#ABetterU: Meet Drexel University Online Student Ricardo Torres
To the outsider it may seem like Ricardo Torres is living a double life. By day, he works as a high-powered business consultant for some of the country’s largest corporations. By night, Torres is busy as an ardent advocate and committed volunteer in the Philadelphia arts and non-profit scene.
“Because of Drexel, I’m able to apply my 20-plus years of business experience to local arts organizations that I’m very passionate about,” said Torres, a student in Drexel University Online’s Master’s in Arts Administration program.
Torres’ success in the arts sector is growing too. In 2014, he was recognized for his work by the Arts & Business Council of Philadelphia, who named him the Technology Connectors Volunteer of the Year.
A Philadelphia native and father of three, Torres was already leading an extremely successful career in business intelligence and analytics when he enrolled in the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design’s online program. He had long been an amateur visual artist and photographer, and a consistent patron of the arts, but had never previously considered it as more than a hobby.
“I was looking at graduate programs in business, and I thought already know this stuff – what can I do that I care deeply about?”
Torres is a meticulous planner professionally and personally. He often references ‘visioning’ exercises to accomplish goals for his consulting clients and himself. When he enrolled in the Arts Administration program, he made a three-point blueprint to achieve success.
“The first thing I knew I needed was the academic credentials,” said Torres. “The online format was absolutely vital. Then I would network and, finally, look into full-time opportunities.”
That initial step of academic credentials easily transitioned him into networking within Philadelphia’s vast arts scene when a fellow student invited him to an Emerging Arts Leaders Philadelphia (EALP)meeting. Torres was immediately hooked and signed up to volunteer that night.
“The passion that Drexel Arts Administration faculty and staff have is incredible,” said Torres. “The excitement they fuse into guideposts and academics really rubs off on students. If I would have enrolled elsewhere, I don’t think I would have felt that same desire to succeed and probably wouldn’t have achieved this level of success.”
Torres cites Program Director Jean Brody, PhD and Professors Neville Vakharia and Andrew Zitcer, PhD, among others, as inspirations.
“Drexel is very proud to count Ricardo Torres among our Arts Administration students,” said Brody. “Ricardo has excelled in the program, showing his dedication to applying his technical expertise on behalf of the local arts scene.”
For the time being, Torres plans to continue his career as a business consultant while embedding himself as a volunteer in the Philadelphia arts community.
When asked whether he’d make the jump to a full-time career in the arts, Torres chuckled, “Just wait and see!”
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