Spartan Showcase: Katie Van Dusen

Program: Full-time MBA
Year in program: Second year

Photo of Katie Van Dusen

For Katie Van Dusen, working in the philanthropic sector feels like “home.” After graduating from the University of Michigan with degrees in organizational studies and violin performance, Van Dusen worked at a foundation in a grant writing role—an  experience that proved enlightening. 

“I became more and more curious about why inequities persisted despite various public and philanthropic interventions, and came to the conclusion that learning the language of finance would be key to understanding this phenomenon,” she said. “An MBA seemed like the most versatile option in pursuing that goal.”

In addition to offering small class sizes and student support, Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University appealed to Van Dusen because of its Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Since arriving at CWRU, Van Dusen has gotten involved with the Fowler Center—an initiative that seeks to help enterprises flourish while fostering sustainable value—by contributing to its Aim2Flourish program and this year’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) report.

Both in the workforce and in her studies, social good has been a key driver for Van Dusen.

“I know that the private, public, and nonprofit/philanthropic sectors are increasingly blending together, and I want to be prepared to make and execute decisions that deliver real impact for my community in that complex reality,” said Van Dusen

Van Dusen has worked toward that goal in numerous ways. Over the summer, she interned with McKinsey & Co. to conduct research on the underutilized workforce and how individuals who are at risk of losing their jobs due to automation and COVID-19 could be transitioned into higher paying roles. Van Dusen plans to return to McKinsey & Co. full time following graduation in the spring.

Additionally, Van Dusen was named an Allen C. Holmes Fellow for the 2020-21 school year, a recognition that includes an opportunity to work with a leader of a community and/or an economic development agency on a project to benefit the Cleveland community, which will largely take place next semester.

And that violin performance degree? Van Dusen continues to perform, now having played the instrument for 24 years.  She can be heard performing with singer/songwriters, folk/americana acts and the National Arab Orchestra, but with COVID-19 hampering most in-person events, extra time has been dedicated to completing a solo album.

“This is a tough time for performing artists, so I’ll take this opportunity to encourage folks to support their local musicians and venues if they can!” Van Dusen said.