Break a Leg to Get Ahead

As a student who is currently enrolled at a university predominantly known for itmeme
s business program, I’ve noticed that the fine arts often go unnoticed by many staff and faculty members as well as the student body. I have also noticed that the small handful of fine arts clubs that are on campus are occupied by the same group of club members, which have become some of my closest friends. What many people don’t realize is how the fine arts, the performing arts in particular, actually can help enhance a student’s presence in the business world. If you can memorize dialogue, different songs and funny dances and then perform them in front of an audience full of your peers and complete strangers, then you should be able to easily survive an interview.

When giving a presentation, whether it’s for a class or for a job, confidence is the key to giving a successful display of the idea you are trying to get across. If you practice what you’re saying and believe in the words coming out of your mouth, you will give a great presentation worthy of Broadway. Being in my schools theater, chorus and improv groups, I am not afraid to say, sing or do anything, no matter how ridiculous, in front of an audience of 1 or 1000 because of my past experience in putting on a variety of plays and musicals.

Whenever I present, whether it’s for biology, business, or a research project on sexual assault, I am confident because I have taken the time to prepare and I believe what I am talking about. If I do by chance screw up or forget something I have the improv skills to bring it back to where it should be without missing a beat. Improv is a great skill to have especially when going for an interview. When you’re doing any kind of improv, you need to think fast because you have no idea what’s coming next and you need to be ready to give an answer without sounding too stupid. A lot of interviewers like to throw curveballs and as the interviewee you need to be able to come up with an eloquent answer instead of spending a minute or two racking your brain trying to answer the question.
I rarely ushand-jivee index cards for presentations because I’m so used to being on stage where I can’t be looking down at my script for the words while also trying to hand jive. If you use index cards while presenting you will often catch yourself looking down at them for every other word instead of relying on your knowledge that you have obtained by researching and studying the material you are presenting on. Preparing for a presentation and relying on your knowledge will help you even after you finish that group presentation for Economics that you put together with “Google Slides.” Preparation helps relieve stress later on because it eliminates the worry of not knowing what you need to do or say. This will help you relax so you can but your best foot forward instead of spending time trying to come up with an answer in order to make yourself sound intelligent while taking an unnecessarily long amount of time.

A lot of students who have trouble finding a job after college are show-bizafraid to put themselves out there. They’re shy, anxious, and afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Performing kicks you out of that comfort zone and locks the door. Just in the past few years I’ve portrayed: a twenty-something year old guy trying to find love online, an Italian, smartass high school student from 50’s, a raunchy old grandfather, a man selling bagels on the streets of Anatevka, and a poor man who lives on the streets of Paris during the French Revolution. Every show I’ve been in is so different from the last which helps me progress as an actor as well as build as a person. Making a phone call or walking up to a recruiter at a career fair is a lot easier when you’ve performed in front of a sold out auditorium.

The arts and sciences are just as important if not beneficial to the world of business, but society often separates them. Many people don’t think about how the vast amount of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that goes into putting on a good show makes a fantastic work ethic that can be carried over into the business world. When given the opportunity to hire somebody with a background in a more creative discipline, step out of the comfort zone that you’ve set for your company. Members of the fine arts community can bring new views that business centered people may not see. In a group of left brained people following the logical path, a single right brained vigilante can help a company flourish.

 

Michael Criscuolo

Bryant University 2019

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