MAMA ALUMNI STORIES | The story of Marissa Murin

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Entering the professional arts world is challenging. Marissa Murin always knew she wanted to work in the business of arts, but after 5 years working in advertising she was struggling to make the leap. So she enrolled on MAMA, which gave her the experience she needed to contribute to the arts sector – and now Marissa is Exhibitions Manager at The Andy Warhol Museum.

What was your job role and company before and after MAMA?

Prior to MAMA, I worked as an account manager in the advertising industry in Chicago for about 5 years before deciding to pursue my Master at SDA Bocconi. I graduated from MAMA in December of 2020 and in the fall of 2021, I was hired as Exhibitions Assistant at The Andy Warhol Museum. Within a few months, I was promoted to Exhibitions Manager.

In my role, I manage all of the logistical, budgetary, and scheduling elements of bringing an exhibition to life. I manage a team of four art preparators and collaborate very closely with other departments in the museum, such as curatorial, collections & registration, development, marketing, conservation, finance, etc.

The internship I completed in the exhibitions department of the Museo Nazionale del Bargello during my time at MAMA helped me to gain confidence and experience in the field of exhibitions. My current job is really my dream role as I get to work very closely with the artwork and the curatorial vision, but I can use my strengths of people skills, organization, and management to bring it all to life.

Why did you choose MAMA?

Although I studied business, art history, and Italian in my undergraduate studies, before MAMA I worked in the advertising industry for 5 years. I had always wanted to work in the business of art, but was finding it difficult to make the transition without a lot of experience in the arts, or without having a professional network in the arts. I already had significant professional experience and skills from working in advertising.

I was living in Chicago at the time, and was doing many informational interviews with galleries, auction houses, museums, etc. but was not having much luck in finding a job in the arts. I was 27 years old and had a dream of living in Italy for an extended period of time after studying abroad in Italy twice during college. I decided on the Master in Arts Management and the experience I gained during the program made me a more desirable candidate in the art world. I also knew it would give me some time to breathe, pause, use my mind in a different way, and figure out what I wanted to do next in my life. It was the perfect time for me.

I was burned out in my career and finally ready for a big change. When I researched the MAMA program, I realized that it was the perfect program I was looking for with its mix of foundational and theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom, combined with real-life experience through site visits and field projects with various Italian institutions. I was also very attracted to the many important professional connections that Bocconi has with various art institutions.

How was MAMA experience?

MAMA gave me the competence and confidence to be a competitive candidate in the art world. We gained thorough business skills in a wide range of subjects, and the knowledge and assignments were all through the lens of the art world. It really pushed me to think in a new way. One of my favorite parts of the master was learning alongside my brilliant classmates from all over the world.

Many of them have become lifelong friends, and I have gained a rich network of art professionals all over the world. The organic discussions that took place in and out of the classroom with my colleagues expanded my mind in many new ways. I also really loved the many visits and field projects with Italian institutions, and the trips we took to Venice, Umbria, and other cities to gain real-world experience.


What advice will you give to someone who is deciding to take the MAMA

Enriching, challenging, life-changing. I would tell myself to prepare for the adventure of a lifetime and soak in each moment and learn as much as possible from every professor, classmate, and professional by being open-minded and inquisitive. MAMA was definitely a very challenging program and requires very good time management and prioritization. I would tell myself to relax a bit and take some time to truly soak up the Italian culture and expand my knowledge by learning directly from all the rich beauty and culture Italy has to offer.

 

It was easy to get stuck in the pattern of spending all my time studying or reading for class, but so much of my knowledge gained and life experiences were built outside of the classroom, and I would encourage anyone considering this program to do the same. I also would tell myself to have a very open mind to see where the journey takes me, without expectation.

I went into the program thinking I may want to work in an auction house, and quickly realized my interest was in exhibition logistics. Finally, sometimes it is important to create opportunities for yourself, where there may not have been a path before you. Because the COVID-19 pandemic hit during the middle of my time in MAMA, many of the internship opportunities were canceled. I was determined to live in Rome or Florence and find an internship in the exhibitions department of a museum, and I did just that by creating a new opportunity at the Bargello in Florence. I did not want to settle for an internship that did not fit my desired path. I emailed countless institutions until my dream was realized. The Bocconi name on my resume really helps to open a lot of doors, so make sure to take advantage of this.


SDA Bocconi School of Management

 

 

Marissa Murin
Exhibitions Manager at The Andy Warhol Museum
(Pittsburgh, PA)

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