Cybersecurity: the in-house expert is coming!

From home banking, to online purchases, to the management of entire industrial processes: today access to the network is essential, both in the personal and professional fields. However, this powerful tool, in addition to having enormous potential, also conceals risks. Which ones? We talked about this with Prof. Paolo Maccarrone, Director of the International Master in Cybersecurity Management.

If we want to summarise the types of risks that companies are running today, we can say that there are typically three: confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.

The “attackers,” in fact, may have an interest in acquiring the data not only to communicate it to third parties (confidentiality), but also in compromising or destroying it (integrity), or making it unreachable (availability), typically by asking a ransom in return.

All of these risks have grown enormously in recent years due to digitisation, which has increased the amount of data exchanged exponentially as well as the growing interconnection, mainly due to the Internet. Just think of an area, such as that of a company’s operating processes, where automation used to be managed by stand-alone servers. No connection, so virtually no risk. Today, however, machinery and plants of various kinds continuously exchange information. This is valuable data, which enables, for example, predictive maintenance to be carried out or the real-time reorganisation of production flows, but the exchange of which opens the door to new vulnerabilities that did not previously exist.

There is another aspect to highlight. The situation we are experiencing has dramatically increased the number of workers who connect to corporate servers remotely.
In the past, those who did so did not access sensitive data, or, if they did, they received a minimum of training on these issues and often used appropriately configured company devices.

In the last year and a half, however, as a result of the pandemic, more and more people are working remotely, perhaps often on personal PCs, frequently shared by family members as well. The indiscriminate use of personal devices and poor awareness of the subject has exposed – and is still exposing – workers and organisations to considerable risks.

Risks that companies seem to be aware of now. What effects is this perception having on the labour market?

For many years, we have witnessed a dual track situation, where very well-informed organisations, such as large companies  ̶  particularly those operating in certain sectors, such as telecommunications and energy, banks and insurance, stood in contrast to others who were less aware of the risks or less active on this front.
Over the last 2-3 years, however, the situation has changed: everyone has realised the importance of cybersecurity, so much so that the issue is at the top of the agenda for the majority of CEOs and their close associates.
This is linked both to the increase in the frequency of attacks of various kinds – from social engineering to data encryption with ransom demand, to intellectual property theft – and to the fact that such attacks, as mentioned earlier, also affect “core” operating processes, often leading to interruptions in production or the provision of services.
This new focus is reflected on the one hand, in an increase in investment on this front, and on the other, in some organisational changes which have led, for example, to the fact that, in several major businesses, the Head of Cybersecurity will now respond directly to the senior management, and no longer to the Chief Information Officer.

This growing importance and “pervasiveness” of cybersecurity inevitably leads to a search for professional profiles with specific skills, both by companies, to strengthen internal organisational units, and by consulting firms, which often play a key role both in setting up the security governance system and in implementing technological and organisational countermeasures. There is a growing demand that is not reflected in the market supply, as emphasised by various human resources managers and several companies specialising in recruiting.

How is MIP trying to bridge this gap?

Our Business School’s commitment to this area is not new. Indeed, last year we launched an Executive Path dedicated to those who have already gained experience in the cybersecurity sector and want to upgrade and broaden their skills to accelerate their careers.

This year, however, we wanted to expand our training offer with a Master – the International Master in Cybersecurity Management – designed for a more junior target group, those just out of university.
Our Master grew out of listening to the needs of companies, first of all our educational partners – BIP and SETA – as well as companies that have worked closely together on its design as members of the advisory board, such as Accenture, PwC and Intesa-IBM.
We therefore decided to create a programme that would give participants the tools to get a holistic view of cybersecurity.
In fact, what has emerged from the ongoing discussions with companies is that a technical understanding of vulnerabilities and how to address them is not enough: it is important to be aware of the impact these can have on the entire organisation. We are therefore turning to young people who want a career that is not purely technical, but who aspire to taking on roles of responsibility soon. This is why the Master deals with organisational and management issues as well, and also pays attention to the development of soft skills.
In light of this, it should therefore not be surprising that the Master is also open to  less “conventional” profiles, such as management engineers, graduates in business administration or in scientific disciplines  ̶  or even lawyers who have specialised in IT security regulations and who wish to go into more detail in order to enter important professional practices or join the legal staff of large organisations.

As with many of MIP’s programmes, the experiential component is fundamental. This is reflected in the composition of the Faculty, which is characterised by the presence of numerous professionals who work alongside lecturers with an  academic background, as well as in the teaching methods used. In addition, the Master includes a final project work that will be carried out in one of the many companies that have given their availability, during which the students will be able to put into practice what they have learned in class.

Finally, what advice would you like to give young people interested in the world of cybersecurity?

A very simple piece of advice – at least in appearance. To have a clear idea about what they want to do “when they grow up”. To have a precise picture in their mind of the path they envision for the next 5 or 10 years. If they are passionate about the topic and they have managerial aspirations, then this is the right path for them.

New perspectives between bioscience and management

What the conscious mind expresses neither completely represents nor necessarily reflects the feelings and evaluations of consumers correctly. Biomarketing, a new discipline based on the application of neuro- and bioscience in a managerial context, helps us to identify the unconscious and emotional reactions of consumers evoked by a product or brand, and thus to predict their behavior.


Debora Bettiga, Assistant Professor of Marketing Strategy, Consumer Behavior and Marketing Research Methodologies, School of Management, Politecnico di Milano


Why biosciences and management?

The evolution of the market, increasingly dynamic and competitive, and of the consumer, more proactive, knowledgeable and demanding, generates a great challenge for companies. Interpreting the needs and expectations of consumers to develop an appealing offer is indeed increasingly difficult.

Research has shown that what the conscious mind expresses – through interviews, surveys, focus groups – neither completely represents nor necessarily reflects the future behavior of individuals correctly.

Neuromarketing, a discipline born as an application of neurosciences to the study of communication and persuasion, measures the cerebral response to stimuli to appraise how an individual reacts, evaluates and filters information.

As evolution of the discipline, biomarketing arises from the assumption that tracking cerebral activity is less accurate than tracking a full set of biological manifestations. Thus, biomarketing collects and integrates data about individual physiological responses such as skin conductance, breath and hearth rate or facial micro-expressions.

This new discipline, based on the application of neuro- and bioscience in a managerial context, seeks to identify, through quantitative methods, the cognitive and affective reactions of consumers evoked by a product, brand, advertising message or service encounter, and thus to predict their behavior. Biomarketing explores the unconscious and emotional sides of the purchasing process on which the individual decision-making process is grounded and enables a deep and unbiased understanding of human responses.

Thanks to their reliability, such methods have been applied in several fields and in different environments. Methodological rigor and depth of tracking allow drawing relevant implications even from small experimental samples, obtaining directions that, from a scientific and managerial point of view, are crucial for a full understanding of individual behavior. Hence, they represent valid instruments for companies in their marketing activities at the strategic and operational levels.


How do we measure consumer emotions?

Biometric tools enable the analysis of emotions and affective responses. For instance, with electroencephalography we can assess the attention, engagement and pleasantness generated from a stimulus. Wearable electrocardiogram and breathing pattern can detect relaxation, anxiety, stress or involvement. Tracking sensors for electrodermal activity may provide us indication of consumer arousal and engagement. Eye-tracking is a useful tool for assessing the visual paths and areas of focus while sensors for facial expressions can detect surprise, happiness, disgust, anger or sadness.

Analyzing consumer emotions is fundamental for understanding the customer experience and interaction with the brand. Individuals indeed react to marketing stimuli in a deeply emotional way, regardless of the product. Even for extremely functional products, emotions play a great role in driving purchasing behavior. All levers of the marketing mix can benefit from biometric inputs: reaction to product, brand, label, packaging, price, promotion, point of sale and merchandise management are for instance fields for which biometric tracking allows us to achieve a valuable and innovative evaluation of the impact on targets.


But which knowledge and competences should we put in place?

Well, a lot. The discipline born from the integration of marketing, bioscience, neuroscience and design, to name the key ones.
The presence of such competences inside the Politecnico di Milano has enabled the development and further growth of the discipline from a scientific and managerial point of view. PHEEL (Physiology, Emotion, Experience Lab) is the result of such integration, being an Interdepartmental Laboratory which sees the convergence of the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, the Department of Design and the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano.

The Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano is the national point of reference, as well as one of the world excellences in the field of biometrics applied to medicine. The research protocols allow precise and responsible tracking of every population segment, including people in conditions of weakness.

The Department of Design is one of the leading schools in the world in the study of user experience in interacting with product, interfaces and new technologies. The Department provides creative and rigorous keys of interpretation, which aim at translating results in tangible design inputs.

The expertise of the School of Management in the study of consumer evolution in response to the multichannel revolution in enterprise-market relationships allows us to convey tangible results that can be easily turned into managerial insights.

Between soft skills, personalization, and empowerment: management according to MIP

Today’s manager must deal with new challenges and opportunities, like that presented by digital. And if hard skills are essential, soft skills make the difference. Simone Franzò, director of the Executive Master in Management, explains


A deep knowledge of the principles of management and a good balance between soft and hard skills. These are the foundations on which a manager must build their success. Simone Franzò, director of the ’Executive Master in Management (EMIM) at MIP Politecnico di Milano, explains. «It seems obvious, but too often managerial figures have serious gaps in training. Today more than ever, instead, it is fundamental to be able to count on solid skills. Also because digital is changing the boundaries of this profession».


Facing challenges, seizing opportunities

The increasingly pervasive diffusion of digital technologies is playing an important role: «On one hand we have challenges, on the other opportunities», explains Franzò. «Think about the spread of smart working. It certainly poses a challenge from the point of view of team management. But there’s also the other side of the coin: «New technologies enable new opportunities; they can improve  productivity and the effectiveness of the work performed. However, they are not the panacea for all ills: they must be properly managed. Only in this way can they become a “virtuous tool” to the benefit of the company». The challenge is also cultural: «A change of mindset is necessary. Just as physical presence in the workplace cannot be considered an essential value, in the same way the adoption of digital requires training that involves both managers and human resources. Let us take an example: the issue of data management and knowledge. You can’t digitize without knowing how to manage the flow related to knowledge management». But technologies in fact, are not everything. Indeed, they are not anything, without skills. «Today more than ever», continues Franzò, «it’s clear that there’s a need to combine hard skills, that is more notional skills, that you learn through classic educational programmes, with soft skills: for example, the management of leadership, of the team, public speaking. These are the skills that increasingly become a source of success and a competitive advantage for some managers compared to others».


A master’s degree for those who want to strengthen their skills

The Executive Master in Management offers training in line with these principles. «It’s a master’s in general management and is directed at those who typically have a consolidated work experience and feel the need to update and reinforce their skills in key areas of managerial knowledge», says Franzò. «The programme structure is divided in four macro-blocks. The first set of courses is based on management fundamentals, within which the student can choose between six or eight courses. The second block is made up of elective courses: we offer over one hundred courses, and among these the students choose between six and eight. The third block is the executive programme: a programme of eight pre-established modules that address a macro-theme from several complementary points of view (digital transformation, project management, energy management etcetera). Lastly, project work, which has the objective of applying the notions learned up until then on a real managerial problem».


From networking to soft skills and career empowerment

The master’s degree, which can be pursued online following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, is therefore characterized by a high level of content personalization. «This is its strength. Not only because every student can choose which areas to study in depth, but also because this will allow everyone to meet a large number of different colleagues from one course to another, all who share the same educational and training needs. Approximately, networking could reach over one hundred people, all linked by common interests». Particular emphasis is also given to soft skills, as well as to empowerment: «In addition to the courses more focused on soft skills, we have planned a series of career development support initiatives for our students. For example, our students will have the opportunity to meet with managers and head hunters, who will illustrate the most attractive skills on the market», concludes Franzò.





«With the MBA growth is personal, not only professional»

Achille Balestrini, new Ceo and Global brand manager of Nava Design Milano and MH Way, talks about his professional and educational background, marked by his time at Politecnico. And he explains the importance, even for those who already have experience in the field, to better structure concepts learned with a master’s degree.

From architecture to management, via an entrepreneurial initiative. This is the professional trajectory of Achille Balestrini, alumnus of the part-time international MBA programme at MIP Politecnico di Milano and recently nominated as the new Ceo of Nava Design Milano and MH Way, two companies that are part of the Smemorando Group.
His path was marked by three extremely important elements for those who have decided to make their way in the world of business: passion, competence and resourcefulness. But also from his experience at the Milanese university: «If I chose MIP’s MBA, it’s also because I also got my architecture degree from the Politecnico», says Balestrini. But between graduating and the master’s he pursued a path made up of intuition and personal bets.

Architect, entrepreneur, manager

After his degree and the start of his career in architecture, Balestrini decided to indulge his passion for casual sportswear. «I couldn’t stop thinking about an idea that at the time seemed decidedly innovative, that of a brand that was customizable». It was a winning intuition, because Balestrini devoted his energy to that project for about seven years. «A period of time in which we opened a single-brand store in Milan, different temporary stores and an online shop. All thanks to enthusiasm and a spirit of sacrifice». Yet, these achievements weren’t what Balestrini aspired to, they’re not enough. «I decided to interrupt that entrepreneurial experience. In the meantime, I received an offer from Marco Boglione, founder and chairman of BasicNet, a group that owns brands like Kappa, Superga, K-Way». That’s the moment Balestrini abandoned the entrepreneurial path to become a real manager. «I fell deeply in love with this project I had to follow. This phase lasted from 2011 to 2019. Then, in 2020, I was nominated CEO and Global Brand Manager of Nava Design Milano and MH Way».

An MBA to reinforce skills

In the middle, however, there’s another important passage, that of the MBA. «I was motivated by a personal, more than a professional, need to learn. I had acquired a wealth of empirical knowledge, experimented and learned in the field, but with no study behind it», explains Balestrini. «The master’s helped me, first of all, to put my skills in order, structuring them in a more coherent, organic and strategic way. It was encouraging and motivating to see that many ideas that were formed during my experience were confirmed in lessons». As far as lessons are concerned, the MBA allowed Balestrini to test notions learned in the classroom through project work and group work. «It’s a modality that I have found to be very effective. On one hand, it’s perfect for those who are already at ease working in a group, as in my case. On the other hand, those who have a less pronounced inclination to discuss with others are also encouraged to take part. They are truly formative and stimulating moments».

Nava Design and MH Way: the objective is to relaunch

Strengthened by this experience, and with expertise reinforced and structured by the master’s, Balestrini is now handling the relaunch of Nava Design Milano and MH Way, as CEO and Global Brand Manager. «The curious thing is that they are both brands tied to the world of design and architecture, from which everything started for me. Important designers like Max Huber and Bob Noorda have worked for Nava while MH Way was created by the Japanese designer Makio Hasuike. Both of these companies, acquired by the group Smemoranda, are now looking to relaunch and reposition», explains Balestrini. «To give new life to both brands, I will have to put in practice what I’ve learned up until now. The most important and stimulating challenges involve the corporate management and commercial expansion of the brands on the national territory and, especially, on international markets».

Luxury Management Talks – Webinars

Discover the fundamentals of Luxury Management and how the Covid-19 pandemic is changing the rules of the games, in an unprecedented series of free webinars hosted by the Programme Directors of the most coveted Masters in Luxury Management.


Webinars contents

Thursday, June 18th, 6pm CEST  – Register here
Restarting Luxury retail post-pandemic
Hosted by Eleonora Cattaneo – Head of MA in Luxury Brand Management – Regent’s University London
Guest speaker Michael Ward, Harrods CEO
The webinar will be a talk show between a professor and a prominent British manager in the luxury world.

Monday, June 22nd, 6pm CEST – Register here
Is Lux always on my mind?
Hosted by Roberta Crespi – Director of EMLux – Università Cattolica
The webinar will be focused on the different communication scenarios luxury industry could face in the next future.

Monday, June 29th, 6pm CEST – Register here
The future of luxury brands in the Indian market
Hosted by Smita Jain, Director | MGLuxM SP Jain School of Global Management.

Here is the list of the other forthcoming webinars – follow us for updated calendar

Talents for Luxury
Hosted by Nicoletta Giusti – Director of MSc in Luxury Management – GLION
The webinar will focus on the skills and capabilities needed in the luxury industry to excel in the rapidly evolving and fiercely competitive scenario.

Past events

Monday, May 11th, 6pm CEST 
What is luxury all about? How the pandemic will change the perception of customers.
Hosted by Annalisa Tarquini – Director of MSc in Luxury Management – IUM
Guest speaker Bertrand Petyt
The webinar was focused on how this pandemic is changing the perception of customers on what luxury is all about, and the changes that luxury brand need to implement to still be relevant in tomorrow’s market, with a special focus on luxury services. Watch the video of the event here.

Monday, May 18th, 6pm CEST 
Sustainability in the Personal Luxury Goods industry
Hosted by Alessandro Brun – Director of MGLuxM – MIP Politecnico di Milano
Guests speakers Hakan Karaosman, Expert at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and Matteo Ward, co-founder of Wrad
The webinar was focused on the renewed wave of sustainability and responsible luxury that we expect in the aftermath of COVID-19. Watch the video of the event here.

Monday, May 25th, 6pm CEST  
The Luxury Industry at the time of COVID-19
Hosted by Alberto Festa – Director of Master in Luxury Management – Luiss Business School 
The webinar was focused on the new challenges for luxury brands at the time of COVID-19: financial impact for retail and supply chains; reengineering the new collection development; new approach to fashion shows.

Wednesday, June 3rd – 6pm CEST 
Luxury consumer experience: What does it mean today?
Hosted by Michel Phan – Director of MSc in Luxury Management – Emlyon Business School
The webinar was focused on the new meaning that Luxury consumer experience has today. Watch the video of the event here.

Monday, June 15th – 5pm CEST
Digital communication strategies during the lockdown
Hosted by Fabrizio Pini – Director of IMLUX – MIP Politecnico di Milano
The webinar was focused analyse the communication strategies of a number of luxury brands, during the current, unprecedented lockdown that boosted the crave for digital contents of consumers worldwide. Watch the video of the event here.