Renee Kelly

Entrepreneurship for Creatives (MA) '21

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia? 

As an Entrepreneurship for Creatives Masters student, the most surprising thing I learned has been a highly-effective way of approaching my ideas. A new way of working was woven into the way we explored things. I am a bit amazed by what I created over the course of the program by committing to small exercises on a weekly basis. I think I’m just answering questions and the next thing you know, I have a detailed marketing or leadership plan, a strategic map, etc. This new approach was very satisfying and instilled a great deal of confidence. Now, I have a powerful analysis and creation process that I will take with me and apply to projects in the future.  
What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial? 

There have been so many "aha" moments that it becomes very difficult to pick one course as being most beneficial. For me, the most beneficial experiences have been the one-on-one time with my professors. The professors involved with my program were very generous with their time. I made sure I took advantage of their willingness to meet with us on an individual basis. Whether we were discussing course content, my ideas or their experience, I feel these conversations have been invaluable and I am most appreciative.  
What are your plans for after graduation?  

After graduation, I plan to launch my business venture and put the plans that I’ve been developing into action. My intention is to offer training programs to creatives, artists and athletes that help them unlock their potential and live into their vision. In the future, I look forward to maintaining a close connection with Columbia College Chicago. 
Do you have any advice for current students?  

My advice to current students is to really challenge yourself to be open to all the information that is being presented to you. Trust that the curriculum is working its mojo and try not to judge whether you see a direct link to an outcome that you currently seek. Just focus on giving your best and you will be amazed as things coalesce into a nuanced formidable foundation.  
If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say?  

If I were to sum up my experience at Columbia I would say: What a difference a year makes!