27 September 2023

POLIMI GSoM’s Full-Time MBA: whys, rewards, and winning strategies

Author: Ximena Zolezzi, International MBA student

In a wide-ranging interview, our Full-Time MBA student Ximena Zolezzi gives her account of what led her to attend our School, her greatest takeaways from the course and the purpose and motivation she derived from it, as well as providing some advice which, following her experience, she is now in a position to share.

  1. Can you tell us something about your background and previous experiences, and why at a certain point in your life you decided to attend an International Full-Time MBA at POLIMI GSoM?

    With 10 years of experience in Chile in different industries  ̶  retail, telecommunications and real estate  ̶  once I found my passion in the path of Customer Experience (CX), I decided to specialize and deep dive further into this area which, nowadays, is a fundamental pillar in companies’ strategy to be competitive in relation to the changing demands of consumers and to match the perceived value of the product/service to their expectations.

    As Customer Experience Manager, I had a key strategic and operational leadership role responsible for developing, continuously improving, and delivering an outstanding customer experience, as well as for the strategic development of operational requirements, processes and  technology to meet customer expectations in a B2C/B2B environment.

    I was also charged with deploying strategic projects related to enhancing the end-to-end customer journey, such as CRM, Customer Feedback (NPS, CSAT, ES), Customer Service Model, and Omnichannel Strategy.

    The next challenge was to update my knowledge not only in this area, but also of related subjects with direct impact such as Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, Omnichannel, Finance, Lean Startup, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, and General Management, among others.

    The possibility of doing an MBA in my country was of course an option, but to be honest, if I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, challenge my limits, face not only a new language but also new cultures and a new country, I had to take a new direction in my life, and stop always doing the same thing if I wanted to get different results: this was the factor that led me to take the decision to study the International Full-Time MBA in Italy. And why POLIMI GSoM? Because of the prestige, the approach, the quality of the professors and colleagues, the teaching methodology, the program and the luxury specialization, which was the industry I was interested in exploring.

  2. What are the greatest lessons you have learned from the MBA, not only in terms of hard skills, but of course also in terms of soft skills and human capital of relations with professors, colleagues and alumni?

One of the biggest challenges and learnings of this MBA was not only the part of going back to school as in my undergraduate studies, dedicated 100% to going to classes, studying for exams and assignments  ̶  another very important component was learning new cultures, new languages and meeting people from all continents and parts of the world. I consider this as one of the main takeaways.

I am grateful, because if it were not for this program, it would have been very difficult to have had this incredible opportunity that allowed me to meet great colleagues and friends.

Having the opportunity to work with people with varying backgrounds and different soft/hard skills are things that, by working in a project team, have allowed me to get to know much better the different skills of others, their strengths and weaknesses, and to learn and generate synergies in teamwork.


Another important point to highlight was the opportunity to do the luxury specialization. Here, we had different bootcamps for deep diving and better understanding how the luxury industry works in Italy in the automotive, retail, yacht, shoes, food and wine sectors, etc. We had the chance to visit different companies and to learn about their productive processes, business models, and clients, and to get more involved with each brand’s purpose. This for sure is something I will always remember as a unique experience.


Last but not least, there is the quality of the professors and the opportunity to talk and learn from them; these are very knowledgeable people with many qualifications, well recognized in their fields, and with a great deal of experience to share. I have to say, I was greatly surprised by the high standard of the lessons and the methodology for learning and applying this new knowledge, which was very practical and included a lot of teamwork assignments.


  1. During the MBA, you found a new job here in Italy: what is the purpose that led your career development and that motivates you to face your professional challenges?

I think the same as for my other MBA classmates: when we decided to come here and start this program, we moved outside our comfort zone and I felt the need to challenge my status quo, to do something different and to continuously improve my professional career.

The purpose in my life is really what has driven my decisions and it’s aligned with my expectations versus reality. What I mean by this is that I’m responsible for building my future, and if dreaming of achieving my milestones (for example, if I want to be a point of reference in matters of CX and customer centricity), I need to keep improving myself. I have to design this professional journey; it’s me who has to understand where I am today and where I want to go.


Therefore, my purpose is to challenge myself every day, to get new knowledge and adopt new skills, be resilient, flexible, to improve and properly manage frustration and to contribute to my environment with the best of me, not only in hard skills, but also with my personality, my vision, and soft skills. With this conviction, I’m pretty sure I could be more of a specialist in what today is my passion  ̶  CX, CRM, Digital transformation and Omnichannel strategy  ̶  and become a reference point in these areas.


Today, I’m working in a new environment here in Italy, using two different languages (Italian and English), and this is also a happy new challenge every day, but I’m really enjoying this journey and I’m very grateful to my company for the opportunity they have given me.

I feel happy where I am and for what I have, thanks to my perseverance and because of what the Full-Time MBA has contributed, opening up new opportunities for me here in Europe.


  1. As a member of the POLIMI GSoM Alumni Community, is there any suggestion or advice you would like to share?

From my personal experience, my advice is to define the purpose in your life, and then you can go and embrace your future. Design your path, define your journey and make things happen.

The opportunity to go abroad and to study is amazing, not only as I said before because of the technical knowledge you can acquire, but also because you can challenge yourself continuously, even in your day-to-day activities. All this new adaptation process will give you a wider perspective on life, you will be more resilient, and it will help you to grow and to see life from different perspectives.

This also applies when you start a new job in a new country; there are a lot of different variables and dimensions you need to get used to, but it’s a lovely path to experience.

Related to the program, take advantage of all the activities, bootcamps, labs, seminars, talks, and aperitivos that POLIMI GSoM’s MBA offers you, talk with professors and work on your networking.

Doing an MBA in your home country will always be a good idea, but if you are thinking of going abroad to live a new life experience, to embrace your future and to find the best version of yourself, don’t hesitate to take this decision.

And finally, if you are thinking of coming to Italy, I strongly recommend that you start learning some Italian before you arrive. It is not mandatory, but it would help you a lot! Both in day-to-day activities and in your job search.

From my thoughts:

  • The sky is the limit
  • Networking
  • You are the only one responsible for making things happen
  • And always my goal is “To the infinite and beyond”.
27 September 2023

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