When he committed to Goizueta, Vince Ford 07EMBA, an accomplished musician, made a calculated decision. “I knew I was a good French horn player, but not New York Philharmonic good,” he said. “I thought I could have more impact, something more to offer. So I pivoted.” Though Ford didn’t know it at the time, his decision launched a career that would marry music and business. “Things worked out,” he said.
Earlier this year, Ford landed a job as senior vice president of digital innovation & strategy at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, one of the country’s premiere conservatories (it is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 4%). Prior to starting his role at Curtis, Ford spent 13 years with the New York Philharmonic, where he helped the Philharmonic build its digital and media programs.
While at Goizueta, Ford worked for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO). At the time, Ford’s classes included data analytics, strategy, and a nonprofit marketing class. The timing was fortuitous. Ford took advantage of a decade’s worth of ASO data—covering hundreds of concerts—to discover patterns. Using his newly minted business school knowledge, he coupled those findings with the ASO’s overall goals and helped the organization rethink its marketing campaign. Not only was the process impactful, “it gave me credibility,” Ford said. It also validated his choice to pivot and earn his MBA. “You could see how business-class thinking applied to the work we were doing,” Ford explained. “That thinking supports the creativity.”
Analytical Thinking Supports Creative Growth as Orchestras Amplify Digital Engagement
When COVID-19 escalated across the world, Ford was with the New York Philharmonic. Almost overnight, concerts were scratched and orchestras scrambled for innovative ways to continue. Suddenly the digital programs and products that Ford and his team had established, such as streaming concerts on Facebook Live, “went from being a kind of add-on to being the core business,” he said. “Everything went online.”
Orchestras began to create digital content on the fly. They re-imagined their advertising, social media outreach, programming, and how they would capture and monetize content. In a matter of months, orchestras “fundamentally changed how they were presenting themselves to the world,” Ford said. “There’s a lot of learning that’s come out of this, a lot of experimentation.”
In addition to his day job, Ford teaches graduate-level classes on digital strategy in the arts at Columbia University and at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2019, he earned his Doctorate in Business Administration, Innovation & Engagement at Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management.
Originally from Albany, GA, Ford and his husband split their time between Philadelphia and New York City. Though Ford may not play the French horn as often as he’d like (“I stare at it a lot,” he said), he feels good about the choice he made 15 years ago. “I’m a huge advocate for Goizueta Business School. It really made a difference for me,” Ford said. “It was very complementary to my music skills. The two together is a great combination.”
Goizueta Business School prepares leaders to address and disrupt complex business challenges with critical thinking, analysis, and innovative thought. Explore the range of Goizueta graduate-level programs, including the Master of Science in Business Analytics and the new Master of Analytical Finance.