It's often suggested that great salesmen are born and not made, but a new specialist Masters at SDA Bocconi aims to teach sales skills systematically to busy executives.
Business schools have been criticised for neglecting sales, the most fundamental skill in business, but SDA Bocconi wants to change that with a new Master's programme.
Philip Delves Broughton, author of New York Times bestseller Ahead of the Curve
about his time at Harvard Business School, was "baffled" to find that sales was not even on the curriculum at Harvard. After his MBA he went on a "pilgrimage" to meet the world's great sales wizards, from Morocco, to Japan to the US, and published a book
about what he learned along the way.
Whether you call it top line growth, business development or creating revenue centres, sales is what business is all about. The people who rise to the top of any business are much more likely to be the ones who bring in the dough than the strategists or finance whizz kids.
The specialized programme is delivered through a combination of distance learning sessions and residencies that can be taken at the SDA Bocconi campus in Milan or the ESADE campuses in Barcelona and Madrid.
The course is designed for proactive executives who want to improve their professional skills, as well as for seasoned sales people who want to take stock of their experience, according to course director Alessandro Arbore
Students will be able to network with the rest of the SDA Bocconi community on campus, and learn new skills that they can apply in their jobs right away.
The Executive Master in Marketing and Sales is taught entirely in English. The modules emphasise skills such as negotiation, sales management, and pricing strategy.
There's also an interesting one for anyone who has ever been confounded by a big sales push that yielded poor results (the places most frequently complained about to BusinessBecause being the Middle East, India and Japan...): the culture and anthropology of the East and the West. The way you make a sale differs widely from country to country, and this module will teach students how to reformulate their pitch for different cultures.
The course content reflects the fact that salespeople have a complex range of skills that they're applying at any given point in the sales process. The international breadth of the course and the diverse class cohort are additional benefits: the first class, beginning in January 2013, will have 18 students from 18 countries.
SDA Bocconi aims to equip these ambitious executives to thrive in today's pressurised market place and grow their businesses. It's a course for people who want to create their own success, says Arbore.
Visit here to learn more about the programme. Read more stories about students, alumni and other programmes at SDA Bocconi School of Management.