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Global perspective gives edge to arts administrators

Semester in Milan, Italy important component to Master of Arts/M.B.A. dual degree

By Ally Van Deuren (B.F.A. Theatre, B.A. Journalism, ’15)

Matt Becher and Jillian Sanders ('14) travel to Paris during their semester-long global immersion program in Milan, Italy.

The SMU M.A./M.B.A. program combines courses in business and arts management and prepares students for leadership positions at arts organizations anywhere in the world.

The program, offered jointly by the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business, includes a semester in Milan, Italy, at Bocconi University, Europe’s leading arts and cultural management program.

In addition to studying abroad in the fall semester of the second year, students also gain real-world experience in arts management through internships with Dallas professional arts organizations, as well as full-time internships with national or international organizations of their choice.

“Italy and the curriculum at Bocconi in particular really round out the art side of the M.A./M.B.A.,” says Matt Becher (M.A./M.B.A., ’14). “In Milan, a marriage between art and business is the rule, not the exception. From coursework to culture, art is considered an essential part of business and vice versa, and that’s at the core of the program.”

M.A./M.B.A. students take advanced courses in data analysis, accounting, marketing, finance, economics, entrepreneurship, nonprofit fundraising, marketing in the arts and more.

“They are getting the opportunity to have another culture’s perspective on the arts,” says Zannie Voss, director of SMU’s Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship program and director of the first-of-its-kind National Center for Arts Research (NCAR). “I can talk all I want over here about arts and culture internationally, but it’s a whole other thing to travel internationally and experience it.”

Assistant Director of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship Abigail Smith reiterates the importance of the semester in Italy. “Italy is one of the draws of our program,” Smith said. “It’s important to have exposure to different perspectives.”

Becher plans to work in marketing for a major magazine while exploring the future of the media industry, preferably with a brand specializing in culture or fashion. He explains that both of these areas require both knowledge of and appreciation for relevant industries and international activity.

“Being able to live and experience another culture for an entire semester also strengthens our international mindset, which is something every future business leader needs to be successful,” Becher said. “My semester abroad was a whirlwind of knowledge and incredible experiences, and my Milan experience gave me the edge I need to work in an industry that will surely have me traveling in the future.”

Recent M.A./M.B.A. graduates have secured positions at the Van Cliburn Foundation; Merrimack Repertory Company; Crow Collection of Asian Art; Turner Broadcasting; The Music Center of L.A. County; Community Wealth Ventures and more. Read more about the M.A./M.B.A. program and what M.A./M.B.A. alumni are doing after receiving their degrees.

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