A few weeks ago I saw the Opening Night of the sense and sensibility by Jane Austin at the Annie Russell Theatre.
Sense and sensibility represented by the characters of two sisters. For some reason, I’ve never made that connection! Well, maybe I did, a long time ago, but the lightbulb turned on again when I read the synopsis. Because sense and sensibility can really be characteristics of the same person, I started to think about what was one time where both of those characteristics showed up, had an interesting dialogue between each other, and the result was that the trajectory of my life changed.
I graduated from UCF in 2004 with a Bachelor degree in advertising and public relations and minor in marketing. I wanted to continue my education immediately because I knew that once I stopped, I would never want to start up again. I was accepted into the Masters of Communications program because I thought that was the next, sensible step to being an advertising professional.
The same time I was applying for my Masters, I also applied for jobs in the advertising industry. I figured if I could get a full-time job as a Media Coordinator, I would forgo getting a masters degree at a full-time pace. I would let fate decide whether I would go full time or part-time. Having some difficulty getting offered a media planner job in Orlando, I went ahead and accepted the position to be the Executive Assistant to the President of the Nicholson School of Communication. About a week later, I was finally offered a Media Planner position at the largest advertising agency in Orlando. I started thinking to myself, “How could I give this opportunity up? I have learned through my internships that when starting out in the ad industry it doesn’t matter what your degree is, it matters what experience you have. It’s when you want to be in leadership that you need a Masters Degree. I didn’t want to be a person with too much education and not enough experience. So I gracefully and gratefully backed out of the position as the executive assistant. And I dropped down to get my Masters degree from full- to part-time, based on the agreement I had with my boss where I could continue on with my education (and leave work early one day a week to attend class).
My first class was Communications and Government. I thought that meant how the government communicates. I was mistaken. What it really meant was how media speaks truth to power the government and I had to read a lot of Noam Chomsky. I also had to write a 20-page paper on this guy in England who was also writing about truth to power. It felt tedious and a complete mind mess-up to keep switching from work to academia.
What I quickly learned, was that a Masters in Communications is the stepping stone for getting a Ph.D. If I wanted to be a Doctor of Communication theory and teach, only then does a mass communication masters make sense.
I tried one more class in the program, Communication and Research. I thought this meant how you communicate your research, which is really what I was doing on a daily basis, and so I thought it would be a highly applicable class. I was very wrong. It was how to actually perform research. And it was going to be an even crazier workload this time around, because not only did I have to attend class once a week but I also had to go to the lab, and enter in survey results using C++ or SPSS or some other alphabet and conduct analysis on that. And I would also have to take time to get people to actually do the research and answer the questions for me. (Side note: Looking back at it now as a Data Analyst, that actually would’ve been a pretty good class to go to! Unfortunately, the time it would’ve taken to attend to the class properly, would not have worked well in the advertising agency setting.)
Feeling a wave of panic set in after the first class, I went to my mentor Mr. Stansberry and sought advice. He advised that the school of business offered 1.5 credit hour introduction-to-business classes as electives for the other programs. So I dropped out of Comm & Gov and added Managment for the first half of the semester and Accounting for the second half. While the Management class was a nice break from the heavy paper writing, it was at the moment I took the intro to Accounting class where the content jolted me awake and said, “This is highly applicable! This is engaging! This is useful! I get this!”
So with that act of sense, my sensibility acquiesced and accepted the course correction. I would take no more Communication classes and started taking all of the Intro to Business classes that were allowed.
I finally took the GMAT and was formally accepted into MBA program. It took six years while working full-time from 2004 to 2010 to get that last degree… and the rest is history. Because of my MBA I was able to get the job at Clear Channel Outdoor and now that I started my own company, the Accounting, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Decision Making classes have helped a great deal!. Cheers to the MBA!