Three things that I didn’t expect when I enrolled for my MBA

Now that I am deeply immersed in the International Part-Time MBA journey (read my previous article to better understand why I use the word “immersed”), I would like to highlight three aspects that I didn’t specifically know or expect when I sent off my application for the selection process more than a year ago:

  1. The number of resources and tools provided by MIP

I should probably write a specific article for each and every one of them. I will try to be concise.

These resources and tools are very useful for any aspect related to your MBA journey or, more generally, to your career and personal growth. They include:

  • D-Hub: MIP’s digital learning platform, all the teaching materials needed, including clips, case studies, assignments, slides, etc, but also the recorded lessons or webinars. What I didn’t expect was the great quality of the clips provided before the lessons in order to prepare for them, which give all the information needed in a clear and structured way.
  • Flexa: a one-of-a-kind personalized and continuous learning platform developed by MIP featuring the latest Microsoft AI tools. It is a really useful tool for career development because it allows you to perform self-assessments of your skills, to set your professional goal and to receive tailor-made learning material, to receive suggestions of people to connect with or even job opportunities based on your profile. Good news: you will have free access to this forever, as an MIP alumnus.
  • VMock: basically a resume optimization tool based on AI, which gives you instant scoring, benchmarking and detailed feedback on your CV, also considering your target goal.
  • Digital Innovation Observatories: MIP students can take up a free subscription or access restricted sections of the Observatory website. net is a multimedia and interactive platform enabling professional updates on Digital Innovation, with a wide variety of content and events designed by analysts and experts with unique expertise.
  • Free Subscription to the Financial Times: I don’t think it’s necessary to explain to you what the Financial Times is; let’s just say that it’s one of the world’s leading global business publications.
  • MBA-Exchange: this is a website that helps MBA students and alumni research and identify the right career opportunities for them, while also working with employers to diversify their candidate pool and optimize their recruiting resources.
  1. The power of networking

This is linked to the first point. Attending classes, events and also the International Weeks, allows you to easily build connections and friendships with people who can enrich you with different points of view, personal and work experiences, thoughts on careers, entrepreneurial ideas, etc.

Before starting, I didn’t expect the level of willingness to “open up” from other students that I have indeed found. Everyone (some more, some less of course), is available to speak openly about their goals and personal experiences, to give opinions and advice and to ask you to do the same, showing genuine curiosity. This willingness definitely makes it easier to build up trust with your teammates.

The network that you will develop throughout these years will eventually help you in finding your dream job, maybe building your startup and more generally with your personal growth.

So, my second tip for future participants is to ask your peers as many questions as you can, to contribute with your experience and feedback and, lastly, to actively participate in networking events, both those organized by MIP and by the students themselves.

  1. The importance of the course coordinator

You will realize how important it is to have the necessary information in time and to have it provided in a clear and concise way, especially when you have to deal with the tons of emails you receive from work, from MIP and on personal matters.

We have the good luck to have Francesca Mastroberardino as our course coordinator and I would say, especially during the International Week in Barcelona, that she helped us a lot in providing us with the preparatory material and the week’s agenda. When chatting, she also gave us some advice on the best way to approach our MBA journey in general.

The course coordinator is, in fact, the reference point for any kind of doubt, question or issue regarding the organization and scheduling of the MBA program, the materials, exams, taxes or the documents you might need for any reason, so be fully aware of their existence and use their email address wisely.



About the author
Davide Ritorto

Davide Ritorto is an ambitious and inquisitive Management Engineer, currently working and learning at Lamborghini and at MIP, where he is studying for the International Part-Time MBA. He is focused on improving himself and putting his passions and skills to good use.

Davide enjoys exploring new things, is passionate about scuba diving, (of almost all kinds) sports, personal finance, vintage watches, food and intercultural travels


Partnering with innovators: how does this translate into the daily life of an MBA student?

22nd October 2020 saw the launch of the new edition of the International MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano, my edition. About seventy people are sitting in a big class waiting for the presentation to begin. These are all new faces, nobody knows anyone, eyes are analysing other eyes. There’s a strong excitement in the air, it’s easy to perceive. After a long time spent thinking, evaluating and discussing, it’s finally time to start a new adventure. So many expectations, so many questions: where will this experience take me? Will I be a different person? Two years  ̶  will I endure that long? What about these people around me? Are they like me, or totally different?

That was just the first day, but considering the importance that an MBA places on networking, it was probably one of the most important moments for the course itself. Later on, the lectures and group assignments pushed people towards mixing together and sharing more information about themselves. That’s how you start to understand that despite the common desire for personal growth that drives all the MBA candidates, the students want to contribute through their personal experience and background and this always makes the discussions unpredictable. One of the reasons is the extreme diversity sought by MIP while selecting the MBA candidates. Just to give an idea, in my class I met engineers from many fields, economists and financial experts, architects, psychologists, lawyers, and even medical doctors.

This mix works very well considering that the topics are always business related, but in a multidisciplinary way. As much as possible, the professors involve and invite start-uppers, high profile managers and international experts to make the lectures less technical and a great deal more practical.

So what happens is that while you’re studying a business case about a particular issue or a new strategy developed by a well-known company, you’re requested to prepare an interview for its CEO, i.e. by writing a list of questions. Surprisingly, the day after, that CEO participates in person at the lecture. So he replies to the questions and provides his own perspective about the issues described in the business case and explains how the company has finally decided to proceed. Such kinds of experiences make it clear that despite the theory, you’re also practicing the challenges that the administration of a business, at all levels, faces every day. What good training this is, especially if you do it by discussing the cases with your classmates.

The length and the setup of the course enable an easy deepening of these relationships; some of the students share their intention to start new businesses, and others want to improve their role and their impact on their employers. Personally, I am trying to improve my work reality and understand how I can be helpful and where my expectations and ambitions can have a positive effect. This mindset is something new for me and I am sure it is coming from a new maturity that I have acquired while merging work and studies.

On the other hand, every time I hang out with my classmates, now my friends, I too often realize that these people, all of us, are moved by a strong and deep passion for what we are working towards. I believe that we are choosing this path not because of dissatisfaction, but because we haven’t had enough of learning and experiencing alternative fields. We don’t want to live unchanging and repetitive days. We know that we can do more and together we can cover what we are still lacking. We believe that we can be innovators  ̶  we want to demonstrate this to each other and, mostly, to ourselves.

My MBA is approaching the end and while our eyes are still meeting, it’s now happening with a different awareness: we have no doubts that whatever this experience will bring to us, it has been already a success; we have found and joined an amazing and supportive team, a team whose only purpose is effecting change. We own the future.


About the author
Simone Moscato

Having graduated at Politecnico di Milano, Simone is now working as a civil engineer in an international EPC Company while attending the International MBA at MIP. An enthusiast for travelling and fighting sports, he’s always searching for new challenges. After years, he’s still struggling to learn how to play the guitar.



Purpose Talks – Sustainability and Purpose, the key to meeting today’s challenges

The idea of a ‘higher purpose’ cannot disregard the issue of sustainability. Businesses today are called upon to innovate their way of competing, leveraging environmental and social sustainability, and governance.

What are the challenges that companies face regarding these three macro aspects of sustainability?

What might be the transformations that will necessarily impact on business thinking?

How is a “sustainable” strategy developed?

On Thursday, April 21st, take part in the third appointment of our Purpose Talks on this topic. Purpose Talks is the series of events featuring lecturers, consultants, business managers and coaches who will explain how companies and organisations are moving in practical terms towards a new business model inspired by a “higher purpose”, which sees people and society as fundamental elements in creating a successful business.


The Speakers

Francesco Ferrara, Assurance partner and ESG Leader – PwC in Italia

Josip Kotlar, Associate Professor of Strategy, Innovation and Family Business at MIP Politecnico di Milano

Antonella Moretto, Associate Dean for Open Programs at MIP Politecnico di Milano


The event is held in English


Innovation in companies and in professional daily life: some similarities

Starting with a definition of innovation, we can simply say that Innovation is the realization of new (or significantly improved) products, services, processes, or methods. This can be true either for companies or for professionals: both should focus on and maximize their efforts in improving efficiency (and effectiveness) and create something new and more valuable for the end user who, for the company is the customer, while for the professional it is themself.

The mistake we might sometimes come across when talking about innovation is to confuse “new” with “valuable”. Novelty is crucial, since innovation is about the realization of something new, but not everything that is new creates new value and, more importantly, the hardest part of the innovation regards the implementation of the idea.

In a famous TEDx speech, Bill Gross, founder and developer of innovative start-ups, investigated the reason why some companies succeed while others fail. With the help of data collected from numerous start-ups, he ranked each enterprise based on five key factors: Idea, Team, Business model, Funding and Timing. He found that the factor that counted the most among all the others was not the idea but the timing, first, and the team and their ability to implement the project in second position. He opened a company called “idealab” because he really thinks that the idea is crucial for changing the status quo but, at the same time, he wanted to affirm that a good idea at the wrong time or managed by the wrong team would bring no innovation at all.

If this is true for companies, I think that we can translate this concept into the life of workers as well, and go a little further with the similarity. Every professional dedicates their time to performing tasks, as short-term goals, and to imagining a new way of doing the job, to updating their own competences or to learning new skills, as long-term objectives. The difference between the best performers and the others (as well as between successful companies and the rest) is the percentage of time and resources dedicated to these two different kinds of activities.

Successful companies and successful professionals are those who dedicated a robust percentage of time in studying (R&D for companies) and in applying innovations. Of course, this is a risky way, but it is necessary if the goal in mind is to shape a different and brilliant future.

During the MBA path at Politecnico di Milano, I had the chance to study for a course named “Innovation Leadership”. The aim of the course was not to push the professionals to create tons of ideas or to imagine a new cutting-edge start-up; the real objective was to instil the concept that, once an innovative idea has been recognized as such, the hardest part arrives and new managers, Innovation Managers precisely, need the appropriate skills to choose the right timing, to create the right team for the implementation and, more importantly, to transfer their mindset to all of the company’s employees.

Again, I think that this concept, mutatis mutandis, can be applied also to a professional’s daily life. There are a lot of good ideas and inspirational suggestions to enrich a job routine and to improve one’s personal outlook. The hardest part is to fight inertia and to be consistent in applying what we think might enhance our daily lives. Every person has an “Innovation Manager” inside them, the “planner” part of us that reports to the “slow thinking” of Kahneman. This side has the important task of setting goals and constantly monitoring and controlling the other side of us, which may be more creative, but is less fixed and dedicated.


About the author
Luca Bianchi
International sales manager for a multinational logistics company and part of the young group of the Freight Leader Council, I would define myself as curious, ambitious and continuously disposed to improve. Strong supporter of cross-functional experiences, job rotation, teamwork and lifelong learning, my objective is to be constantly able to see challenges from different perspectives and to be adaptable in this ever-changing environment.


Something Big is Changing. Us.

Something big is changing. Us.

Those of you who come to our campus have probably noticed this. Three words appear everywhere: Make, Connect, Ignite.

What are they? They are our new trajectory, the School we want to become.

Make, because we want to be a Business School where you can get your hands dirty, because it is by doing that you learn.
The Business School we want to be is a place to grow and to have the freedom to make mistakes. Because we learn from our mistakes. And only those who never do anything, never make mistakes.
The Business School that we want to be is a space that stimulates creativity and the ideation of practical solutions to the most important problems that companies and society are facing today.

Connect, because which place is more suitable than a School for exchanging ideas, debating, and feeling part of something big? The Business School that we want to be, in fact, is a place which we feel is ours, because it is made up of the authentic relationships that we build on every day.
The Business School we want to be is the one where we know that we are part of a whole, united in successes as well as challenges.
The Business School we want to be is one capable of creating connections, because it is from connections that innovation is born.

And finally, ignite, because a spark is enough to give birth to great ideas. It only takes a spark to make a difference. A spark is enough to build a better future for everyone.
Guided by our purpose, we want to be that spark.

Make, Connect, Ignite. Three words that arise from a profound path of change that starts from afar, from the reflection – which started at the beginning of 2020 – on what were the founding values of our School, what was our purpose.

Accompanied by The Mind at Work, we have come to understand who we want to be, where we want to go, and  ̶  above all  ̶  why we want to take this path. We have found in our purpose – we are committed to inspire and partner with innovators to shape a better future for all – a beacon that guides  our actions and which will continue to do so in the future.

This is only the first step. Are you ready to discover with us what comes next?

Rob Napoli

We are delighted to catch up with New-York-based MIP Ambassador and entrepreneur, Rob Napoli, a “burst of energy” who is one of our most proactive alumni, remaining closely involved with the School. Rob was awarded the Master in Marketing Management, IM4, in 2016, and has gone on to have many successes in his chosen field. Here, he recounts his story, shares his current thinking, and based on his experience, provides some good advice to potential students.

Please could you give us a brief outline of your background and tell us what has brought you to where you are now?

My career started out in recruitment in the Midwest before I met my now wife in small-town Iowa. Shortly into dating, she mentioned she was going to move to Europe to get her master’s degree and asked me to follow her or break up… So I followed her to Milan, Italy, where I got my Master at MIP and while in Milan, I also coached professional American football and was Head of Content and Brand for a Polimi-based startup. I helped that startup scale and went to New York City as part of an accelerator program before transitioning into a large global corporation, where I was in charge of recruiting marketing professionals. In 2019, I got fired for the first time in my life, not for performance, but for passion. This is when I started two companies, Hapday Group which is/was a US go-to-market entry company helping companies enter the US market with sales-as-a-service. We grew this company almost 100% Year-over-Year and were acquired in February 2021 by Move Ventures, where I have stayed on as a Board Member. I currently run Rise Up Coaching (soon to be rebranded as Rise Up Media), where I create and lead training and development programs for startups, scaleups, and corporates.

What would you say are the specific influences of your IM4 course, and your time at MIP in general, on your life and work today?

It was my time at MIP where I realized that my career passion started. When I came to MIP I thought I wanted to work in Big Data Marketing for large corporates, but during my time in Milan, I fell in love with the idea of entrepreneurship and startups and chose to work for a small Polimi Hub-launched startup and turned down an internship to work at Nielsen on the Mars brand in Belgium.

It was my time in Milan that really motivated me to be more involved in the startup ecosystem vs the traditional corporates. Because of this realization, I have had many stops along my journey. I went to New York City to go through a global accelerator, where I pitched to a number of Investors, Angels, and VCs and won a number of pitch companies. I wanted to prove that I could make it in a global corporate, so I went into a corporate environment for 18 months where I built a new line of business and was promoted. I confirmed what I had realized in Milan… I wanted to work in startups. I stayed in touch with MIP and have been able to give guest lectures and talks, as well as stayed on as an IM4 Ambassador; it has been amazing to remain involved in the ecosystem. In fact, because I am an alumnus of MIP and Polimi, I have made a number of connections and even closed clients who are alumni. This has led me to work with organizations and partnerships such as the Italian Trade Agency in NYC.

You are incredibly active on social media, with your work, podcasts and you have even found time to write a book! Is this spontaneous activity or do you spend a lot of time planning? Do you find the time management and decision-making processes easy?

I have clinically diagnosed ADHD and undiagnosed low-grade OCD, so it is equal parts spontaneous and process. If I am too spontaneous, I have great ideas and poor execution, while if I try to put in too much process, then I get lost in the details with OCD and end up trying to perfect everything vs getting good out. For me, the goal is time-blocking  ̶  my calendar is my NUMBER 1 Communication Tool: if it is not on my cal, it doesn’t happen. So what I do is time-block out tasks and activities on my calendar and once that block is done, I move on to the next thing. 

In which direction do you see yourself  ̶  and your areas of interest  ̶  heading in the future?

I want to continue to develop Rise Up Coaching to media services and create a space and a place for more content like a Rise Up Podcast network, as well as launch my own line of branded courses on entrepreneurship and brand. 

Sometimes what I want to build feels overwhelming and daunting, while on other days there is full clarity. It is an ongoing process. We are told that during our time at University and if we go through a master’s degree, we should know what we want to do and how to do it. I can see what I am building go a number of ways, and I also want to demystify this idea that we have to have life figured out. Life is an ongoing process and as we age, we grow, so I want to embody that and show that you can have a non-linear career path and still make great things happen. I live by the idea of ‘staying curious’ because when you are curious, you learn, and when you learn, you build.

With reference to both your LinkedIn profile and the title of your recent book, what does the concept of “soul” signify to you?  

I talk about the “Social Soul” in the light of who we are online; we need to be our real selves, as that is how real, authentic relationships are formed. And to do this, we need to show our souls online: this is us, who we are, the good, the bad (the tough lessons we learn), and everything in between. 

What advice would you give today to anybody considering studying marketing at MIP?

Build a value-added network early! Connect and build relationships with your classmates, other students at MIP, the professors, guest lecturers, etc. And start connecting and following industry leaders that you can learn from. Building a network early will open up so many opportunities, as well as enabling you to be at the forefront of innovative marketing strategies.

Self Executive Career Coaching

In the age of pandemic disruption, what do managers have to focus on to manage their professionalism at their best?
Organizational skills and personal reputation are at the forefront.

We are in the age of pandemic disruption.
Globalization and re-localization are changing their paradigm; the managerial talent pool continues to increase due to diversity and new generations, but skills shortage and war for talents are a matter of fact. Moreover, businesses are becoming increasingly less pyramidal and less top-down. So today Managers should focus on self-value, growing professionally and working on self-development, rather than just building a career. The notion of executive career is therefore based more on organizational skills and networking than on preconceived knowledges.
Growing professionally means being aware of one’s own organizational skills and managerial actions, as well as asking superiors, partners and coaches for feedback. It is important to pay attention to your soft skills, to have your own action plan and to be aware of your personal brand. In short, self-career management.


Continuous learning is necessary to keep up with the market and to be aware of your own managerial wellbeing.
It begins with defining your goals, identifying the skills to achieve them and analyzing at what stage of this path you are.
“If I leave this specific company with my current background, will I be able to reposition myself in the market adequately?”
If yes, it is best to “stay on the market” because the business and professional worlds are constantly evolving.
If the answer is negative, managers shouldn’t feel discouraged, but rather continue to improve themselves according to specific guidelines.


These days managers are asked to fulfill different targets simultaneously: from large-scale goals and singular functions, to one’s own professional growth.
It is necessary to have a comprehensive approach which includes acquiring technical and managerial capabilities for internal organization, as well as external relational skills.
The support of an executive coach can be decisive in this way.
It is important to prepare strategies to strengthen skills, keeping in mind coaching techniques for building relationships and networking.
If managers are particularly eager, they can start acting on their own, following a few guidelines.


The choice of “target companies” depends on one’s background and specific goals.
Managers with experience in foreign multinational corporations or in entrepreneurial businesses may have different paths and opportunities to choose from.
New businesses and startups are good opportunities, but of course not for everyone.


At high managerial levels, internationals experiences are a must.
They indicate an open-minded and risk-taking attitude, as well as the development of distinctive skills (i.e. ability to engage with different cultures, to negotiate at several levels with various rules etc.)


Networking with the sole goal of taking advantage of opportunities, thus for repositioning, is a practice that does not pay off much in the long term, and, in recent times, neither in the short period. The receiver (head hunters in primis) is usually aware of this instrumental goal and will be skeptical, though perhaps subconsciously.
Not only is networking for “learning and sharing” more noble, but also decidedly more useful.
The key combination is networking and collaboration.
Build your professional brand” is an even more relevant slogan, both on professional large social networking and in vertical communities. Reputation is important because managers have to build confidence in themselves and in their resources. This is fundamental to develop a critical thinking and to respond proactively to challenges, without letting themselves get buried by other’s expectations.


Digital is another key word that some people confuse with a mere technological skill.
Today, people managers are asked to navigate the new, while appreciating (and taking advantage of) younger generations, who can bring a new approach to business (reverse mentoring), thus helping challenge the status quo. In short, to connect the dots in a different way.


Overall, the axis of current career self-management consists of overseeing your hard skills and business command, as well as soft skills like organizational and people management, as they let you be perceived as a real decision maker, enabler of change and value carrier.
Businesses need highly reliable players whose moral strength, fitting with the specific company’s culture, is clear even in the worst situations.

From technology to luxury, how the MBA is helping me reach my Why

What is your why?

It is an easy answer for some, but for me and some of my colleagues it has been a longer journey to discover it. The definition itself is subjective, from your drive towards your career, or your raison d’être. Some of us separate our professional why from our personal why, or we have one guiding point for our lives. Before entering the International MBA program at MiP, I had an idea of what I wanted, and I knew a degree could help me get there because I wanted to change from the technology sector to the luxury market. However, I could not precisely describe what I wanted to do once I got there. For many of us, including me, higher education has helped us to get to our why and define what it is.

Exposure to new perspectives

One of the most important things that higher education has to offer is the exposure to new perspectives. You are immediately immersed into a new ecosystem of people, from your classmates, to teachers, tutors, and administrators. Each person brings a background and experience different from your own, opening your mind to possibilities you may not have considered. I am fortunate to learn not only from my experienced teachers, but also my international colleagues.

New Subjects

There are always new subjects to take advantage of in any program. I knew I wanted to take more marketing classes because that was a general interest of mine, but I didn’t know how applicable omni-channel marketing would be. Exposure to different topics can help narrow your focus or lead you down the path to your why.

Emerging Trends

Because higher education provides the opportunity to focus on research, its participants are usually the first to notice emerging trends. This is a huge benefit to students as we get to learn these trends as they are happening and apply that to our knowledge in the professional world. We’re on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, and I have discovered how important that will be in my future career.


Putting all the previous pieces together, in higher education you get the opportunity to innovate. With a cohort of new perspectives, learning new topics and emerging trends, you can collaborate with your colleagues and invent new solutions to current problems. These could be problems you’ve been looking to solve, or ones you didn’t know existed before. Some of the best ideas started at universities (including MiP!), because they create the perfect environment to pioneer new ideas and inventions.

Finding your Why

Choosing to continue your education can be a huge decision based on finances, location, time, personal life, and many other factors that vary from person to person. It was not a decision I took lightly, to move my entire life to another country for at least a year. Many of my colleagues moved their whole families, or are living long-distance from their partner, and left their jobs to pursue higher education. The benefit of all these choices is that we are coming closer to defining and achieving our goals. If I didn’t know my why before, I have a much stronger definition now.



About the author
Chelsy Greenman

I’m a current International Full-Time MBA student, originally from the United States. I’m enthusiastic about brand management and customer experience, particularly in the luxury industry. Yogi, WSET3, and art museum connoisseur. I love creating memorable occasions, one customer at a time.


Keeping close to the people of Ukraine: our help will make a difference

Since the 24th of February, the war in Ukraine is producing more and more civil victims, devastating livelihoods, damaging and destroying critical buildings, including schools, hospitals and hundreds of houses, as well as basic infrastructure systems and utilities.

We are asking everyone in our community at MIP Politecnico di Milano to make a contribution and help the stricken Ukrainian people!

There are more than 25,000 of us and together we can make a difference!

We are working with AVSI, an NGO based in Milan which operates in 38 countries across the world. We want our support to be on the ground in Lviv. This Ukrainian city is near the border with Poland, and refugees escaping from the eastern and northern parts of the country are heading there in their hundreds and thousands.

With your and our help, we can give our humanitarian aid, medical care and protection to vulnerable and displaced people in Ukraine, and will assist in providing:

  • food and other essential items
  • mental and social support services
  • access to medical supplies and basic medicines




Reinvent Your Career with an Online MBA

Business schools say that more online students are looking to switch careers into a new industry, function or geography — or all three

Traditionally, Online MBA programs have appealed to students who want to advance their career in the same industry, function, or with the same employers. This is usually due to the high proportion of participants who are funded by their employer, as remote students can keep working full-time and apply what they learn immediately in the workplace.

Online MBA students also tend to be senior working professionals, and more settled in their career choices, but this is changing. Now, business schools say that more students are looking to switch careers into a new industry, function or geography — and they see an Online MBA as the best way to pull off a career reinvention.

“Recently, we noticed that after spending few years in the same job, many of our MBA students feel like their motivation and commitment is going down and are no longer satisfied in doing what they do,” says Valentina Di Nenno, senior consultant at MIP Politecnico di Milano in Italy.

“The majority of our incoming students say that they are interested in career change,” she adds. “People are more and more attracted by organizations where they can make a difference and work with a purpose.”

For many, it’s time to start something new, and an Online MBA can help facilitate a shift in direction. “A career change could be a sector change, but it could also be a role change, for instance from and to a different functional area, or from a technical job to a managerial role,” says Di Nenno.

Some students, especially the international ones, also use the Online MBA to boost their global mobility. “During the course of their studies, many students change one or even two dimensions,” Di Nenno says, but this is not easy to achieve. “It requires a perfect combination of skills, goals, motivation and job market needs.” […]

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