Arts management: When value broadens its horizon

MAMA Welcome Days


A transformative experience in search of beauty – this is the ambitious challenge (and prospect) that the 21 participants in the seventh edition of the MAMA - Master in Arts Management and Administration were presented with on 29 September during the first of the Program’s Welcome Days. Such a prospect is perhaps “atypical” for a Business School – as Enzo Baglieri, Associate Dean for the Master Division, reminded us – but not for an all-round School of Management, which SDA Bocconi has wanted to be since its foundation. A School capable of declining management in different contexts, going beyond an exclusively profit-oriented vision and never neglecting the creation of economic, social and cultural value.

If MAMA is valuable for broadening and defining the School’s educational offer while giving it this specific character, this is also due to its distinctive elements and major strengths. Starting from its participants: mostly women (82% of the class), with a high geographical diversity (they come from 12 different countries) and with a Humanities background in 72% of cases. But the Program’s strength also comes from the outside, from the artistic and cultural institutions it works with, from a vast network of qualified connections and prominent testimonials (including numerous alumni) and, last but not least, from its location in Italy – often identified internationally with its artistic heritage – and Milano – the Italian city that has always combined managerial talent and cultural innovation more than any other.

The “Bocconi System”, as defined by Andrea Rurale, Director of MAMA and President of FAI Lombardia: a world of relations and resources that generate a training program designed to develop targeted skills and “not focusing only on the output but especially on the outcome.” Hands-on knowledge of the individual case is key too: study tours and the participation in the varied cultural life of Milano are milestones in the learning process in which “visits are followed by analyses and the development of managerial solutions.”

Most of the Italian cultural and artistic heritage (and not only the Italian one) – Rurale said – badly needs managerial efficiency and is therefore a huge potential market. “We can say heritage is resilient in the face of mismanagement (often by the public sector unfortunately).” As “beauty-seekers”, the director continued talking to his new class, we need “to be able to shift from one field to the next, appreciating the variety of artistic expressions and enhancing their assets.” To target excellence in this field, “you need to boost not only your management toolbox and general knowledge of the sector and its characteristics, but also your sensitivity and soft skills.” This naturally implies you are willing to work together, share individual experiences and expertise, and to get involved.

After the kick-off at SDA Bocconi Campus, the MAMA Welcome Days continued with an exceptional three-day trip to the Venice Biennale. At Ca’ Giustinian the class met Biennale’s General Manager Andrea Del Mercato and Matteo Giannasi of the Education and Promotion department with subsequent guided tours of the Giardini and Arsenale, the Biennale’s most historic venues. This was followed by a visit to Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung’s Stanze del Vetro, which are dedicated to the study of the art of glass from the 20th and 21st centuries, and to the exhibition “The Glass Ark. Animals in the Pierre Rosenberg Collection”. The opening days will conclude back in Milano with a visit to the city, once again in association with FAI.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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