Melissa Muender

Online General Education Faculty Melissa Muender

Stand out from the crowd. Melissa Muender , General Education Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I started as an electrical engineering student. I took a microeconomics elective in my freshman year—I had no idea what it was about. I was amazed how it applied to pretty much every area of my life. I switched my major to economics, and I never looked back.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

My professional experience includes performing cost-benefit analyses for medical school clinical trials. It’s about deciding whether patients will to be able to afford the intervention. Having to make decisions based on scarce resources applies to every profession. No matter how great your ideas are, it often comes down to getting the biggest bang for you buck.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

It’s a term-long project that requires students to explorer the economic environment of the in they plan to enter. It’s not just making a business plan—they have to look at the big picture of that industry. Learning to find answers to important questions is critical to building a successful career.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Product differentiation is critical. Stand out from the crowd. That’s especially important in the creative field. Offer a product or service that’s unique and offers real value, and you’re on your way to success

Anything else you’d like to share?

It’s my hope that my economics classes inspire students to set their sights even higher than they would’ve imagined.