Tell us about yourself and your background – what did you do before coming to ALT?
I’m from a performance background and had been a solo entertainer on cruise ships for many years and also own two businesses – one as an agent providing acts to cruise ships and the other in Florida providing entertainment to gated communities and country clubs. We currently spend half of our year out there.
I joined ALT as a mature student – 20 years older than most of the cohort. I’m also a mum of a four-year-old, who was only 18 months when I started the course in 2021.
What made you decide to study a master’s at ALT?
I’d always felt there was more for me to achieve academically than I had with my undergraduate degree – it felt unfinished. The pandemic gave us a break in our regular life to look at options.
I liked the balance between the practical and theoretical learning, the modules are all so different and the major project would facilitate the opportunity for me to develop my own business goals. Also, a lot of the learning felt pertinent to both my current and any future business ventures.
What was the best thing about your course?
I originally planned to apply to study MA Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Live Events, but after speaking to course tutors, I realised that the MA Live Event Design would be more beneficial.
It allowed me to learn how to converse with colleagues and suppliers, designers and other industry professionals about the technical aspects of live events. The course helped me realise that I didn’t have to be able to do all the things we studied, I just needed to know enough so I could employ the right people and have the right conversations. The knowledge and experience the course provided me was invaluable.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
Using and applying the knowledge I’ve accrued from ALT, I’ve been able to expand the ideas and creative potential of my businesses. I’m now able to offer shows that my competitors can’t and I’m starting to build a network of new professional and technical connections that I couldn’t previously.
I now understand whether or not my vendors are giving me exactly what I need and if the pricing and service is fair. I’m able to confidently query and, in some circumstances, have offered alternatives. I’ve also been dealing with professionals on a much higher level that I had previously.
Is there one thing that inspired you to do what you do now?
The course tutors were the reason I had the confidence to push myself further into the technical realms. When I first joined ALT, I only knew how to use a laptop for online shoe shopping! Now, I design posters, draw stage plots and technical specs – it’s a million miles from where I was. And that’s all because of the encouragement of the tutors.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about studying a postgraduate degree, what would you say?
It’s never too late to learn or better yourself. Don’t let your perceived circumstances or lack of knowledge hold you back from applying for a masters – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my career and it’s benefitted both me and my family exponentially.
There’s not a day goes by where I don’t apply the knowledge practically or in a design setting. I only wish I could do the course again with what I know now and learn even more.