My job is to help with the long-lead planning for exhibitions, so I project-manage on the administration side related to deadlines, budgeting and some of our contracts. Basically, I do all the unglamorous admin paperwork that goes into producing an exhibition.
I did my undergraduate studies at University of Toronto at Mississauga. I took art and history because I was interested in both the academic side and the practical, studio side. I worked in galleries for a few years and then went back to school to pursue my master's in art history at York University. I did the diploma in curatorial studies and then ended up getting my master's in business administration at the Schulich School of Business.
My goal is to be a manager or a director of an arts organization. Having worked in curatorial and programming roles at museums all over the GTA, I saw the value of administrative expertise. There's also something to be said for taking two or three years to really look at the discipline of business and seeing how you can apply a lot of those principles to arts administration.
My specialization in my MBA was in organizational studies, and also in arts and cultural management. That gave me a strategic view of what issues small, medium and large organizations face so I can view the big picture and plan strategically for the future.
Very few managers in arts and cultural fields put in intense training in the area of organization studies and the management of people in the workplace.
What excites me most about my MBA is that it's something people will see on my resumé in five to 10 years that will assist me in getting managerial roles and responsibilities at larger arts organizations. I'm not reaping the benefits immediately, but I know the payoff will come down the road. The MBA gives you legitimacy when you're working with a board of directors, for example. It teaches you the language that a lot of your stakeholders speak.
You have to write the GMAT, which was kind of terrifying for me because I hadn't taken any math courses since high school. Schulich is one of the top-rated business schools in Canada, so the minimum GMAT score is actually quite high. I ended up having to write it a couple of times, but the second time was the charm.
The arts and cultural field in Canada right now is a very competitive market. I remember reading a statistic saying it takes eight months to find a job in the general workplace. I would say in the arts and cultural sector in Canada it takes much longer. I thought an MBA would give me a competitive advantage, but I also genuinely wanted to learn a lot about business, project management and strategic thinking.