Michael Ortiz at their entrepreneurial studies internship with the Good Grocer, a nonprofit grocery store in Minneapolis
Michael Ortiz at their entrepreneurial studies internship with the Good Grocer, a nonprofit grocery store in Minneapolis

NEXT: How did you find out about and choose MCAD?

Michael Ortiz: An MCAD recruiter came to my high school. I heard that they had animation and business classes, saw the reels, and said, “This is where I need to go.”

How did you choose your major?

I joined entrepreneurial studies (ES) because I didn’t want to just be in animation—I didn’t want to be just one type of artist. I wanted to have the ability to market myself as a freelance artist so I could work on my own, with a group, or in any sort of option that was available to me—be multifaceted, which is the type of artist that I am. In ES, I was able to explore multiple mediums and grow as an artist. We have a network of people in ES who are the same way. We’re all hybrids. We all came together and pooled our resources to work as a team. Being able to play off of each other is a benefit of the program.

What was the ES program like?

In ES, you were constantly working with an outside client. You were in a real-world, nitty-gritty, real consequences sort of environment. In art and design classes, it’s more of a simulation. You were getting a grade and you didn’t feel the weight of things as much. In art and design classes, you got more growth as an artist, but in ES you got more growth as a person. ES definitely teaches you to shine, to champion yourself no matter what your skills are. The people around you, the people at MCAD, artists in the Twin Cities and around the world—we are such a strong network that connects everyone at MCAD to the rest of the world. I don’t think MCAD would be the same without the ES program.

What did you learn during your time in the ES program?

I interned at the Good Grocer, a nonprofit grocery store in Minneapolis, through the ES program. I learned everything from the detailed inner workings of managing a nonprofit to day-to-day interactions with people of every background.

Being originally a very shy and introverted person, I transitioned out of that to be one of the most outspoken people in my class, trying to be a leader in my program. I tried to get myself out there more by not sitting in the shadows as the quiet artist who knows how to draw really well but doesn’t know how to communicate with other people.

I learned to have a timeline of goals. Writing down “This is where I’m going to be in a year, in five years, in ten years,” made me realize my bigger goals of “Yes, I can do this,” and to break it down in steps. 


This story originally appears in NEXT, the magazine of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Want to receive the next issue in your mailbox? Join the NEXT mailing list.