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Promoting diversity and access to music with an EMBA

Music charity Director Robert Adediran is pursuing the Cambridge Executive MBA with support from Cambridge Judge Business School’s Sainsbury Bursary Scheme.

Close-up of female hands correcting music score

The Association of British Orchestras recently reported as to the state of Britain’s orchestras in the years since 2013. Contrary to popular opinion regarding classical music, audiences at orchestral concerts have increased in the last three years, whilst in that period up to 900,000 schoolchildren have been exposed to classical music through performances and educational projects. Beyond these impressive statistics, the music industry faces calls to improve the diversity of its workforce – on stage and behind-the-scenes – and to ensure the greatest level of access to those from all backgrounds. Robert Adediran of London Music Masters believes that pursuing an Executive MBA will give him the necessary skills and expertise to combat these challenges effectively within the arts.

Robert Adediran, Executive MBA

Robert Adediran, Executive MBA*

Graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Robert began his career as a trumpet player, composer and animateur. However, when he had the opportunity to set up a community project in Lagos, Nigeria, the transformative and societal benefits of music he was exposed to ensured his transition from music practitioner to arts manager. “I became convinced that the music industry had a lot to offer people marginalised by society. Over time, I also came to realise that the industry has even more to gain than it has to give by embracing diversity and being challenged by the innovation and creativity of those outside of our usual networks”.

Embracing diversity

This promotion of music and its education beyond the “usual networks” is a central tenet of Robert’s work with London Music Masters, where he was appointed Executive Director in 2013. The charity supports teacher training opportunities and career development for young musicians, but also promotes active discussion on hot topics such as diversity and access. To this end, the charity will send its own “Diversity Champions” to the 2017 Association of British Orchestras Conference to further propagate this position.

“I would say the biggest challenge for music education in the UK is creating an equal offer to children and young people from all backgrounds. In the long run, getting this right will have a huge impact on our young people and the economy. Music, visual and performing arts contribute over £5bn to the economy annually. Increasing the diversity of the workforce by ensuring children from all parts of society receive a rich and inspiring creative education effects not only the creativity and well-being of a nation but also its economic viability.”

How an Executive MBA can help

Robert’s vision matches that of his contemporaries, but the challenge for today’s arts leaders is to acquire the necessary skills and expertise at a strategic level to successfully realise their goals. “The charitable sector and the arts need leaders who can match their vision and creativity with the skills to really deliver. We play a vital role providing services to society that neither business nor government are able to do. Investing in an EMBA can help arts and charity leaders create resilient, innovative organisations that are fit for the needs of a modern world.”

Robert’s EMBA at Cambridge Judge Business School is supported by the Sainsbury Bursary Scheme, a scholarship that is open to senior professionals working in the charitable or voluntary sectors who need financial aid to help fund their EMBA studies. The scheme is generously provided by the Monument Trust, one of the charitable trusts run by the Sainsbury family.

“Whilst I expect to learn a huge amount that will be applicable to my work and wider sector, my EMBA experience will go beyond that. My fellow students are unique and brilliant and it is unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity to collaborate with so many gifted people from such a range of industries and countries again. Much of the EMBA is about exploring new ideas, new contexts and new relationships; I expect that it will have a huge impact on my life.”

* Image credit: Teri Pengilley