Programme: Modular Executive MBA, 2018
Pre-MBA: Managing Director, Campari UK, London, UK
Post-MBA: Business to Business Director - World, illycaffe, Trieste Area, Italy
Current industry: Retail/FMCG
Transitions made: Function, Location
Before embarking on the Cass Modular Executive MBA, I was working at Campari UK as Managing Director. My online search for a strong business school with a twist of excellence in strategy, digital transformation and entrepreneurship led me to Cass, which delivered on these key points. The School offered three striking advantages: a pragmatic balance between high academic standards and business proximity; an extremely practical, modular intake; and a high level of diversity among the cohort.
I loved the programme from day one. The Cass team was extremely helpful, providing a thorough induction offering hints and tips on how to perform during the MEMBA programme. This support was crucial, as the MEMBA is a life-changing experience requiring organisation, commitment and high levels of energy. I was back at school after more than 20 years and my first feeling was fear… would I be able to make it?
After my first contact with the team, I started meeting my classmates and our positive first impressions were confirmed by the high academic standard of the lessons. At Cass, everything is designed to facilitate learning. I never regretted my choice, even during the darkest moments when the pressures of study and stringent deadlines were at a peak.
The most challenging aspect of the MEMBA is time management. I adopted a strict agenda that allowed me to manage family, office and studies: the wake-up call was set every day (weekends included) at 5.00am. I studied while commuting to the office and until the working day began at 9.00am. At the weekend, I studied from 6.00am to 2.00pm, allocating the rest of the day to my family. Without their full support and understanding, it would have been very difficult to succeed.
Most of the theory you will study during the MEMBA can be routinely applied to real-world cases. I had the opportunity to use real business examples in most of my exams, and I found ways to leverage what I had learned in day-to-day work situations. As well as acquiring specific knowledge and skills at each stage of the programme, you will begin thinking differently and adopting a more structured approach to solving problems.
In year two, I chose electives that would expand my knowledge in strategy, digital transformation and entrepreneurship, focusing most of the modules in these areas. I also undertook international electives in Silicon Valley and China – two intense and undoubtedly worthwhile experiences.
The MEMBA also played a vital role in successfully changing employer. After 19 years with the same company, I found a senior managerial role in Italy with a leading coffee company. The knowledge and discipline gained through the MEMBA, coupled with the support of the Cass Careers team, was instrumental in successfully tackling several interviews before securing the position.
For my Business Mastery Project, I drew on the support of the Cass faculty to accelerate my understanding of my new employer’s business model and market challenges. I then addressed a business issue that was relevant to the company, increasing my value when I joined.
The MEMBA has equipped me to solve bigger problems in a more complex business environment. Looking back, I can see how much easier it is now for me to confront business challenges with confidence in my ability to understand and solve unforeseen scenarios.
Equally importantly, I’ve found in Cass a second family, with a great team of professors and terrific staff. I’ve found a new set of friends among my classmates and I’ve spent the most challenging – and, at the same time, the most exciting – couple of years of my life. The Cass MEMBA has been a life-changing experience.