DePaul Business Alumna Highlights Real-World Lessons in Creativity and Innovation Class

DePaul Business Alumna Highlights Real-World Lessons in Creativity and Innovation Class

I recently graduated with a Master of Science in Management in June, after earning my undergraduate business degree in marketing last year. Since I went to graduate school right after earning my bachelor’s degree, I did not have a lot of professional experience, which is why it was important for me to choose classes that would allow me to learn hands-on skills.

One of these classes was MGT 573: Creativity and Innovation in Business, taught by Raja Singaram, an instructor in the Department of Management & Entrepreneurship. While searching for consultant jobs, I noticed that being creative and innovative were key components of the job requirements, so this class intrigued me. The class provides students with creativity tools that they can use to diagnose and solve real problems they face in their lives. Using these tools may also lead to discovering new opportunities. The class also examines how to create an environment that encourages creativity and innovation in others. I highly recommend this class for anyone who is interested in being in a managerial role and wants to know how they can think outside of the box and help others around them to do the same.

Throughout the class, we worked with several Chicago start-ups. This hands-on experience is exactly what I look for in my education. A DePaul alumna and lead singer in the band White Mystery, Alex White (BUS ’07) was one of several guest speakers. Alex currently manages her band while transitioning from touring the world to taking on local gigs. She spoke about the short- and long-term problems she is facing in her business as the sole manager of White Mystery. She described her short-term problem as the amount of inventory (her unsold records) she needs to get rid of, and the long-term problem as taking on too many roles and making better use of the interns she has.

To help her tackle these problems, the class divided into two sections—one taking on the short-term problem and the other taking on the long-term problem. We were all instructed to explore all ideas and to use an idea evaluation tool known as P.M.I. (Plus. Minus. Interesting). My team focused on the long-term problem and suggested that she create different departments to better delegate tasks to her interns. Alex typically hires students majoring in music degrees as interns, so we suggested that for some roles she may want to consider hiring interns from other backgrounds. For example, we recommended that she hire interns who are interested in marketing to handle the band’s social media accounts. The whole class had awesome ideas for Alex — one team suggested that she sell some of her records to artists so they can create different art pieces out of them.

Working with Alex helped me understand how the concepts we were learning in class can be applied to real-world situations. I also really enjoyed working in a team and being able to build off my teammates’ ideas. It was an enjoyable learning experience and I find it awesome that as a class we were able to help local start-ups, especially an alumna like Alex.

Sarah Garza is a Double Demon who earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s degree in management. She is from Chicago’s southern suburb of Calumet City, and is currently looking for a role in consulting.

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