Courtney Burt ’18 helps meet technical demand for MIT business school

St. Mike's Professor Karen Popovich finds valuable lessons in podcast that her former student helped to organize

December 8, 2020
Faculty/staff report

With demands for remote learning vastly increasing in the pandemic, more colleges and universities are seeking expert guidance in “digital transformation” — a popular business buzzword of recent years referring to digital technologies that make processes more efficient or effective. A recent Saint Michael’s graduate is helping meet the demand.

Courtney Burt

Courtney Burt ’18

In her current job as a digital marketing specialist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, Courtney Burt ’18 is using to good advantage her practical experience with technology as a Saint Michael’s College business major.

For Sloan, Burt is responsible for creating engaging digital experiences that convert website visitors into course enrollments. Lately, she has been working to create online spaces where MIT faculty can engage with audiences in more personalized ways that feel closer to real-world human encounters. One way she has accomplished this is through broadcasting with LinkedIn Live, and on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, she broadcast an interactive MIT Sloan event to more than 2,500 registered attendees who experienced MIT faculty insights first-hand.

One participant was Professor Karen Popovich from the Saint Michael’s Business Administration Department and a onetime mentor of Burt. Popovich said she saw the link on her former student’s LinkedIn Profile, registered and “attended” a podcast titled “Leading Transitions During Times of Disruptive Change” — a talk by MIT’s Professor Hal Gregersen and Professor Roger Lehman.

The talk and its effective delivery through technology thanks to Burt’s efforts impressed Popovich, who described one important personal take-away for her given how “we are all facing incredible personal and professional challenges.”

“It involved a free-write exercise. The presenters suggested that when we feel ‘stuck’ on any challenge, to take a moment, breathe, but then to realize that we may just need to be open to new thought processes by changing our mindset,” Popovich said. “They suggested taking a five-minute timed free-write exercise and to just write a series of questions – one right after another.  No answers; just questions.  It did not matter how silly or serious or wild or off-topic — just questions. The subsequent responses from the attendee chat box were positive and uplifting as people began to reframe their problems.”


Karen Popovich

Burt said she has experience in technology along these lines because of the unconventional way she presented her senior seminar project at Saint Michael’s. “Professor Popovich asked us to present our projects as podcasts, so I had to teach myself how to create a podcast on top of doing my actual senior seminar work,” she said. Figuring out the podcasting technology for her senior project enabled her to gain transferable skills in broadcasting that she still uses today.

Said Popovich, “Courtney’s podcast was super and I look forward to having my seniors try out what I learned from this presentation that she organized.”

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