Italian Research trip a fantastico experience

Don Trynor is a product management executive with over 15 years of experience handling technology-based services and products. He’s registered in the executive MBA program at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. This is his second entry to EMBA Diary.

Studying abroad within an MBA program can be an enriching experience for students. Students, generally, have the options of taking their entire MBA program at a foreign nation or attending a Canadian school which allows students to take some of their schedule in a foreign school. In any event, this may be particularly beneficial for students, providing them with invaluable global experience, in addition to the ability to meet new friends and build their professional community in their host nations.

When I was considering which school to enroll in to earn my executive MBA, among my must-haves was the chance to study abroad for some of the program. Being an avid runner, I have always enjoyed the experience of visiting another country, learning about its culture, food, lifestyle, architecture and taking in the natural beauty of its landscape. Additionally, I thought this type of adventure may also open the door for me to be able one day to operate in a different country. Accordingly, I was very attracted to Rotman’s EMBA, as it encouraged studying overseas for a week in partner colleges, including those in China, Italy or the USA.

In March, Rotman supplied EMBA students with the list of global modules and their corresponding places, to which every student could apply to study an elective. (Pupils cover their own travel-related expenditures, for example, flight, lodging and food.) For our EMBA course, the choices were either the International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Suzhou, China, or the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy.

Being a product management executive specializing in technology-based services, it was natural for me to pick an elective that would complement my skill set, so I chose to apply to a SDA Bocconi module linked to value and service. Before then, I had never heard of the Italian schoolnonetheless, after a bit of research, I was surprised to learn that it was among those top-ranked MBA schools in Europe, and thus this was a bonus, too.

About a month after, I was thrilled to learn I was accepted to the program, which happened during the first week in July. Two of my classmates, Jasmine Wong and Kelly Grieves, were approved to take the same module that week also.

Considering our proposed research at SDA Bocconi were to happen during one of our fund tests, we were required to write it early on the morning of June 29. After that, we were off to Milan that day and landed there about 10:30 a.m. the next morning.

Having 2 1/2 days before classes began, we decided to visit Cinque Terre along the Italian Riviera to hike the trail on the Mediterranean coast between the picturesque towns of Vernazza and Monterosso, which was a excellent way to clear our heads and start shaking off the six-hour time difference between Toronto and Italy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for me, since the night before classes began, I managed to get just about two hours of sleep, making for a groggy start to my huge week and bringing a swift halt to my three-year, self-imposed caffeine moratorium. Not such a bad thing, provided that Italian coffee is really great.

The first morning at SDA Bocconi started with a reception breakfast, where pupils participating in the various research modules met one another and the SDA Bocconi staff. I met fellow EMBA students who had been attending business schools from all around the world, including China, Israel and the USA, along with people from SDA Bocconi.

Within our service and value course, conducted in English, there were approximately 20 pupils, half of whom were from SDA Bocconi. The class itself was centered on the subjects of creating customer satisfaction and value specific to services, such as strategies associated with creating exceptional customer experiences, pricing and costing to optimize profitability for service-oriented companies.

Through the week-long program, we spent plenty of time getting to know our classmates, both during class and during social activities. Furthermore, we experienced how MBA courses are delivered in SDA Bocconi, which has many similarities to people at Rotman but a few noteworthy differences. One of them was that the examples and case studies discussed in class entailed mainly European or Italian companies, which supplied the overseas pupils with additional insight into company operations in the European marketplace. By way of instance, I never knew that the Bologna area is usually called “Packaging Valley,” as apparently the firms in that region of Italy would be the masters of all things related to product packaging. Another difference was the quantity of discussion in class — somewhat less than at Rotman.

Over all, I found my global exchange module in SDA Bocconi to be the adventure of a lifetime. I got to make several new friends, find out more about the way business is conducted in the Italian and the European markets, and further develop my understanding around delivering profitable services with topnotch customer experiences. The trip was amazing, providing the sorts of rewards I had been hoping for.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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