What type of graduate program are you pursuing at CU?
I am doing a dual degree Masters in Theatre and Business Administration aka MBA/MA. The theatre calls it the MA/MBA and the business school calls it the MBA/MA.
What is the program schedule like?
Other than pure insanity? It is a three-year program, one year of theatre, one MBA, and the last is mixed. Theoretically, you could do the MBA portion first, but I don’t think that works well in practice. I did the first year in the theatre program exclusively and then started the MBA in fall of 2016. Everything about the MBA curriculum is the same.
How does taking both programs at the same time work?
The dual degree allows me to truncate what would separately be two 2-year programs into one 3-year program. I took 12 theatre credits that count towards the MBA, and 6 MBA credits that count towards the theatre degree.
You were able to do an Independent Study as part of the dual degree. What did you choose to focus on for this?
My independent study involves my position in the theatre as the Loft Costume Coordinator through a business management lens. The Loft is our smaller theater; I am able to use skills from the MBA program to better manage the theatre operations. This helps me deal with people management issues, constrained resources, and delegation decisions. It’s a great avenue to be able to explore a role like this and maximize learning. If you don’t reflect on a situation, you’re not going to grow from it.
What does a Costume Coordinator do?
My job is to interpret and execute the director’s vision. This includes responsibilities for shop scheduling, and managerial decisions about costume design and construction. I also oversee completion of all alterations which involves teaching costume tech students. The biggest part is making sure that everything has been communicated clearly in production meetings—this includes the wardrobe team, ensuring the designer has everything they need, while keeping a focus on the budget. I also plan for future costume issues and proactively manage to avoid problems. Collaboration is huge!
What do you plan to do with your dual degree?
In an ideal world, I would like to manage a costume shop. I’m exploring opportunities at universities with professional summer stock (or summer repertory) options, much like CU and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
What other programs are like this?
This is a pretty unique program. NYU’s Tische, Yale, and the University of Alabama all have MFA/MBA dual degrees in either Theatre or Arts Management. They key difference is that these programs are paired with an MFA, which is a Masters of Fine Arts program and likely emphasizes non-profit management. My theatre Masters is in History & Criticism, which means the majority of theatre academic work is reading and analyzing plays. There are not a lot of programs like this in the country outside of a MBA In Arts Administration.
What advice do you have for students that might be considering this dual degree?
· Do the theatre year first! If you’re coming from out of state, it is better to establish in-state tuition in the theater department before starting the business portion of the program.
· I am also excited to be able to graduate with my MBA cohort. The camaraderie among the MBA cohort is a different experience due to the amount of teamwork we do. The theatre MA year 1 is extremely rigorous—it is better to focus on that at first.
· One of the most important things I did during my first year in the business school was making time to go over to the theater at least once a week—it’s really hard to be MBA “on” all the time when you’re a theatre person. The way you talk, the way you interact—it’s completely different between the two programs. The time away to feed my creative side was really important to balance the two programs. Being able to work on something tactile was a nice break from the mental rigor of learning subject matter that was completely unfamiliar to me before the MBA program.
What else do you have to say about the programs?
The MBA provides an additional layer of credibility to the theatre MA. While I would love for my MA to be able to stand on its own two feet, I feel like a much stronger candidate for the jobs I want with the MBA. The next generation of theater makers are starting to more consciously run their theater productions as a business with the intent to be profitable and the MBA/MA sets me up to be successful in this new generation of theatre.
Photo Credit: Ian McMorran