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M.A./M.B.A.: After the Degree

Alumna Robin Rose draws on networking, budgeting skills learned in M.A./M.B.A. program for her career

By Ally Van Deuren (B.F.A. Theatre, B.A. Journalism, ’15)

Robin Rose (M.A./M.B.A. Arts Management and Business, ’10) describes how Meadows’ arts management graduate program prepared her for a lifetime of learning.

“I learned how to consistently seek information,” Rose says. “This skill will challenge me to constantly grow personally and professionally.”

When asked about the highlights of the program, Rose says the workload, among other things, stood out.

“It was so challenging,” Rose says. “I was constantly working and learning and growing.”

Another highlight was the numerous talented faculty members who were always willing to help.

“Everyone seemed to have the ‘door is always open’ mentality,” Rose says. “There were lots of opportunities to interact with staff outside of the classroom and they really valued students who pushed them, asked questions and stopped by to discuss things.”

While at SMU, Rose interned for Big Thought as the manager for an education project for elementary schools. Big Thought provides creative learning programs that help kids excel academically and put them on the road to becoming imaginative and productive adults. She also interned in the development department at WaterTower Theatre, where she focused on events and corporate relations. Rose returned to the WaterTower Theatre for her final practica because the theatre wanted to hire her full time after graduation.

However, after examining her offers, Rose went to work at Dallas Theater Center (DTC), where she is now manager of corporate relations and events.

“I didn't have a whole lot of experience, but the director of development took a chance and met with me because she saw that I had gone through the M.A./M.B.A. program,” Rose says. “I was very lucky to have options. At that time, the economy was still terrible and M.A./M.B.A. students as well as Cox students were having difficulty finding jobs anywhere, not just in Dallas.”

Rose says that she uses the skills she learned while at SMU, namely the abilities to network, budget and work in a group setting, in her job at DTC.

“Now that I do corporate fundraising I am finding that it was important for me to learn how to interact with corporate executives and begin learning and following the corporate landscape in Dallas,” Rose says, who took advantage of networking opportunities while studying at SMU.

Rose explains that without her budget training from the arts management program, she would not have been equipped to monitor DTC’s complex and detailed budget as closely as is needed.

“I have spent countless hours on spreadsheets, monitoring DTC’s development hospitality budget and gala expense and income budgets – down to every penny spent,” Rose says. “The M.A./M.B.A. program made me much more comfortable working in Excel and also building and manipulating a budget for a nonprofit.”

Finally, Rose explains the importance of group work in her education and application in the field.

“There is constant discussion, brainstorming and group work in the field and you have to learn how to work with very different personalities,” Rose says. “At SMU, I learned how to speak up and challenge people without offending them, to play devil's advocate and to defend my position by finding better ways to communicate to specific people.”

Find out more about the M.A./M.B.A. program at SMU.

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