Ciro Borriello spent six years at Airbus, the pan-European aerospace giant, but since starting up an MBA, his career has really begun to take flight.
The city of Cambridge has stirred Ciro’s entrepreneurial spirit. He is eyeing his own business venture, and has an interest in digital technology — artificial intelligence and big data analytics.
Such whizzy innovations he found in abundance in “Silicon Fen”, Cambridge’s cluster of companies and research focused on science and technology. Ciro joined Cambridge Judge Business School in 2015. The strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and heritage of innovation lured him from Turin, Italy.
Previously, Ciro launched his career with Airbus as an aerospace engineer and rose through its ranks to become a project manager for research and development. He holds a masters degree in aerospace and aeronautical engineering from Politecnico di Torino.
When and why did you decide to begin an MBA?
My interest in pursuing an MBA program started in Fall 2012. I was managing my first R&D project, I was just 25 and I knew there was still a long way to go.
But I have always been keen to plan ahead. And I believed the MBA could bring me the right complementary set of skills that I was looking for, considering I was transitioning from the engineering department to the program management office [at Airbus].
What makes CJBS a great MBA destination?
I picked Cambridge over all other possible destinations for a number of reasons:
1) The Cambridge MBA is one of the most international programs in the world, with over 40 nationalities represented by a small cohort of 150 students.
2) The program is also ranked among the best globally, and has the powerful Cambridge brand behind it.
3) It offers amazing networking opportunities with the broader university ecosystem outside the business school.
4) Cambridge has a powerful heritage of technology and innovation excellence that resonated with my personal background.
5) It is in the middle of “Silicon fen”, [one of] the most relevant European entrepreneurial hubs. There’s something in the atmosphere in town that cannot be explained — it’s a mix of history, positive thinking, and opportunity, which make you believe everything is possible here.
What do CJBS MBAs do for fun?
We had the chance to build the social backbone of our class during the first two orientation weeks, when we had parties, formal college dinners, picnics, treasure hunts and barbecues, which continued for the rest of the year.
Everybody engages in some sports activity: rowing is very popular, as well as football, ice hockey and squash. The sports experience culminates in the MBAT in early May; our class spent a week in Paris competing with other European business schools.
What are your tips for getting hired by Airbus?
Broaden your horizons, be innovative and be entrepreneurial: those are the key ways to progress within the company.
Of course technical expertise is important, but make sure you keep your technical skills as flexible as possible, and complementary to your soft skills. Technology and engineering companies are becoming collaborative environments where tasks do not occur in silos anymore.
People may think differently to you and may have a different work approach, a different culture, a different attitude. Learn from all those differences and keep your mind open.
What skills could you transfer from your time as an engineer to business management?
If you look at the technical skill-set required to succeed in business management, engineers have a natural advantage. At CJBS, I found my numerical thinking, abstraction capabilities, attention to detail, and planning, problem solving and data analysis skills extremely helpful.
What are your plans post-MBA?
My plan is to keep building my career in the European aerospace industry, given my past experience and the set of skills I have developed during the MBA.
However, after one year here in Cambridge, it’s almost impossible not to be inspired to indulge my entrepreneurial spirit. And setting up my own company around a couple of fresh ideas is something I still do not exclude!