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Handling the Arts

Written on December 8, 2009 by Felicia Appenteng in Arts & Cultures & Societies, IE Humanities Center, Philosophy

By Rebecca Knight

Published: December 4 2009 16:26 | Last updated: December 4 2009 16:26 The Financial Times

New direction: more MBA graduates than ever are opting to work in the arts, media or broadcasting


What are the biggest human resources headaches at the Paris Opera Ballet? How does the director of Berlin Philharmonic increase public appeal? What are best ways the Tate Modern should diversify its revenue stream?

These are some of the questions that students at Cambridge University's Judge Business School will take up this year as part of the school's new concentration on cultural and arts management. The programme, which includes various specialised courses on the subject, and culminates with a two-week final project on an arts management theme, aims to give aspiring leaders of large cultural institutions a deeper understanding of the art sector's most pressing issues.

"Many of the concerns emerging in the cultural and arts sector are the same as in other sectors: globalisation, commercialisation, brand development and the exploitation of intellectual property," says Jeremy Newton, the designated "coach" for the concentration. "But at the same time, running the Bank of New York is very different from running the New York City ballet. We are going to tease out what it takes to run an arts organisation or cultural institution on the ground."

The Judge MBA concentration, which is open to between 10-30 students, includes new courses in areas such as art valuation and film finance that incorporate real world case studies from the UK and elsewhere. The programme will also involve guest speakers who work in the industry, from museum chairs in London to Hollywood film studio executives.

While the programme in Cambridge is new, it is hardly the only one in Europe like it. Indeed, many leading graduate schools, including Bocconi University, and business schools such as SDA Bocconi School of Management and ESCP Europe, have dedicated programmes on arts and cultural management.

Case study
Solène Maquel
ESCP Europe, Masters in the Management of Cultural and Artistic Activities

"I studied history and history of art and in addition I wanted to acquire management tools. My first job was in an art gallery and then the Louvre museum offered me a position in management control. From Paris I came to Reims because I wanted to create a private art gallery to bring new artists to the public. The programme was very important because it gave me confidence in my entrepreneurial ability."

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