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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




Top 10 Online MBA Programs for Interactivity

The extent to which Online MBA students interact with each other, their professors and alumni is a key consideration for a prospective candidate. Virtual education has long been criticized for lacking interactivity, but more recently this perception has faded as online courses have improved.

In terms of interactivity, Online MBA technology has been one key driver of this effectiveness leap, with business schools investing heavily in virtual learning environments designed to replicate the quality of classroom discussion on campus. This includes technology such as virtual and augmented reality, with remote students being beamed as holograms to campus in some instances.

Investment in such immersive tools has been increased in the coronavirus pandemic, that forced even campus-based MBAs to innovate and pivot to online instruction. […]

Italy’s Politecnico di Milano School of Management is highly rated for its online interactivity. That is because of its innovative digital platform called “Flexa” that uses artificial intelligence to tailor the learning experience to each student’s educational needs and professional goals. Fittingly, MIP’s Online MBA program focuses on digital transformation and was designed in collaboration with leading technology companies including Amazon and Microsoft.

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

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


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

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


2.       Be in the moment

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


3.       Take that hand: people are here to help

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


+1. Work hard, party harder

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


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




Top 10 Online MBA Programs for Salary Growth

Online MBA students tend to be older than full-time candidates and looking for a career acceleration: they enter the programs with relatively high pay and it generally surges higher still on graduation. The increase can be as high as nearly 50 percent after a few years and the actual salary achieved above $200,000 on average.

Online MBA candidates can typically hold down a full-time job while they study part-time, so they do not incur the opportunity cost of not working like their counterparts on full-time campus programs do. So online students keep earning even while learning, applying what they learn directly into the workplace, working towards a promotion.

Finance and banking are the most popular industries pursued after an Online MBA — sectors known to compensate their employees handsomely.

The best Online MBAs for salary growth are often those that are ranked highest by rankings publications like the Financial Times and US News & World Report. This reflects these publications’ rankings methodologies—which tend to prioritize salary increase—but may also raise the esteem of an institution in the eyes of corporate recruiters.

In some cases, Online MBA students also may have access to all the same career services as their counterparts on campus do. This coaching from industry experts can help with securing well-paid jobs. And as Online MBAs are cheaper than residential courses, the absolute return on investment from digital degrees can be far higher too. […]

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The fundamental value of my MBA Project Work

The MBA experience came to an end in mid-July. It had been a long journey… sometimes exhausting, always interesting but for sure a lifetime adventure!

Our last step was the delivery of our project work, a final paper focused either on a strategic project within our company or on a startup development plan of our own.

The project could be managed in groups (for startup business plans) or by a single student (for the in-company project only) and it is discussed in front of MIP professors (and, if possible, is also open to other students) as the last step of the MBA. In both cases a tutor is assigned for each project, represented by a MIP professor with experience in the specific area of interest. This figure is key in the development of the project work because the tutor helps you step by step with useful indications and relevant tips based on his/her knowledge of the industry. I found my tutor to be a really great source of discussion and encouragement.

Personally speaking, this project was a chance for me to concretely apply all the notions I had collected and internalized during the last two years. The MBA courses fostered our capacity of giving life to embedded startup ideas and increased our understanding of business logics. A great thing is that often entrepreneurial ideas comes to life concretely thanks to startup contests linked to the Politecnico through the PoliHub, one of the main Italian incubators for startups.

I decided for the in-company project focused on fashion supply chains and the impact of Covid, which was a great personal and professional experience. It was a big chance for me to be part of one of the main strategic choices of the firm I work for, involving my specific area. I was able to grow and learn from the company’s top management in order to define and deliver the project, giving me more visibility and a deeper understanding of my firm’s strategic path.

Therefore, this final work was for me more than an assignment but truly professional growth for which I will be forever grateful. In general, for example for all my MBA colleagues who did the startup business plan, it was a chance to develop their ideas with a great deal of help from brilliant minds and the possibility of concretizing them.


About the author
Pietro Cavallo

My name is Pietro and I grew up in Milan, where I am currently living. I work in Switzerland, in the Supply Chain division of a clothing multinational. I am the husband of an incredible wife and father of 2 crazy kids.


How Online MBAs Forge Real-Life Networks

Students are finding that virtual networks can be just as valuable as the real deal

Forging face-to-face networks with students and faculty has long been a big draw to campus-based MBAs. But coronavirus-mandated travel curbs and campus closures are forcing students to embrace virtual learning.

That has long been admired for its flexibility and has been considered more environmentally friendly. But students are finding that virtual networks can be just as valuable as the real deal. A confluence of advances in technology and changing cultural and working norms are boosting the appeal of Online MBAs.

The travel clampdown caused by coronavirus and closure of campuses has made online networking more important than ever. “Now that everything is virtual, networking is an even more vital part of not just the job search, but also to keeping a cadre of allies and advocates ready and willing to bat for you,” says Stephanie Gray, associate director of Graduate Career Services at Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

She says that, with the cancellation of large in-person events such as conferences, students are having to rely more on one-on-one networking, which may be a welcome change for introverts. […]

There are downsides though. Antonella Maria Moretto, associate dean for open programs at MIP Politecnico di Milano in Italy, says that relationships struck in person tend to be stronger and longer lasting because they are more personal. “I am not sure that remote networking is effective as a personal chat to develop these relationships in the long term,” she says.

She believes that virtual networking is simply different, not better or worse than the campus experience. “The coronavirus obliged business schools to start using remote networking,” says Moretto. “After this crisis period, I think we need to learn how to blend together face-to-face with remote networking as these two methods are complementary.” […]

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

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


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


The importance of a good pitch

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


The future of luxury between personalization and sustainability  

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


The wealth of the MBA  

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

Online MBA Students Thrive in the Era of Remote Work

Digital degrees can help students collaborate with and lead teams remotely, boosting their employability

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital skills in the era of remote work. Online MBAs reflect this new working paradigm and prepare participants for collaborating with and leading teams remotely. “Online collaboration is a vital skill,” says Amy Foster, director of the Online MBA program at North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, which was launched in 2011. “Our students become extremely proficient at collaborating online, often working with peers across geographic boundaries and timezones,” she says. “These skills are increasingly required to conduct business around the world and are valued by employers.”

Demand for the course is high at a time of heightened economic uncertainty and an acceleration of digital working patterns and project-based work. “Part of the increased appeal is an acceptance and realization that remote work is likely to continue beyond the pandemic,” says Foster. “Virtual collaboration in the classroom mimics what is required in the workplace.” […]

Tommaso Agasisti, associate dean for internationalization, quality and services at MIP Politecnico di Milano in Italy, emphasizes the soft skills as well as hard technical abilities. “Online MBA students will become experts in dealing with intense situations, and will master skills such as empathy, resilience and knowing how to motivate and manage teams in person and remotely,” he says. “Ultimately, Online MBA students will learn a huge amount about how to develop dynamic communication skills for an ever changing world.”

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Top 10 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs

Most prospective students choose an Online MBA for the flexibility, but cost is a big factor in their choice. With lower overheads like campus teaching facilities and smaller class sizes curbing the cost of faculty, Online MBAs tend to be just a fraction of the price of their full-time counterparts on campus.

There are wide variations in the price of Online MBA programs. Some schools price them close to the cost of their full-time courses, arguing that this reflects the cost of putting on a high quality course. Prospective students will need to balance cost with quality, and that is what this list seeks to do by presenting the top 10 affordable online programs. While the below aren’t the cheapest Online MBA programs around, they are the most affordable, high-quality programs out there.

Online MBAs have risen to prominence in the coronavirus pandemic, which accelerated uptake after years of slow adoption. Covid-19 forced business schools to invest in upgrading their digital learning environments, which is good news for Online MBA students.

Milan’s MIP puts on the two-year International Flex MBA that is digitally delivered and was designed by a whole host of top companies including Microsoft and Vodafone. The course has core MBA modules in strategy, accounting and the like but its real focus is on digital transformation and features guest lectures from leaders managing digital companies like Amazon.

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«Why did you choose Italy?» Tales of students from around the globe

In the last article, we talked about the importance of Multinational Networking in an MBA. One of the most important benefits you can get is the development of long-lasting relationships with like-minded people. You can find real friends!

And talking about MBA friends, I’d like to share with you the experiences of some of them: Bruno Pivato from Brazil, Jo Eun Cha from S. Korea and Alejandro Tommasi from Venezuela. I guess their words will be much more meaningful than mine in helping you understand the beauty of diversity:

Bruno Pivato

I was born in Brazil, where I was educated and developed my career. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

I started my professional career in 2005, as an intern in a national investment bank, working in the area of foreign exchange, and then moving to BankBoston. After 2 years in the banking sector, I decided to try a new experience in Marketing, in a totally different company belonging to the medical technology sector. I became a Senior Marketing Analyst and, in 2012, I decided to leave and join 3M as a project manager. After that, I accepted a start-up project linked to Covidien, a big multinational company in the pharma sector. This experience led me to join Zambon, at the HQ in Italy, where I became a “Business Operations Manager”, responsible for Marketing and Business Development for 5 countries: Brazil, Colombia, China, Indonesia and Russia.

It wasn’t that easy to adapt to the Italian environment, but I found out that the best part of Italy is the people. Both in the office and in the street, I have found Italians to be very open-minded and receptive.”

Jo Eun Cha

I was born and raised in Seoul, S. Korea. I graduated in economics and worked as a Buyer for watches and accessories for 5 years. My dream was to work in the fashion industry, so I decided to study and go for it. I moved to Milan 10 years ago to study and to work. Then Singapore and Seoul again. Anyway, when I was in Milan, my manager called me one day, asking me to join his team in PVH. I accepted and now I’ve been working here for almost 4 years. I always wanted to apply for an MBA, so I decided to do it this year, so here I am.

Why did I decide to come to Milan? Well, Koreans love Italian products and I wanted to learn something about European culture. As soon as I arrived in Milan, I realized that the size of the city was right for me, even if it was much smaller than Seoul.

As far as the working environment is concerned, the Italian and Korean cultures are quite different. In Seoul, you work more and you’re more stressed out. In Italy, people work hard too ̶ but they place more importance on family, food, chatting and chilling. There’s a better work-life balance, and this helps you to perform better in the office too. This made me change my mindset, I guess for the better. I’m now confident that it is possible to set the path for my future career while enjoying life at the same time.”

Alejandro Tommasi

I was born in Caracas, where I lived until I was 15. The awful political situation forced me and my family to leave our country, looking for safety, opportunities and a future in my grandparents’ land: Italy. At the beginning, it was hard to adapt to a completely different environment; it took me years to finally find a balance. This experience helped me to grow and improve myself. Italy has given me some amazing opportunities: I studied and graduated in Mechanical Engineering, in the beautiful city of Turin.

Italy is a place drenched in culture, history, style, art and nature. I think it is a place which everyone around the world dreams of visiting at least once in a lifetime. I’m confident that this country has enormous potential to excel in every single field, and this potential should be transformed into action and plans for future development.

In my current position, I develop technological machining solutions to meet customers’ needs for many industries. I’m sure that with the knowledge, experience and benefits of exchanging views gained during this International MBA at MIP, I could apply all my energies to contribute to improving this country and its potential, especially in this difficult moment. I’m sure that diversity is always a provider of opportunities, looking at a future in a more and more interconnected world.”

Well, I don’t have much more to say. I guess my new colleagues and friends have said quite enough to make you understand the many differences (and the possibilities connected with these differences) that you can find in a multicultural environment, such that of the International Part-Time MBA at MIP.

I just want to leave you all with a final quote, by Stephen R. Covey, the famous American educator:

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” 

Let’s hope this strength will help us to get out of this tragic situation, and to increase our confidence in the future with a renewed spirit.


About the author
Marco Di Salvio

Student of the International Part Time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano.
Industrial Engineer currently working @ Gucci as WW Supply & Demand Planner, based in Florence.
Tech passionate, Cinema-lover, Sports addicted.
Solving the world’s problems one spreadsheet at a time.