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PLATTEVILLE, Wis., May 17, 2013 -- Mike Huang, an online graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, has a "cartoonish" career. And he's fine with that. As production supervisor at the Walt Disney Animation studios in Burbank, Calif., Huang's resume resembles a playbill of some of Disney’s most eclectic and endearing animated feature films: "Wreck-It Ralph," "Tangled," "Bolt," "Princess and the Frog," and the upcoming holiday release, "Frozen;" Disney’s 53rd animated feature.
“In the entertainment industry, I honestly feel there are many routes one can climb towards success,” he said. “For me, pursuing a Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM) was an elective decision, but one I believe helps formalize practices and techniques that I may not learn from experience alone. Ultimately, I hope to find a balance of education and experience that allows me to manage our films in the most effective fashion.”
At Walt Disney Animation Studios, Huang collaborates with artistic supervisors to achieve production goals, provides critical and strategic problem solving, and communicates needs in identifying a plan for the department. A typical day includes developing and managing the department schedule and resources, representing the department in production meetings to ensure inventory and deliverables meet planned expectations, running review meetings and approvals with the directors, while motivating and mentoring the team.
Even with all that, Mike finds a way to pursue his master’s degree.
“Distance education provides a valuable experience that can be flexible to accommodate your routine. Like many of my classmates, striving professionals must be efficient with their time, and UW-Platteville allows me to comfortably continue my education without side tracking my career goals.”
After completing his project management certificate with the University of California-Los Angeles Extension, Mike took advantage of UW-Platteville Online’s transfer agreement with the Extension to turn the credits he earned there to build toward his master’s degree.
“I had a very positive experience with UCLA Extension's online program, so easily put my confidence in UW-Platteville to continue courses with an equally high standard,” he said. “The MSPM provides a great mix of classes; all held to the Production Management Institute global accreditation standards.”
Under the unique credit transfer agreement, coursework for the UCLA Extension can equal up to 12 online graduate credits, equivalent to four full-time courses in UW-Platteville’s MSPM program. UW-Platteville fosters similar credit partnerships nationwide primarily through its online programs.
“For many students like Mike the next step on their educational journey is to leverage certificates they earn toward a graduate degree. This partnership provides a perfect way to do that,” said Bill Haskins, coordinator of UW-Platteville’s master’s program in project management.
Though confident in his skills, Mike initially was hesitant about earning a degree at a distance, “but with UW-Platteville I have felt completely engaged, despite being physically separated. “ He particularly finds value in the program’s real-world examples of how practical techniques could be applied to everyday situations.
“Other online programs may offer similar curriculum, however, what I enjoy about UW-Platteville's online program are the interactions with my classmates. Each student, along with our professor, brings their individual thoughts and experiences to our group assignments and class discussions,” he said. “It really allows for exposure to a variety of different worlds that I do not often see.”
Well on his way to graduation, Mike, who made his first trip to Wisconsin last summer, is eager to see where his career will take him.
“Computer animation and visual effects are a relatively young and rapidly growing industry, so I’m excited to see where future opportunities in production management and producing may arise.”
About University of Wisconsin-Platteville Online
UW-Platteville, a pioneer in distance education for 35 years, provides eight degrees entirely online: master’s degrees in organizational change leadership, project management, criminal justice, engineering, distance educational leadership and integrated supply chain management along with bachelor’s degrees in business administration and criminal justice. Among its many accolades, the university has been named Best School for Online Education three years running by Corporate Magazine. For more information, see www.GoUWP.com.