Smith partners with art centre to enrich MBA student experience

Posted on July 19, 2018

Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art, leads the first session of Art Worlds: A User's Guide, a custom program developed by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre for students in the Queen's MBA program.
Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art, leads the first session of Art Worlds: A User's Guide, a custom program developed by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre for students in the Queen's MBA program.

Kingston, ON – “Strong business leadership is more than PowerPoints and numbers. Great leaders need to draw on both sides of the brain — the quantitative, analytical left side and the creative and intuitive right side,” says David Saunders, Dean at Smith School of Business.

With that thought in mind, students in the full-time Queen’s MBA program recently tapped into the right side of their brains as part of a new program developed by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 

“Art Worlds: A User’s Guide” taught MBA students about art, taking advantage of the Agnes’ collections and experts. 

“This pilot program is designed to introduce the language of art, and to explore the art museum as a forum for ideas and shared encounters,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes. “Through guided discussions and close examination of works of art, these students are gaining insight into how visual art circulates, inspires, and moves people.”

“We want to empower these future business leaders to enjoy artistic culture at large, and to embrace the value of [the] creative process in new ways,” she adds.

The program took place over five weeks and included sessions focused on the enduring value of Old Master paintings and their high stakes at market, the language of art, why people collect art, and the forces that shape the creation, presentation and meaning of art today. 

“This program, led by the excellent curators of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, challenges our students to literally see the world differently. I have no doubt they will be stronger leaders as a result,” notes Dean Saunders, who sits on the art centre’s board.

The custom program culminated with students delivering presentations on a chosen piece of artwork.

“Our MBA instructors often encourage us to seek out diverse experiences and flex the mental muscles that enable us to approach problems with a new perspective,” says Danilo Prieto, MBA'19. “As an engineer, I felt it was important to round out my skill set with this experience — to challenge myself to truly appreciate art and creativity and how it adds value to a society.”

The 16 students who completed the initial offering received a certificate from Smith to complement their studies.

Tags: MBA