Communication needs to be well-rounded

Today, when we talk about advertising, we immediately think about catchy slogans and messages that leave their mark. There are some that have become iconic, such as Nike’s “Just do it.” or De Beers’s “A diamond is forever”.And yet, it wasn’t always this way. Originally, communications agencies were limited to selling advertising space, while the claims – thought up by salespeople – had a unique message. Buy me. It was J. Walter Thompson, at the beginning of the 1900s, who was the first to entrust the conception of advertising claims to writers and playwrights, thus transforming advertising from a simple invitation to purchase into quality communication content.

How has the role of communication changed since then? And what are the career prospects in this sector? We asked Professor Lucio Lamberti, Director of the International Master in Media and Communication Management at MIP.


Sometimes, there is a somewhat limited perception of what “communication” means. Why is this? And what role does it play today?

Being a head of communications is a bit like being the coach of the national football team: everyone has their own opinion of your work. It is very evident what communication is and perhaps for this very reason, it is seen as something trivial. It is not that at all, though.

Just think of how many different roles there are in this sector. There are those who buy advertising space, those who design communication messages, those who do public relations, those who take care of social networks, those who do Search Engine Marketing…
Apart from anything else, communication is an economic phenomenon that is anything but trivial, on which an important employment chain also depends. To give you an idea, annual global investment in advertising is around $590 billion, of which 25% is dedicated to digital.

Investments which, in order to achieve the predetermined communication objectives, must be allocated to different channels. To do this, it is not only important to know exactly how individual channels can contribute to achieving the result, but also to orchestrate them in a way that conveys a coherent and high-value image. Not only that, it is also necessary to assess what proportion of your budget to allocate to each channel.
So in the end, it is not as trivial as it may seem at first sight. On the contrary, serious expertise is required − and it was this need that gave rise to the International Master in Media and Communication Management.


From those first communications agencies dedicated solely to the purchase of advertising space, the sector has come a long way. How has the approach of companies and agencies changed? 

Digital has changed the world of communication, making it accessible not only to large companies but also to the smaller ones, thanks to mechanisms like cost per click.

The advent of digital channels has also highlighted the issue of optimising spending on communications. Statistical models enable you to modify the percentages of the budget allocated to the various channels in order to optimise the output in terms of sales, brand awareness, etc.

This is not an easy task – far from it. In fact, traditionally, companies have always relied on agencies to do this.
Agencies which, after having undergone a great fragmentation over the years due to overspecialisation, are now moving in the opposite direction. We have witnessed a consolidation that has led to the formation of the “big 4” – WPP, which among other things is a partner of the Master, Omnicon, Publicis and Interpublic –  which Dentsu has joined.

Agencies are also important for companies because they have a market vision that identifies new communications trends and helps them get to know the platforms –  which are constantly evolving – better.
This is increasingly important because, with the explosion of digital channels, communication has become a conversation.  Today, businesses are called upon to listen, as well as communicate. This is an opportunity to get to know your target group better and identify the tones, registers, and content to which it responds.

Did you know that according to statistics, we are exposed to more than 800 marketing messages a day? Of these, which ones will we remember? Probably those that are relevant to us − and only by listening to the consumer can a company understand what is relevant to its audience.


It is clear that the world of communication is very varied and constantly evolving. In terms of job opportunities, which are the most sought-after profiles today and what advice would you give to those who want to enter this sector?

My advice? Not to set becoming a social media manager as your goal. Not because it is not a valid or interesting profession but because right now, a communication professional needs to have a 360-degree view. It is not so important to specialise, but rather to have a thorough understanding of the processes. Specialisation is built over the course of one’s professional career. Those who have the basics also have the capacity to transform themselves in the world of communication.
The goal of the International Master in Media and Communication Management is precisely this: to create a well-rounded professional, who knows everything well enough, but what they know best is the whole picture.

This means knowing how to understand the various channels, the logics of communication, knowing the creative processes as well as the analytical aspects. We want our students to understand the point of view of the client, i.e. the company, and the agency, which is the executor.
In fact, agency work is very different from that of a company’s communications manager. This is why we have decided to emphasise these two different approaches through two dedicated strands within the Master.

There is another matter which a “well-rounded” professional cannot ignore: that of sustainability.
Communication and sustainability are sometimes thought to be antithetical terms, forgetting that the same tools can be used in a company as well as in an NGO. Indeed, it is precisely the non-profit sector that is often an example of great communication skills and significant investment in the sector.
It is different when it comes to sustainable communication in the sense of ethics. In fact, it is important that a professional knows the boundaries within which to move to avoid falling into misleading communication or greenwashing. That is why we have also included this aspect in the Master’s programme.

The world of communication is a fragmented ecosystem, involving various players with different and sometimes overlapping roles. Only those with a clear vision can not only handle the resulting complexity, but also leverage it to create value.

This is the characteristic feature of this Master’s programme: it aims to create a professional capable of adapting to the context.

In fact, in a world that runs ever faster, what companies need is a person who is able to move not only vertically, but also horizontally, so that they can be employed on multiple fronts.

It’s all a matter of mindset − and here comes the added value of doing a Master’s degree in communication at an engineering school. A certain type of troubleshooting approach allows you to manage everything from designing an automated engineering plant to modelling social interactions.

MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business and BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas together for your future

BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas is offering MIP Graduate School of Business students resident in Italy the possibility of accessing a loan to enable you to plan your future with greater freedom and security.

The BNL Futuriamo loan is designed to help you deal with the needs your study programme entails, both in Italy and abroad: tuition fees, study materials, housing and transport costs, the purchase of a PC or tablet.

BNL Futuriamo can finance from 5,000 to 70,000 euros in a single payment, repayable over a period of up to 10 years, with the possibility of postponing the repayment of the capital from 12 to 36 months from the disbursement.

For younger students, there will be joint registration with a parent/guardian resident in Italy.

The loan is managed entirely by BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas. The granting of the loan is subject to the approval of the bank. For all information, together with contractual and economic conditions, please visit or make an appointment at one of the BNL branches.


Are you a Junior candidate? For further information click here

Are you an Executive candidate? For further information click here


To contact the BNL consultants and request a loan, simply click on “Call me back” and fill in the request form.

Digital transformation: now or never

Professor Antonio Ghezzi presents the International Master in Digital Transformation: from the strategic to the organizational repercussions, moving from the need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to managing a now inescapable change. For every company


Digital transformation yes. As long as you talk about it in the right way, deeply understanding its nature and repercussions for companies. «Today we’re seeing an abuse of this term on the part of many groups, in order to position and reposition themselves», explains Antonio Ghezzi, Associate Professor and Director of the International Master in Digital Transformation at MIP Politecnico di Milano. «What we need to do, instead, is to establish the boundaries of this concept. Too much emphasis risks leading to an inflation, with a bubble like that seen with dotcoms in the early 2000s. Instead we must try to understand the nature of technological waves, what they can bring to business and how the role will change of managers, who can no longer ignore the transformations underway».


An opportunity even for the smallest

According to Ghezzi, implementing a digital transformation leads first of all to transformation processes that must be interpreted. «The first theme is of a strategic nature. Through the combination of different technologies, new markets can be created. In addition, the nature of competition changes, it evolves, abandons the shapes of the past. The second theme is of an entrepreneurial nature», continues Ghezzi. «This phenomenon leads to the emergence of new business opportunities, that you need to know how to seize. Creativity becomes fundamental, from this perspective. And it allows startups and all these born digital companies to compete with companies that are much more structured». The third and last theme is the organizational one: «It’s difficult to implement a strategic plan, if the organization isn’t aligned. And then you need to think of the impact of digital: what impact does it have on the macrostructure? And the microstructure? Are there the appropriate skills to bring forward the plan?».


The digital company must experiment

Obviously, the role of the manager becomes fundamental in the face of a change that is inescapable and so necessary. «It’s important to recognize that, by now, the world is digital», explains Ghezzi. «Even those who have managed to position themselves in a confined space must know that, sooner or later, that niche will be eroded. To find new paths, companies must experiment, investing a little bit in different directions, learning to test the quality of their choices, to understand which are the best. In such a turbulent context, where discontinuities aren’t only of a technological nature, classic planning becomes impossible. This has also been understood by the largest companies, which are now starting to imitate this approach that up until now has been typical of startups». To face these challenges, according to Ghezzi, the entrepreneurial mindset is ideal: «The search for business opportunities must be constant. The discontinuity in which we live forces us to do so. Unless companies want to be supplanted. Think about how much digital companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Uber have achieved in such little time».


From know-how to know-where

However, you need to know the technologies in play. Better yet, you need to know where to find them. «We’re moving from the know-how model to the know-where model. It’s unlikely that a single company possesses all the technologies that are now characterizing the digital transformation. If we put artificial intelligence at the top of the pyramid, descending we would see that this will require machine learning, big data and data collection that can happen at the consumer level, or through the Internet of Things. And all this data, then, has to be put into the cloud. So it becomes hard for a single company to manage this complexity, and for this reason it becomes important to know where to find these digital services».

MIP Politecnico di Milano has created the ’International Master in Digital Transformation in order to train professionals at ease in this environment. «First of all, we provide general management fundamentals to our students, along with notions of marketing and finance strategy. Then we examine the technologies closely, evaluating their managerial impact. The third part includes an analysis of lean start-up and design thinking approaches. Students will have the opportunity to put into practice what they studied. There’s no better moment than now to enrol. Organizations that don’t put into place this process risk ending up on the sidelines», concludes Ghezzi.

«Good ideas aren’t enough: at MIP I learned how to develop them»

Dialogue with colleagues from the master’s programme, two years of experiments and progress and, above all, a mentality devoted to continuous improvement. Martin Leban, AMIE (now IMIE) alumnus, tells us how the idea of a shampoo contained in biodegradable marbles came about.

Training in the family business, discussions with colleagues in the master’s programme from around the world and, finally, the establishment of a startup that, inspired by principles of social and environmental sustainability, gives life to a small product, but with a large potential. It’s the story of Martin Leban, a young Slovenian entrepreneur and co-founder of the startup OneTwoThreeZero, as well as alumnus of AMIE (now evolved into IMIE, International Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at MIP Politecnico di Milano: «The master’s taught me that there are a lot of ideas, good and less good. What makes the difference is the effort put into developing them. And that’s exactly how I and my colleagues conceived of shampoo in biodegradable marbles».

From the idea to its implementation

Leban comes from a family that owns a small hair care product company. «An environment in which I learned a lot, observing day by day», says Leban. «Creating no waste cosmetics has been a goal of mine since I was working at my family company and saw how much plastic we produce. When Renata Alessio, Indira Pambudy and Sarra Elamin started the project of biodegradable shampoo marbles at AMIE I immediately liked it and asked them to join the team».
The ecological potential of this idea is clear: «The cosmetic industry uses a lot of plastic for its packaging, even for small quantities of a product, as is the case, for example, with the vials distributed in hotels. We started from a product conceptually like the detergent capsules used in dishwashers. In that case, however, the covering is a plastic material. For us, the challenge was to find a biodegradable material that at the same time was resistant enough to contain the shampoo inside it». A challenge taken up by his two partners and chemists, Anja Pajntar and Uros Novak. «It’s a research process that has now lasted for two years. The difficulty is due to the small percentage of water in the shampoo, 10%, which on its own is a big savings compared to the 80% of average shampoos. We could have fallen back on a product without water, but the effect on hair wouldn’t have been the same». The roadmap for OneTwoThreeZero foresaw a series of important tests in April 2020, but the current health situation has forced Leban and his team to postpone. «By now we’re there, however. So much so that the laboratory that hosted us until now is no longer sufficient; we will shortly start to produce larger quantities of our product».

The importance of not being satisfied

Leban doesn’t hide that the MIP experience was crucial for the creation of this startup. «Starting with my classmates, from 17 different nationalities. This diversity has proved to be a real value added, because it gave me exposure to different points of view and cultures, which generated a true creative flow. Now I make use of the principles of design thinking learned thanks to the master’s programme, which taught me how to set up a balanced team, evaluating the most strategic individual characteristics for the company».
The project work experience was also important: «It’s one of the reasons I chose MIP. I learned what makes up the development process, which isn’t only a matter of notions, but also of mentality. Focusing deeply on an idea, to discover its real potential and give life to a series of virtually infinite possibilities».
Finally, some advice for those are about to enrol in a master’s programme: «The best way to experience it is to try to arrive with clear ideas on what you want to achieve. And never be satisfied, but work on yourself. The level of lessons is very high, and pushes you to aim even higher, to increasingly deepen your knowledge. It’s this mentality that allows you to approach your goals, both if you want to work as an entrepreneur, or as a consultant. The job prospects tied to this master’s are manifold».

The illimity academy gets under way: first master in credit management in collaboration with MIP Politecnico di MIlano

Illimity, the high-tech banking group founded and led by Corrado Passera, has established the illimity academy, the corporate business school whose objective is to create high-level economic and financial educational paths for new professionals in the credit sector through teaching programmes and training in the field. 

The illimity academy’s first master is dedicated to credit management and its structure has been developed together with the MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business, which also has responsibility for scientific guidance. The aim of the course, which will start in September 2020, is to develop new generation Credit Managers with the characteristics sought by neprix, the servicer specialising in managing illimity’s corporate distressed loans. 

The course, which combines a paid internship with direct tuition by a team of lecturers with a background in the academic and consultancy world as well as members of illimity management, will have a duration of six months and accommodate 25 students who are about to graduate in the humanities or science or have just graduated in those areas and been awarded a degree (bachelor’s or master’s) not more than one year earlier. 

At the end of the course students who stand out for ability, motivation and potential will be offered a permanent position as Junior Asset Manager. 

Selection will take place in two stages: candidates must firstly send their applications and a motivational video to by 30 June, while during the second stage selected candidates will be interviewed to assess their skills and potential and to determine whether their profile is in line with illimity’s values and business culture. 

The selected students will attend the course on a daily basis, this alternately involving classroom teaching (400 hours) and tuition at illimity’s offices where the internship will take place (540 hours). 

The illimity Group will bear the majority of costs for the Master, which amount to €10,000 + VAT per student. Participants will be asked to make a contribution of €2,000 + VAT, which will then be reimbursed if they are hired. Study grants will also be available and the internship will be fully remunerated (€700 gross a month plus luncheon vouchers). 

Marco Russomando, Head of Human Resources at illimity, stated: “We have decided to champion the illimity academy as a means once again of investing in talented young women and men and training people in the skills of the future. People are our real strength and resource in illimity, and the numbers go to show that: after little more than a year we can already count on 500 illimiters of all ages, people with a background in 120 different sectors, arriving from 19 countries and having an average age of 36. We have always set our sights on young people, right from our beginnings, and want to continue in this direction. It therefore gives us great pleasure to undertake this journey and arouse interest and readiness in the academic world, starting with a top-level partner such as MIP Politecnico di Milano”. 

Laura Grassi, MIP lecturer in finance and scientific director for the Master stated: “Concentrating on continuous training, selecting young talents, promoting the company’s business and involving the very managers who will lead the change are the distinctive features of this course. One in which MIP, the Politecnico di Milano’s business school, has made its expertise and know-how available and put its belief in the collaborative spirit of an initiative where teachers at key Italian universities will alternate in the classroom with renowned professionals and illimity top management”. 

Is a specialist Master’s degree or an MBA better?

There’s no answer that’s right for everyone. Before deciding, it’s good to always take two key factors into consideration: one’s professional experience and the objective to be achieved


Finding your bearings in the midst of a vast educational offering like that represented by Masters’ degrees can be daunting. Especially if you don’t have a clear understanding of the premises on which Master’s degrees themselves are based, and if you don’t have a clear idea of the objective you want to achieve. Sometimes there are doubts about choosing between two paths, both valid but very different from each other: specialist Master’s degrees and MBAs. How to choose between them?

Your curriculum makes the difference

It’s a question to which Greta Maiocchi, Head of Marketing & Recruitment at MiP-Politecnico di Milano, answers: «The first big difference is given by one’s professional expertise. The specialist Master’s degree is similar to the Master of Science, that is to the specialist degree and therefore, is mainly for those who have just finished a three-year university programme or who has recently started to work. To be eligible for an MBA programme it is instead necessary to have at least three years of work experience».

And it is precisely those who have more experience who, at times, make an error in assessment: «An increasing number of people who have even four or five years of seniority ask us to enrol in a specialist Master’s programme. The problem is that they come to the classroom with a much higher level of knowledge than other participants. These are situations we try to avoid», explains Maiocchi.

A vertical and a horizontal Master’s degree

The second big difference instead, involves the subjects addressed. The specialist Master’s degree has a vertical approach, explains Maiocchi: «It can be on luxury, on supply chains, on energy management, on big data. In short, it develops skills thanks to which one can become skilled in a specific environment or function. Generally, it is chosen by young people who want to specialize». It’s quite different for MBAs, which have a generalist approach and cover all the subject matters useful for learning those skills that can then be applied in a strategic context. «The goal in this case – explains Maiocchi – is to provide an overview of how an organization works, to be able to prepare for a high-level management position. A participant in one of our MBAs in 2009 is today vice president of an important financial institution. He had just four years of work experience at the time».

Soft skills above all

Because among the main objectives of the MBA are the ability to manage change and people, soft skills take on a predominant weight, already in the selection phase. «In addition to four written tests, in which we verify the analytical skills, we also carry out long interviews in which we evaluate the candidate’s aptitude for problem solving, to be proactive, to manage stress. Empathetic and communicative skills are important: in MBA programmes you learn a lot from others. Somebody who has nothing to offer to their classmates isn’t our ideal candidate. But they’re also not the ideal candidate of any company, if their goal is to become a leader».

An ideal candidate, instead, may be one who also has creative qualities: «Lately we have had participants who stand out from an artistic point of view, people with a degree in economics who, for example, went on to become video makers. They had an incredible ability to visualize results and objectives. For this reason, we also look with great interest at the creative and innovative part».

As Maiocchi reiterates, it then becomes extremely important to develop those skills that make the difference for companies: «You need to know how to adapt to change and to stimulate it. The world moves quickly, and it offers constantly evolving opportunities and challenges. The job of a good leader also involves guiding their team through these processes. Lastly, it’s essential to know how to work for projects. The entire MBA is structured for projects: more than a discipline, it’s a real methodology that can be applied to a number of sectors».