Sapna Patel

  • Global Development Officer at Christie's Auctions and Private Sales
  • BA History of Art, 2013

After graduating from the BA History of Art programme, Sapna Patel was offered an internship at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and has carved her career from there to her current role as Global Development Officer at Christie’s Auctions & Private Sales.

What do you love the most about your career?

My favourite aspect to my current role at Christie’s is the diversity - no day is ever the same for me. I could be delivering workshops, organising an event surrounding an upcoming sale, or meeting a CEO of an art fair to put together an exciting partnership or sponsorship.

What were your highlights of your time here at Birmingham?

I loved the variety of topics offered by the University and how all modules were still able to link with the collection at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Having the Barber at your doorstop put everything we learnt into practice; from observing painting techniques (I loved seeing the cracks in egg tempera!) to how the bronzes and sculptures were created.

I also loved how close-knit our class and department was. We were (and still are) extremely close and this really made the learning experience truly positive. Last but not least – the Barber Fine Art library. The library is such a jewel, and has an incredible collection and resources for History of Art students. 

How have you developed your career after graduating?

Since graduating in 2013, I completed internships at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Masterpiece Art Fair (helping deliver the tour programme), Richard Nagy Ltd (an art dealer specialising in Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt) and PAD London 2013 (this was linked with my role at Richard Nagy, who was a representative at the art fair).

My internships allowed me to build on my experiences of marketing, programming, events and communications. I took this knowledge with me to the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2014, where I joined their Marketing and Communications team, and then into my current role.

Please tell us more about your current role

I work within the Christie’s Education division. In my role of Global Development Officer, I oversee development in numerous ways including; professional and learning Development, fundraising, business development including delivering marketing campaigns and projects, events and I also work closely with Human Resources for the Christie’s work experience and internship programmes, and our newly launched Graduate Training programme.

What advice would you give to current students?

I would say do as much as you can! Even if you’re unsure what you want to do after your studies, any experience you can gain will have transferable skills that will be useful later when you know what you want to go in. One thing I regret is not getting as involved with societies in the University’s Guild of Students– that’s also another way to gain great experience for your CV and personal development!