Alessandro Ibelli had always aspired to do an MBA—it was only a matter of selecting the right school. France’s EMLYON Business School—combining internationality and innovation—provided the ideal environment.
For Alessandro, EMLYON's inclusion in The Financial Times' list of the world's top 100 business schools was a key factor that drew him there. But it was the school's focus on entrepreneurship and the diversity of its cohort that entrenched his decision.
"EMLYON's cohorts are small, yet represent over 20 nationalities," he says.
Alessandro worked in Italy and the US before business school. He sought to consolidate his understanding of business strategy within a global setting during his MBA, specializing in international strategy.
The international strategy track at EMLYON provides students with a grounding in how to maintain competitiveness in complex multinational firms, the challenges of implementing strategies across different political and regulatory contexts, and how to internationalize new entrepreneurial ventures.
At the same time, EMLYON Business School's Entrepreneurial Leadership Project provided Alessandro with further insight into the formulation of business strategy. The scheme enables students to apply theory they have learnt within a practical business environment.
Alessandro undertook a nine-month consulting project with Salomon, a company known for producing winter sports gear and originating in a city close to the French Alps.
"Our group worked with the snowboard unit of the company,” Alessandro recalls. “Salomon is well known among skiers, but the aim of our project was to deliver recommendations on how they could increase their brand equity for snowboarders.
"The project involved investigating the behaviors of skiers and snowboarders, digging into government regulations, and learning about other products, technologies, and resorts.”
Alessandro, who completed his MBA in 2015, now works at the interface of strategy and international business in his role as global brand manager for cosmetic and pharmaceutical company, NAOS, which has a presence in over 100 countries worldwide.
Based in London, he’s required to oversee multiple departments, from sales, finance, and marketing to strategy, human resources, and logistics. He notes that the MBA equipped him to perform such key roles effectively, and enhanced his ability to coordinate an enterprise at a global scale.
"I like to join a company at the beginning of a specific project, build a team and strategy from scratch, and take to the project to the next level,” he says.
"I've been in London for three years now, in charge of the UK business unit of NAOS's premium brand, Institut Esthederm. I joined the unit basically alone, and year after year built a successful, young team."
Rich discussion stimulated by diverse perspectives nurtures the innovative nature of EMLYON Business School's MBA program. And, in an increasingly interconnected world, such diversity prepares students for a truly global business landscape.
Despite having lived in cosmopolitan cities like London, Miami, and New York, Alessandro does not hesitate to stress Lyon's charm.
"The gastronomic scene, two rivers dividing the city, Vieux Lyon, and proximity to the Alps, distinguishes Lyon from anywhere else I've lived,” he says. “I loved it, and I hope to live there again one day."