University of Wisconsin‑Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2017
Specialization: Arts Administration
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Internship: The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Washington D.C.
Before Wisconsin School of Business: Administrative Manager at American Theater Company
With a bachelor’s degree in theater & performance studies, and more than a decade of technical and managerial experience in the theater, Gabriel Benghiat was ready to take his career in the arts to the next level. He set his sights on the role of Executive Director, a position not easy to come by without a particular set of business and management skills, often requiring decades of experience. Gabriel selected the Wisconsin School of Business for its unique specialization in arts administration to gain the real-world knowledge and skills needed to accelerate his dream of becoming an effective arts leader.
The Wisconsin School of Business’s specialization model allows you to tailor your education to your field of interest. I was nervous about coming into the Full-Time MBA Program as a non-business major. But talking with students in the various specializations made me feel like I would be successful here. The arts administration specialization allows me to apply what I’m learning in core classes to topics and case studies that are most relevant to my industry.
Students receive not only specialized training but also a solid business education you don’t find at most other programs. I can’t say enough about how valuable it is to have an MBA from Wisconsin as an arts administrator. The core business skills that we develop here really set us apart from others in the field, and that’s not something that an MA or MFA program can provide. And if I ever decide to work in a field other than the arts, I can still be competitive because I’ll have the same business education as my fellow MBA classmates.
Small class sizes afford students the opportunity to engage with classmates on a personal level every day. I value the deep knowledge and diverse backgrounds my peers bring to our discussions. I take what I’m learning from them and apply it to the arts. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly a sense of community formed. With 100 students in each graduating class, we interact with one another every day and really become like a family.
As a student, I am supported by the professors, staff, advisors, and alumni. Students receive individual attention from the professors, who are always willing to meet with us. Advisory board members lead mock interviews and offer indispensable career advice. I check in with my career coach often, using the time to brainstorm about internships and talk through individual applications. Alumni have opened my eyes to the types of jobs that are available and the number of companies where I can be successful.
Regular guest lectures, trips, and partnerships take learning beyond of the classroom and demonstrate real-world applications. Seminar classes feature weekly guest lectures from a variety of arts organizations experts, an incredible opportunity to actively engage with top leaders in the field.
Extracurricular activities offered at the University of Wisconsin–Madison contribute to our education, network, and training as future leaders. As President of the Artful Business Collective, I help provide WSB students, faculty, and staff with a platform to participate in the arts, whether directly through our annual arts showcase or by organizing trips to the many art shows and performances in Madison. I was also excited to join the Graduate Business Association (GBA), which facilitates the social, academic, athletic, and service events for the school’s graduate students. I’m now on the board of the GBA as communications chair. Developing leadership opportunities within student organizations now is great training for the leadership I’ll be providing post-graduation.