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Music City provides inspiration for business students

Last Updated on January 14, 2022 by Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. – When you’ve always lived in a small town, it’s hard to imagine living and working in a large city.

But when you see someone from your town, and from your university, who has achieved success, it’s easier to believe.


An Indiana University Kokomo KEY trip gave 20 students in the School of Business a chance to picture themselves in fast-growing Nashville, Tennessee, including a visit with alumnus Doug Showalter, who talked about his career in the music industry.

“You see someone else who went to IUK, and is now pretty successful,” said Molly Lewis, a senior majoring in human resources with a minor in music. “It gave me a sense that if you work for what you want, eventually you will end up there. He didn’t just talk about the music industry, he talked about how to be successful, and how to use your life experience to achieve the dreams you have for yourself.”

Showalter, who earned his degree in 2005 with a major in Communication Arts and minor in Fine Arts, has lived in Nashville since October 2015. He’s a full-time music producer and songwriter and played guitar for the country music singer Cam from 2014 to 2018 and is a producer on both of her albums for RCA.Watch the video with descriptive audio

“To have the opportunity to connect my life and career in Nashville with the students from IU Kokomo was a very inspiring experience that brought multiple eras of my life into one big, full circle,” Showalter said. “I had a blast connecting with the students by sharing my music and experience in the industry with them.”

The three-day trip also included a stop at the Wondry Innovation Center at Vanderbilt University, meetings with representatives from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, and tours of the Nashville Entrepreneurship Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Ryman Auditorium.

“Nashville is listed in the top 10 for business growth in the country,” said Adam Smith, associate professor of management. “We wanted to see what’s happening in the city, because it’s growing so rapidly.”

Senior Dustin Stone, from Logansport, said in addition to making music connections, he came away with ideas of what he could do with his degree.

“It let me see an end game or possible use for my education,” he said. “Sometimes, looking at finance degrees in a smaller community, it’s hard to picture how you’re going to use it. It’s hard to think about moving to a city like Nashville. This experience let me plan ahead and see one idea for after I finish my diploma.”

Lewis specifically wanted to see the possibilities in a city known for its music industry.

“Nashville has always been one of those places that interested me,” she said. “Going to the businesses and learning more about each place showed me different career paths I could take.”

Brenda Montiel, a junior who is earning a minor in hospitality and tourism management, was interested in particular in the tourism aspect of Nashville.

“Nashville is a place you see that people want to go,” said Montiel. “There are a lot of opportunities there. It was a great experience to see what’s available in a bigger city.”

While the trip was educational, it was also a time for many students to reconnect, after taking classes virtually either full time or part time in the last year, because of COVID-19.

Lia Roudebush, a junior from Noblesville, spent time with people she’s met in classes, but hadn’t had a chance to talk to much in the past.

“I feel like there are a lot of people I would have considered acquaintances before, and now they are my friends,” she said.

The trip was part of the Kokomo Experience and You, or KEY program, which provides students with experiential learning programs. Other faculty who participated in the trip were Tsarai Chimhanda, lecturer in business, and Gloria Preece, assistant dean and assistant professor of personal financial planning and marketing.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo