I heard the term at the beginning of my first quarter:
“Oh, you’ll meet him soon. He’s a member of the Drexel Mafia.”
The Drexel Mafia? It conjured images of sleeping with the fishes, guns, Italian food, and a mumbling Marlon Brando, all hurtling around corners in the labyrinthine staircases of the URBN building.
The reality, however, is much less scary and a lot more intriguing. The Drexel Mafia is an unofficial network – a loving nickname for the population of bright young things from Drexel’s Arts Administration program who are out and about in the field, putting their knowledge to use at arts organizations all across the city.
The Mafia won’t do a hit to make your dream job available, but they are useful in myriad other ways:
Brand Magic: In Philadelphia, Drexel alums have a great reputation, powered by the neat things that the Mafia do. Almost every major institution has an arts admin alum somewhere within its walls, lifting the visibility of your degree, and giving an unofficial seal of approval to the knowledge and experiences you’ve gained throughout your Drexel education. Want to meet someone who works with the City of Philadelphia? The Philadelphia Museum of Art? Opera Philadelphia? Mural Arts? The Wilma? The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance? Mafia connections galore!
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: We all sift through posting sites like philaculture.org and idealist.org for employment potential. But have you looked at the AADM Facebook and LinkedIn groups? Former and current students post up a storm when there’s an opening at their place of employment, and the Mafia are incredibly generous in sharing information with their fellow alums or soon-to-be alums.
Here’s My Number: Mafia members will gladly talk to you about their places of employment. Coffee, phone calls, emails – if they can help, they will! I experienced this first hand when I was job-hunting. I emailed a student to ask about her time working at an arts organization. She got back to me within an hour, we had coffee a few weeks later, and she was a huge supporter as I went through the interview process. See a job where a Drexel alum works? Reach out to the Mafia – lots of them love to help up and coming Drexel-ites figure out what workplace or work type might be a good fit.
Have you used the arts admin Mafia to find out more about job or to get career advice? What’s your advice to colleagues about using a network effectively?