“Don’t Be Afraid to Do Something Weird:” Christine Osazuwa ’11 on Music, Marketing, and Making a Name For Yourself

Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11.

When one meets Christine Osazuwa ’11, interdisciplinary studies, the one thing that stands out is her unbridled enthusiasm. She’ll talk at length about anything: her digital marketing job, what it took to get there, her advice for college students. Her energy is as boundless as her business sense is focused, and both of these earned her a spot on The Daily Record’s “20 in Their Twenties” list earlier this year.

“I’ve always had it as a bucket list item…to be on one of those ‘30 In Their Thirties’ lists or something like that,” says Osazuwa, who came into her work as assistant director for digital strategies for UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies following several years outside of higher ed. “It’s humbling to see who else is on that list with me.”

Back in college, Osazuwa knew she loved music, and she was determined to make it work. She designed a music business and journalism major through the INDS program, ran a monthly print magazine called Scene Trash, booked shows throughout the area, and, with the help of an Undergraduate Research Award, filmed Always Wanting Morea documentary  about the ups and downs of bandom. She cites Steven McAlpine, assistant director of the INDS department, and Vivian Armor ’73, American studies, head of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship and “the one person I’ve ever met who has more energy than me,” as key mentors throughout her undergraduate career.

Osazuwa’s post-grad career narrative starts a little before graduation. In 2009, she began working for MissionTix, the concert ticketing arm of downtown Baltimore-based creative firm Mission Media. What began as a part-time gig handing out flyers at shows around the city parlayed into a full-time position by the time graduation rolled around. She fondly recalls walking to her downtown office, still clad in cap and gown, and introducing her mother to her co-workers.

“We had a huge event coming up, so I went into work full-time the next day,” she says. “I think we graduated on a Tuesday, and I started on the Wednesday.”

As one of MissionTix’s first full-time employees, Osazuwa’s job duties ran the gamut from logistics and event planning to project management and customer service, all while she was working on her M.B.A. at Loyola University. Looking to move into more marketing work, she returned to UMBC in 2014 as the web and social media coordinator for DPS, and was promoted to assistant director this summer. In addition to her full-time job here, she does outside consulting work, advising firms like r2integrated and Backroom on digital marketing and strategy.

When you ask Osazuwa what advice she’d give incoming UMBC students, she says, first and foremost, that networking and building relationships are especially important for undergrads: “People [in your field] are way more willing to speak to you when you’re a student than at any other time…It’s like the best student discount.” She herself still keeps in touch with her college mentors, and her professional network extends to the point where nearly all of the vendors for her upcoming wedding are freelancers she’s met at different events.

Osazuwa adds that college is for figuring out what you want to do with your life and, once you do, pursuing that goal, no matter how niche or specific, with all you’ve got. Students worried about whether they’ll make money as artists can combine their degrees with other disciplines, she says.

“Not everyone’s going to be a doctor, and not everyone’s going to be an engineer. [There are] other things out there. […] Don’t be afraid to do something weird.”

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