Dr Maurizio Bragagni
Programme: Modular Executive MBA, 2016
Pre-MBA: CEO, Tratos Ltd, London, UK
Post-MBA: CEO, Tratos Ltd, London, UK
Current industry: Engineering/Manufacturing
Before embarking on the Cass Modular Executive MBA, I was – and still am – CEO and chair of Tratos Ltd, a global cable manufacturer. The company has manufacturing facilities in the UK and Italy, and offices worldwide.
At the age of 40, I decided to make up for lost time and undertook the MEMBA. My fellow students were a big part of my desire to study at Cass. They were able to unlock for me some of the ‘softer’ elements of working within British business, while the programme itself opened me up to the benefits of thinking differently and developing new skills.
As a newly appointed CEO, I wanted to gain insights into ways to improve the business and felt that external input from studying at this level was the best way to put the correct systems in place. I have no doubt that the Cass MEMBA delivered for me.
When I arrived at Cass, I was impressed as much by the calibre of the people I was sharing the learning experience with as by those providing the content. I enjoyed it immensely. It’s difficult to make time for something like this when you’re the head of a global business, but it was time well invested. The intense periods of study were enjoyable because it was a fascinating subject, and the level of scrutiny was not particularly at odds with my everyday working life. I made some friends, I had my horizons expanded and I am now investing that learning in the further development of my business.
I have always been fascinated by the process of innovation and how it can be applied not only to the tools we use, but also in the way we think and manage. I felt that innovation had a real value, and I was interested in defining it – and harnessing it – both for my own business and for the causes I support outside of the corporate world.
As part of the Business Mastery Project, I carried out a survey employed by Rao Jay and Weintraub Joseph – “How Innovative Is Your Company’s Culture?” – with Tratos employees. It was enlightening to gain a deeper understanding of what our people think, and the project uncovered some surprises – good and bad. This proved to be an influential piece of work for the business.
During this time, I made massive changes in several areas of the business, including production, management, purchasing and IT systems. I particularly tried to transform the culture of the company. In doing so, I realised that initiating a change on this scale would require a significant programme of training and development.
The MEMBA helped me to understand that investing in a ‘culture of innovation’ for the business would mean looking beyond a standard customer-driven model of product development to what our customers’ next wave of challenges will be, and how we can future-proof them. Looking back, I would say that my Cass experience equipped me with an informed bravery, which I would describe as the courage to experiment, thanks to the foundations provided by the MEMBA.
I went into the programme with the full intention of applying my newly acquired understanding in the real world. Indeed, my time at Cass resulted in the Tratos Academy – a CPD initiative with huge benefits for customers, as well as for the business.
The MEMBA has helped me to build a better business in terms of the way we engage with our people, our customers and our suppliers. It has inspired more confidence in decision-making and building stronger strategies. My role hasn’t changed, but the way I work within it most certainly has.