3 reasons why students choose Rider's organizational leadership master's program

Drew Brennan '15 explains how the program elevated his leadership, strategic and financial skills
Keith Fernbach
3 reasons why students choose Rider's organizational leadership master's program

Drew Brennan '15

Drew Brennan '15 knew he wanted a master's program that would continue to develop his leadership skills and ultimately help him achieve his career goal of securing a senior leadership role in a community arts education setting.

He chose Rider's Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program in 2018 after joining the staff at his alma mater as the assistant director of the Westminster Conservatory of Music, the community music school of Westminster College of the Arts. 
In this position, he plays a large role in ensuring that the day-to-day operations of the conservatory run smoothly. Some of his responsibilities include communication with faculty, staff and parents; promotion of new programming; strategic planning for the upcoming academic year; and managing the registration process. 
To continue his professional development and enhance his skills as a leader in the arts community, Brennan realized he would need to earn a graduate degree. He considered programs nationwide in a variety of subject areas, including public administration, music administration, arts administration and business administration. 
He ultimately chose the MAOL program because he believed it would provide him with the technical foundation to inspire his faculty and staff to grow. He says it has given him that and so much more. 

“It’s given me the language and the tools to communicate what I need to do to effectively lead an organization," he says.

These are three more reasons why Brennan chose the MAOL program:

1. Course material is immediately applicable to a variety of industries. 

Brennan, who is on track to earn his degree in the spring of 2020, says much of what he has learned is already being implemented into the operations of the conservatory and having a positive impact on the day-to-day experience of the students, faculty and staff.

“Whether it’s changing our database, which is a really significant shift, or something as trivial as shifting communication protocols, all of that requires some kind of thought and sensitivity to the way it’s going to impact the organizational culture," he says. "The classes have really provided me a framework to anticipate issues, come up with solutions to those issues that respond directly to the needs of my professional community, and to successfully see the changes through.” 

Dr. Tricia Nolfi, the director of the MAOL program, cites Brennan as an example of what the MAOL program is intended to accomplish. 

“I take a great deal of satisfaction in seeing our students grow into leaders who can impact the success of their organizations,” she says. “In Drew’s case, it’s particularly gratifying because he’s effecting positive change right here in the Rider community.”

2. The program includes strategic planning and financial management. 

“What really stood out to me compared to other programs I considered was the emphasis placed on financial management,” he says. “The strategic planning and financial decision-making class has really given me a framework for making sound decisions within my business model."
3. Professors are accessible and enjoy helping students apply concepts to their professional lives. 
“Not only was I presented with course material that helped me make better decisions, but the professor himself was really, really accessible," he says. "If I had specific questions that extended beyond the scope of our course, he would meet with me separately to go over some of the things that I was working on in my professional pursuits.”