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School of Music

Music and MSM Business Management


Laura Beard (BM '09, MSM '10, currently 2nd year UF Law School student)

What were your majors?

In four years, I obtained a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in combination with a Master of Science in Management through the business school. I knew that I wanted to attend law school after graduating, and was told that I could pursue any major I wanted in preparation for law school. While I was unsure I wanted to be a concert pianist, I loved to play the piano and valued the one-on-one lessons with a professor and the in-depth musical training that I received as a music major. As a combined degree student, I was able to pursue two paths of study, which was highly beneficial for me – I could pursue my passion for music while obtaining a practical foundation in business management. 

How did you feel about combining your fields?  What challenges did you face, if any, and how were you able to overcome them?

I learned about the University of Florida School of Music combined degree program early on, and was immediately sold on participating. I was confident that I wanted to attend law school upon graduation, and knew that participating in a combined degree program would allow me to pursue my passion for music while still preparing me for the rigors of a challenging graduate degree.  The combined degree program made sense for me – I was able to pursue multiple fields of study at once, I was able to obtain an undergraduate AND graduate degree in four years, I saved money by completing the combined degree program because Florida Bright Futures contributed to the cost of my graduate coursework (which is more expensive than undergraduate coursework), and I distinguished myself from many other applicants entering law school by obtaining such unique and distinct degrees in a short amount of time. While I had minor questions at every turn, I was fortunate to have two incredible advisors – Mutlu Citim-Kepic from the School of Music and Jane McNulty from the Master of Science in Management program – who answered every single one of my questions as they arose.

How did this major prepare you for your current schooling?

Participating in the combined degree program was one of the best decisions I made at the University of Florida.  My skills as a musician have directly translated to success in law school.  When I entered law school, many of my friends reminded me that law school is a marathon, not a race. Because you are graded based on one final at the end of the semester in law school, you must remember to pace yourself.  As a pianist, I was no stranger to this concept – musicians understand the importance of hours and hours of practice to hone a piece.  As a pianist, I learned firsthand the value of diligence, hard work, and perseverance.  These skills prepared me for the rigors of law school more than any book or preparation course. 

Philip Gilbo (BM '09, MSM '10, currently 2nd year medical student at UF Medical School)

What were your majors?

As an undergraduate I started out as a Music Education major.  At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to pursue medicine and switched my major to Music with an Outside Field, naming premed as my outside field.  This gave me the flexibility I needed in order accomplish both my goals in music and my preparation for medicine.  In addition to this, I was able to begin my Master of Science in Management program at the Hough Graduate School of Business (UF) during my senior year, allowing me to enter the University of Florida College of Medicine with both a Bachelor and Master's degree.

How did you feel about combining your fields?  What challenges did you face, if any, and how were you able to overcome them?

I was initially concerned with the thought of continuing on in music once I switched my life directions.  The thought of balancing my upper level music courses with some of the big premed hitters - calculus, biology and chemistry - was intimidating!  Yet, I found that my music background did not disadvantage me.  I was able to learn important time management and organizational skills that allowed me to keep up with two, and at one point three, totally different areas of study.  These skills ended up being critical for my future as I entered school.  Beyond that, it turned out that my background in music was also key in differentiating me from the other applicants applying to medical schools; my decision to stay with music was right in more ways than one.

How did this major prepare you for your current schooling?

Given that I chose to enter the health field, most may think my answer would be: not much at all.  Yet, musicians make some of the best medical students.  Why?  Because we understand the concept of delayed gratification.  We have spent years working hard at what we do, progressing through our art, an inch at a time.  We understand that excellence does not come over night: it is a process.  Medicine is the same way - it is difficult, time consuming and the journey is a long one. My studies in music have already taught me about patience and about perseverance.  This has done far more for me in my studies than any other premed course could ever hope to. 

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