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Geneva Business School

Learning the Business of Fine Art International Management

Open for enrollment starting this September is a new MBA program from Geneva Business School. The first of its kind, the Fine Art International Management (FAIM) track offers courses from experts in Art Finance, Art Law, Art History, Fine Art Logistics, and more.

With so much changing in the global art, legal, and business worlds, formal training is key to understanding what’s next for this ever-growing industry. The program will feature names like Adriano Picinati di Torcelo, Sandrine Giroud, Charlie Bailly, Nelly Wenger, and Marc Restellini as speakers and lecturers, helping guide students on the history and future of the art market.

Through the end of July, a series of panels are taking place around this very subject hosted by Sixtine Crutchfield-Tripet. We spoke with the Student Services & Alumni Coordinator of the Geneva Business School about the need to educate the next generation of art and business leaders during this moment which can only be described as a crossroads.

WHITEWALL: What was the initial vision for this program?

SIXTINE CRUTCHFIELD-TRIPET: Geneva Business School celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2020 and at the same time it was also the anniversary of my graduation as I attended their banking program in 2000. While working for a private bank in Geneva and ever since, I realized that my UNHW clients were keen on their financial investments, of course but they were also all art collectors for the most part. My experience as an Art Historian allowed me to retain 100% of my clients. I had their trust because I could share their passion and discuss ways to enhance their collections. I tried to convince my management that we should absolutely create an art advisory division within the bank. We did to a small extent. This was in 2000. 

The expansion of Family Offices and, of course, the recent boom in technology within the digital world is slowly shaking up traditions. I suggested that Geneva Business School use the opportunity of the pandemic and the installation of their state-of-the-art online teaching material to offer business students an MBA program in Art Management which will give them an edge over their competition.

Geneva Business School

Sixtine Crutchfield-Tripet, photo by Swiss Dragons.

WW: Who is this kind of business program for?

SCT: Anyone who enjoys a challenge. The program is designed over three semesters of evening classes with seven art specialization components and three electives in the business and marketing spheres as well as a thesis, project or management report to be presented during the third semester. We believe this course will attract relationship managers of UHNW clients in banks, law firms, insurance companies, and family offices. 

Furthermore, all those interested in the art world behind the scenes, curators of private and corporate collections, graduates from art schools who wish to learn about the trade after having mastered the craft, collectors, and professionals looking for a specialization in their industry, like insurers, shippers, auctioneers or administrative staff will also gain knowledge which will open endless possibilities of employment. It is important to point out that the program is an MBA, so networking will be a major benefit to all those who sign up.

WW: What sets the Fine Art International Management MBA program apart from others?

SCT: We did do some comparative research and honestly, we do not believe there is an equivalent in formal education today. Geneva Business School is ranked 2nd best business school in Switzerland for value for money and 57th worldwide. All our professors are active professionals who will not only share their expertise but also discuss current trends with our students.

We will cover history, logistics, finance, law, project management, the commercial aspects, forensics and science, storage, restoration, archives and catalogue production, new tech, and old tricks. Many have already envisaged projects and new business plans involving those students who are looking to develop a career in the art world and/or market. The industry is changing from a legal point of view, from a technical point of view, from a socio-economic, and from a sustainable point of view. We are at a crossroads and formal training will be key.

WW: How does the setting in Geneva impact the curriculum and experience?

SCT: It is taught in English but located in Geneva, home of the oldest freeport, of the Art Law Foundation, in the heart of Europe meaning all major art events and museums are a stone throw away by plane or train once Covid permits. Geneva is also home to the United Nations and a multitude of NGOs, governance for the digital world, intellectual property and world health, etc. are all discussed and decided upon here. We are renowned for our banks, our luxury industry, our cheese, wine, and chocolate and our cultural offerings with Art Basel on our doorstep, ArtGenève which is rapidly becoming an international art destination, Montreux Jazz, beautiful scenery and sports opportunities in a safe and stable environment. The curriculum can be taught online with our hybrid teaching possibilities but why would you want to miss out on everything Geneva has to offer?

WW: What areas of focus are key to understanding today’s international art market?

SCT: I believe that one of the major concerns today in the globalized world we live in is compliance, sustainability, equal opportunity, as well as restitution where culture and art are concerned. Lorenzo Rudolf, once a pillar of Art Basel, curator, and visionary, told me recently “the art market has been leading the art world which has been impacting the quality of art in the long run.” We believe this may be about the change as the new generations millennials, X, Y, and Z are becoming independent, that more and more people are becoming comfortable with online acquisitions. 

Geneva Business School

Courtesy of Geneva Business School.

We are definitely experiencing very interesting developments and I think the speed at which they are evolving is mind boggling.  Probably, the hype of NFTs will die down a little, probably many new products will disappear in the same way they arrived, but we will not go back to our old ways even if the attraction of profit will always remain, it will be more structured, more transparent and controlled. This also means that creativity will be enhanced because no matter what; quality which arouses emotions will always prevail.

WW: Can you share some details on some of the speakers and lecturers of note?

SCT: We have enrolled Adriano Picinati di Torcelo from Deloitte, Sandrine Giroud from Lalive, Charlie Bailly of Bailly Fine Art, Nelly Wenger former CEO of Nestle, Marc Restellini Founder of Pinacotecas in Paris and Singapore currently working on a major project in Abu Dhabi, Frederic Elkaim of ArtNow!, and Virginie Roure of Rodolphe Haller. All of them are active professionals with impressive backgrounds, most of them are PhD holders and have been published on many occasions.

We also have many supporters who will intervene as guest lecturers from ArtNet, Wisekey, Christie’s, Phillips in Hong Kong, the Frison Horta Foundation in Brussels, Natasha Arselan from AucArt, Vestalia Chilton from the Kensington Chelsea Art Week, Aude Lemogne from Link Management in Luxembourg, Lionel Bovier of MAMCO, Iain Brunt from and the list goes on and on. 

WW: How does this program educate students for future trends, challenges, and changes in the art market?

SCT: We will be the front runners of the new technologies but our aim is to provide knowledge about the basics, you need a sound understanding of what was past to appreciate what is now. Students need to understand where the current laws are coming from and why they came about; they need to have basic knowledge of art history to appreciate contemporary movements; restitution of artworks to their respective places of origin will cover colonialism, the looting of WWII, pillages, intellectual property, forensics are all part of restitution, authentication or attribution. Logistics also includes sustainability, strict laws which protect endangered species. Why do we need controlling bodies? These are all subject matters which require in-depth historical knowledge and we intend to touch upon as much of it as we can while we enlighten our students with current practices.



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Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.