Personalization and digital learning: the full time MBA gets a new look  

Updated contents and a new structure for the educational offering.  Concentrations, four specializations in areas of excellence, are coming. And innovation continues in content delivery: learning is increasingly digital


In 2020 the Full Time MBA of MIP Politecnico di Milano changes shape. It evolves, to meet the needs of companies and to respond to trends in continuous development, obviously while maintaining the mission of a Master in Business Administration: providing a 360° managerial understanding of how a company works.  «We continue to focus on those people who have between three- and seven-years work experience and want to give a boost to their career», says Antonella Moretto, Director of the area MBA & EMBA. «What changes is the structure of the educational offering. Alongside a core part, built around traditional thematic pillars, there is also a highly personalized programme, which is divided in four specializations called concentrations».

Four pillars for a solid foundation

«However, students get to this point only after an initial phase in which solid theoretical foundations are laid», clarifies Moretto. «It is an all-encompassing experience, that involves a commitment of between eight and nine months and that guarantees a major career acceleration to who, within four or five years, sees themselves in an important managerial position. An internship is scheduled at the end of the programme. It’s also worth mentioning that last year, at the time of graduation, 90% of our students had already found a new job». The first educational phase, as was mentioned, is that of the four pillars: «In order, they are: analysis of the company and context; management of activities and processes; innovation and transformation planning; and, finally, realization of the latter». This last aspect is a very important part of MIP’s vision: «Training managers who understand the overall functioning of a company is obviously our objective, but that’s not enough for us. Here at MIP we try to select candidates who demonstrate a marked disposition as innovators, who want to be agents of change».

Concentrations: intensive bootcamps in contact with companies

It’s at this point that concentrations, or specializations, enter into play. «The personalization of the educational programme is one of the strengths of this MBA. There are thematic tracks that foresee hundreds of hours of activities of the student’s choice, and the months of concentrations involve intensive bootcamps on one of these themes, of their choice: Global Management and Sustainability, Big Data and Digital Transformation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Luxury and Design Management. The bootcamps were designed ad hoc together with partner companies, with the aim of developing new skills, but also to work and put in practice these aspects.  The factual approach, therefore, in this phase emerges in a very clear fashion», explains Moretto, «but if there’s something else new in 2020, it’s that even during core lessons, that is the most theoretical moments of the programme, the share of practical activities reaches 50%. The rest is made up of what we call experiential gym, a set of activities that include company presentations by managers, challenges and case studies, simulations, company visits, career development workshops».

With digital learning the campus expands

However, even the more traditional teaching part, in its own way, will be innovative. «When we talk about frontal lessons, and that is the classroom, we are not referring to classic lessons. The basic notions, indeed, are delivered by digital means. Students can prepare themselves beforehand, in light of the activity to be carried out in the classroom, dedicated to in-depth analysis. And a portion of frontal lessons can also be accessed remotely. We like to call this modality “extended campus”. In addition, thanks to our digital platforms it will be possible to make use of the contributions from other universities. A series of opportunities that distinguish a highly personalized, flexible, digital learning experience that is line with students’ needs», concludes Moretto.




A Smiling Mind for future leaders


It all started with some of us being curious to know more about who everybody is are beyond busy classes and aperitivo time, when you chit-chat with people, randomly passing from one to the other sometimes with small talk, at other times with meaningful conversations that nonetheless stay private. It all started with us needing some real space and some time to bring a small audience together, to be able to speak freely and have some space to share. Back then, the MBA program was starting to be very condensed and most of the time it required so much attention and work in and out of the class that sticking together on a personal basis was a need felt by many. Bringing thoughts and doubts, freely speaking about who we are, why we are doing the Master, what brought some of us to move from faraway continents to Italy and where we are heading to are all topics MBA students would want to put on the table to start an exchange with the people they are seated next to the entire day.

The Smiling Mind Talks came to life out of this malaise as an informal project created by my classmate Victor, an immunologist with a research background all around Europe. At the beginning of the year, right after the first intense weeks of lectures, he proposed that we should have the chance to express ourselves in a direct and open way through our personal stories. Once a week, on a voluntary basis, two of our classmates could make a small chalk-talk or presentation following a rather free format, where they would tell us about themselves, their passions or projects. At the beginning, the number of participants was narrowed down to a few, but as time passed, and people asked to be listed for their talk, the buzz spread amongst us and the audience grew from week to week, until Smiling Mind bloomed into a long-awaited, rather crowded event of the week, anticipated by much joy, beers and food for all.

Thanks to Smiling Mind, I learnt about my Turkish friend Demet and the fears and thrills of her entrepreneurial project. Demet moved from New York to start working on a long-desired plan revolving around women’s empowerment in disenfranchised rural communities, that will enable an ancient form of handcraftsmanship – jewellery filigree – to become known to the broader public. I also had the chance to get closer to Felipe, a business analyst who embarked on the MBA adventure from Chile with his inseparable wife Carolina, with whom he has literally climbed mountains all around the world. Felipe comes from a sporty family and is also a runner, and some years ago he was involved in a major accident. Hearing his story of recovery and resilience created a beautiful energy amongst all of us. The day I did my talk, I myself felt very nervous: I was going to share something private about my life, past experience and future expectations; but the reassuring gaze in my classmates’ eyes made me feel at ease as I concluded towards a feedback session where comments and encouragements made me understand how a moment of spontaneous deep connection can make us improve as human beings and feel more engaged.

In the past weeks we have learned from the innovation course that in order to make a radical change, you need a shift in the meaning of things. In an age where words like mindfulness are often overused and misinterpreted, an activity like the Smiling Mind talks really have an impact on the way we learn, from top-down to team-based interactions that help us create a sense of community stemming from experience-based practices, where we can learn from each other how to become future leaders.

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.




How MBA Scholarships Are Helping Women Change Careers

The MIP Politecnico di Milano women in business scholarship, MIP4Women, has given Maria Khukhlaev the opportunity to think about changing careers

MBA scholarships are helping women change careers and push for more gender diversity in the business school classroom. Maria Khukhlaev has seen the impact firsthand, as she is set to graduate from the International Full-Time MBA program at MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business later this year. She’s the latest in a line of women in business who’ve benefitted from the MIP4Women scholarship.

The school offers two grants of $8,686, two worth $7,058, and three for $5,429. It’s an attempt to encourage female participation in the International MBA, to further diversify the classroom, and foster a culture of women in management.

I’m an economist, so that side of things is obviously very important to me,” says Maria. “Because of the scholarship, I managed to move to Italy, experience the full-time format, and enjoy life in Milan––something I couldn’t realistically afford without MIP’s financial support. 

And it’s not just about the financial support. The MBA is exposing Maria to an array of perspectives––the current class is made up of students from 19 different nationalities. She’s also looking to pivot her career and move in a new direction.

Confidence to consider other careers 

With the backing of the MIP4Women scholarship, Maria has thrown herself into the program and is taking every opportunity to broaden and further develop her skill set.

We are learning lots of things, like digital transformations and supply chain operations. I’m completely new to these topics,” she says.

The more she’s learning, the more confident she feels about pursuing new career opportunities. Maria is interested in using her MBA to switch to a career in business development or consulting for companies in and around Italy.

She’ll be pivoting from a role as an account manager for JI Investments Solutions, a consultancy she founded in 2009 in Costa Rica and has been working for since.

I want to change my career path.” she reveals. “I have been working on an entrepreneurial project for almost 10 years, learning these things has been helpful with that. I have the chance to consider jobs in areas I wasn’t even thinking about before.

The importance of diversity in business  

The diversity of her cohort has been an unexpected bonus, says Maria. 

It’s really interesting having so many international perspectives in my class. I have classmates from the US, Japan, India, and Europe. 

The opportunity to meet other like-minded people who are determined to achieve their business goals has been inspiring, she adds and motivated her to continue pursuing her own goals.  

I wanted to meet people who can challenge me and inspire me, and I have. Yes, your classmates become friends, but why not future business partners, too? 

She mentions an interview she did recently with a very important bank”. They were hiring for a project involving digital transformation and stated they were looking for candidates from diverse backgrounds. 

It’s an example of how businesses are pushing for more diverse workforces. The MIP4Women scholarship ties into that––it’s hoping to push more female MBAs into more visible roles, to inspire the next generation of women in business.

Things are changing,” says Maria. “Women feel more able to invest the time to prepare themselves for their careers, but the market is also beginning to support us more. That progress now needs to keep happening. 

Business schools want more women to apply 

Maria estimates that around 35% of her cohort are women. A 2018 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) study shows that the average distribution of men and women in a full-time MBA program was 38% women and 61% men. 

Initiatives like the MIP4Women scholarship are the right way to keep up momentum–it’s given Maria the chance to explore her future in business through the MBA.

My advice to future candidates considering the MIP4Women scholarship is to be confident in your own abilities,” she advises. Do your research. Look for the opportunities that will open doors for you.

It promotes personal growth, socially and culturally, because it encourages critical thinking. You will become a better leader. You will learn to communicate better, understand people from different cultures and backgrounds, you will become a better professional. 

Originally published on

FLEXA: how knowledge is amplified by AI – an MBA candidate’s perspective

From Udemy to Coursera, from Google Garage to Linkedin Learning, the importance of online platforms offering courses and training to students and practitioners has turned into a relevant and profitable business in recent years. Building upon a capital theme, the need for lifelong and up-to-date learning, the flourishing of digital platforms all around the web has emphasized the need in both academia and the job market to master the most relevant trends in a field, to go in-depth, and to find individual paths of specialization. The common denominator is to develop competences taking into consideration the hectic pace of professional life, but at the same time allowing the effective achievement of growth in knowledge.

To respond to these requirements, platforms have proved to be reliable and efficient tools for meeting time and space needs, being based on accessible resources anytime, anywhere, and allowing learners to take courses at their own pace and to suit their schedule. In an MBA candidate’s life, punctuated by busy weeks of classes, assignments, and the search for career opportunities, these conditions are even more important when it comes to navigating a complex and fast-changing world through focused learning objectives. For this reason, MIP Politecnico di Milano has implemented and offered to its students an innovative learning platform, FLEXA, able to tailor and personalize content, filling the gaps in knowledge.

The novelty about FLEXA is that having been developed in collaboration with Microsoft, it exploits AI to learn from its users, making it a real digital mentor. The journey on the platform begins with defining the desired career objective and job function and the way to get to it through a self-assessment of one’s hard, soft and digital skills. Progressing from that information, an objective is set that can be entrepreneurial or managerial; FLEXA then proposes a selection of certified and high-quality content such as articles, videos and online resources coming from an archive of numerous sources like Stanford Business or Forbes, which serve to reach the goal in the long term and take into consideration the time the user has available. After six months, the test can be taken again to evaluate the improvements made and what has been achieved in terms of knowledge acquired. Then, a new and further professional aspiration can be set.

My daily routine with FLEXA starts in the morning, as I arrive at MIP School of Business. When I turn my computer on, I go to the platform to take a daily test, which, if I give the right answer, allows me to gain some points that can be turned into discounts for courses and purchases from the catalogue. If I forget to tune in, there is usually someone from amongst my companions who will be taking the test and will remind me to do so too. Then I read the proposed article of the day or use the search tab to look for more specific information, and, based on my rating, I tell the platform if the subjects are in line with my interests or not, so as to receive more tailored content as my use of the platform increases. On my learning pathway, I can also find webinars, so on those days when I don’t have the time to read, I can still learn by watching some useful resources. What I really like about the content offered is that since it comes from other universities, you can feel the quality level of a real shared platform where knowledge is not monetized.

One of my classmates told me that one day, he went to a company presentation and met someone from the part-time MBA program. They started chatting and, instead of exchanging their Linkedin profiles, they chose to connect on FLEXA. In his opinion, this opportunity helped him to network in a different light, augmenting proximity and building upon common ground with respect to a more official platform where, after all, sometimes you come across people you don’t really know.

I look forward to diving into the future advantages FLEXA will give me by putting me in touch with companies and a broader community of professionals, alumni and students. My profile will be shareable for recruitment opportunities with specific companies I would want to come into contact with. In order to engage effectively with them and enjoy a more direct possibility to network and monitor vacancies, I will be able to engage personally and to adjust my profile, choosing how best to show my suitability.
As I see it, this innovative way of combining e-learning and the search for a career with AI could really provide us with the right insights for finding the best fit in our present complex business environment.


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.




A day in Casa Chiaravalle: how birdcages and dustbins may change the way you work with people


“Why on earth is there a drill in your hands?” The comments to my Instagram story, showing a happy me holding a real drill, were hiding curiosity blended with shock: this was not what you would expect to be doing in an MBA program – and people were indeed asking for an explanation. Let me give you some context. It was a sunny Saturday in Casa Chiaravalle and 62 MBA candidates coming from 24 countries were gathering at the gates of the biggest asset confiscated from the mafia in Lombardy – now turned into a welcome centre – for the as yet unknown program of the day: an outdoor activity.

Classes had started just a few days earlier and getting to know everyone had been nearly impossible. So the promise of a get-together aimed at easing the connection through a day entirely dedicated to networking and team-building looked exciting. A room had been arranged with the purpose of grouping people randomly. Personally, I was seated with five classmates of whom I had previously talked to only one. I would never have expected that after a couple of hours, I would be looking at those same people with completely different eyes.

Thanks to a facilitator, on the first part of the day – dedicated to a structured form of socialization eased by simple exercises – we were asked to share our thoughts, sometimes involving more intimate or delicate aspects of our lives, to work in groups or in couples on specific activities, to mix with the other teams looking for companions who had not been in our inner circle, and to open up about the ups and downs, successes and failures, challenges and hopes that characterized our past experience and those related to the MBA.

On the second part of the day our work moved outdoors and was more active and practical in scope: we had to build birdcages and dustbins out of pre-cut wooden pieces that would be used by the community of Casa Chiaravalle. And now you can see how the drill comes in. What you can’t imagine, is how impactful this activity was for the within-across group dynamics. In fact, at first we were instructed to compete against each other to build the greatest number of assets, pushing each team towards internal organization and a division of labour. But after the lunch break, the objective was changed into finishing the assembly of all the pieces, no matter about the teams, changing the architecture of the game into a networked, communicative, goal-oriented holistic organization aimed at looking in the same direction and serving the same purpose.

I personally believe that this enriching experience will be a starting point to build upon for the coming weeks, as coursework, assignments and a huge workload will at times seem overwhelming. As far as I am concerned, I know for sure that between me and the new companions I have connected with there will be a spark when we cross paths, a mutual understanding based on the deep bond we have formed by sticking together in Casa Chiaravalle. And this, believe me, is going to be of so much support for us all!




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.


The MBA gets started: my initial experience with the Basics in Digital phase

My MBA gets started


Starting an MBA program, especially for someone coming from the area of Humanities like myself, can be exciting and a little scary at the same time. The idea of diving full time into all the thrills of an international master with a class made up of people coming from all over the world is undeniably stimulating, but when it comes to subjects like Financial Accounting or Management Accounting, which are part of the courses taught, the lack of a business background may look like a hurdle.

To overcome this problem, which is indeed particularly relevant for the very diverse class of students attending the program, ranging from engineers to philosophers, the first part of the MBA experience, called Basics in Digital, is meant to give all the candidates the knowledge and understanding of basic business concepts and management functions through a platform for digital learning. Delivered completely online, the platform arranges these topics in the form of video-modules that can be watched on a schedule managed by each candidate at their own pace. At the end of the videos, there is a close-ended question to verify the understanding of the topic treated.

The advantages of online distance learning are particularly effective in this initial phase of the program as a flexible way to let the candidates arrange their transfer to Milan or transition from their previous job positions to a full-time student life. The platform also works as a library accessible anytime, anywhere, and from multiple devices. A dedicated app is included and this will be useful later on, when the face-to-face lectures start, as a tool to review the main concepts of each subject.

In order to verify that all the subjects have been understood thoroughly, during the months of September and October a live Q&A session has been planned for each course. The instructors revise the syllabus and are available to answer all the doubts raised from the clips and to bring the discussion to further topics. The class is often stimulated to reason on business cases or to play business games that foster interactive and participative learning. During the following weeks, the teachers are also available for tutorship sessions on a forum, where the contents are furtherly developed and discussed. This online exchange makes it sure that alignment in the classroom is achieved at a general level.

In my case, the Basics in Digital phase has been a way to challenge my knowledge in areas of study I had never explored and to find an interest in unexpected topics, that I look forward to diving into in the upcoming months. During these first weeks, I have also had the chance to meet some of my future colleagues in person, as MIP is open to the students. Our study group has grown in number day after day and we have started to compare notes on the courses, helping each other with our competences and according to our areas of expertise. Up to now, this start has been very promising and it has all the premises for a memorable journey to come.
I will keep you in the loop!


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.



We have reached the target

Twelve months have flown by in the blink of an eye. The 39th edition of the Full-Time MBA journey has come to an end during the emotive graduation ceremony at Teatro dal Verme on the 20th of September, celebrating the 40 years of MIP.

But this is only the beginning of a new journey for me and my colleagues. We are a team of diverse individuals that has become a family. Even though many will go back to their home countries, they will be taking with them fond memories of this life-changing experience that we will all carry in our hearts and minds. All of our dreams and expectations have been transformed into new objectives and desires, thanks to the information we have gained, the methodologies we have learned, as well as the cross-cultural experiences that have augmented our points of view. Now is the time to start building new paths, knowing we are part of a global team of Alumni that strive for excellence and continuous transformation. We can rely on this global network to pursue our future projects and continue learning and developing our careers.

This MBA journey was not easy by any means. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our loved ones, our mentors and fellow classmates. It was a team effort, that made us aware of our strengths and willingness to grow. One of the most important lessons we have learned from our Professors at MIP is the fact that we are currently living in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. In order to face uncertainty, we must be flexible and adaptable to possible changes in our professional lives but also in our personal lives. With our newly acquired skills we also have a responsibility to our planet, to take care of it and make it better for future generations.

Now that I have finished my MBA studies I finally have some time to write and develop a new film, while I manage projects in a design studio and work as a consultant for digital communications. I have managed to diversify my career path while becoming a more methodical team leader in the creative industries. My dream is also to teach and continue spreading knowledge and experience.

There are many risky investments in our lives, but I believe education is one of the few safe bets we have for mastering new skills and inspiring others to take the plunge and change as well. What the future will bring is uncertain, but we will not fear it if we are ready to conquer every new experience with open arms.

Thank you for reading about my MBA journey during this past year. I invite you to dream big and pursue your wildest journeys, wherever they might take you.


About the author
Roberto Niño Betancourt

Roberto is a student of the International full time MBA. He is a Colombian filmmaker and new media artist based in Milan.
He has collaborated as a post producer for MTV Latin America, as well as many European production companies. He is very passionate about international cross-cultural collaborations, craftsmanship and the sustainable conservation of natural resources.



How I swapped engineering at IBM for an MBA and a new career in Business

Anand Yogi wasn’t satisfied as an engineer. He headed straight for an MBA to change career and hasn’t looked back since


It’s 2015, and after graduating from a bachelor’s in engineering, Anand Yogi got a job working as a system engineer for IBM in India. He solved problems, managed a small team, and handled numerous client relationships.
But his days became tedious, and he longed for a change. After two and a half years, he called time on his career at IBM and decided to pursue an MBA.
But where to go?
He knew people who had pursued higher education at MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management (MIP), and after hearing of their experiences at the school, their recommendations resonated with him.
Now, after graduating from the program, he’s changed career and is working as a senior business analyst for BTO Research in Austria.
We caught up with Anand to find out more.

Why did you leave IBM?

As a first job experience, it was really nice, but it was not related to software development, which is what I expected.
I was enjoying the new work life in the capital of India and working for a great company. However, after some time I realized that I wasn’t learning much and I was doing similar work every day. That’s when I decided to do something to fix this.
I was passionate about computer science engineering from the beginning. I chose computer science as an additional subject in my high school and started to learn coding at a very early age.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

As I wasn’t coding or working in software development anymore [as I was an undergrad], I lost my command on those skills.
But a new area of business which attracted me was project management. After seeing the powers and work of my seniors in a manager-oriented company like IBM, I got attracted to becoming one of them and that gave me the option of doing an MBA.
With all these things going on in my mind, a very close friend and a colleague told me that he was applying for his master’s at MIP as he had some friends who studied there and were now working in Europe. That was the best thing for me to hear at that time because I wanted to study and work internationally.
I was inspired to do an MBA because I wanted to learn about all the new technologies in the world for business. I didn’t want to go to the US as a majority of Indians do. MIP provided the chance to live in a beautiful country like Italy, which was a dream for me because I really love Europe, especially Italian culture and history.

Why did you change your career?

From my high school days, I was inspired by IT and software, so I decided that I wanted to work in this sector in the future.
I am now developing software and living in beautiful cities around the world like Paris, Vienna, and Milan, so it’s like all of my wishes have come true.
Also, working in Europe is totally different than in India. I think I was made to work in Europe as Indian work culture never inspired me to grow as an individual.

How has the MBA enhanced your career?

I had a great experience during my MBA.
It was a great mix of people from all around the world and to study with them and learn from each other is what helped me the most.
Everyone’s past experiences and knowledge were the biggest learning aspects of this course. I am personally a changed person now with set goals and a correct attitude. I used to be a reserved person and not too confident but after the MBA, I am more comfortable with unfamiliar people and can easily have conversations with others.

Would you be where you are today without the MBA?

I don’t think I would be here, but I would say that I had some luck with me as well.
If I had chosen another course over an MBA, maybe I would be somewhere else, maybe I would have chosen a different educational institution in a different country like Germany, for example.
All of these decisions, one after another, put me where I am right now, and I am not complaining at all.


Originally published on


Meet the top fashion model who used an MBA to start a consulting career

Belarusian model, Yuliya Shvets, could once be found on the cover of fashion magazines. But consulting proved to be her true calling


Strutting down the catwalk during fall 2014’s Paris Fashion Week, Yuliya Shvets is clothed in a simple black dress created by French designer, Rochas.
She has spent all season meeting stylists and befriending the biggest names in fashion.

After Paris, she jets off to New York, frequently travelling around and outside of Europe, making stops in Asia and gracing the magazine covers of Vogue Portugal, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and more, as well as modelling for Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, and DKNY.
Yuliya was living the dream for nine years after being scouted in her hometown of Mozyr, Belarus, during a beauty contest at the age of 18. Yet modelling wasn’t her dream.

She entered modelling after postponing a bachelor’s degree in economics and management. But the time came when she decided it was time to dedicate herself to higher education. An MBA was on the cards, and she enrolled at MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management (MIP).

This Italian business school helped her transition from catwalks and fashion shoots to her current role as a business analyst for Business Integration Partners, based in Milan.
We caught up with Yuliya to find out how the MBA helped her switch careers.

Why did you leave the fashion industry?

Modelling was a beautiful chance to travel and work at the same time. I always knew I could finish my studies, but there wouldn’t always be a chance to be a model, so I decided to take the chance and postpone my studies a little bit.

At some point as I was working, I knew I had to go back to my studies. I was bored and wanted to learn more. I could have been a model for a while but in terms of age, modelling offers a much shorter career, and I wanted a long-term career.

I started to look into what I would like. I asked the people around me what they do and what their jobs were like. I had a lot of friends who were doing consulting and from how they were describing the job, it was very similar to what I was doing, with different projects and clients.

Why an MBA?

I wanted a 360-degree knowledge of business, which I thought was important for consulting because you can get projects in different industries and for different functions. You get better offers after an MBA compared to a master.

Many people thought it wouldn’t be possible because of the requirements and work experience you need to get an MBA, but I decided to look into how to get to where I wanted to be, and the MBA seemed to be the perfect match.

How did your MBA at MIP help you switch careers?

The university was very strong on preparing you for interviews, explaining the job market, and the right behaviour when working with companies. It was something that was very new for me as I’ve never been to an interview in my life.

Even now, I go back to my notes from my MBA to look at the methodologies and frameworks during my finance, strategy, and project management classes for my job. It has helped me to be proactive, because in an MBA most people do it not to just get a degree, but because they are really curious.

It’s an environment of people who are willing to learn a lot and where everybody is competitive. This mentality helps me in my current job, to remind myself to always be proactive, never stop learning, and just go for it.

During the teamwork assignments, we often had to deliver projects in very limited time with classmates from different backgrounds, with different points of view, different temperaments and coming from different cultures. It was a personal challenge, but it helped me to improve my soft skills by learning from other people and from my own mistakes.

What tips would you give to professionals who want to switch careers?

It is possible to have a career change and start working in business even if your experience is not related to business. Many people, including headhunters, were sceptical about whether I was going to make it, however here I am, and I have achieved my goal of working as a consultant.

I would suggest to all prospective applicants to work hard on their dream because it pays off, and of course, believe in yourself and never stop learning. Thanks to the MBA, I have transformed from a model from a small town in Belarus to a business analyst in an Italian consulting company, in just in one year.


Originally published on


Going from an MBA to a marketing job at British American Tobacco

Katarzyna Majewska understands the concerns you might have about working in the tobacco industry. Marketing cigarettes is tough, but she says the industry is changing



Consulting, finance…tobacco? The tobacco industry might not be your industry of choice.
Tobacco firms face severe restrictions in some countries, with high taxes, packaging regulations, and tough laws on advertising.
There’s the obvious public concern over tobacco’s health implications. And there’s disruption from cigarette alternatives like vaping.
But for Katarzyna Majewska, the tobacco industry represented an exciting challenge.

Katarzyna worked for a small, local government-run cultural center in her native Poland before she decided to do an MBA. Keen to study in Italy, she chose MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management over its city rival Bocconi, for its focus on innovation.

When she returned home after graduation, she got a job at British American Tobacco (BAT) in Warsaw, starting as a marketing intern before joining its global graduate program, rotating across different functions.

Right now, she’s working in the brand department, on flagship tobacco heating product (THP) glo. THPs are devices that heat, rather than burn, tobacco to produce a nicotine-containing aerosol with a tobacco taste which the user inhales.

Katarzyna says she understands the concerns people have about working in tobacco. But she says the industry is changing, offering lower-risk alternatives to traditional cigarettes.

BusinessBecause caught up with Katarzyna to find out more.

How did your MBA help you land a job at British American Tobacco?

Before the MBA, I did not have any experience in international corporations. Without it, it would have been extremely difficult to find a job at such a big corporation.

At British American Tobacco, Poland is part of the North Central Europe Area cluster, and there are many foreign nationals in the office. During the recruitment process, international experience was also vital.

Moreover, the MBA helped me realize what I wanted to focus on. Marketing classes with Professor Carsten Bartsch not only provided me with helpful knowledge but also motivated and encouraged me to develop my marketing path.

I also have an amazing boot camp with Professor Emre Soyer, a behavioural scientist who showed us research on the decision-making process, which is vital in marketing.

These two classes pointed me the way I want to follow in my professional and educational life.

What challenges do you face in your current role?

In every country, restrictions are different. There are some with a plain packaging policy, such as Australia or France, but this policy has not yet been implemented in Poland.

However, as part of the EU, we need to follow the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive), which places limits on the sale and merchandising of tobacco and tobacco-related products in the EU.

Tobacco products are not easy to market, but that is what makes my job interesting.

What would you say to people who have concerns about working in the tobacco industry?

At BAT, we’re providing a range of potentially reduced-risk products, including vapour, tobacco heating products (THPs), modern oral products, as well as traditional oral products.

For me, the most valuable thing is the freedom of choice we provide. You can quit using tobacco products altogether, which we support. You can switch your habit to a potentially reduced-risk product.

Finally, you can smoke cigarettes while being fully aware of the consequences.

We do not encourage people to smoke, we educate them about possibilities they have.

How are you applying your MBA learnings in your everyday work?

My MBA taught me the ability to work in groups of totally different people, representing diverse cultures and approaches. Dealing with such situations was challenging, but extremely satisfying. We needed to find one common solution, while everyone had a dissimilar point of view. This experience definitely helps me today.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at MIP?

First of all, the location. I wanted to improve my Italian skills, as I love Italy for the language, people, food, atmosphere and landscape.

I then needed to choose between MIP and Bocconi. This decision was not easy and required deep research about both MBA programs.

It transpired that MIP is focused more on innovation, new approaches, and solutions for business. On the other hand, Bocconi is more suited to students interested in law and finance, areas that appeal to me less.
So in the end choice was easy—MIP suited my interests better.


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