Deepa is just a few weeks away from graduation and not far from her dream job. We had the unique opportunity to talk with her about post-graduation career plans. Her goals are to go into marketing or development, which are areas of expertise she was able to develop at Columbia College Chicago.
Why did you choose Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship program?
I wanted to find a program where I could learn how to take my passion for music and the arts and turn it into a career. I came to Columbia without a clear idea of where I wanted to be after graduation and found faculty members that were invested in helping me discover that path.
How did you take advantage of the Chicago arts scene to further your career goals?
Chicago has such a rich artistic history. I have wanted to live in this city for so long and the Master of Arts Management (MAM) program at Columbia offered an incredible opportunity for me to immerse myself in the arts community while progressing in my career at the same time. I play violin and sing in local community groups, which really helps me feel connected to the city and with my passion.
The last semester for graduate MAM students is composed of all electives, which provides flexibility for students to focus on their interests. How did you tailor your last semester to fit your career goals while maintaining the academic connection?
I am very lucky that I was able to tailor my last semester at Columbia to learn very specific skills. I created 2 independent projects to support Columbia Cares which is a charity on campus that provides resources for students who find themselves in an emergency need. I have been working with faculty members to create a marketing plan and a development plan for the charity which has helped me learn more about marketing and development for nonprofit organizations. I also had time to intern at a nonprofit theatre which helped me learn the day-to-day duties of an organization of that status.
What are your plans after graduation?
I hope to find a job in marketing or development for a nonprofit organization in Chicago in which I feel connected to the mission.
How has being a student at Columbia impacted your path to success for your career?
I was able to learn from faculty members that are leaders in the arts community in Chicago. It was helpful to talk to instructors that had actual insight into the industry that I wanted to be a part of after I graduated.
What is your philosophy on life (personal motto)? Has that changed over time because of your Columbia experience?
I think my personal philosophy after these 2 years of graduate school is just to never be afraid to try something new. I learned a lot about myself and about my goals from trying new things these past couple of years. I took classes in subjects in which I lacked knowledge, I volunteered and interned in fields that I didn’t feel completely comfortable, and those are the experiences where I grew the most.
What advice would you give to prospective students? Current students?
My advice to prospective students is to talk to as many faculty members, current students, and alumni as possible. That is the best way to get an all around impression of what Columbia can do for your future. Everyone is willing to help you get an understanding of the opportunities here. To current students I would say to take advantage of all that Columbia and Chicago has to offer. Intern, volunteer, or work for as many different kinds of organizations as possible to really get a full range of the artistic community that we have around us.