Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Navigating the Business World with a Music Degree: A Journey of Discovery

Kayleigh Johnson, MSBA '18, is a Music Education major from Penn State University. Kayleigh joined the program after taking some business courses and developing an interest in furthering her understanding of the field:

When I was in fourth grade, I wanted to be like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants. At the time, I thought he played the clarinet beautifully, and it was my hope to one day play the clarinet just like him. Luckily, I accomplished this goal pretty early on in my musical career, as Squidward was not particularly good at the clarinet. However, it did ignite a musical passion in me. From the time I was in fourth grade through college, I was heavily involved in music by participating in marching band, concert band, fife and drum corp., quintets, and many other ensembles.                                                                                                     
By the time I reached my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to pursue Music Education at Penn State University. I spent the next four years of college studying Music Theory, Music History, Sight-singing, various methodology courses, and teaching practicums.

After I graduated with my Bachelors of Music Education, I decided to not seek a career in music. Instead, I became a Solutions Specialist at Verizon Wireless. While I was employed at Verizon I took a few business courses, which prompted me to apply to, and ultimately attend, the Catholic University of America’s Masters of Business Analysis program.

There are many parallels that can be drawn between the music world and the business world. One of the main, and most important, lessons that I learned is how to effectively manage my time. In both my undergraduate and professional work experience, I have had to meet strict deadlines, plan large scale projects, and shuffle between many tasks. I’ve learned to efficiently and effectively prioritize my tasks, coordinate schedules, and plan ahead.

Another important skill that I acquired from my undergraduate degree is strong leadership. Overseeing a large group of ten year olds all playing loud instruments is no small feat. I have learned to employ a strong and commanding presence when needed, and present with confidence.

Even though I decided not to pursue a position as a music educator, the skills that I gained in my undergraduate career will be invaluable to me as I embark on my business journey.

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