Charlie Stock (MA ‘20) Shows That Perseverance and a Slight Pivot Can Pay Off

In March of 2020 as the pandemic took hold of the world and graduation fast approaching in May, Charlie Stock realized that his goal of working for a theatre company in fundraising might have to take a back seat. The potential of openings that were once available at the beginning of the year started to quickly evaporate as the entire entertainment industry screeched to a halt. Taking a fresh perspective on the job market, by in his words, “taking a step back, looking at my resume and cover letter, zeroing in on what skills I actually have, and what’s important for me,” gave him the confidence to determine that he was a fit for a wide variety of positions that could incorporate his skill set. Weeks of research, applications, and interviews led him to his current position, Development Manager at 826CHI, an organization that serves students by providing creative writing tutoring in underserved populations across Chicago. According to Charlie the importance of looking at your overall skill set can help you identify why you are a fit for a position. As he stated, “For me, this position weaved together my passion for education, my experience in fundraising, and working in a different sector of the arts, all which made me a candidate for this position.”

When Charlie started looking at colleges and universities to begin his graduate studies, Columbia College Chicago’s Master of Arts Management program checked all the boxes for him. Courses that covered areas such as accounting, finance, and strategic planning, prepared him for his position with 826CHI. Another aspect of the college that impressed him was the emphasis on internships. Charlie saw first-hand how his past internship prepared him. “I like to look at it as a tier step ladder. Previous experience plus school led me to internship. Internship was proximal experience which led me to my current role.”

In addition to internships and classes, Charlie extolled the benefits of being a student worker. “On-campus employment helped me connect and build relationships with faculty members and staff in the department, as well as start those conversations that are so crucial to career development.”

Charlie’s advice to current students centered around taking advantage of being just that, a student. “Your status as a student provides you with so many opportunities to not only get connected but also help you navigate and get closer to what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself to professionals to find out more about their positions and the industry.”