Brandeis International Business School

Mastering the art of social impact

While studying economics and finance, Daniel Khudyak ’17, MA’20 used his videography skills to showcase the work of local nonprofits

Even amid Econometrics and Strategy and Innovation classes at Brandeis, Daniel Khudyak '17, MA'20, right, couldn’t put his camera down for long.

Even amid Econometrics and Strategy and Innovation classes at Brandeis, Daniel Khudyak '17, MA'20, right, couldn’t put his camera down for long.

Daniel Khudyak '17, MA'20 was living the dream.

An avid soccer fan and player, Khudyak was a senior at Brandeis University when he landed a job as a videographer with New York City FC, one of the Major League Soccer franchises in his home city.

“It was a pretty incredible situation,” said Khudyak. “It’s something few people get paid for, and I was able to do it for a few years.” 

After patrolling the NYCFC sidelines for three seasons, Khudyak returned to Waltham in 2019. He enrolled in Brandeis International Business School’s Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MA) program — a sharp departure from the mostly arts-based education he had pursued since middle school.

“It was about building for the future,” said Khudyak. “I would love to continue holding a video camera in my hand as long as it pays the bills. But I’m also really interested in strategic thinking.”

Visual art has long been at the core of Khudyak’s education. He joined an art program in middle school before enrolling in LaGuardia High School, the prestigious arts-based school in Manhattan where he honed a natural talent for photography while delving into the work of artistic film directors Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini and Andrei Tarkovsky.

Even amid Econometrics and Strategy and Innovation classes at Brandeis, it’s no surprise then that Khudyak couldn’t put his camera down for long. As a student worker, he shot promotional videos for the business school’s marketing department. And as a member of Prof. Gene Miller’s year-long Leadership Internships in Social Impact Organizations class, Khudyak put his skills to work for the greater good.

As a leadership fellow, Khudyak was assigned an internship with the Clipper Ship Foundation, a Boston-based nonprofit that advises and funds other nonprofits in the area. He sat on the organization’s board as a nonvoting member and spearheaded a visual storytelling project showcasing the community impact of five nonprofits.

Khudyak interviewed the directors and beneficiaries of programs working on a variety of important causes in Greater Boston, including homelessness prevention, youth job training and foster care mentorship.

“These videos are the most rewarding thing I did in this class,” said Khudyak. “I had the privilege of getting to know these organizations, meeting their people and hearing why they do what they do. Seeing the impact they have is really inspiring.”

Khudyak especially wanted to highlight the young people the organizations helped, including those who returned as volunteers. But his prior experience with conducting interviews was limited to professional athletes, most of whom love the camera.

“It was a challenge interviewing these kids who may be shy in front of the camera or embarrassed about their backgrounds,” said Khudyak. “So I had to learn how to make them comfortable and let them know I wasn’t going to exploit their personal stories.”

The project was well-received. The videos earned rave reviews from the nonprofit directors are now featured prominently on their websites.

For Khudyak, his return to Brandeis and experience as a leadership fellow became a rewarding crash-course into the world of socially responsible business.

“It really introduced me to the field of corporate social responsibility,” said Khudyak. “It’s a type of work that I didn’t know existed on a corporate level. Being a board fellow at Brandeis really opened my eyes to a new field that I want to pursue.”