Longtime Jayhawk earns Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications while working full-time in college athletics
Laurie Bollig, Director of Membership Engagement, College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA, graduated from KU this May with a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. As a student working full-time, Bollig was able to earn her degree in under three years and came away with relevant skills to help her in her profession.
“The class content was a mix of things I experience every day with some concepts and language new to me. I was skeptical at first what I might be able to use in my day-to-day job. It took only one class to see I would bring something of value to my job from each class in the program.”
Find out more about Laurie and what she learned at KU.
What is a typical day in your life like?
I work full time for a professional development association for communicators and creators in college sports. Every day is different, so my job as director of membership engagement is fun. We are in the middle of a major rebranding of the association, so there is a lot of strategy involved in how we recruit new members and re-recruit current members.
What makes you the happiest?
My kids are amazing – each one doing what they love and succeeding at it. Courtney is a federal lobbyist in the restaurant industry, and Kyle works in athletics development at Tulane University. When we aren’t hanging out with them in Washington DC and New Orleans, Jeff and I are attending or watching Jayhawk sports.
What motivates you?
I like the challenge of creating something and then working with others to make it better. It could be a story about a member, a new association benefit or a strategy for recruiting new members. The ideas have to start somewhere, and I like to be on the ground floor of those ideas.
Why did you choose KU and the Edwards Campus?
I loved being a college student three decades ago. I wanted to go back for a master’s degree for years, but the timing was never right. The integrated marketing communications program was the perfect fit for me because of my career, so after talking to my friend Matt Tidwell, I decided to give it a try as a non-degree seeking student. Once I took the first class, I was all-in as a graduate student.
How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?
The class content was a mix of things I experience every day with some concepts and language new to me. I learned from tremendous professors and incredibly smart and diverse classmates.
How has your degree prepared you for the future?
I was skeptical at first what I might be able to use in my day-to-day job. It took only one class to see I would bring something of value to my job from each class in the program. I use research, strategic planning, SWOT analyses and communications audits in my work all the time now. I ask more questions and dig deeper in every project.
What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?
I had to re-learn how to learn after being out of a traditional classroom for 30-plus years. Upon returning to a learning environment, I soon came to understand there is no such thing as a traditional classroom anymore. The different types of learning and all the resources available were overwhelming at times. I observed the learning styles of my younger classmates and compared notes with classmates closer to me in age. I also asked a lot of questions.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My goal was to finish the program in five years, but the class selection and course set-up worked in my favor, and I was able to finish in less than three years. When my travel schedule made the balance of work and school difficult, I powered through with a reading, study and homework routine I was able to stick to. My husband, daughter and son all have master’s degrees. Now, I can say I do too.
What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?
I loved the leadership and marketing classes, but no doubt my favorite classes were the last two – marketing research and the capstone. Those classes were where the magic happened. You could see students come together for a common goal to produce something really special. The pandemic tried to throw us some curveballs, but my classmates would not be denied. We completed the condensed capstone class by delivering a solid client presentation. I was so proud of my classmates that night when it was finally finished. Such a team effort!
What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
I love what I do in association management, and I really love the athletics communications profession. There are big changes ahead for CoSIDA. A few months from now we will likely have a new name and logo and we will have a new executive director. The changes are all positive and I feel better equipped to meet them as a result of the integrated marketing communications learning I received at KU Edwards.
What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?
My advice to people my age who are considering a return to the classroom is to be prepared to learn in a whole new and exciting way than you did before. Embrace all the tools and be curious. My advice to young people is to dress up for class presentations. It just makes you feel better and look more professional (wink, wink).
Learn more about KU’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications.