2nd Year Feature: Alexis Yuen

Recent Graduate, Alexis Yuen, shares her experience with us.Alexis_Yuen_Grad_small

Please describe your final semester as an ARAD student. My final semester was busy but rewarding. I was taking five courses, interning at both the Guggenheim Museum and LaPlaca Cohen, and finishing my master’s thesis on museum capital projects in New York City.

Did you work on any major projects/papers this past semester (excluding thesis)? Please describe. For our Business Policy & Planning class, Anne-Claire (a fellow ARAD student) and I conducted a case study to understand how the M+ Museum in Hong Kong can stabilize its current leadership positions to fulfill its opening goal in 2019. Using the Kepner & Tregoe problem analysis model, we identified key issues facing the museum and made recommendations to the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. We concluded the project by giving an hour-long interactive presentation to our class and submitting a 15-page report detailing our plan.


This was my favorite ARAD assignment both for professional and personal reasons. Professionally, this was a perfect ending to our program because Professor Vinik encouraged us to use skills we learned in the past two years in our projects; these included financial accounting, marketing and branding, nonprofit board management, cultural policy, fundraising, and organizational change. Personally, M+ and West Kowloon Cultural District were the reasons why I applied to Columbia in the first place. Being a Hong Kong native, I had followed the West Kowloon Cultural District’s development since I was 17 years old. Understanding that Hong Kong would need interdisciplinary arts managers in the future, I applied to ARAD with a personal essay explaining my vision for the project and how I hoped Columbia would help me achieve my goals.

Did you have a job and/or internship this past semester? I held an internship at the Guggenheim Museum, working directly with Richard Armstrong’s Senior Assistant on various tasks concerning the Director’s Office and Board of Trustees. I also assisted the Deputy Director and Helsinki Project Coordinator on Guggenheim’s expansion to Helsinki in Finland.

What are the next steps for you?
I am currently building a portfolio and personal website based on the projects and papers I did during my time at ARAD. I have decided to further develop some of my favorite projects and papers and hope to submit them to conferences and grants in the field. I really enjoyed sharing ideas with my peers at ARAD and hope to continue sharing with industry leaders beyond graduation. 

If you could choose one word to sum up your ARAD experience – what would it be? Why? Community. My favorite aspect of ARAD is the tight-knit community that it provides during and after our studies.

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