There are as many variables as there are questions and as many questions as there are possible answers.
- Arts Presenting Professional #1: Ambivalent about graduate degree but conceeds its not necesary where hiring is concerned.
- Stanford MBA-candidate from film background: MBA wouldn’t target my needs in the entertainment industy, but an MAM (Masters in Arts Management) would cover relevent points. A masters degree in general will add value to a resume and fast-track a career.
- Kellog MBA-candidate with non-profit work experience: A masters degree is imparative to maintain relevance in the industry. The connections gained through a quality program like CMU would open doors to aspirations in my field.
- Business undergrad with entrepreneurial experience: A masters isn’t necessary. Hard work and hands-on learning is. It’s your drive that’s going to make or break you.
- Law school grad carrying a large amount of student debt: Skip grad school and dodge the loans. School is nice for the ego but doesn’t provide enough benefit to outweigh the costs.
- Arts Presenting Professional #2: A MAM is tailored to parts of the industry to which I don’t aspire to go and doesn’t impart practical skills in how to work with artists. A MAM is a waste of time.
- Arts Presenting Professional #3: This professional came up through the ranks with an undergraduate degree from a very prestigious university in the filed (Yale) but never got a masters and doesn’t give job candidates with masters degrees more consideration than others.
And what do I think…?
There are immense confidence and leadership-building opportunities built into the grad school model, no matter which degree. A MAM, however, is probably more tailored to “traditional” non-profit leadership roles as #2 (above) stated. The connections gained through a MAM may or may not be relevant, but are less so now that I’ve made one strong connection and a number of auxiliary connections on my own. These connections can most-likely bring me into the field at no better (or little better) a pay rate than I’d get after graduating with a degree. The job descriptions I’m looking at as very appealing seldom include a related masters degree as prerequisite.
A masters in general provides a feeling of certainty that life will fall smoothly into place after graduation, as well as a two-year respite from financial hardships and taking jobs just to make money while I ride on the government’s dime. More than anything, however, a masters gives me a feeling of purpose and worth, and the idea that I’ve got a plan for my life, which I’ve felt has been absent in my life for the past few years.
The confidence and momentum gained in a graduate program would be VERY good for me, but might pidgeon hole me into types of arts management jobs I’m not seeking to do. My professional goal is to be the creative head of an organization, not a planning and managerial head. My goal is also to found my own organization, which doesn’t seem to fall into line with all that debt.
More to ponder…
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The optimistic US attitude of ‘anyone can do it’ leads to increased creation of products, often products we don’t really need. But the ‘grow bigger’/glimmer of hope for all attitude causes companies to continue marketing irrelevant products, eventually surpassing their worth because of the idea of mere possibility, and eventually they go under. Cue 2008 financial crisis.
Europe, on the other hand, has a more realistic (vs. optimistic) view of its people and what people truly need to be happy/get by in life. Because of this, Europe’s unemployment rate is significantly higher than the US’s, but their economy is more stable due to a slower, steadier rate of growth. This leads to stability in citizens’ lives, and, ultimately, greater happiness. In short – Simplify.
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Okay, so I haven’t actually gotten this gig yet, but I’ve got the full intention to. And in recent history, when something presents itself so serendipitously to me, it’s been meant to be and almost universally comes true. So, I’m gearing up for my first freelance gig as a writer (while continuing to ruminate about my book, perhaps even moving from the back burner to the middle burner) and thought I’d stretch things out a little by doing a first post here on Hannah In Motion.
I’m 27 years old, which for most of the world probably seems like a time to be settling into one’s career, a time to be buying a first home, and to be showing your folks how grown up you are via the alphanumeric magic word ’401K’ typed out on a piece of paper.
But I’m a 27 year old artist. That last word alone is enough to send most of our folks scrambling to the telephones to speed-dial their financial advisers and beg for mercy for their unborn grandchildren. Even with college educations (and the consolidated loans to prove them) ‘my type of people’ often live their mid- to late-twenties in a state of financial flux. If we can pay the rent, buy groceries and have enough left over to lease an unheated studio space (in January. in Boston.) then it’s been a good month. Sometimes we plan for an unforeseen car repair. We almost never plan for retirement.
In addition to being an artist, I’m also a traveler. Not a once a year, one week all-inclusive to Cancun traveler, but a bonafied, I store my stuff in over-sized plastic bins in the basement traveler. I spent last year in Paris, nannying for a French family in exchange for a wee 8th floor walk-up without central heating. For pocket money I tutored kids in English. And I went to mime school. This all started back in junior high. While the rest of the kids were saving their summer job money for cars, I was pocketing mine for a semester abroad in South America. I’ve been a financial save-spend it all on a ticket- start saving again machine ever since.
Bucking the lack of concern for long-term financial stability that I received during my undergrad in theatre and the temptation to spend 150 bucks on a ticket to Florida, in 2009 I opened a CD with ING. The idea was modest: open an account separate from my ING savings that I can’t touch, and that I can renew and add to every year. I know I’m not looking at a million dollar retirement fund here. But the hope is that by the time I’m old enough to start working less (and that age comes sooner when you’re a physical performer like myself) I’ll have a bit of a nest egg set aside. I can’t believe I just used the word nest egg.
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