Tips & Tricks To Choose The Right Learning Path

If there is one thing that we associate with the current era it is the availability of numerous options for learning and upgrading our skill set as professionals. With most industries evolving rapidly in the wake of the pandemic, it is more imperative than ever to continuously upgrade your skill set and be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Before picking a learning path, one thing that will greatly help you to understand the long-term goals you have for yourself is if you just write down how you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time. This exercise will help in getting an understanding of your current position with regard to your future goals.

Let’s begin with the tips and tricks to choosing the correct learning path that we have been promising you all along.


1. Create A Mind Map

A mind map is a tool to help us think in a more tangible form, so that we can expand upon our ideas, refine them, and use them to get things done. They are also powerful ways to develop a deeper understanding of our goals and ambitions. Mind mapping demands  meaningful engagement because learners actively engage in the process of brainstorming, generating ideas, and connecting concepts together while reviewing and developing mind maps.

You can draw a mind map that showcases the topics, and sub-topics branching from them, which you plan to cover for your end goal. One can use different colours, shapes, icons, node sizes etc. We have at our disposal some online tools, both free and paid, that can help you store information such as Mind Node and X Mind, among others.

2. Focus with Research

Now that you’ve listed down all the ideas that can be executed in the pursuit of those long-term goals, it is time to do some due diligence or research to separate those which are absolutely important from those that can be tackled with less urgency. It is important to be smart about time management and to know how to prioritize the acquisition of skills.

Research everything you can about the position you want to achieve and make a list of the various factors that you think you might be lacking! From here, identify the must-haves and design a schedule to dedicate time to acquiring these skills. Depending on your professional and personal commitments, your schedule could be daily, weekly or monthly.


3. Define SMART Goals

As part of our MBA, we place emphasis on having SMART goals, not just for businesses but also for our personal growth! For a learning path to be truly valuable, the learner must have the ability to define their SMART goals. SMART goals are a management ethic that defines milestones on the path of learning that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time-bound. Here is a brief for these goals in the context of the learning path:

  • Specific: Identify the specific skills needed
  • Measurable: Quantify an indicator of progress for measurable goals such as certifications
  • Achievable: Research the courses that will help you achieve them
  • Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved, given the available resources
  • Time-related: Specify the target date or general time frame when the result(s) can be achieved

Keeping a track of these SMART goals will initiate a key aspect of any learning path: self-assessment. Once you learn to self-assess your actions you will be able to clearly see the direction you’re headed in and what results you can expect in the amount of time you are dedicating to the end goal.


4. Visualize the End Goal

Visualization is a last-minute check of reasons and motivations before embarking on the journey of learning. The ability to visualize your future self will require you to ask yourself hard questions and figure out where your end goal features in the scheme of your future aspirations and desires.

Some benefits of visualization include:

  • Visualizing outcomes that you want can increase your confidence. “Seeing” yourself succeed, helps you believe that it can – and will – happen.
  • Visualization helps you “practice” success. When you imagine every step of an event or activity, you get your mind and body ready to take these steps in real life.

Visualization is a powerful process, that can help ignite action in you − action needed to move in the direction of the future self, which has motivated you to take up the particular learning path to realizing your long-term ambitions.


5. Get Going

Now that you have a mind map ready for your goals and you have managed to define the SMART goals necessary to track your progress along the way, we come to the most important step! Start and start now and take action to achieve your goals. Until you put all the steps listed above into action, they’re just theories with little potential to help you level up your skill set.

Since you already have the list of skills that are an absolute must-have for your long-term aspirations, it is now time to start acquiring them, one skill at a time! At MiP Politecnico di Milano, we have been taught the importance of constantly working at our skills and work regularly in upgrading them earnestly and with passion.


About the author
Rakshit Behel

A results-oriented marketing communications professional helping brands achieve objectives with integrated marketing campaigns built around branded content. From creatively developing and implementing digital marketing and content strategies to measuring performance with analytics and providing insights into useful data, aligned to brands’ business goals; experience of working with clients from different industries: Hospitality, IT, Fintech, Media and Healthcare.

Why is doing an MBA now more important than ever?

There’s no doubt that the current pandemic has put a lot of things in perspective for the world. The primary factor here is the business landscape, as industries across the world grapple with the new normal and are about to start a long and arduous journey towards recovery. Businesses are re-evaluating their methodologies within the context of the pandemic and restructuring their vision and mission values to fit the new normal. It comes as no surprise then, that a lot of these businesses are looking to invest in managers and leaders who share the same level of consciousness towards the challenges that lie ahead and are able to figure out solutions to lead businesses with their knowledge and acumen.

With things having hit the reset button, it becomes imperative that investing in an MBA amidst the global pandemic makes more sense than ever! Why do you ask? So let’s take a look first at what does an MBA offer?

At its core, an MBA offers you the following key aspects:

  • Technical expertise at managing and leading a business
  • The opportunity to build a network with professionals from diverse backgrounds
  • The chance to specialize in a field suited to the constantly evolving technologies and business landscapes (Innovation, Digital Transformation, Big Data

With the pandemic severely affecting the future prospects for a lot of junior-middle management executives, the crisis also presents a fantastic opportunity to significantly add new knowledge to your current capabilities and add value to your profile. Think of it this way, nobody in the last decade who graduated as an MBA faced the same challenges while figuring out solutions to case-studies or figuring out the current scenarios in the context of Covid.

Add to this, the fact that the pandemic has limited our mobility and so scope for socializing has dropped drastically. With the backdrop of the pandemic, business schools all over the world have had to quickly grapple with the challenges and make the best use of available technologies. At MIP Politecnico di Milano, I was amazed at the rate at which these technologies were initiated for optimum course delivery. Along with the academics, it also allowed me to have live discussions with the professors as well as the wonderful set of colleagues for various assignments, projects and competitions. The fact that we are part of an international program means that I have had the pleasure of growing my network with some of the smartest minds from different parts of the world.

Another important facet of doing an MBA is that it provides an opportunity to evaluate an alternate career path. Of course, most people applying for an MBA dream of landing a top job in their preferred fields of Finance, Operations or Marketing − but what if the job market is lacking in better prospects? As someone studying business administration, I can say that the technical skills that you learn about managing businesses successfully can also provide you with a way to start your own business. The knowledge can give you deeper insights into defining the value of your product or service and enable you to work out a comprehensive business plan in order to take your solution to the market. Business schools across the world today offer their students incubators and a vast network of industry professionals in order to hone their entrepreneurship skills.

Part of studying for an MBA is being able to question the status quo and devise solutions to complex issues. The crisis will demand of business schools the fusion of prevailing knowledge with new intelligence. As new technologies emerge so will the new data points, helping us draw fresh insights into how to adapt the course offering of MBA programs to better suit the needs of the industry. It becomes imperative then, applying to take an MBA in current times will help you equip yourself better for the time when worldwide economies hit the recovery mode and employers will be looking to hire skilled people who can help them navigate the future.

Last but not least, an MBA can help boost your confidence in yourself many times over. It is not a hidden fact − the pandemic has taken a huge toll on our mental health. Being amidst high-calibre individuals with similar thoughts can help you make new friends and significantly boost your inner confidence in your own abilities as a team-player. Most MBA programs are designed in such a way as to help you learn how to manage multiple tasks by learning to prioritise and teaching you how to deal with tight timelines that follow one after the other. These traits help you develop a long-term perspective on getting a return-on-investment out of your course, because as you get higher up in your corporate journey, you need these skills more and more.

To conclude; sure, the pandemic has made us think about a lot of things, with so much uncertainty looming around us; if you’re wondering whether now is the right time to go for a business administration course, I would say that this is the perfect time to unlearn old notions, learn new things, rewire your thinking and upgrade your skillset with an MBA degree.


About the author
Rakshit Behel

A results-oriented marketing communications professional helping brands achieve objectives with integrated marketing campaigns built around branded content. From creatively developing and implementing digital marketing and content strategies to measuring performance with analytics and providing insights into useful data, aligned to brands’ business goals; experience of working with clients from different industries: Hospitality, IT, Fintech, Media and Healthcare.

«Thanks to the Full-Time MBA I learned to enhance the family business»

Fabio Borgia, a Full-Time MBA student, has a leading role in the Le Rogaie farm, managed together with his parents and siblings. The history of an innovative project that, through social media, tells the story of a group that is attentive to social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Innovating in a sector that is considered to be among the most traditional is possible. That is shown by Le Rogaie, a family-run farm in the Tuscan Maremma, which during the first lockdown deciding to talk about its activities online. The family business is managed by the Borgia family: two parents and five children. Among these is Fabio Borgia, currently enrolled in the Full-Time MBA programme at MIP Politecnico di Milano. An engineer by training, specialised in the energy sector, he talks to us about the reasons that led Le Rogaie online: «We took our inspiration from some foreign farmers, who thanks to social media had the opportunity to talk about their activities in a transparent fashion and without stereotypes. And we also decided to try».

The farm goes online

So, Le Rogaie landed on YouTube, on Facebook, on Instagram. The views and registrations in its social channels are growing, as is the interest of users: «I believe the success comes from the mix of tradition, passion, familiarity and innovative spirit. We are real, we show ourselves for what we are, and our initiative is already attracting users from outside of Italy.  The face of the initiative is my brother Edoardo, who in the videos talks about the activities of our company with language that is technical but also informative», explains Borgia.  The contents created, which have an educational objective, and the company’s opening to research have also drawn the interest of the academic and scientific world: «The European and Italian space agencies, together with the research institute CNR and different European universities, collaborate with Le Rogaie carrying out advanced studies on chlorophyll photosynthesis, as well as taking measurements useful for the calibration of satellites». Returning “to earth”, instead, it is worth mentioning that initiative that allowed students of agricultural faculties to virtually visit the company, thus bypassing the restrictions caused by the pandemic: «Thanks to our initiative, those visits now take place online. But we would like to give everyone the opportunity to live a real experience on the farm». In fact, the social media pages are aimed at the widest possible audience. «Le Rogaie mainly produces milk. The growing attention paid to the issue of breeding, and to zootechnical issues in general, deserves in-depth information that talks about this in an honest way, also stressing an element that is central for us like sustainability».

Social, economic, environmental sustainability

«It’s a theme that has always been important for us, and that we see from three points of view», explains Fabio Borgia. «The first is that of social sustainability.  Our first commitment is to involve the local community, to be present, open to the outside world. Then comes economic sustainability, which perhaps is the biggest challenge: we have an advantage, from this point of view, from having preserved the dimensions of a family business. Each of us leverages off specific skills to reinforce the fundamentals of the company. Specifically, I follow the development of online activities and handle establishing new contacts. Last, but not in terms of importance, there’s environmental sustainability». A theme that, in the case of Le Rogaie, is strictly tied to an aptitude for innovation: a family tradition, seeing that, as Borgia tells us, his father Giulio has never shied away from experiments, whether of a social or technical nature. «In 2008 we invested in a biogas plant that closes the CO2 cycle and produces 250 Kilowatts of electricity per hour that is now sold entirely to Enel. Our goal, ambitious but possible, is to transform Le Rogaie to become carbon negative. We want to convey the message that agriculture isn’t the exploitation of nature, on the contrary: human intervention improves nature itself», says Borgia.

At MIP for an entrepreneurial mindset

Fabio Borgia is currently enrolled in the full time MBA programme at MIP and is preparing to immerse himself in bootcamps ahead of the summer internship. «I am an engineer, but I am gradually becoming interested in governance issues. In general, I find that the whole course has been done well and is well-structured. I decided to enrol in this MBA programme because I find the technological tradition of Politecnico di Milano to be winning. For me it was an investment motivated by curriculum needs and the desire to gain access to a type of training that can offer countless opportunities, also thanks to the strong tie between MIP and companies. In fact, I have already had several interviews. Then there’s also PoliHub, the MIP incubator. Thanks to this MBA I am developing an entrepreneurship mindset, able to stimulate reflection and innovative ideas. Ideas that, of course, will also make a strong contribution to Le Rogaie», concludes Borgia.


The MBA experience, considerations one year after: the journey never ends

A couple of days ago, I participated in the yearly edition of an event I had been to in person in September 2019. Back then, it was the first time I had taken part in an international fair as such, and I went with a group of my MBA mates. The master program was in its early stages, classes hadn’t begun yet and we didn’t know each other very well. Nonetheless, we were already managing to actively get involved in what the city would offer. This year the event shifted online, due to the Covid-19 situation, and I didn’t arrange anything with my classmates. However, it acted on me powerfully as the madeleine that drove me back to the memories of this very intense year. Here is my summing-up.

For sure, one of the questions my classmates and I have asked ourselves a lot during the exceptional times we have been experiencing in recent months, is if the choice to pursue an MBA in 2020 was the right one at all. Back then, we didn’t know what would be coming and if I think about the times we spent at MIP during the fall and winter, I recall hectic hours, a whole lot of classes and assignments, but most of all Halloween and Christmas parties, calcetto&pizza nights and smiling mind talks where each of us would share their experience, background and goals. This blog gave me the chance to express how the human connection and the network of international people I met during the program was the very best part of the experience at MIP, and this last article I am writing can only confirm the thought!

On a personal level, thinking about the educational side of the MBA, my expectations were highly met. I am glad the first part of the year was held in person, and of course I regret that the bootcamps had to move online, but overall, considering that MIP adapted to the lockdown at an unexpected and successful pace overnight, preventing us from losing a single day of classes, I can really sense a change in my mindset and attitude, a change that I wished to achieve when I enrolled. As I have said many times, my diverse background and my distance from the business world made me feel different from the “average candidate” at an early stage, but through the year, along with being aware of the value of this diversity, I can also recognize that I complemented it fully. I am now a person who thinks strategically and with a business mindset, not only in my working life, but whatever I do, from planning for the future to setting a short-term everyday life goal.

This new mindset is indeed particularly relevant at a professional level if I think about my post-MBA work experience. What I was wishing to achieve one year ago was to move from academia into the business world, building upon my research competences and leveraging on the new ones acquired during the master’s. From what I wrote in a previous post where I talked about my project work and thesis, I can claim that the balance between these two areas of knowledge has been achieved. Working on a change management project, I came to fully apply a blend of topics coming from both my profile as a PhD and the subjects explored during the MBA classes, such as Organization Design, Design Thinking and People and Organizations. Without the courses at the Politecnico, I wouldn’t have had a whole lot of knowledge that I am currently using.

When I think about the one-year-ago-me who crossed the sliding doors of MIP for the first time as an MBA candidate, I can see someone who had very different goals from nowadays, who was maybe a little confused and uncertain, but who at the same time was open to discovering new things. That curiosity made me find things I am passionate about and that I didn’t know before, it made me meet people who were the opposite to me, but who still make my life richer; it made me go through a huge personal transformation, where concepts such as leadership and value have a precious meaning; most of all, it made me grow. So what I can say with this last post is that yes, the MBA experience has come to a formal conclusion, but the journey along the path of growth never ends.


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am an alumna of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry.I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.



A hands-on experience in change management: my project work with Boehringer Ingelheim Italia S.p.A

After the completion of courses and bootcamps, putting the MBA experience into practice through the project work is the longest-awaited moment for every candidate. For three months, students have the opportunity to develop a project with a company working on some of the most relevant topics learned during the year. In my case, I worked on a change management project at the Italian branch of Boehringer Ingelheim, an independent and family-owned, world-leading and research-driven pharmaceutical company.

Change management is a discipline and approach aimed at preparing, supporting and helping organizations to transform themselves in line with the evolutions in the technological, economic and social ecosystem and in the market. It is a form of organizational restructuring which requires an overall consideration of external and internal forces impacting the business, and therefore proposes strategic solutions.

The project at Boehringer Ingelheim Italia has the objective of designing and building the to-be model for the growth of the company. The work stream I contributed to with the project, from June to August 2020, gave me the opportunity to acquire a close-up understanding of the overall process and workflow, getting a real hands-on experience where I assisted and advised on the internal analysis and on the methodological framework.

What I enjoyed the most about a structural and strategic project in a multinational firm such as this, was that I was able to have a holistic overview of the whole business in its multi-faceted realities. Having to structure a plan that could work both at an organizational level and at the level of the various business areas, my main challenge was to strike a balance between finding common ground and sustaining a tailored approach towards the single functions. In order to express both points of view, I particularly worked on the company values and corporate guidelines and on the strategic priorities and pillars of the various business and functional areas involved to keep their specificities and understand their unmet needs.

The opportunity indeed proved particularly relevant for applying and sharpening the technical skills acquired during the academic year, and for combining disciplines such as Organization Design with others like Design Thinking and Strategy. The extension of the transformation project to all levels and business areas of the company also required a certain set of soft skills, that I found to be of great importance for mastering the challenge proposed. I had to understand complexity by collecting and connecting the mass of information in a dense organizational context; negotiate and communicate with empathy, exerting leadership and active listening when interacting with the many voices, actors and stakeholders revolving around the project; deliver with clarity, managing all the activities, from the onboarding to the execution, in a working-from-home digital environment, due to the limitations of Covid-19; balance with flexibility my background in academia with the business experience gained through the MBA and adapt research methodologies and practices to the company’s needs.

Now that the collaboration is over, I have had to write about my work in a report that I will present to an academic commission to complete my MBA journey. I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end, but stay tuned, as I will soon wrap up this journey in one last post!


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry. I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.




Manage your time: how to survive (and enjoy) one year of Full-Time MBA

Prospective students or professionals interested in the MBA program have reached out to me lately to hear my say. One of the most recurrent questions I have had so far is about the effort it takes in terms of study-life balance. Commonly enough, I find myself recalling how challenging it was during the past months to deal with a very tight schedule including attending classes, submitting assignments and preparation for interviews. As I recognize this is a very relevant theme, I decided to put pen to paper to give my ultimate 3 tips + 1 guide to time management, or rather, on how to survive and still enjoy this amazing and sometimes overwhelming year!


1.       Do not procrastinate: do it and do it now!

Let’s be clear: after the first month of onboarding with the basics in digital phase, made up of clips to browse online and pleasant encounters at MIP with the students who have already relocated to Italy, the first trimester is the real challenge of this program. You will easily find yourself immerged in a full week of classes, most of the times followed by after-school talks and company presentations which you don’t want to miss, and at the same time you have to work, every weekend, on the submission of two assignments. Living around the clock will soon be the norm, so if you want to be on schedule, do not wait for tasks and deliverables to pile up (because you will have tons!), do not go through the same task back and forth seeking for a second, third or maybe fourth read. Do not wait for perfection: act fast and act now.


2.       Be in the moment

This is very connected with the previous point and it is something I learned from one of the most inspiring professors I had this year, Filippo Passerini. In his words, one of the most effective ways is to stay focused is “to be in the moment”. This is by no means achieved by a strong will not to get distracted by technology and social media, maybe leaving the mobile in your pocket on purpose for the whole duration of the class or taking notes on paper rather than on a digital tool, but also avoiding multitasking. As the human attention span gets shorter and shorter with digitalization (did you know it is shorter than a goldfish’s?), multitasking is indeed reducing this threshold. Being in the moment means getting rid of all those objects, thoughts and ideas keeping us from the here and now. If you want to take (and learn) the most from what is happening around you, set a blank mind. You cannot imagine how much time you will save later.


3.       Take that hand: people are here to help

We are all in this together. It might sound like the claim of a manifesto, but truly enough, your classmates are the best allies along the way. Setting up study-groups where you can dive deep into topics that were mentioned during class, asking for a read-through or a double-check on your assignment, rehearsing for an exam by exchanging notes and ideas, are all very common things you will find as you walk around the busy desks of the study stations at MIP. Rest assured, in your class you will find at least one person who was previously working in the same area of expertise as that of the subjects studied, and the good news is that everyone wants to lend a hand and help each other, to be cross-pollinated and to learn from other peoples’ experience. Take that hand, especially when your time is short, teamwork will help you eat the elephant piece by piece.


+1. Work hard, party harder

After all I’ve written and said, this might look contradictory, but no. The core of this experience is the human value coming from the network of people you will meet along the way. This program is really multicultural and diverse in its soul and what you will grasp from your classmates will make your day. You will work a lot, you will challenge yourself in many circumstances, at times you will be tired and stressed out, but on top of this, you will have plenty of aperitivos, calcetto (five-a-side football) matches, pizza nights, beers and drinks with the best laughs. You will eat handmade Chinese dumplings, learn how to dance salsa and hopefully become a huge fan of reggaeton, and your time  ̶  despite being short  ̶  will never be so rich, it will never be worth so much!


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry. I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.




From technology to luxury, via MIP: the experience of Merry Le

MBA Alumna tells about the success achieved at the Mark Challenge, a competition for startups in the luxury & yachting field. A result also made possible by the ability to best exploit one’s skills


There’s a phrase, attributed to André Citroën, founder of the French auto manufacturer, that goes more or less like this: “Knowing how to do something is nothing without making it known.” Because sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t finding an excellent idea and developing it. It can be much more complex to effectively describe it, especially when faced with a varied audience, with different educational backgrounds. How do you convince everyone? It was the question asked by Merry Le, who after attending the Master in Business Administration programme at MIP Politecnico di Milano became the business strategy lead for Moi Composites. The company, a spinoff of Politecnico di Milano, is active in the 3D printing on demand market and received the Special Award in Yachting from the Mark Challenge, a competition for startups in the luxury sector. «Our patented technology, Continuous Fiber Manufacturing, allows production of unique products in a more efficient and economically accessible manner», explains Le. «Characteristics that go hand in hand with the production needs of a luxury sector like yachting, where customization is regularly desired.  The Mark Challenge seemed to us to be the right forum to promote the unique advantages of our startup. There was one main obstacle: since it is a technological process innovation, it was difficult to make the more technical aspects comprehensible».


The importance of a good pitch

Merry Le and her colleagues, all four hailing from MIP and the Politecnico, thus decided to take advantage of their knowledge network, including MIP professors: «We presented the project to several people to get feedback on its effectiveness. So we simplified the language and made some messaging more clear. The actual presentation, then, involved a further complication», says Le, «because it took place in the middle of the Covid-19 health emergency,  everything was done online». But the strategy of Moi Composites paid off, because Merry Le and her colleagues were awarded and won the possibility to present their pitch to the Monaco Yachting Clustercommission. Not only: the presentation itself was voted by the public as the best pitch. «A success that I and my colleagues achieved, thanks also to our different backgrounds, which allowed us both to develop a solid business plan, and to work with an innovative technology.»


The future of luxury between personalization and sustainability  

The characteristics of Moi Composites’ business are well suited to the latest developments in the luxury market in general, and not only of the nautical industry: «The current trend is that of personalization. Customers are increasingly looking for tailor-made products suited to their specific needs. It’s a trend accompanied by an increasing demand for environmental and social sustainability, as well as circularity», continues Le. «I am convinced that, despite Covid-19’s major impact on the economy, and thus also on luxury, we are more prepared to face the change.  The 2008 recession struck suddenly, taking everyone by surprise; but because of that crisis people now learned how to manage recovery and to become more creative and proactive.»


The wealth of the MBA  

Merry Le attended the Master in Business Administration at MIP because, after years of a career, she felt the need to broaden her expertise: «The world is changing rapidly, and it’s increasingly important to be able to count on skills that allow you to best understand and face changes underway». An American from the East Coast, after 14 years in the aerospace manufacturing industry, today Merry Le, in her new position as business strategy lead, can use the knowledge acquired during the master’s. Not only: the project work with which she participated in the Mark Challenge was proposed to her by MIP. And if you consider that Moi Composites, with headquarters in the nearby town of Pero, was created thanks to the support of Politecnico di Milano, it appears evident that MIP’s strenght isn’t limited to education, but can also provide a geographically near productive fabric, made up of high-level companies that are constantly seeking professional skills of the same calibre. «My experience was fantastic», concludes Le. «I would recommend the choice of an MBA to anyone. What attracted me most was the emphasis on tech and big data, but more generally I felt the need to learn something new in a new environment, not just to improve and fine-tune the skills I already had. Further value added is provided by the heterogeneity of the class: the students came from 20 different countries, and this allowed us to be exposed to new points of view. An invaluable wealth».

A veterinarian in the MBA world: interview with MIP Alumnus Nicola Morandi

The purple background of Teams pulses insistently, asking me to take the incoming call. It is a sunny, post-quarantine day, and I am getting along after home lockdown on my MBA journey. Classes are over and my days revolve around preparing for the project work I will be following in a couple of days down the line. The voice on the other side hails me on a cheerful yet unexpected note, “Hello, doctor!” Nicola Morandi is a former student from the Executive MBA of some years ago. He is the Technical Manager of the Animal Health division at Boehringer Ingelheim, the company where I will be doing the project work, and – the thing has made me most curious about his profile, amongst the network of MIP alumni – a PhD, like myself.

Hello Nicola, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today! I am happy to introduce your experience here: you are a doctor in veterinary sciences, as well as an MBA. Can you tell me about the industry you work in and what part the MBA played in your career development?

“I have been working at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health since 2015. It is a multinational pharmaceutical company, but still a family business. If you have a dog, we are the “Frontline” people, just to make it clear! Our core business is in the production of vaccines and antiparasitics for all kinds of animals. Until 2015, I was a veterinarian, in the most classical way: I was curing animals, and specifically my fields of specialization were internal medicine, bovine surgery and infective diseases. Once I arrived at Boehringer, I found out that despite the fact that my background and knowledge as a specialist veterinarian gave me the basis for a good performance, I was lacking of a set of hard skills that would have benefited my job as a whole. Strategy, economics and marketing are, after all, the pillars of every industry, and of our company as well. I could quite easily have gained these competences with some hands-on experience in the field, exposing myself to all the tasks required in the various roles in my division, but this would have required a lot of time. Indeed, an MBA program could accelerate this path, so I chose the latter option, with an Executive Part-Time program, to gain this acceleration. As of today, I must say I am able to have an impact in many processes of the company going above and beyond my specific job function. I can say that the EMBA really worked as an accelerator for my career path.” 

During the MBA at MIP, you were exposed to themes and tools such as innovation and design thinking. In which way have these been useful and practical in your job?

“One of the most positive aspects of doing an EMBA deals with the possibility of putting into practice tools, methods and models you see during seminars and classes quite straightforwardly. In my case, there were some of them, such as design thinking, innovation of meaning and creative problem solving, that proved truly helpful and fruitful in my job. For instance, they helped me accelerate the sales’ pipeline of one of our star products and this was quite impressive, given the fact that this product was already performing in a surprising way, with 50% of market share.” 

Would you like to share an anecdote about your MBA life?

“When I joined the program, I hadn’t considered two aspects that later on became key takeaways for me: teamwork and time management. The ability to put together effectively your everyday workload, private time with family and the commitment of doing a Master program is challenging at times. However, these are after all the things I remember the most: to perform well, you need to leverage on the strengths of every team member you find yourself working close to in every course of the program and to negotiate successfully the work-study-life balance. Oh yes, and parties too…”

On a serious note, Covid-19 is making organizations experience an unprecedented need for change. What are the implications you see in the upcoming months for your industry and what will be the drivers companies and employees should focus on adapting rapidly?

“As I see it, Covid-19 is a stress test: it made urgent and clear the need for changes that were in a way already programmed or in plan. I am specifically referring to people management and digital transformation. People are the key element of every organization, and this situation is specifically requiring effectiveness by making them feel an active part of the change, not a consequence of a necessary adaptation. Digital transformation is usually seen as a trend that will act as a substitute for people. On the contrary, the missing point in the common way to see it is that it is an enriching element contributing to performance. Of course, this is possible when the transformation is effectively communicated into a people strategy. Another driver that I find important and that we still need to work on a lot are soft skills: with particular reference to the present moment, communication, teamwork, proactiveness and the ability to stay up-to-date, focus on the objectives and resilience are the winning points of the future of work.” 

On this note, Prof Sdogati from our faculty at Politecnico has recently remembered something Gramsci said: “Study, because we will need all your intelligence”.


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry.I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.


Favourite bootcamp: Design Thinking

After the first few months of intensive classes, the bootcamp season has paved the way for a very different style of learning: week-long specializations dealing with the main and most relevant themes in the business world. Every candidate can choose from amongst courses such as Big Data, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and Circular Economy, and Global Management, to plunge into a fully-immersive environment of seminars from scholars and professionals, hands-on labs and company presentations by managers in which to both learn and put the acquired knowledge into practice.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, this year the experience for my class was for the most part conducted remotely online, but normally the Biomarketing bootcamp, for instance, offers the opportunity to visit the Politecnico Pheel lab, where students have the chance to learn how to conduct and execute some real research based on techniques such as eye tracking and ECG (electrocardiogram recording).

Fortunately, my favourite bootcamp was held at the end of January and I am very glad it was done in person because, given its very practical nature, it was a great opportunity to have a hands-on approach. I am speaking of Design Thinking, a topic that I didn’t know anything about before the MBA but that I immediately fell in love with for its immense versatility and because of a set of skills and insight it provides that can work in any kind of environment, both in and outside of the business world.

Design Thinking is a methodology that provides a hands-on approach to solving problems stemming from the understanding of human-based needs. Hybridized with creative brainstorming, design, ethnographic research, prototyping and usability testing, this approach has gained so much momentum in recent years that consulting companies as BCG, PWC, Deloitte and Capgemini have acquired Design Thinking divisions -for the most part working in the digital area – to produce oblique solutions to business problems.

For someone like myself, coming from the humanities and with a background in qualitative methods, crossing paths with a subject like Design Thinking proved extremely relevant and immediately familiar as a way to reengineer my research experience in academia to business-focused issues. The bootcamp was conducted with the supervision of the team of scholars working in the Design Thinking for Business observatory at the Politecnico, who organized a real experiential gym for our class, to put the methods learned into practice. Activities such as “diverging” and “converging” during brainstorming phases, prototyping objects like a new wallet that would suit our desk-mate’s desires prior to an in-depth interview with our user, and ethnographic research through a “retail safari” aimed at scrutinizing, discussing and improving the user experience of some of the city’s famous retail spaces, were just a few of the awesome experiences that punctuated a very unusual but memorable week.

One of the takeaways that I evaluate as standing out from this bootcamp is how transversal Design Thinking is. In the past few weeks, as the other bootcamps have been taking place, I have found myself using some of the tools of this methodology more than once, for instance to brainstorm an idea or to get out of a blind spot when working on a project in teams with my classmates. The wide array of applicability makes it without any doubt my favourite class in the MBA and a valuable resource that will for sure help me in both my professional and personal life down the line.


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry.I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.




Multicultural Spirit

According to a study from the HBR (Harvard Business Review), living abroad is one of the most impactful choices on a student’s career development, enhancing creativity, reducing multicultural and intergroup bias, and promoting success in their future search for a job. When I chose to enrol at MIP to study for an MBA, the promise of being in an international class of students was indeed my highest motivator. In the past six months, I have learned a great deal from my classmates. That’s why I want to leave the floor to them to talk about the multicultural spirit we have created together.

Ganapati, or GG, as we all call him, is a Financial Analyst from Pune, in India. GG, the choice of leaving your family must have been exciting but also challenging. Why did you choose Italy, and Milan specifically, for your MBA?

It’s true, moving to Milan for the MBA was a really exciting decision but also complex in terms of convincing my family, because of the financial commitment and, of course, also emotionally, since my wife is doing her master’s in India and we have a 2½-year-old baby to take care of.
I had previously been in Milan for a business trip and I fell in love with its architecture. I chose this city both for its strategic location and for the opportunities I wish to find here, with it being the fashion and financial capital of Italy. I had planned to live an international experience for a long time and an MBA in particular would be an upgrade to get ready for more challenging roles in my professional life. 

There are students like Lili, a Project manager from China, who had business and personal trips to Italy before the start of the program. Lili, during this year you have shared a lot about your country and culture. Tell us about the Chinese new year party we had!

The Chinese New Year party was amazing! Not only because of the traditional Chinese food we made from scratch and the things we did, but because we were all together for such a traditional and important event in my culture. The greatest and most meaningful thing for me, being away from home during that time, was to share it with people coming from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, and still wanting to celebrate together. I strongly believe that the multicultural environment we have built will have a big impact in shaping our future as people and professionals.

And talking about parties, Alejandro, a financial and operations strategist from Colombia has fully embraced the multicultural spirit of our Master, from the Milanese aperitivo to playing calcetto. Ale, how has this experience changed your life and what are the takeaways for you?

It has been key for me to understand that not everybody has the same energy and willingness to do some things. I’ve learned to be more respectful about people’s decisions and to be an active listener with regard to their needs. I have an easygoing and chilled personality, but not everyone feels comfortable in all environments, also because of the dimensions that model their culture. In order to interact with others it is important to understand that the other person also needs to be comfortable. This has been the basis for building more solid relationships and a healthy environment in particular when we were working in teams for some courses. It will be my takeaway whatever project I work on in the future. 

In my class there are also Italian students, like Federico, a lawyer who is passionate about social and economic issues. As an Italian candidate, how was it to dive deep into a multicultural experience for you and what made this journey special?

Being immersed in a multicultural environment was, for me ̶ and I can say for all the Italian students   ̶ a journey to explore the different cultural roots of every colleague. Sitting side by side with people coming from the other side of the world, it enabled me every day to gain a different perspective on the way we look at the world of business, on society and on approaches and attitudes to situations arising in our daily lives. Having the opportunity to wear glasses other than mine to observe our complex world was the true richness of this adventure! We are all children of the same tree: traditions and diversity are the essence of our journey together and allow us to discover humanity in its manifold nuances.


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry.I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.