What a Liberal Arts Education Doesn’t Offer

7 Aug

At Vassar College, “finance” or “business” were esoteric words for a liberal arts student’s vocabulary. As an Urban Studies major, the closest I had gotten to these words in class was when talking about the income inequality gap with an Economics professor. While I love how a liberal art’s education challenges students to become well rounded and exceptional in myriad academic subjects, it is hard to venture outside of academia into the professional world while on campus.

Interning at ABT this summer has granted me the unique opportunity to get the pre-professional experience I yearned for outside of the classroom. While any internship will give a student exposure to the work environment, our Thursday meetings are what gave me tangible information about the mysterious business world. Once a week, as all the interns sat at the round table at 11 in the morning, we’d have the opportunity to hear an employee speak about their responsibilities, challenges, and joys here at ABT. From the finance department to the head of institutional support, I learned what it took to run a national ballet company, and even more so what it took to run a company in general.

As I sat around this round table every Thursday morning, I’d see the varying levels of experience the interns had with this side of business – some came from small liberal arts school like myself, some came from business schools, and others came from music conservatories. Yet despite our spectrum of exposure to the world of arts administration, we always all had something to take away from these meetings. It was comforting to know that we were all here to get a meaningful experience out of the internship, just maybe in different ways.

Outside of these weekly meetings, I was tasked with projects that were outside of my academic comfort zone. In managing the worksheets for the Education Department’s yearly budget report, I was able to get hands on learning into how a non-profit organization organizes their fiscal data. Never had I thought that interning in an arts administration department would give me such experiences.

Along with the many lessons I will take away from my internship with ABT, I get to go back into my beloved liberal arts world with a new set of skills and experiences that no History or Hispanic Studies classes could not have prepared me for.

Max Goldner

Education Outreach Intern

Summer 2016

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