take place on April 9 and the theme is CTRL+ALT+DEL, asking audiences to reset their thinking. Some of our members are doing independent projects or taking the Curatorial Practicum class to receive credit for their work with TEDx. Additionally, we are collaborating with Cara Dehnert-Huffman’s Introduction to Management class. One of their semester-long projects is to be a volunteer for our organization, prior to and on the day of the event. The 25 students in that class have been assigned different tasks depending on their areas of interest and skills. These tasks include being part of the street team, social media ambassadors, bloggers, student organization liaisons, photographers, videographers, front-of-house staff, setup and backstage crew, and more.
I am also the personal manager for jazz pianist, vocalist, and songwriter J. Bernard Bowse. We are in the midst of planning his debut EP release concert happening on February 26 at 6:30pm at PianoForte Chicago.
Which classes have helped you the most with your career goals?
Honestly, I have taken away useful information from every class I have taken, but I will point out a few, specifically from the Business & Entrepreneurship Department. Earlier in my college career I learned very practical tools in Information Management with Jessica Jacobs, which was highlighted when I was able to impress fellow interns and supervisors with my Excel skills at my last internship.
I knew nothing about marketing or law until I took Entertainment Marketing with Eric Schroeder and Entertainment Law with Joe Madonia, even though we learned the basics, it was very useful. Now I feel confident discussing marketing and even executing promotional campaigns, and I understand the basics of copyright law, which I am currently using in my work with J. Bernard Bowse. Speaking of J. Bernard Bowse, it was in Talent Management with Vanessa Page that I began managing him and the experience was so successful that he asked me to continue fulfilling this role after the class was over.
Furthermore, I enjoy writing and tend to be a geek about it (I love writing emails), so from the beginning I knew I would enjoy Writing for Managers with Cara Dehnert-Huffman. Not only did I learn more about business writing (and got over my fear of website development) but I gained a lot of firsthand experience career and life lessons from the teacher, anecdotes that helped reassure my esteem for management.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself in a leadership position in the area of management or production of a live and performing arts organization (probably more theatre or dance oriented) while continuing to perform and develop my crafts, specifically acting, dancing, singing, and stage combat.
How has being a student at Columbia impacted your path to success for your career?
Being a student at Columbia has helped me enhance my adaptability, leadership, and organizational skills. It has allowed me to become a much more open-minded and collaborative risk-taker and go-getter. It has made me a more well-rounded business person and performer. I have been able to narrow down my short-term goals and acquire a clearer vision of my future, but at the same time I have learned to be flexible and always offer the better version of myself, because you really never know when your next opportunity will appear or where it will take you.
What is your philosophy on life (personal motto) as it relates to your educational career?
“Better late than never”. Sometimes we miss opportunities or make mistakes that become self-imposed barriers, but doing something late is better than not doing it at all. You don’t want to be stuck with infinite “what-ifs?” merely due to your timing not being ideal. Just because it is not ideal it does not mean the outcome cannot be positive or successful.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Take initiative, get involved in projects outside of class, and get to know your teachers. Be a good teammate during class projects – trust me, it will haunt you all throughout your college career and even after you graduate if you get a reputation for being a slacker. Talk to your classmates – it will make classes more interesting and you will enlarge your network because you never know when someone will be looking for a person with your special skills and talents, or simply a cool person to work with.