29 July 2022

An international experience during my MBA path

Author: Luca Bianchi – International Part Time MBA student

Even if globalization has transformed the concept of proximity and the local, the “location” remains a key asset for many businesses. If we think about HO.RE.CA, real estate or retail, the location is critical to their success. Is the same true of business schools?

Most famous MOOC platforms were founded between 2012 and 2014, trying to bring “globalization” into a sector that seemed to be outside this process. Of course, today, after the pandemic, we take for granted the possibility of attending a course remotely, but at that time they were so cutting-edge that they were changing the idea that you needed to move far away to get the best training.

If it is true that the use of technology helps us to save (especially commuting) time, we have found that physical presence is something irreplaceable. The connection between professionals and the construction of a network is an important value that a business school can offer. And here, another question is raised: does the physical location, in a foreign country, change the way of learning or the number of things learned?

During my MBA at POLIMI GSoM, I have had the chance to participate in an international week spent at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. My class and I attended courses related to topics such as corporate finance, project management, revenue management, AI and Robotics, and we spent one day visiting the company Messe Munich.

Beyond the content, something we can assume to be quite similar among business schools, and beyond the skills of the professors we met (even if I have honestly to admit that we were really lucky to attend a “TEDx-style” lesson held by a robotics guru: Dominik Bösl), a week spent with fellow MBA students is really something unique. All the hours that surrounded the courses, the moments for relaxing, the events outside the network, gave and enhanced the value of the lessons. We all discovered different personal and professional aspects about our colleagues, visited the city and enjoyed life differently from the way the same journey would have been with other friends.

It has been an experience that reminded us a little bit of the Erasmus scheme, but with a different maturity; highlighting even more how the hard skills learned during lessons are important, but that life is outside the class and when it comes to organizing events or agendas, booking venues and creating groups and clusters with similar interests, there is no book to consult but only the experience we have had and the experience we are capable of facing, and eager to face, day by day.

Coming back to the initial question, I think that location is a feature that adds value to all experiences. A theatrical performance attended in an ancient Roman venue is really different from the same performance, delivered by the same actors and the same crew, in another place. During the vision of the spectacle, as the audience, we are focused on understanding the plot and enjoying the play but all the feelings, perceptions, and sensations change according to the place and the people that we decided to go with. And I think that an international experience enjoyed with our MBA colleagues in a business-focused area, such as the Bavarian one, is an enriching experience that will be remembered by all of us.  

29 July 2022

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