Student Profile: A Leadership Toolbox
Shannon Marimon '10
Pre-SOM: Yale University
Post-MBA Position: The New Teacher Project
My background is in the humanities. I have a masterís degree in art history. My professional work has been primarily in higher education administration, where I developed an understanding of how a nonprofit functions and an appreciation of how powerful management can be. A great deal can be done to improve processes and technologies without taking away the soul of the organization. Coming to a program that shares that philosophy and teaches those skills was really important to me.
Once I realized what a good match SOM is with my goals, there was no question that this was where I had to be. Still it was intimidating to think about applying to a top MBA program. And, once I was here, at the beginning, when it was very quantitatively intensive, I was well outside of my comfort zone. But I came to SOM for a specific toolbox, and one of the reasons nonprofits struggle is because those skill sets are too often missing. So even though some elements were like taking my medicine, looking back at the overall experience, I'm just in awe. I never would have had the coursework, access to the speakers, or the international exposure anywhere else.
My end goal is to help nonprofits succeed, thrive, and do the best that they can do with the limited resources they have. I have always been drawn to marketing and communications. It's just my natural tendency. Now I can merge my creative energy with a structured approach to improving the operational efficiency of a nonprofit.
I've taken courses that allowed me to really delve into the organizational side, the strategic view of how a nonprofit works with other stakeholders. I did an independent study course with the dean, Sharon Oster, last spring, where seven of us created our own syllabus looking at earned revenue opportunities for nonprofits in the arts. Iím very interested in some of the social enterprise organizations that straddle for-profit and nonprofit models as a way to promote art but also keep the organization self-sustaining.
I could never have come to this program without the loan forgiveness program option, which provides support for graduates to go into the nonprofit, public sector, or social enterprise arenas. It has been so encouraging to know that finances didnít need to stand in the way of doing what I really want to do.
Interviewed on April 7, 2010.