27 June 2023

Let’s introduce the International Part-Time MBA 2022 students.


Before enrolling in the International Part-Time MBA, a goal that has always seemed quite high level, I tried to collect as much information as possible, ranging from the course topics, the future opportunities and the people who had taken this course in previous years, wondering who they were before the Master. Unconsciously, I was trying to identify a root-cause effect, ensuring that with a certain candidate’s characteristics, the output would be predictable. Looking at their LinkedIn profiles and talking with some of them, I felt a mixture of fascination and admiration, thinking about how far away and unattainable their success was. Among the former students, some work in the most prestigious consultancy firms, some had received phone calls from the government for projects carried out during the pandemic, others have instead founded startups, found impactful positions at some of the largest companies or significantly improved their position with their previous employer.

But who were they before their MBA? What dreams and fears did they have?

I like to think I can find these answers by looking at my current classmates.

Sitting at my desk during one of our lessons, I look around. The faces that a few months ago were unknown are now those of the people I respect the most and because of whom I feel excited and impatient during the long 28 days between one course weekend and another.

There are students, like Pietro and Sara, whose aim is to understand how to better manage their own companies, identifying the skills that can be most useful. Then there are those who are extremely specialized, like Maurizio, who want to expand their impact in other areas and be involved in different activities. In his case, he already knows many things; what he needs is the legitimisation of his opinions. And guess what? A few days ago, he was asked to perform a financial analysis.

There is Maria Eduarda, one of the brightest people I’ve ever met. She had the goal of doing an MBA before turning 30, not just to get a grasp of every corporate function but also to grow from a personal point of view, dealing with people with different viewpoints and backgrounds. She is a great example of how to conceive your personal and professional life and she is my motivator; when I’m feeling overwhelmed, she helps me with these magic words: “Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Stay calm, work hard and the prize will reach you at the end”.

Then Mattia Br., always sitting on the left side of the room, while pursuing his goal of developing a complete knowledge of the various business functions and gaining experience in some important business schools through exchange programs, he has discovered the importance of networking and new unexpected relationships that “could last longer than the MBA does”. He had felt that he’d reached a learning plateau in his current job and found the solution, like many of us, in this journey.

Mattia Bo, instead, chose the MBA when he realized that he had been sitting in the comfort zone for too long and, inspired by those who had followed this path before him, decided to embark on this adventure. He sometimes underestimates himself while dealing with financial concepts for the first time, but he has proved that it was only a matter of time and determination to replace his confused expression with one of triumph when he mastered all those acronyms like ROS, ROCE and NWC.

Then we have Richie, whose brain allows him always to be 10 steps ahead while having fun and creating memes. He started this MBA to “not get fooled” by those who knew more than him. He was afraid of being an outlier due to his nerdy socks and Indian origins, since not all environments are truly inclusive and he was prepared for a battle… but ended up being one of the pillars of the course. He loves learning, something which it’s easy to understand from the excitement on his face every time he discovers something new. What has left him most satisfied up to now, in addition to the notions learned, is the diversity of thoughts and opinions that constantly emerge during the lectures.

Lorenzo, in the end, chose to do an MBA to enrich his extremely technical profile. What he likes most is working in teams during the business cases and from which he says he’s constantly learning.

It would take too long to list all of us; we are all different, but we all share an inexhaustible desire to learn, to face intellectual challenges and to improve ourselves through the exchange of views with our colleagues. I was afraid I didn’t have what it takes to attend an MBA course; I was expecting to be surrounded by hyper-competitive colleagues, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We are all (pretty) normal; of course, we’re a little addicted to studying and incredibly perseverant, but what really makes us stand out is our passion, our thriving for personal and professional improvement and our fear of staying in our comfort zones. Each of us has different skills and different knowledge, but I can observe how our competences complement each other and how everyone is contributing to the others’ growth.

These are the people who are studying for the POLIMI GSoM International MBA today; I still don’t know who or what they will become after the end of this intense experience, but having spent time with them, I am firmly convinced that they will become the successful professionals of tomorrow.

So what are the secret ingredients? A lot of passion, a tablespoon of organization, a teaspoon of sacrifice and a bunch of curiosity. While waiting for everything to cook (good things require time), we will appreciate this journey to the fullest, trusting that our ambition, our friendship and our determination will help us achieve our goals.

Valeria Rolando, International Part Time MBA student

27 June 2023

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