10 October 2022

Finish Line Ahead

Author: Chelsy Greenman - International Full Time MBA student

The MBA is a very particular kind of master’s degree, one which stimulates our brains in many unexpected ways. Obviously, it is focused on business, so your work experience before attending is of fundamental importance. Not only does it provide each cohort with a range of backgrounds and experiences to share, but it also acts as a baseline for students to reference as we cover a range of topics. Coming straight out of another degree into the MBA would not only be difficult, but it would not have provided us as students with any prior knowledge or ideas as to where we really want to go with our careers. For instance, I have a degree in humanities, so my work experience in a large company really helped prepare me for the MBA. Now, as we are coming to the end of our program, we are reexamining all the things we have learned this past year and either relating them back to our previous experiences or creating new ones with the different paths we have taken. I am happy to say that although most Masters’ programs require a final paper, the MBA at POLIMI GSoM takes a slightly different approach, offering the options of writing a research paper, creating a business plan, or writing about our internship project. This, again, provides practical additions to our toolbox, other skills which are bound to be invaluable in our working life.

Research Paper

While this may seem like the more generic route, researching for a business project usually requires more collaboration than a traditional research paper. The emerging business topic chosen for discussion can stretch us in terms of reasoning and ideation; we examine a particular issue and are expected to propose a solution. This forces us to engage in some serious teamwork and brings to the fore the training we have had in this area, learning to listen to each other and to work together to find a mutually acceptable answer to the problem. It also often requires the input of business experts or even market studies to gather enough data for an effective argument, offering us the chance to work with businesses and experts, utilizing our newfound skills and working towards a new solution or bringing to light a new topic. We also work closely with the POLIMI GSoM faculty and have the privilege of entering their extensive networks.

Business Plan

Many entrepreneurs attend MBA programs so that they can gain a holistic view of businesses and eventually start one of their own, or perhaps improve on one they have already launched. In this case, the option of creating a business plan is a wise choice, as it enables you to assess the viability of a business idea or to explore ways of ameliorating one already under way. This affords the opportunity not only to work with faculty, but also our MBA colleagues. Having spoken to a few alumni who have started entrepreneurial careers after graduating, I am sure a few in our class will have been inspired to do the same. By choosing this route, they not only get to put into practice their new-found expertise, but they are able to get invaluable insight from other experts before launching anything. I will certainly be following their progress in future!


Another route, the one I decided to take, is the internship. As I and some of my colleagues are making the switch into different sectors, I knew that gaining as much experience in a new realm as possible would be beneficial. It’s like a testing ground  ̶  we are still students, but we are in that phase of transition to our new working lives. The internship gives us access to more mentoring than we might find available (or have the time for) once we do start our new jobs, so it is an opportunity for learning on the job which is not to be wasted.

POLIMI GSoM has a plethora of relationships with companies from all different sectors, so being able to leverage those contacts and speak to different businesses was ideal. I was able to find the perfect internship for my purposes, one that is allowing me to utilize my previous expertise, but also move into the luxury sector and implement what I have learned over the past year. It is also a great  introduction into the Italian working environment, and the heritage that many Italian companies have.

Each route finishes with a paper and presentation, but the different options allow for us to really finish our degrees in a customized way. My entrepreneurial colleagues will have concrete information and feedback on their endeavors to come, while I will have luxury experience to add to my resume. Whatever path we choose, we can culminate our journeys this year in a tangible way and take these experiences with us into the future.

10 October 2022

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