Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer 

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis, MN


The Opportunity and Key Responsibilities

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (“MCAD”) seeks a collaborative, innovative, and strategic finance professional to serve as the new Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”). The CFO will join the College during a moment of transformation and opportunity. Working collaboratively with senior leadership and members of the board of trustees they will be pivotal in creating new systems, processes, and approaches for MCAD’s mission of educating the next generation of creative, cultural leaders. 


In partnership with the president, and as a member of the Executive Leadership Committee of MCAD, the CFO is a strategic colleague to the Vice Presidents (Enrollment Management, Institutional Advancement, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Communications and Marketing Strategy) and to the broader College community. Additionally, the CFO serves as the treasurer of the Board and will provide reports and analysis to the Board of Trustees. MCAD has approximately 129 full time staff. This position will have supervisory oversight of four Assistant Vice Presidents (Finance, Human Resources, Technology, and Facilities). Leading with both accountability and empathy the CFO will establish objectives, and enhance policies, procedures, programs, and practices to assure MCAD has sound financial processes and structure, and develop a forward-looking financial strategy and metrics tied to that strategy. 


Key Responsibilities (but are not limited to):


Board-Related Functions

  • Direct and manage all financial affairs of MCAD.
  • Work with the president and Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee on forecasting, modeling and analysis in order to establish a financial plan to support the strategic direction of the College.
  • Oversee the timely preparation of all financial reporting materials, and metrics and projections for MCAD’s president, senior management team, and the Board.
  • Prepare and present financial reports to the Finance/Operations and Audit Committees of the Board of Trustees.
  • Work with the Finance Committee on investment policies and decision making with MCAD’s outside investment management firm. Analyze with the Finance Committee the performance of the investment management firm and lead any search process that might be necessary for alternative managers. 
  • Develop and receive Board approval of the annual budget of the College.


Oversight of Finance Operations

  • Ensure that finance staff maintains financial record systems in accordance with (GAAP) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and monitor the use of all funds.
  • Ensure that the College’s operations and activity remain compliant with non-profit tax exemption and IRS requirements.
  • Ensure adequate controls are installed and that documentation is approved and available such that all transactions of the College may pass independent and governmental audits and develop detailed strategies to follow up on opportunities for improvement identified in opinion letters and related letters from the independent auditors.
  • Responsible for all insurance and risk management programs.
  • Responsible for tax-exempt financing, bondholder relationships, and compliance with bond covenants.
  • Responsible for the annual pension audit, financial audit, financial aid audit, and 990 tax-exempt tax return filing and auditor relationships.
  • Prepare short and long-range budget modeling based on the strategic parameters.
  • Assure the College’s financial reports are accurate and timely for College departments and the Board. 
  • Prepare financial information for accreditors and organizations that request them.  


Oversight of Facilities, HR, and IT 

  • Oversee all facilities planning and public safety operations for the College. Review all formal finance, HR, and IT related procedures, processes, and administration, recommending improvements to the systems in place and managing the systems going forward.
  • Coordinate with Human Resources to evaluate and oversee all benefits negotiations, thus providing the most competitive packages for MCAD employees.
  • Direct facilities, public safety, and IT staff in the successful operation of their areas with a focus on customer-service. 


Additional Responsibilities

  • Engage with Institutional Advancement to align annual and campaign fundraising plans and financial projections.
  • Keep current with higher education finances by attending professional education sessions sponsored by NACUBO and CACUBO. Keep current by attending semi-annual meetings for the Minnesota Private College Finance Officers and bi-annual meetings for the AICAD Finance Officers.
  • Effectively communicate financial concepts and results to a wide variety of audiences with varying financial expertise.
  • Work on other financial projects as requested by the president.


About Minneapolis College of Art and Design (“MCAD”)


MCAD is dedicated to educating the next generation of cultural leaders. The College has a long and rich history in the Twin Cities region. Founded in 1886 as a small school of drawing and painting, MCAD was governed for much of the 20th century by the Minneapolis Society for Fine Arts while sharing space with the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Since becoming a wholly independent nonprofit institution in 1988, MCAD has grown into a successful, stable, and fully accredited art and design college, with a current enrollment of 785 undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students. The College’s campus is located in an historic arts district in South Minneapolis and its signature building is a bold, flexible, and light-filled modernist structure designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. The College is located in one of the country’s most arts-supportive regions. Bolstered by its robust and diverse economy, Minnesota ranks first in the nation in per-capita public funding of the arts, and Minneapolis has been named one of the top ten creative cities in the United States.


MCAD has maintained impressive financial stability and a strong value proposition for students and families during a time of significant challenges in higher education. Despite the after-effects of the 2008 recession, the rising cost of higher education, and daunting trends in demographics, full-time equivalent enrollment at MCAD has grown by 8.8 percent since 2010. The average first-to-second-year retention rate over the past 5 years is 80.6 percent and MCAD’s six-year graduation rate is consistently in the 60 to 65 percent range.


As it has grown over the years, MCAD has been a pioneer of new programs and curricula. MCAD was the first art college to start online master’s degree programs in 2000 and has made substantial investments in technology for labs and classrooms. In 2006, MCAD introduced a core curriculum that integrated its strong studio programs with a thoughtful liberal arts framework complemented by practical and professional learning, including required internships for all students. In 2016-17, the College restructured and expanded its Entrepreneurial Studies Department, adding new courses to create a forward-looking undergraduate program that helps students start and run their own enterprises or entrepreneurial endeavors and become effective creative leaders. In the fall of 2018, MCAD introduced a new undergraduate major in Product Design. Other recent innovative programmatic additions include undergraduate minors in Art History, Creative Writing, Engaged and Public Arts, and Teaching Artist, the latter affording art and design students the opportunity to develop meaningful connections between their own studio practice and teaching artist work in community and K-12 settings.


In 2017, MCAD concluded its first-ever comprehensive capital campaign which was a significant boost for the organization. The Next/Now Campaign raised nearly $24 million for scholarships, academic programs, and capital projects. The funds raised enabled the first major construction project in ten years, a 13,000 sq. ft. center for media arts (M/Lab); the build-out of space for the revamped Entrepreneurial Studies program (E/Studio); and increased endowment funds for scholarships. The campaign funds raised for financial aid have helped to advance the College’s strongly held value of access and opportunity. With a discount rate of 46%, MCAD is committed to enrolling a student body that is diverse in socioeconomic background.


MCAD is Minnesota’s only four-year independent, accredited college of art and design, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The College’s last NASAD accreditation visit in 2018 and HLC visit in 2019 both went very well, with the NASAD visiting team reporting in summary that “the institution is uniquely cared for and that an extraordinary forward-looking community has been created.” 



For the most recently audited fiscal year ending May 31, 2020, MCAD’s financial position consisted of $91M in total assets. Of the $91M in total assets, approximately $57M were investments, $23M net property, plant and equipment, and $6.7M beneficial interest in perpetual trusts. The College’s endowment net assets were approximately $53.5M, of which 72% had donor restrictions. The annual operating budget was approximately $34M, of which $12M was spent on financial aid, $15M for personnel expenses, and $7M for general program and operating expenses. MCAD’s Department of Education composite score for the last three years has averaged 3/3 and its average CFI for the last three years is 7.6. MCAD employed approximately 39 full time faculty and 129 staff and administrators in fiscal year 2020.



After a nationwide search in late 2018/early 2019, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Sanjit Sethi as MCAD’s new President and were impressed with his deep commitment as an educator to creative expression and problem-solving in highly diverse communities and settings.


Sanjit Sethi became President of MCAD on July 15, 2019 and has since partnered with the Board, Executive Leadership Committee (“ELC”), and the MCAD community around the concept of cultural leadership. Under his tenure, the ELC has gone through an evolution with recent appointments of a new Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice President of Communications and Marketing Strategy.


An educator, artist, curator, and cultural leader, Sethi most recently directed the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University. During his tenure at the Corcoran, Sethi oversaw the $47.5 million renovation of the school’s historic Flagg Building and launched several new degree programs. Prior to the Corcoran, he served in a variety of arts leadership roles, including chair of community arts and director at the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts and executive director of the Santa Fe Art Institute. He holds a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, an MFA from the University of Georgia, and an MS in advanced visual studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Sethi has lectured widely on issues related to culture, creativity, and equity. As an arts education leader, he holds the core belief that innovation, diversity, and a global perspective are essential keys to vibrant creative communities.


For more information on MCAD, please visit website.


Candidate Profile

Bachelor’s degree required, with focus on Accounting and/or Business Administration, or related field preferred. Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) or related area of study strongly preferred; Certified Public Accountant (CPA) strongly preferred.


The CFO will be strategic and results-driven with strong leadership skills and a proven track record of success in similar roles of progressively greater responsibility. The ideal candidate will have a robust administrative and finance background, excellent relationship-building capabilities, and impeccable verbal and written communication skills. The CFO will have good business judgment, an analytical mindset, great capacity for flexibility and adaptability to shifting priorities or needs, and sound, influential decision-making abilities. 


Ideal candidates will have at least 8-10 years of experience leading the finance and accounting function (required) and financial management experience preferably in a nonprofit and/or higher education organization of similar size and budget. Finance executives with corporate experience who are mission-driven and passionate about education will also be considered. Candidates with experience leading human resources, technology, and facilities are strongly preferred. Experience with union negotiations desirable. A natural change agent, the CFO will have the opportunity to innovate and improve services toward greater integration, optimization, and efficiencies. They will be nimble, strategic, and budget-focused, incorporating internal perspectives while informing decisions based on industry best practices.


The CFO will have the business savvy, financial, and administrative expertise and good judgment to establish the necessary trust and credibility, and cultivate and maintain excellent working relationships with administration, staff, faculty, outside consultants, and advisors, and colleagues. The CFO will also be expected to earn the respect and confidence of the College's Board of Trustees.

In addition, ideal candidates will have the following core competencies, personal qualities, and qualifications:


Financial and Administration Expertise

The CFO will have had strategic oversight over finance, administration, and technology with a measurable track record of success in developing and implementing strategies, policies, and processes. This executive will have demonstrated expertise in a range of administrative functions, and have knowledge of industry best practices, standard tools, and metrics including long-range forecasting, budget development and control, cash management, investment practices, and debt structures. The CFO will have demonstrated experience with fund accounting and endowment accounting and knowledge of FASB reporting requirements. The CFO will have experience in managing and keeping current software systems as well as selecting and implementing successfully new software systems. 


The CFO must have experience with Great Plains, Blackbaud, and/or Sage or similar financial reporting platforms. Advanced Microsoft Office Suite experience, and expertise and fluency in Microsoft Excel is required. Fluency with Google Suite or similar platforms is strongly preferred.


Strategic and Entrepreneurial Leadership

The CFO will have the ability to develop and implement clear, action-oriented, innovative strategies aimed towards elevating the administrative functions of MCAD, including in the areas of finance, human resources, facilities, and technology. The CFO will inspire quality performance and enhance morale with the leadership capacity to build, nurture, and retain a strong team of professionals that is focused on excellence, accountability, and efficiency. Critical to success in this role, the CFO will be a natural entrepreneur and be flexible in adjusting as priorities emerge and change; they will be a nimble problem-solver, able to balance multiple tasks efficiently and effectively while balancing a complex array of constituent needs. The CFO will have a high level of business acumen and judgment, with the ability to make practical, realistic, data driven, and timely decisions. This individual will understand, analyze, and interpret complex problems to achieve sustainable solutions that will have lasting impact at MCAD. 


Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The CFO will have demonstrated success in developing, managing, cultivating, and leveraging strategic  relationships and partnerships and have a proven track record of reaching agreements that benefit MCAD. The CFO will have experience in being a collaborative partner with the senior leadership across all administrative functions and have demonstrated experience developing strong working and interpersonal relationships across all levels of an organization. Strong facilitation and negotiation skills are required demonstrating the ability to communicate effectively with diverse constituencies, including Boards of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders. 


The CFO will have experience effectively sharing information with appropriate direct reports, keeping the president and others up-to-date on matters related to the overall financial and administrative priorities or needs. By leading collaboratively via relationships and partnerships, the CFO will be able to synthesize divergent views and coalesce all community members around a shared plan.


Passion for the Mission

The CFO will have to demonstrate they will have a passion for and commitment to MCAD’s mission, history, and its work, with a desire to work in a dynamic, mission-driven educational environment. The CFO will need to understand how this role contributes to the overall mission, drawing inspiration for the position of CFO from the community. The CFO will prioritize the experience of MCAD’s students, faculty, staff, and leadership, endeavoring to raise the quality of the academic and personal environment at the College. Driven by the mission, this individual will influence the culture and impact of MCAD through modeling and adoption of best practices. The CFO will be an inspiring and empathic individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values, treating others with respect.


Background Check

This position has been identified as security sensitive and will require a background check. At the discretion of the College, various background checks may be done during the course of employment.



Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Stephen Milbauer and Naree Viner are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please submit a compelling cover letter and resume by visiting this link or email Stephen directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


MCAD is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.


For more information about Koya Partners, visit