24 October 2022

The end is where we start from

Author: Chelsy Greenman, International Full-Time MBA student

It is difficult to look back on the last year without being shocked that my experience at POLIMI is over. It has almost been a year exactly since I landed in Milan for the Full-Time MBA, and it has been a whirlwind. Everything that everyone tells you is true, it will go by incredibly fast, and you will be looking back fondly on every minute of it. I may not have felt that during some of the classes and exams, but I certainly feel that now.

I came to Italy from the United States to get my MBA because I wanted to gain more international experience and learn another language. Many of my colleagues shared similar desires, but we all wanted to learn more so we can do more in our careers. We came from different backgrounds, languages, cultures, and industries, but we had a common goal that brought us together. I was incredibly intimidated my first few days, as many of my classmates had engineering or finance backgrounds, and my humanities degree did not quite match up. I quickly learned that we all had our strengths, and I was as grateful for their knowledge as they were for mine.

My main drive to attend an MBA course was to gain a deeper understanding of the business world since my previous degree was in another sector. I was hoping to learn this and more, and I really did learn more. At POLIMI we were able to look at businesses holistically, and how each part works together. Many of us were able to share stories from our experiences when the parts had not worked as well together, and we got to discuss and ruminate on how to make them cooperate to a greater extent. This was achieved through lectures, but also guest lectures, and projects where we were able to work directly with companies and real-world business problems. I knew I wanted to learn how my job function worked better, but I am walking away with that and how I can do my job better to help the other roles in the business function simultaneously.

The best part of the MBA for me was the international aspect. While being international yourself can be daunting at times, the International Students Office is incredibly helpful and responsive, as well as our Italian classmates when we had a cultural question. It was incredibly rewarding to learn about other cultures, and even laugh at my own with my fellow American classmate. I think we all gained a better understanding of one another, and how to engage in business with other cultures. More than one teacher at POLIMI suggested reading the Culture Map by Erin Meyer and I wish I had before I started the program. It would have prepared me for the flexible time schedule that Italy uses compared to the very linear one in the United States. Through this program I learned so much about business and other cultures, and I also discovered so much about my own. As the world becomes more and more connected, this external and internal understanding is increasingly important. I think every MBA should be an international MBA.

It is hard not to feel like something wonderful has come to an end, but it is also the beginning of a new chapter for my colleagues and me. After all our hard work we have more knowledge, more understanding, and more prospects ahead of us than before. Many of us have already started completely new jobs, some in new countries. We have to finish this amazing adventure to start the next one.

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot.

24 October 2022

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