A large number of our graduates have found their theatre training valuable in private industry where communications and problem-solving skills are in great demand. Here the starting salaries are much higher than for students seeking to enter the entertainment field, and the competition far less demanding. At GVSU, the drama program is housed within the University's School of Communications where students are required to complete at least five courses in the communications field to enhance their liberal arts background and equip them for a variety of careers within the business and corporate sector.
Contrary to popular opinion, many top level management posts in the nation's Fortune 500 companies are not held by people who pursued business as an undergraduate major, but who majored in the liberal arts. In fact, even though the starting salaries with businesses & corporations are lower and initial employment is harder to find for liberal arts students, statistics reveal that these individuals outpace business majors in job retention and in promotions and salary increases as the years progress. The reason for this is because the diverse background of liberal arts graduates makes them excellent team workers and communicators, and flexible managers who can cope with different tasks and learn new skills in today's fast-changing corporate environment are in high demand.
Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins, for example, has been successfully employed for years as a communications director at Northwestern University's school of education. Lori Greene was readily accepted at the University of Vermont Law School following her graduation. Gina Sierra, an acting major, was hired as director of student development at the Baker College of Business.
Students should also remember that there are a number of entertainment-related careers that combine the drama student's love of performing arts with business and liberal arts skills of one kind or another. Casting agencies, legal firms specializing in entertainment law, accounting and management firms specializing in production account control for theatres, film, and television, or advertising agencies and corporations who need writers and project planners are some challenging opportunities that have presented themselves to our graduates.
Tom Harryman, for example, combined his theatre skills with a love of business to become the managing director of Muskegon's Frauenthal Performing Arts Center here in west Michigan. Another of our graduates, Pat Wolfe, combined her technical production training and love of writing to get hired by the Minolta Corporation in Chicago.
The self-confidence, sense of responsibility, communications skills, and problem-solving abilities learned by our theatre students equip them to pursue numerous types of careers inside and outside the entertainment industry.
Page last modified March 2, 2007