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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

Innovation

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.

 

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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Marvelous Milano

It is difficult choosing a university, especially one abroad. The school needs to be a good fit, but so does the city that you will be spending so much time in and moving your life to, even if temporarily. Milan is one of those amazing locations that offers not only some of the best schools in Europe, but it is also a great place to be an international student.

  • Come si dice?

Obviously one of the benefits of moving to a new country is the opportunity to learn a new language. Something of note though, is that you don’t have to speak Italian right away. Milan is a very international city, and many people speak English or a multit ude of other languages. With so many international companies and schools offering programs in English you can feel confident coming here with a very basic knowledge of the language (but you should learn Italian once you get here!).

  • Let’s Eat

What more can be said about Italian food? It is world-renowned for a reason. Milan is in the very North so not only do we have food from all over Italy, but we also have influences from the surrounding regions like Austria and Switzerland. The international influence provides all types of cuisines to explore, from sushi to hamburgers. Something uniquely Italian that the Milanese have perfected is the aperitivo – a time before dinner where bars and restaurants serve food with any drink you order. It is perfect for a student budget, and a lovely way to relax after classes with colleagues and friends.

  • Bella Arte

Another thing Italy is known for, the art and architecture. Milan is highly underrated in this regard, there are so many museums from antiquity to contemporary. You can see Roman pottery and

Banksy in the same day, or you can be shopping in a modern store and the building next door is from the 16th century. Plus, many traveling exhibitions come through Milan, so there is always something new to see and explore. You never have a dull weekend or evening.

  • Getting Around

Coming from another country, most international students don’t have cars here so public transportation is crucial. Milan has every type imaginable from bus, to tram, to trains, and even bikes or scooters to rent. Getting around the city is speedy and easy, so you can make to school on time, or to your friend’s house that lives across town. Milan is super connected when you want to

travel to other cities or countries as well. With the speed trains Rome and Florence are not far away,

and with two airports the rest of Europe isn’t either.

  • The Great Outdoors

Since Milan is so connected, it’s very easy to spend time in nature. Milan itself has parks all over the city, including Parco Sempione in the center w ith a beautiful castle to roam around. If you want to be even more remote than that, you can get to the mountains or the beach by train in a matter of hours (sometimes less). There is skiing and hiking in the mountains, or swimming in the ocean and lakes. You can be outdoors in every season in Milan.

There really is something for everyone here in Milan but I think the best part of studying abroad here is that it attracts so many other international students. You’re never alone with such a large community.

 

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.

 

From Italy to America: an MBA across continents and the power of flexibility

Lately, I have started to think of the last two years as having been the weirdest period of my life. I never had time to get used to a new situation, one in which I had to reschedule and redefine my short- and long-term goals. I have always thought critically about my career and even when I was totally in love with my job, I needed to improve my background by adding new tasks.

The continuous need for new challenges is probably part of my personality and it will hardly abandon me, but I am glad to see how it helps me in frequently reconsidering my condition and searching for new paths.

This feeling, my personal feedback about my work and my aspirations, led me to start the International MBA at MIP, choosing the Part-Time edition because leaving my job was never taken into consideration. The first half of this two-year program made me work, study and have fun with several classmates who gradually became close friends.

Meanwhile, the slow restarting of society brought new work opportunities; the company I work for recognised the positive effect of the MBA in my approach to complex issues. After spending a few months in Nigeria for a new project, I was offered a move to the U.S. to follow up another one, but this time with a coordination role.

Well, it didn’t take that much for me to take a decision, so I am here writing about my experience with a seven- hour time difference, in a new city, trying to get used to several new habits and really regretting that I have forgotten to bring my moka pot and some Italian coffee! I mention the time difference because it has been causing some issues, considering that when I wake up every morning more than half of the working day in Italy has passed and when I am done with my job, it’s already late at night over there. The MBA requires us to share and discuss most of the assignments with our classmates and this used to happen right after work, in the early evening. Now this is not feasible during the week, so I have had to concentrate these activities into the weekends.

However, I am glad that the connections I have made with my classmates are helping a lot; I have found some who spontaneously organize separate calls to help me, and who spend time supporting me and trying to ease the difficulties of being so far away.

On the other hand, I am facing some problems in attending the lectures, since they start when it’s 2 a.m. in the U.S. and last until 12 p.m. Trust me, it’s an extreme effort to wake up at that time and to keep focused during the classes. I have tried it − your mind is not yet ready to be productive (at least, mine isn’t…). I therefore have to use all the flexibility that this MBA can offer, by watching the recordings of the classes on the following day and asking for any clarifications I need on the subjects from my classmates, professors or our Program Officer. There are now only a few courses left for me to do and I am sure I can make it with my commitment and the help of everyone around me!

Finding a new job that suits and really challenges you many times per day is not common and to honour it, it requires concentration and patience, but also courage and audacity; these are qualities that I’m working hard to demonstrate to myself. While not taking a single backwards step in studying for the MBA I am just mastering the management of my time, my energies and my will, mostly when I am late with some deadline.

Well, everything that happens unexpectedly helps us in effecting change in ourselves while facing a new situation, a new environment or new habits. I am in Texas now; I eat wonderful meat, I drive for too long to go anywhere, I cannot find a good place for an espresso coffee, and I nod to people talking about sports I have never played (I don’t even know the rules), while just few weeks ago I was in Milan organizing dinners with friends, going everywhere just on foot and trying to convince myself that drinking American coffee was cool.

I am excited to see what is going to happen next − the future does not look so bad!

 

 

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.

 

 

Supply Chain and its integrative management practice: an interview with an MIP professor

Dear Professor Nizar Abdelkafi, it is a pleasure to have the possibility to exchange some ideas and thoughts with you about Supply Chain Management and its ever-growing importance for companies and for curricula at universities and business schools.

Starting with an icebreaking question, I see that before joining MIP, you were head of the research unit at Fraunhofer Society in Germany and a lecturer at the University of Leipzig. What brings you here to Milan and to MIP?

There are many reasons that brought me to Milan after a long and very rich experience in Germany, in particular at the Fraunhofer Society. First, I wanted to join a world-class University. Politecnico di Milano is a highly reputed University, not only in Italy, but also in Europe and all over the world. MIP is an excellent business school with many international and executive programs. Second, I wanted to be involved in a new challenge, a new culture, while learning a new language, and also to get to know a new working environment. Third, I had been to Milan and Italy many times before moving here. So, I like the city, the people, and the way of life. Fourth, my wife loves Italy, and living in Italy had been a dream of hers that has now come true 😊.

Being Italian, I can only agree with the third and fourth points and I am quite sure that Milan and Italy will keep the promise.

Moving on to your research topic, I was quite impressed when, during the MBA path, I saw that MIP’s Supply Chain Management module is not integrated in Operations Management. Usually books tend to put “Operations Management” and “Supply Chain Management” together. Do you think that it is a good choice to teach both topics separately? And do you think that this choice has been made because of the increasing relevance of the topic?

This is a good question. It is true that some operations management textbooks include supply chain management as a chapter, but a textbook on operations management cannot cover all the specific aspects of supply chain management. Supply chain management has developed to a proper discipline with topics that overlap with many other fields, among others, product design, logistics, sustainability, risk management, and information technology. Supply chain management has introduced a new way of thinking in management practice that is integrative, going beyond the boundaries of the single company. In the meantime, it is a very well-established field. Many companies are aware of how critical supply chain management is to their success, and therefore they create dedicated departments and recruit skilled specialists in this area.

Could you tell us, according to your experience, which is the biggest challenge that supply chains are facing and which of the emerging technologies (e.g., the Internet of Things, drones, self-driving vehicles) will be really disruptive in fixing it in the coming years?

Your question has two parts. Concerning the first part, we are facing a global challenge. Climate change is a reality that we cannot deny, and nations must address this problem seriously and cooperatively. Because of climate change, natural disasters, in the near future, will occur more frequently than we used to experience. Floods, fires, etc, are the consequence, and this will cause many supply chain disruptions. Thus, one of the biggest challenges that supply chains have to face is how to deal with an ever-increasing level of disruptions, by building resilient supply chains that are able to recover fast. To cope with supply chain risks, however, we need both managerial and technological solutions.

The second question is related to disruptive technologies in supply chains. Making a prediction regarding which technologies will be disruptive is a difficult task. In my opinion, however, Artificial Intelligence (AI) coupled with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has the potential to lead to the biggest technological disruptions in supply chains. New players will create new services that we have never thought of, ensuring a high level of visibility and real-time-management of supply chains.

One of the topics always present in every Supply Chain class is sustainability. Usually, the trade-off driver in logistics is the “Service-Cost” one. Nowadays, on the other hand, the emerging request from companies (and from final customers) is to lower the ecological footprint, such as CO2 emissions. While some activities to increase sustainability lead to a decrease in the costs (for example route optimization or the design of shorter trips), other activities will lead to an increase in costs in the short term with no certain return in the future (only, for example, the substitution of the actual fleet with an electric one and all the related costs). Do you think that we will only be seeing a “partial” innovation in the next few years, in order to remain close to the trade-off previously mentioned?

This is a big question that can hardly be answered in just a few lines. The costs and benefits of sustainability have been debated for long time, but I will not get into this now. Sure, however, supply chains cannot afford not to integrate sustainability efforts into their actions. Natural resources are not unlimited. In addition, companies must assume an increasing responsibility regarding stakeholders. Hence, supply chains will intensify their sustainability-related endeavours, although in the pandemic era we are still struggling with, economic growth will have a higher priority until companies are able to stand on their own feet again. In a nutshell, we can distinguish between two types of innovation that will reinforce sustainability in supply chains. The first is technological. Technology will generate totally new solutions and lead to completely new applications. Think, for example, of 3D printing and its impact on decreasing logistics costs or embedding electric vehicles in intermodal transportation concepts. The other type of innovation is business model focused. It is about rethinking the traditional ways of doing business, e.g., crowdfunding platforms to fund efficiency and sustainability projects.

Closing our interview, would you suggest to future students a recent book (or an article) related to Supply Chain that treats the matter insightfully and professionally? And, the last request, could you give any piece of advice to future MBA candidates especially attracted by the Supply Chain?

I suggest reading the new (ab)normal by Yossi Sheffi, a book published in 2020 that excellently illustrates how supply chains could deal effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic. For the future MBA candidates fascinated by Supply Chain management, I would like to tell them first that you are just attracted by the right topic 😊. The pandemic has demonstrated how essential and important supply chain management is to everyone. My (practical) advice for these students: first, learn the theoretical frameworks in supply chain management and understand them in depth. These will potentially give you directions to find solutions, or help you to better analyse and structure practical problems; second, complement your knowledge with examples and case studies. There are a bunch of good case studies in supply chain management that just reinforce understanding; finally, do not miss any opportunity to apply your knowledge in your companies or elsewhere. In this way, you will be highly skilled in supply chain management.

Thank you Professor for your precise and in-depth answers. I have found several starting points to go through. I really enjoyed both your lessons and this exchange of ideas and I can only encourage other students interested in the topic to benefit from your pieces of advice and to approach the study of this matter from the different perspectives you mentioned before.

 

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.

 

How an Online MBA Leads to Career Reinvention

More students have been switching careers, prompting business schools to adapt their career services

Traditionally, Online MBA programs were seen as being more for career accelerators. Taken by people who are typically older compared with full-time MBA students, online courses were for senior working managers looking to accelerate career progress within the same organization.

However, more Online MBA students have been switching careers in recent years, prompting business schools to adapt their career support services.

The degree can support a career reinvention. “Half of our online participants have the goal of finding a new job by the time or shortly after they graduate,” says Nina Canfield, director of employee relations and graduate career services at Indiana University Kelley School of Business in the US.

A large subset of these students are looking to pivot into roles that are related or lateral to their function, she says. “However, we also have populations of students that are making a more dramatic switch, such as transitioning from military service to civilian careers, or choosing a finance major to move to investment banking or private equity.”

The business school has ramped up the services on offer to support students with their career switch. Kelley Direct Career Services include online resources, job boards, events, a regular newsletter featuring job openings, career events and career guidance, professional development courses and one-to-one career coaching. […]

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, employers seem to be now more aware of the value of an Online MBA. “Covid-19 has deeply changed the way we interact with people, triggering a huge acceleration of digitalization,” says Valentina di Nenno, senior career consultant at Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business.

“In the last 18 months, we have been forced to turn down face-to-face meetings for Zoom or Teams calls, getting used to working, learning and interacting in a digital environment,” she says. “Indeed, many business schools were required to convert their in-person training courses to online programs, driving people to get first-hand experience of digital learning.” […]

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The working MBA students: how to choose the right path

It’s been almost a year since I started my experience on the International Part-time MBA and, while attending the lectures, I found myself proud of being part of this team. The more I get to know my classmates, the more I recognize how high their level is and how much, without realizing it, I am pushing myself to be more reliable and efficient, both at work and at the business school. I understand that ultimately, we are all moved by the same desire to learn and be challenged; every occasion for group work became an excuse to share past experiences and start discussions about our points of view or our goals. The class is getting closer and the teamwork is being extended to the individual assignments as well, when students spontaneously organize study groups.

Meanwhile, I’m currently working as an engineer in a proud-to-be-Italian EPC company with long-term experience of international projects. The effort required is quite high, mostly when the schedule is affected by unexpected changes. Imagine being in my shoes, a young engineer keen on developing his existing skills and adding new ones to his background, while doing an already very demanding job: what kind of characteristics would you search for in a part-time MBA? At the beginning, flexibility was the top feature I was focusing on, followed by topics and teaching methods. After having a look at the university rankings and collecting some general information, I realized that such a Master should not only provide technical teaching but also an environment able to push students to work together while unravelling business cases. There is no doubt that this is the best way to improve soft skills, such as interaction with people of different experience and ages, and your attitude to problem-solving.

As I mentioned, one year has passed since I joined this wonderful team and a lot has happened. MIP showed what I think is the right attitude in guaranteeing the best quality of teaching during the Covid emergency, pushing as hard as possible for lectures to be held in presence whenever this was feasible, and always finding the best solutions in accordance with the latest regulations.

Apart from the pandemic issue, this year surprised me with an unexpected work trip that took me to Nigeria for over two months. This meant once again missing the opportunity to follow face-to-face lectures at the time when the emergency was becoming less extreme. Anyway, during this trip I was able not only to fulfil my duties as an engineer, but also to attend two different topics (remotely) and prepare the relevant assignments and group work.

“Dulcis in fundo”, the icing on the cake is that my company has just given me the opportunity to move to the USA for 18 months to monitor the final phase of a construction site. Unfortunately, short notice and an urgent departure schedule is the normal procedure in my work, but I have accepted the challenge. In two days I managed to organize this exciting new experience abroad, by contacting MIP to discuss the matter and by planning with both my company and the school the activities for which my presence will be strictly requested (in my case, only the international weeks). The ease with which a fast resolution was found for a situation that at the beginning concerned me a lot was happily well-received, and allowed me to focus on other priorities.

I decided to tell you about my latest work experience because I think that this is the easiest way to explain what, in my opinion, a part-time MBA should ensure. In the end, what really matters when you decide to study and work at the same time is your determination to accomplish your goals. This kind of experience makes you understand yourself better and better. You are going to be pushed to your limits sometimes but you will not give up. You are actually looking for the most difficult challenge your career can offer at this time and you already know that this is going to be one of the most important successes in your life.

 

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.