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


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.

ERC Consolidator Grant goes to Massimo Tavoni

Massimo Tavoni, Full Professor of climate economics at the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, is the winner of the ERC Consolidator Grant with the EUNICE project, which aims to reduce uncertainties in climate stabilisation pathways. 


Massimo Tavoni, Professor at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano and Director of the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), is one of the winners of the 2022 edition of the ERC Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), the first pan-European organisation for frontier research.

Professor Tavoni’s research was selected from over two thousand proposals submitted to ERC, which aims to foster scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging competition for funding among the best and most original researchers.

In detail, EUNICE aims to correct errors and biases in the ensembles of climate-energy-economic models that study climate stabilisation, and to develop ways to validate and confirm scenario insights.

The main objective of the project is therefore to develop an innovative and integrated approach to quantify, translate and communicate in an effective and prompt way the main uncertainties associated with low-carbon pathways and scenarios that explore very distant futures, renewing the methodological and experimental bases of model-based climate assessments. Three key objectives for three main research lines: extending current scenarios to the “deep” future and quantifying their uncertainties; removing errors and biases from scenarios to account for short-term disruptions (e.g. extreme and unexpected events); translating maps of the future provided by models into robust and reliable guidelines; and testing how to communicate these in the most effective and timely way.

EUNICE is a project of great relevance also for other research areas: indeed the approach and innovations developed by EUNICE can also be applied to other high-risk environmental, social and technological assessments. Its unique combination of computational and behavioural science and public engagement will be an important mediation tool in debates on fundamental decisions for our society, increasing confidence in and recognition of the scientific method.



For more information on ERC Consolidator Grants 2022: https://erc.europa.eu/news/erc-2021-consolidator-grants-results



Confirmed the EQUIS accreditation of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano

Created in 1997 as the first global benchmark for international institutional auditing and accreditation, EQUIS is a rigorous tool for assessing and improving quality: our School of Management was first accredited in 2007.  EQUIS joins AMBA and AACSB, the three most prestigious awards that make up the ‘Triple Crown’, achieved by just 100 business schools in the world.


The School of Management of Politecnico di Milano has received reconfirmation of its EQUIS accreditation, first awarded in 2007 by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), thus remaining firmly among the approximately 100 Business Schools in the world that can boast the ‘Triple Crown’, or the three most authoritative global certifications: EQUIS-EFMD Quality Improvement System, AMBA -The Association of MBAs and AACSB – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the second two obtained in 2012 and 2021 respectively.

Created in 1997 as the first global benchmark for international institutional auditing and accreditation, while still considering the cultural and regulatory differences of the different countries, EQUIS is a rigorous tool for assessing, accrediting and improving quality in ten key areas, comparing them with international objectives: governance, programmes, students, faculty, research and development, internationalisation, ethics, responsibility, sustainability, connections with practice. True quality consists in trying to do better even when you are already excellent and it is precisely this focus on continuous improvement that is at the heart of EQUIS’s mission, with periodical audits and confirmation of the high level of the member institutes.

The very scrupulous assessment for re-accreditation concerned the School’s strategy, its courses, relations with the main stakeholders (businesses, Alumni, students, Faculty), research and consistency with the broader strategic plan. In particular, EQUIS gives importance to creating effective learning environments that foster students’ managerial and entrepreneurial skills together with their personal growth and sense of global responsibility. There are currently 206 EQUIS accredited schools in 46 countries.

Confirmation of the very high standards that allow us to boast EQUIS accreditation, for the past 15 years, testifies the quality of our teaching, our attention to the needs of students, the quality of our courses increasingly oriented towards sustainability and innovation and above all our achieved, full international dimension ,” says Alessandro Perego, Director of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano -. For our School, international accreditations are a fundamental and irreplaceable tool for strengthening quality, research and social engagement, in a continuous dialogue with the most innovative global environment in pursuit of excellence.  It is therefore not a point of arrival, but a point of departure for repositioning higher education at the centre of economic and social recovery.”

Vittorio Chiesa and Federico Frattini, respectively President and Dean of MIP Politecnico di Milano, the Graduate School of Business which is part of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, also declared themselves very pleased with the certification received: “The renewal of EQUIS accreditation is added to confirmation of our presence in the main global rankings and to a series of awards for the quality of the courses offered to managers and top managers from all over the world. We are aware of the great commitment of our School of Management to the continuous improvement of all aspects of education. For this reason, recognition of the quality of our upskilling and reskilling courses by international certification bodies increases and strengthens our reputation in an increasingly competitive world scenario.”

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




“The challenge of pursuing impact in research”: now online the new issue of SOMeMagazine

SOMe Issue #8 has been released.

In this issue we discuss the impact of research and the challenge of defining and measuring it.
Stefano Magistretti and Federico Caniato explain how our School is engaged in building an “impact culture” to be encouraged and sustained over time, also using an assessment framework to evaluate the impact of the our research.

To report some impact cases, Enrico Cagno, Giulia Felice and Lucia Tajoli tell the fundamental role of academic research in supporting the green transition in emerging countries, while Diletta Di Marco shows how citizens can contribute in evaluating the social impact of scientific research, choosing whether or not to support a project. Finally Angelo Cavallo talks about the new space-based technologies that bring opportunities for innovation and sustainability and imply new business models.

In our “Stories” we feature the impact of Covid-19 on the life of working women and some projects promoting sustainability in fashion and corporate behaviors.



To read SOMe’s #8 click here.

To receive it directly in your inbox, please sign up here.

Previous issues of SOMe:

  • # 1 “Sustainability – Beyond good deeds, a good deal?”
  • Special Issue Covid-19 – “Global transformation, ubiquitous responses
  • #2 “Being entrepreneurial in a high-tech world”
  • #3 “New connections in the post-covid era”
  • #4 “Multidisciplinarity: a new discipline”
  • #5 “Inclusion: shaping a better society for all”
  • #6 “Innovation with a human touch”
  • #7 “From data science to data culture: the emergence of analytics-powered managers”

Online MBA Rankings 2022: MIP Politecnico di Milano among the best in the world

The Financial Times and QS Quacquarelli Symonds place the International Flex MBA at Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management among the world’s best once more this year, ranking it 6th and 11th, respectively.

MIP Politecnico di Milano, the Graduate School of Business at Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management, has received two major international recognitions, underlining the quality of its digital learning education. Two of the most authoritative certifying bodies have underscored the excellence of the School’s International Flex MBA on the international stage.

According to the FT Online MBA Ranking 2022, MIP’s online MBA has climbed two places this year, and is now ranked 6th in the world, one of a select group of outstanding MBA programmes taught in distance learning. The highly respected British newspaper now ranks MIP up in 4th place in Europe, confirming its position as the only Italian business school to be included in this exclusive classification.

And this is not the only acknowledgement awarded to MIP’s online MBA. The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) Online MBA Ranking 2022 has also certified its value, placing the MBA at 11th place in the world.

Vittorio Chiesa and Federico Frattini, the President and the Dean of MIP, stated: “We are delighted and immensely proud of the excellent placings achieved this year by one of our flagship MBAs. Ever since we launched the first edition of our Flex MBA in digital learning, back in 2014, we have been hard at work to improve the quality of our distance teaching. It needs experience and knowledge in educational design to come up with a good online programme and implement it satisfactorily. It also needs teachers ready to work within a flexible and inclusive approach to teaching. Technology is a great enabler for rethinking the way we all teach and learn.”

MIP’s International MBA is based on one of the most advanced digital learning platforms in the world, developed on Microsoft technology, and was the first distance learning programme to be launched in Italy, at a time when there still a big question mark over the model of digital learning.

Returning to the subject of the FT rankings, from an analysis of the individual parameters used to determine scores, a standout factor for MIP is its continuous commitment to sustainability, strengthening the School’s B Corp identity and its status as the first and only business school in Europe to bear this certification. Looking at the environmental, social and governance (ESG) rank (which takes in how many teaching hours in core courses are spent on ethical, social and environmental issues), MIP’s MBA is placed 3rd in the world. The results for career progress are also highly significant, increasingly indicating that MIP is the gold standard for continuous learning offered to top company managers.

Access the Financial Times Online MBA 2022 here

Access the QS ONLINE MBA RANKING 2002 here

The challenge of pursuing impact in research

Conversation with:
Federico Caniato, Full Professor of Supply Chain & Procurement Management at School of Management, Politecnico di Milano
Stefano Magistretti, Assistant Professor of Agile Innovation at School of Management, Politecnico di Milano


Universities are increasingly engaged in demonstrating the impact of their research. What is the impact of research? 

The impact of research is crucial not only for the Politecnico di Milano, but for the entire Italian university system, and more in general for universities worldwide. It is not easy to define what research impact is. We can say that the impact of research encompasses all the results, implications, and consequences resulting from scientific research activities aimed at generating knowledge, but they are also expected to provide concrete benefits. In our school, we have defined research impact in three progressive levels of maturity: dissemination, adoption, and benefits. Dissemination is the spread of the results and findings among the relevant stakeholders, adoption is the use of the research results by the stakeholders, and benefits are the consequences of this adoption.

Why is impact so important for research?

Research is often accused of being self-referential, i.e. ‘speaking’ only to members of the academic community without providing a significant contribution to society at large. Instead, research can have a much broader and more significant impact than expected. Therefore, it is crucial to illustrate such impacts to a broader audience, requiring researchers to learn to assess and share the value of their work with multiple stakeholders.

What is the approach to impact assessment in the School of Management?

In 2017, we started a journey in the School of Management to develop a culture of research impact assessment. This journey saw a reflection on the assessment framework, the development of a method, and the collection and analysis of the research impact assessments. We started by combing the literature for impact assessments, interviewing experts, and interacting with our international advisory board to define our framework. The framework comprises the three levels of maturity (i.e. dissemination, adoption, and benefits) and five stakeholder domains (i.e. institutions, enterprises, students and faculty, citizens, and the academic community). The second step was the adoption of the framework. This initially began in 2019 with a set of 16 pilot projects, which then extended to a more extensive set of projects (42 in 2020; 43 in 2021).

The conventional idea of ‘impact’ makes sense in a linear model: changes or discoveries in science and research are expected to cause changes in society, but impact assessment frameworks are usually far more complex, can you tell us why?

The research impact assessment is more complex because the impact is not linear. Some elements impact one stakeholder, causing indirect effects on other stakeholders. For example, research results adopted by public institutions may benefit citizens, or the results disseminated to students may be adopted later, when the students are professionals within companies. Thus, the impact network is intertwined. Seeing the link among the domains and level of maturity, and how an initiative might influence other areas of impact requires a framework that tries to bring everything together. Let’s take an example. If you publish an academic paper, there is diffusion within the academic community, but if you share it in class, there is also an impact on students; if you use it in corporate education, that novel piece of research can become the seed for a potential company project. So from a single action — dissemination of research among the academic community — you might have an impact over multiple stakeholders on different levels.

How much of this impact analysis must be made ex ante, while planning the activity, and how much ex post?

The impact assessment is a helpful tool in every moment of a research project. We saw colleagues adopting it when writing proposals for an EU project or internal research initiative. This is because the impact is both ex-ante and ex-post. The most important thing is to envision potential impact ex-ante, which helps to set the expectations and objective of the project. Ex-post assessment instead aims to measure the results obtained in terms of impact, monitor the results of the planned activities, and demonstrate the actual achievements. Thus, there is not just a single moment for impact analysis; it is always a good to measure it before, during, and after the research initiative.

Is the impact ‘native’ or built over time? Do we need our PhD candidates to be ‘natural-born impacters’ or is it an orientation that can be encouraged and sustained over time?

The impact culture is not native. It is something that PhD candidates and researchers in general should be trained in. Indeed, some impacts are easy to design and achieve, but impacts of a higher level are more challenging and require careful consideration, so it is important to build impact over time. Indeed, it is difficult to gain everything with a single new research programme. As for PhD candidates, it is probably something that we should share with them and encourage them to reflect on. This is something we started at the last AiIG (Associazione Italiana Ingegneria Gestionali) Summer School held by the Politecnico di Bari in September 2021, where we shared the framework with more than 50 Italian PhD candidates and asked them to apply it to their PhD research. The PhD candidates were positively surprised about the unexpected outcomes of this assessment exercise. Disseminating the culture of research impact assessment is something we need to do at every level.