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Building interdisciplinary skillsets with the Next Gen MBA

Building interdisciplinary skillsets with the Next Gen MBA

Madisyn Fairchild cherishes the Jesuit values instilled throughout her time at Loyola. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in theater and is now pursuing the Next Gen MBA. Photo courtesy of Zoe Mckenzie Photography.

Most public spaces, including theaters, were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic when Madisyn Fairchild (BA ’20, MBA ’21) completed her theater undergraduate degree at Loyola.

As she waited for theaters to reopen, she decided to build her business skills through the Next Generation MBA. The program is helping her translate her theater experience to the business world.

Below, Madisyn shares her experience and how her theater degree complements business.

Why the Next Gen MBA?

During my senior year, I wished I had taken more business classes in undergrad, and I was already thinking about returning to school for an MBA. The pandemic gave me a newfound freedom of time and the ability to earn my degree in one year while staying at Loyola. 

I was the Theatre Marketing & Communications Associate for Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts for three years, and through that found an interest in telling stories in different ways, like marketing brand stories. I also realized that theater and freelance marketing work for any kind of brand use business practices, so further developing my business skills would help no matter which direction my career ended up taking. 

There’s an emphasis across the MBA on skills like leadership development, team building, and management. It’s important to me that it isn’t just crunching numbers or training to fit the mold of one type of career.

What are key takeaways so far?

I’m learning how to adjust to new environments, advocate for myself on teams, and utilize business tools to adapt and figure out problems on my own post-grad. 

As a theater major, my experiences in storytelling and engaging audiences can still be applicable in business. Through classes like the Consulting mini course with Professor Stacy Neier Beran, I’ve gotten comfortable with being creative in a business context.

I’ve learned that innovation is the ability to take practices from other industries and bring them somewhere else. I also took a public speaking course with Rob Cancilla that was very impactful. I thought that coming into the MBA with a humanities background would be a disadvantage, but that class taught me to be proud of my strengths and use that confidence to present and engage in business contexts.

What does a Quinlan degree mean to you?

It’s a full circle moment to receive a degree from Quinlan, as my dad got his MBA from Loyola. I think it also speaks to the trust I put in a Loyola education. I just graduated with my BA and am entrusting Loyola and Quinlan with my MBA.

Moving from the College of Arts and Science to Quinlan School of Business shows that a Jesuit education applies to more than just the liberal arts. Loyola champions being people for others, and that translates to the business world.

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