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From Performing to Planning for Denver MBA Grad

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Nicholas Greenhalgh

Marketing and Communications Manager, Daniels College of Business

How Michael Covert went from the stage to the shoreline during his Denver MBA program

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Michael Covert

Two years ago, nearly a decade after graduating with a bachelor's degree in musical theater, Michael Covert found himself on an unusual stage.

The professional singer and actor was applying for MBA programs, looking to build off a recent job experience and catapult himself into the business world. Covert admits he was unsure of the reception he’d receive from business schools reviewing his unorthodox background and prepared himself for limited options. After a flurry of unexpected acceptances, Covert chose the University of Denver’s Denver MBA program and never looked back.

“DU was the best fit for me for a lot of reasons,” he said in a recent interview.

Now, as he prepares to graduate from the program, Covert is wrapping up his winding journey with a unique internship experience in Hawaii.

For the past year, Covert has interned with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the island state, balancing his full-time schoolwork in tandem. He started in the organization’s emergency management department and, in January, switched to the real estate department. Covert’s responsibilities have included developing and editing emergency plans, as well as revamping testing and training for communications equipment.

This internship has kept Covert busy amid his full-time MBA program and he’s thankful to the University for its flexibility in allowing him to pursue the opportunity. Covert said program leadership gave him a few different options to continue his schooling and graduate on time but left the decision up to him.

“They were really willing to work with me, but the power was in my hands to figure out what was best,” he said.

Covert said the internship has taught him how to work across time zones and enhanced his communication skills in a virtual setting, while also heightening his ability to multitask and prioritize a complex workload.

“Virtual work is not going anywhere, and, for me, I feel like it was a good way to balance and juggle a lot of plates in a virtual setting. Because that’s what life, I think, is going to be like in the business sector for a long time,” he added.

Michael Covert

Covert will graduate with an additional customized graduate certificate in emergency management and is set to pursue that passion with his first job. He will remain in Hawaii working for a small emergency management consulting firm in Honolulu. The job is a perfect mix of Covert’s education, blending a business focus with an emergency management twist.

“From an emergency management consulting perspective, this utilizes both of the areas I’ve been studying,” he said.

Covert also pointed to the Denver MBA’s four core immersive challenges as a hugely helpful part of his educational journey. These challenges, he said, provided the real-world experience he sought when he came to the Daniels College of Business.

“I really enjoyed the challenge experiences because it gave us real-world applications of the things we were learning,” he said, adding that he appreciated feedback from professionals within these core industries.

And he’ll use that learning foundation as he enters the emergency management workforce. “There are a lot of similarities in what I did in challenges and what I’ll be doing after I graduate,” he said.

As he reflected on his time in the Denver MBA program, Covert acknowledged that his heavy workload was an ideal fit for him but may not work for everybody. He expressed his gratitude to the University for allowing him to take on that challenge and chase his career dreams.

“With grad school, they say you get out of it what you put into it,” he said. “I would say I got everything I was hoping to get.”

To learn more about this year's Commencement ceremonies, please click here.

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