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The business of music

A yearlong sabbatical to Boston has transformed the life of Maureen McMullan, a Scottish singer and Evening MBA student at Northeastern who was featured in last weekend’s WGBH concert celebrating Irish music.

“The entrepreneurial spirit that Americans have made me realize that I can create a lot more by combining my artistic pursuits with solid business training,” said McMullan, who performed in WGBH’s “A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan” and is scheduled to graduate from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business next summer.

“I started as a singer and a songwriter, but I realized that I could find a place for myself in the music business and do even more with a degree,” she added, noting that she had managed projects and budgets on past musical endeavors.

McMullan came to the United States in 2008 to spend a year at Berklee College of Music. So moved by her experience, she stayed for another year to complete a degree, and then spent a third year in Nashville, Tenn., working for the publishing wing of Warner Bros. Records.

Later she moved back to Boston, becoming the artist-in-residence for the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, a nonprofit organization that encourages Americans to participate in the care of Scotland’s cultural and natural treasures. She started taking classes at Northeastern, earning a graduate certificate in business before entering the Evening MBA program full-time.

“Northeastern is a great fit,” McMullan said. “It’s such a global school, and I think its reputation speaks for itself.”

What she has learned in her business courses has already empowered her to create new programs for the nonprofit, which draw attention to Scottish culture in new and engaging ways. “I have this amazing opportunity right now to exercise my love of the arts with these new business skills,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to fly the flag for Scotland while finding new ways to support some great projects back home.”

Her new job has not required her to cut back on performing. One of her biggest achievements over the course of her 17-year career as professional musician was singing with the Boston Pops during its “Visions of America” series last year.

“That was probably one of the greatest moments of my life,” said McMullan, whose family came over from Scotland for the concert. “I don’t know if there’s anything like the feeling I had when I heard conductor Keith Lockhart introduce me and walking out onto the stage. I’d seen so many performances there, but I’d never seen Symphony Hall from that angle.”

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