How This IE Business School MBA Is Revolutionizing Art Collection Online

Former CNBC producer talks television, entrepreneurship and moving into art

Zsofia Banuta moved on from a high-octane television career to follow her entrepreneurial ambition with an MBA at IE Business School.

The ambitious entrepreneur started her career at media corporation CBS in New York before moving to London to work as an assistant news producer for rivals CNN and CNBC. Working as the world’s eyes and ears she interviewed prime ministers, leading sportsmen and covered major breaking news stories including the global financial crisis in 2008.

After graduating from IE — where she headed Entrepreneurship Club — Zsofia worked in financial PR before co-founding her own business, Arteia, a smart platform for art collectors.

As chief operating officer, her vision is to bring more transparency to the art market by building an exclusive community which enables collectors to professionally catalogue their artworks, to connect with curators to exhibit and to prepare their own shows.

How did the idea for Arteia come about and what challenges do you face?

I met my co-founder Marek Zabicki at a tech conference in London. Marek is a visionary with unparalleled experience in the arts and culture sector. It was his idea to build an online cataloguing system for art collectors and we developed it together.

The more I work in the art world the more I love it. But it’s a highly niche market and only those who really understand it consider investing. We have to be very creative when it comes to fundraising.

For many people, working in television seems like a dream job. What was your experience like?

Since I was a teenager I dreamt of working as a news producer in an international newsroom — and I did it!

It’s such an intense, fast-paced environment with no room for error. It’s an amazing feeling to be close to powerful decision makers, to write headlines and be present at historic events which shape our world. On the other hand, it’s a very challenging environment. The hours are very difficult; my shift for the morning show started at 4am.

The way we consume news has been changing and the industry is in transition. Today, the pressure is even greater because the competition, with the internet and other broadcasters, is insane.

How did your experience working in television prepare you for a career in business?

Working in such a high-pressure environment taught me skills that are absolutely essential to running my own business. In a newsroom you constantly have to solve problems, you race against time and things change rapidly. You become a master of operations and a true team player. It’s very similar to building a start-up.

And of course the communications skills I gained are invaluable. When you work as a broadcast journalist you need to grab the essence of the story and translate it into everyday language. It’s very much like [it is] in the business world; the better you communicate the more chance you have of success.  

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

The MBA seemed like an obvious choice to open new doors.

I didn’t see my long-term future in the newsroom as a news producer and I was at an age where I thought I could either continue doing the same thing for the rest of my life or make a drastic change.

Why did you choose to study at IE Business School in particular?

I wanted to study at a top European business school that’s highly ranked and focuses on entrepreneurship. IE was the best choice by far.

I visited the school and immediately fell in love with the vibe. It’s a very hands-on, non-conventional school that appreciates students from different backgrounds.

What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own company?

It’s an incredible journey and it will be much more difficult than you ever imagined! You must have passion, drive and committed partners to help you through the ups and downs.

But one thing’s for sure: it’s the most incredibly fulfilling experience I’ve had and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

How have you profited from your experience studying for an MBA?

The MBA totally changed me. I gained [the] courage to go for what I really want to do. I’m braver. I know that if I set my mind to something I will do it, and I’m not afraid to fail. I gained confidence, leadership skills and a more positive outlook. 

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