I’d been thinking about doing an MBA for about 20 years. I was tempted to do it after university, though at that time I was penniless, so getting a salaried job was more attractive. However, the dream of doing an MBA remained at the back of my mind.
Then, after 18 years working with Campari, I arrived in London as the MD in charge of setting up Campari UK. From my office in the Shard, I found myself within walking distance of some of the best business schools in the world. As I was in a mid-career period, I wanted to prepare for the next phase of my professional life by giving myself a stronger academic background. I felt that this
was the right moment to do an MBA.
I had a strong attraction to Cass Business School. It’s an extremely innovative, international business school, with a strong focus on the areas I wanted to pursue – strategy and digital transformation. Due to my work and travel schedule I wouldn’t have been able to study in the evenings. The fact that the Executive MBA at Cass enables you to study at the weekends, was a huge plus.
I had a fantastic experience during the application process. I applied at the very last minute. I visited the website on a Friday afternoon and discovered that the course was starting in two weeks. I called the recruitment office immediately – they were very helpful. They told me that there were a few places left, though the application deadline was on the following Monday. I had the weekend to get my application together, otherwise I would have had to wait another year. I completed my application over the weekend, sent it on Monday and had my interview on Tuesday. I secured my place. It was such a fast-moving decision after so many years of thinking and waiting.
Soon, I started the EMBA. We had a perfectly balanced cohort of 42 people (21 male, 21 female) with colleagues from all over the world, representing a broad span of nationalities, cultures and business experiences.
During my undergraduate degree in Italy, we spent a lot of time studying theory, but it was far from real business. What I love about Cass is that, while we do study theory, you apply it to real business cases and discover how to use it in real life. It forces you to think on a broader scale.
The quality of the teaching is very high at Cass. The tutors have such a positive attitude. The whole business school is structured to help you get the most out of your EMBA.
The range of the electives is very broad, enabling you to tailor your studies. I went to San Francisco on a digital transformation module – it was an enlightening week on the digital ecosystem in Silicon Valley. It was wonderful to live and breathe it first-hand. It’s been so useful for understanding the dynamics of what is happening over there and has been extremely interesting for my current role, as we are facing digital transformation. I’ve also been on electives to Vietnam and Cuba, which have provided me with helpful insights into other business cultures.
I have experienced a dramatic change in myself since the EMBA. I now work in a different way, I reason in a different way, and I have gained a higher sense of selfconfidence.
Overall, my learning experience at Cass has been fantastic. It’s extremely demanding. You have to allocate 20 hours per week for your studies. There are no short cuts. Grades are not given for free. If you don’t study, you will fail the exams and you will have to resit. You need to have a strong motivation and a strong drive. It’s an incredible, life-changing experience.
The EMBA raises the bar for every aspect of your life. If you are able to manage two years on the EMBA, plus family, plus your workload, then you can do whatever you want in life. Professionally, it has been the best decision I have made in the past 10 years.