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Meet HBS Leadership Fellows: Andrew Cone, Whitney Museum of American Art

By: Andrew Cone 03 Aug 2017

During the year, we’ll be connecting with some of our 2017-18 HBS Leadership Fellows, to hear about their backgrounds and their experiences in the Fellowship year. Read on to learn more about Andrew Cone's (MBA ‘17) experience at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Tell us about the organization and your role for the Fellowship year.  

This year I'll be serving as the Whitney Museum of American Art's Special Director of Strategy & Planning. As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. I'll be working on strategic initiatives including growing earned revenue, cohering a more structured collection strategy and building out a research and analysis function for the wider institution.

What is your background pre-HBS?

I have always worked (and even interned) in client-service, for-profit organizations: Ogilvy & Mather in New York and Hong Kong, McKinsey in London, Tata Consultancy Services in Buenos Aires and Nielsen in Boston. But after four years of advising clients and two more directing hundreds of HBS case protagonists, I thought it was time to get in the driver's seat myself. Working in a smaller, non-profit institution will certainly be a new challenge, and one I'm looking forward to exploring.

What most excites you about the opportunity?

I have been curious about museum management for years. I studied History of Art & Architecture at Harvard College, so many of my classmates ended up in museums -- but always on the curatorial side. The business of managing a museum was more of an unknown to me, so I jumped when I saw this Fellow position that so perfectly integrates my professional trajectory and personal interests. Especially given the Whitney's recent move to its beautiful new building downtown, it's an exciting time to be thinking about continuing growth and success as defined by the museum's mission.

Why is the Leadership Fellows Program different from other post-grad opportunities?

The Fellows Program is uniquely positioned to afford terrific access and visibility immediately after graduating from HBS. I get to meet daily with the Chief Planning and Financial Officers of the museum. I get to attend every board meeting for the next year. I get to participate in discussions at the highest levels of the institution. And I get to do so within a field about which I'm personally passionate. It's really quite spoiling, but also a motivating challenge to seek out this same impact and energy in future roles.

What do you hope to achieve during the year? 

At a high level, I hope to contribute to the Whitney's ethos of making the art of our time accessible to all people. That's certainly an aspirational challenge, but everyone working in the museum is here for that same reason. More specifically, as a member of the Strategy & Planning group, I see my role as an enabler. The heart of a museum is certainly the art and artists, the collection and curators. But they are enabled and supported by a number of departments that ensure that the institution itself is as relevant and successful as the programming therein. I'm also hoping to test out a number of tools from the HBS classroom; having taken a number of Strategy, Marketing and NOM (Negotiation, Organizations & Markets) classes, I'm anxious to put our academic frameworks to the test.

In one word, what is the Leadership Fellows Program to you?


The HBS Leadership Fellows Program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select group of graduating students to experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public sector organizations for one year at a competitive salary. Learn more about the HBS Leadership Fellows Program.