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Possibilities abound in the brand-new Master of Science program in Leadership for Creative Enterprises

Say goodbye to the starving artist. An innovative new degree program with a whole lot of industry know-how behind it is opening its doors this fall within the School of Communication. The Master of Science program in Leadership for Creative Enterprises is designed to put artists in a place not often associated with them: a position of power.

“What we were hearing is that undergrads in the visual, interactive, and performing arts are coming out of universities like Northwestern very, very adept at their craft, but not always as well prepared to make the transitions that a life in the creative world requires these days,” said program director Paul Leonardi, who is the Pentair-Nugent Association Professor at Northwestern, teaching communication studies and management courses in the School of Communication, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the Kellogg School of Management

The solution? A curriculum that helps turn artists into leaders. The program combines coursework in finance, marketing, law, and project management—all focused specifically on these issues in creative contexts—with hands-on work experiences in artistic ventures. Courses are taught by Northwestern faculty from the School of Communication, the Kellogg School of Management, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications, as well as current and former leaders of arts and entertainment organizations.

The one-year program also pairs students with mentors at companies like HBO, Universal Pictures, and the Lookingglass Theatre Company, and provides them with the opportunity to apply for earmarked internships that will best allow them to put their ideas into practice and develop industry connections that will help them launch and sustain their careers.

“What we’re telling students is you’re already excellent at practicing your craft,” Leonardi explained, “but if you want to develop leadership skills, in addition to your artistic ones, we can help you do that. We can teach you management skills geared toward creative enterprises and help you to develop connections that will catapult you into networks within the industry that will help you source ideas, sell concepts, and promote your work.”

If it’s true, as Longfellow said, that art is power, then this is a degree program that puts that force squarely in the hands of those creating it. For more information please visit Leadership For Creative Enterprises, Master of Science at Northwestern University or email