Jeff Gross talks to The Glasgow Guardian about how he became an employee with Christie’s following his studies at the University of Glasgow
Jeff Gross studied History of Art & Art World Practice through Christie’s Education in 2010. Following this, he successfully sought a job at the prestigious auction house. Jeff talks to us about how he managed to achieve his ambition and provides advice for students who are concerned about finding a career in the future.
How old are you?
What is your job title and can you give a brief summary of what you do?
I served as a Senior Associate at Partners in Performance; this involved working as an operational efficiency consultant for mostly industrial clients. I was also previously Receiving Manager at Christie's, I managed receiving functions for the auction house's major North American salesroom.
How long have you worked there?
I worked in Partners in Performance for one year and in Christie's for three and a half years.
Can you give us a ballpark of your salary?
For Partners in Performance I made $160,000 plus an annual bonus, and for Christie's I made $60,000.
Why would this job appeal to students yet to graduate?
In relation to Partners in Performance, you use analytical and interpersonal skills to work hand-in-hand with clients, identifying and solving their biggest problems. At Christie's you are able to serve as a logistical hub of an international auction house, coordinating with clients, shippers, vendors, and internal staff, while managing the processing of millions of dollars of art daily.
How did you get the job and what was the process like?
For Partners in Performance there were multiple rounds of on-campus interviewing during the pursuit of my MBA, involving both behavioural and analytical interview questions. For Christie's it involved lots of networking with previous students, colleagues, faculty, and industry professionals, as there are a lot of individuals looking to enter the industry and relatively few jobs comparatively.
What are the main perks of the job?
When I worked for Partners in Performance it involved frequent travel and working with diverse clients in diverse industries to solve intellectually rigorous problems. It was a fast-paced and exciting, though challenging, work environment. At Christie's it was truly a unique experience working with (including inspecting and handling) many of the world's artistic treasures on a daily basis, on a scale which would be impossible almost anywhere else.
Do you have any tips for students entering the job market soon?
Speak with as many people as possible in your chosen industry and at companies you are interested in to get a sense of the culture and what they like about what they are doing. Gathering as many data points as possible makes it much easier to determine what specifically you want to do and what positions provide what you need to thrive. Also, stay in touch with previous colleagues, students, and professors. You'll never know when your paths will cross again, and when a past connection will share some information related to an opportunity that you wouldn't have heard about otherwise. In the same vein, networking and making new connections will be integral to your future career prospects.