Yan Cheng (’19)

Account Manager, David Zwirner

New Jersey
WFU Class of 2019
Majors: Accounting and Studio Art (with Honors), Art history minor (2018)
Master of Science in Accounting (2019)

DeacLink: Please walk me through your path from graduation day to your current job.

Yan Cheng: I started as an intern at David Zwirner and have been working there since then. I got the internship through Leigh Ann Hallberg and James M. who was the CFO at the time.

DL: How much did your studies and general experience at Wake inform or drive your career path?

YC: My initial career path was not necessarily art related. I was taking studio and art history courses mostly as a hobby but I wasn’t planning on anything related to art job wise. I did one internship in China at Bank of China and was thinking more about finance. Then, I interned as an investment banker in China and my plan was to go back home and become an investment banker. My senior year I had an honors exhibition and that changed my whole perspective about my interests becoming more art related for the future. The internship came up and I wanted to give it a try, and it turned out to be really fitting.

DL: How did you find and apply to the various positions you’ve held? Any tips or suggestions for the student audience on networking, interviewing and applying for jobs?

YC: At business school we always have a career fair, specifically for accounting students the school will arrange interviews for you with the big firms. Its very accessible for people who study at the business school. For someone majoring in art you have to reach out to different people and make those connections. I would say be open and be active, talk with your professors and family members.

My advice—be active in your professional associations and tap into the networking (aka connections) that is available. If there are conferences or educational events, these interactions can help you refine what aspect of your field is of most interest, and take advantage of opportunities for job shadowing, resume reviews, and practice interviews.

DL: What is your favorite part of living and working where you do?

YC: I would say, aside of everything happening in New York, the museums and the environment. New York is the center of contemporary art and you have so many opportunities in every part of the art market. Its one of the most diverse places.

DL: What is your favorite part about where you work?

YC: At an art gallery you can see how it functions and understand how artwork is handled from the beginning to the end. I think that’s very interesting. From an accounting perspective, the art market is very different from other industries so you can see how many exceptions there are from the typical accounting world.

DL: What and where is next for you?

YC: I hope to still be at DZ. That is my current plan. Maybe in ten years I might do more independent art and work more on becoming an artist.

DL: Any other kernel of advice you’d like to impart to the readers?

YC: Be more flexible. Don’t always have a bias towards something unless you have tried it.

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