Art Management Master | SDA Bocconi

Introduction to Arts Management

This is a crash course aimed at introducing you to the art of managing the arts. The course will help you start to see arts organizations through the lens of managers and executives. Arts institutions operating in Milan will be our “laboratories”, and guest speakers our object of analysis. Together, we will try to answer the following question: Despite their differences, what is commonly peculiar about managing the arts? Classes are designed to give an overview of business firms, public institutions, and not-for-profit organizations engaged in the arts fields, all of which are different in scope or size.


Strategic Management for Non-Profit Organizations in the Arts

Arts organizations, unlike typical firms, usually do not have the goal of maximizing returns for their owners. However, fulfilling their mission necessarily involves achieving some form of financial sustainability. That sustainability, and the mission itself, require arts organization managers who can understand their environment (customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.) as well as the organization’s unique resources and capabilities. In the end, arts organizations, much like typical firms, need managers with strategic and managerial skills.


The purpose of this course is to provide those skills. The course will devote its time to first understanding what an organizational mission is and how it relates to the company’s managerial processes. You will learn how to read an arts organization’s basic financial information in order to assess its financial sustainability. Then you will explore how to analyze the internal and external environment in order to formulate a competitive strategy. Finally, you will address the basic managerial processes that turn that strategy into day-to-day operating decisions.


Basic Accounting

The course serves as an introduction to accounting, with a specific focus on the accounting framework and the accounting language. We cover the content and format of the income statement and the balance sheet, and look at the financial framework and the financial language, from a “static” to a “dynamic” analysis of the performances of organizations.



This is a foundational course in which we will examine processes that are key for organizational effectiveness. The emphasis will be on managing challenges that are important in general, and particularly important in the arts sector. This course is introductory and complementary to the People Management class taught by Prof. Manzoni, in which more specific aspects of the arts sector will be addressed.


People Management

Managing people means using the right levers to attract, retain, and in particular engage people. During this course you will learn and practice with an experiential approach how to effectively manage people in a one-to-one and one-to-many relationship. In particular you will learn how to leverage on interpersonal skills in a boss-employee relationship, how to evaluate, reward, and coach employees, and how to build and manage a team. The course leverages upon the reflection about personal communication and leadership style, and upon the Organization and Strategic Management courses in the sense that people are the asset that makes strategy execution possible everyday.


Cost and Performance Management in Arts Organizations

This course aims to explore the role of performance measurement and control systems in implementing strategy and supporting governance processes in the arts, culture, and entertainment industries. The course presents the fundamentals of cost management systems, which support economic decisions, motivate desired behaviors, and allow evaluative performances in arts organization.


Marketing and CRM

The purpose of the course is to introduce you to marketing management principles and tools available to artistic and cultural institutions. The course will address the basic principles of marketing, both to acquire new visitors and to maintain regular guests. We will discuss the visitor’s experience and we will identify strategies and policies to design and deliver an excellent customer experience. Thus, we will discuss the marketing concept, the equilibrium between product and customer orientation, cultural products, and the strategies to position them in the market. Once the marketing strategies are clarified, we will discuss how to make operative decisions related to pricing, channel, and communication. Finally, we will address the Customer Relationship Management guidelines, which should drive any investment in maintaining customers and turning them into promoters.


Market Research - Quantitative and Qualitative

The primary goal of this course is to equip you with an understanding of how consumer research can help you make decisions and how you can transform research findings into actionable business insights. During the course, you will become familiar with a wide range of research methods including qualitative (e.g. in-depth interviews, focus groups) and quantitative techniques for data analysis (e.g. univariate and bivariate).


Italian Excellence Course

Fashion and design, hospitality, fine food, and wine are considered, together with the arts, traits of Italian excellence all over the world. They are important industries from a business point of view, but they also help build the reputation and the competitive advantage of Italy as a country and Milan as a city. On these grounds, the course aims to give international participants coming from all over the world an introductory overview of these symbolic industries and their supply chains. At the same time we aim to explore place branding strategies which can be applied to factories, showrooms, and stores, but also museums and theatres.


Social and Economic Impact of the Arts and Culture

Economic and social impact studies are precious for festival and event organizers as well as for policy makers and donors, as they give visibility to important outcomes. The course aims to investigate how these types of studies can be designed and implemented.


Communication in the Arts

Communication is a powerful tool to change attitudes toward the arts and to attract new audiences. For this reason, the course’s goal is to focus on the basic tools a communication manager might use in arts institutions, focusing on the role of emotions in advertising arts performances and exhibitions.


Arts and Digital Media

After more than 20 years from the dawn of the Internet, companies, institutions, and individuals are completely immersed in the process of digital transformation, which is generating a radical change in every aspect of firm management (and everyday life). The course will focus on how digital technologies and environments allow cultural organizations to empower their historical role of artistic content preservers and promoters to become more and more content producers, with a specific attention to digital content strategies.


The laboratory part of the course has the main goal of letting students create a digital content strategy that has to be efficient, feasible, consistent with an institution’s features, innovative, taking into account the analysis and the full comprehension of all the institution’s assets including history, mission, target, content proposal, structure, and business model.


Funding and Fundraising in the Arts

The course takes the perspective of a non-profit organization operating in the arts field and it focuses on the range of techniques and processes arts organizations can employ to successfully raise funds from different public and private stakeholders.


Tourism Destination

The course is about tourism as a driver of economic value for cultural institutions, sites, and industries, as well as a transformational process of places. The objective is to gain an understanding of how tourism works and acquire a managerial approach to its development, mainly from the perspective of cultural destinations. It leverages on Marketing and Policy courses and it is strictly related to Place Branding.


Place Branding

Towns, regions, provinces, and countries are increasingly turning to marketing and branding techniques to put themselves on the map. Marketing uses consumer wishes and needs as its guiding principle for the operations of an organization; in the case of branding, a chosen vision, mission, and identity play that role. “Place branding” refers to the application of branding techniques to geographical locations in the widest sense of the word.


Creative Entrepreneurship / Business Planning

The course introduces the process of start-up entrepreneurship and presents a number of support tools that can be useful in the different phases of the business planning process.


Project Management

Starting from setting the project strategy, the course will go through the most important project planning and control methodologies. Best practices, typical issues and mistakes, and real examples will be presented and discussed. A special focus will be on micro-planning and risk management, two relevant topics in many arts and culture projects.


Consulting Management for the Arts

The course aims to develop consulting management skills by supporting and tutoring groups of participants in developing a consulting project for partner institutions. The class will act as a learning community by discussing issues and problems arising in consulting non-profit and public sector organizations.


Performing Arts Management

The course takes Italian performing arts institutions as a focus of analysis to understand how they work and operate, and the main challenges they face. On-site visits, meetings with artistic and managing directors of opera houses and festivals, meetings with experts and creative people: they will all lead you to a deeper understanding of the basic operations occurring in performing arts organizations.


Heritage Management

The purpose of the course is to systematize the skills obtained in the different subjects covered so far. While observing different cultural institutions engaged in the protection, enhancement, and conservation of heritage (tangible and intangible), and through contact with professionals and the guidance of the instructor, students will analyze the reality of management and administration of the arts from a different perspective, a deeper and more conscious one.


Arts Law

The course analyses the relationship between intellectual property rights (IPRs) (trademarks, patents, geographical indications, databases, copyrights, know-how) and intangible cultural heritage (ICH). You will examine and work on concrete cases where IPRs were successfully adopted to safeguard the ICH.