Graduate plays key role at Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Point Park alumnus Nicholas Gigante inside the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, the first project of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has been a major force in Pittsburgh’s third Renaissance through its development of the Cultural District, a 14-square block area along Penn and Liberty avenues, Downtown. Starting with the restoration of the former Stanley Theater into the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in 1987, the Cultural District now has 14 cultural facilities, public parks and plazas. More developments are in the organization's long-term plan.
Point Park alumnus Nicholas Gigante, MBA ’07, plays a key role in helping the Cultural Trust achieve its goals, serving as director of institutional development. Below, Gigante shares a first-hand account of his experience as a Point Park student and graduate, from why he chose the University’s MBA program to his ongoing support for current students.
Pursuing a career in management
“As the director of institutional development, my role is to serve as an ambassador, encouraging more people to rediscover the arts and Cultural District of Pittsburgh. I also manage the day-to-day operations of the department, working on individual campaigns, memberships, capital projects and planned giving.”
“Being at The Trust for three years, I decided to go back to school for my MBA. I really wanted to further develop my business skills, so that I could progress my career in management. After researching several programs, I chose Point Park University’s School of Business. This program allows you to do an MBA with a concentration in sport, arts and entertainment management. The best part is that I was able to combine all of my interests and passions in one experience.”
Faculty who are community leaders
“The professors have actual work experience in the field -- theater, sports, arts and entertainment management. They are known leaders in the community and are at the forefront of what's happening. As a professional, I wanted to learn from them. Experiencing the business for yourself and having a professor as your guide to see what it's really like in the workforce was a great attribute.”
Classes with immediate impact
“One of the first classes that I took was Organizational Behavior. The class focuses on human behavior in organizations on the individual, interpersonal, and group levels. It helped me to really understand my colleagues so much better. It's important to have open communication. As a manager, it's not only my job to oversee projects, but also to develop my team members. I help them to achieve their goals, which are always our goals.”
Real-world class projects
“In one class, we worked as a team to manage an actual event from beginning to end. We conducted a S.W.O.T. analysis in order to see what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats were. It's a great way to access a project and to determine if it's going in the right direction and what we could be doing differently or better. This analysis helps me to think like a patron, donor, or board member and how they will gain the most value from our services.”
Balancing work and family
“The University is in an urban setting, located in downtown Pittsburgh. For me, it was very easy to get to and from the Cultural District. The curriculum is well thought out and planned; designed for people who work full time. I had my weeknights free to be able to do events for work. As a young father, I was also able to spend time with my family. I was able to maintain a great balance in my life.”
Remaining involved with Point Park
“As an alumnus and someone who is involved in the hiring process, I'm very impressed with Point Park students. Jennifer Schooley, MBA '07, interned for The Trust's Institutional Development department and Rachel Cullari, '12 SAEM student, job-shadowed me. The SAEM curriculum is training young people for real-life experiences. Potential employers look for top-notch, hard-working people, who want to learn more. We are looking for smart, creative people who will take on an assignment. At The Trust, we can train them and let their own talent and skills shine through to develop into something. Point Park students learn and work in the field and that is something that puts them ahead of the game -- experience and internships.”