Harvard Business School » Social Enterprise » Blog » Community Vitalization through the Arts: SE Summer Fellow Tyler Vo (MBA 2025)
Impact Insights

Community Vitalization through the Arts: SE Summer Fellow Tyler Vo (MBA 2025)

By: Tyler Vo 26 Jun 2024

The HBS Summer Fellows Program enables students to apply their classroom training as they explore career opportunities in roles or regions where compensation is generally lower than the traditional MBA level. This summer, we are connecting with some of our 70 Social Enterprise Summer Fellows, who are working around the world to develop skills and knowledge while having significant responsibility and high impact.

What are you working on this summer?

I will spend my summer working with Turner Contemporary, an art gallery located in Kent County, United Kingdom. Turner Contemporary’s mission since it was established in 2011 has been to reinvigorate the town of Margate where it is located, by fostering an ecosystem for artistic exploration and discovery that would vitalize the tourism and ancillary businesses around the town. My role will encompass key tasks in the Marketing and Communications Department, specifically supporting the gallery in its international rebranding efforts and public audience attraction, as well as its digitalization efforts to reach out effectively to a wider spectrum of audiences.

Why did you choose this internship for the summer?

I have always been passionate about the arts and determined to pursue a long-term career in that area, of course not from an artist’s starting point but more from a business enabler perspective. I love how arts can change and enrich people’s lives, and I am fascinated by the irrationality of this market. Being born into a family with a tradition of making heritage woodwork in my country, I inherited the love for arts from my mother, and my long-term vision is to return to my hometown to support the art communities that I grew up in.

What are your goals for this summer?

My most important objective is to use this as an entry point to the industry, since I didn’t have any relevant professional experience before. As you may suspect, for this very niche market, it is critical to be well-trained, professionally venerated or have a lot of influential connections. This internship will give me more open doors to pivot into the industry and connect me with relevant networks in the art hubs that I want to work in after graduation. Additionally, I want to utilize this summer to test out some hypotheses for my business idea and markets on whether I can reach out to my potential future customers.

How has your MBA skillset prepared you to be successful in this role?

Besides being familiar with the Marketing expertise which I’ve had during pre-HBS jobs, the MBA program has provided me with a wider perspective of how a business should be managed in difficult situations. Turner Contemporary is in a very unique position where the whole county’s development depends heavily on its turnaround efforts in building the artistic spaces, partnership, and attracting a higher volume of tourists. Therefore, turnaround strategies and community-based business development are among the most helpful learnings from my first year at HBS that I hope to bring into my role at Turner Contemporary.

Additionally, the leadership framework in how to influence people from the Leadership & Organizational Behavior (LEAD) course will prove valuable because I will be meeting with a lot of people from completely different backgrounds, many of whom may not be influenced by numbers and data. This poses a very interesting challenge for me as a young manager to earn people’s trust and will with different approaches.

How has the summer influenced your thinking on future involvement in social enterprise?

From the conversations I have had with the leadership team, I believe there are challenges that need holistic effort and great collaboration from the government, the organization, and the community. The revenue streams are much different from a typical for-profit company, and requires a longer-term approach to measurable impacts on society. On the other hand, in order to achieve sustainability, the artists communities may benefit from the acumen that business leaders like me will be able to offer. I do hope to see positive changes in the work I do during my internship, and to evaluate and replicate the model for when I start my own social enterprise in the future.

How can someone learn more about your organization?

If you ever visit the UK, besides the vibrant central London, please visit Turner Contemporary (more information at https://turnercontemporary.org/ or https://x.com/TCMargate) and see how the surrounding town is changing, artistically and culturally along the coastal line.