There is an art to analytics.

Christine Sajewski, an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Arts Management program, knows that first hand.

The lifelong artist was an intern at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) when she made an eye-opening discovery about visitors to the company’s website.

“I was digging into the website data, and kind of recognizing trends,” Sajewski recalled. “I discovered how popular the education section of our website was. It was the biggest traffic driver to the site, and it was driving traffic from all over the world.”

The information on the pages included topics like, “what is ballet,” “what are point shoes” and “the history of ballet,” was so well done that Google was ranking those pages as the top search results all over the world.

“No one had any idea that this was happening,” Sajewski said.

She presented her findings to the PBT’s education committee, along with strategies for expanding the website’s role as a tool for education and outreach. Her work made an impression on Aimee DiAndrea, PBT’s director of Marketing & Communications and Sajewski’s internship supervisor.

“She made herself invaluable,” DiAndrea said. “There were projects that she started for us that no one else at the time was doing, and if we didn’t have her here, we wouldn’t have the capacity to do those things. I also recognized in her a true passion and dedication to her work that I really respected.”

DiAndrea said that the goal of the ballet is to have more people at performances, in school programs and educational events. All of those activities are supported in a large part by donors. By using analytics, the nonprofit has been able to maximize its effectiveness.

“We’re able to really analyze what’s working and what’s not working. And at the end of the day, it’s saving us money, which is obviously a key thing for a nonprofit,” she said.

Today, as the ballet’s external affairs analyst, Sajewski, who graduated in 2015, handles data-driven projects from analyzing Google ad word performance and donor trends to designing targeted emails. Courses in geographic information systems and data mining gave her a new perspective.

“Because of the internship, I dabbled in the analytics side of marketing and what that meant,” Sajewski said. “I found that to be kind of fun. I started to find that I was passionate about data, and realized I was able to kind of visualize data, and in that sense, that data is almost an art form in itself. It’s not just numbers on a spreadsheet, but pictures that tell stories. And I think that realization clicked with me while I was in the MAM program.”

MAM is a joint program by CMU’s H. John Heinz III College and the College of Fine Arts. More than 100 MAM alumni impact Pittsburgh and the surrounding region and account for nearly $1.2 billion in annual economic impact in Allegheny County.


photo credit: Kelly Perkovich