Italy's top-ranked business school, SDA Bocconi School of Management,
has re-vamped its full-time MBA with a new course structure, more emphasis on company projects, and a lot more networking within the school community.
Expectations for the new programme are high, given that in the latest Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings, SDA Bocconi was placed first in the world for return on investment (ROI, the average time graduates need to earn back tuition fees). The school is also renowned for offering innovative specializations such as the new track in Luxury Business Management.
The September intake for the full-time MBA is already experiencing the revamped full-time MBA. Verona Gianmario, Director of the Full-time MBA recently announced some of the changes to the structure of the programme and initiatives aimed at strengthening the identity of the school's community.
The new course is now structured according to four sequences, each representing skills and values that a modern manager should possess in order to succeed in their role.
The first sequence is called “Planning and Innovating”. It focuses on developing the skills required to deal with global competition: the ability to plan based on current capabilities while introducing change and pursuing innovation. It includes courses such as Managerial Economics, Competitive Strategy, Corporate Strategy, and Technology and Innovation Management, all taught from a global perspective.
In a full-time MBA class of 90 to 100 students, SDA Bocconi typically plays host to around 30 nationalities. Many SDA Bocconi grads are heading abroad after their MBAs, and this is a move to keep their qualification relevant wherever they go.
The “Controlling and Investing” sequence equips students with the quantitative tools to manage performance and, at the same time, make investments and obtain funding to support business decisions. The courses taught in this sequence include Financial Reporting and Analysis, Corporate Finance, Financial Planning and Capital Budgeting, and Management Control.
The third sequence, “Leading People and Processes” is aimed at giving students the framework to set up a project in terms of processes and resources. Courses on Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management are taught here.
Finally, the “Soft Skills and Values” sequence is designed to develop skills such as communication, project and team management, and management ethics.
In addition, there will be an even greater emphasis on opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience. Luxury giant Bulgari already sponsors the Luxury track at SDA Bocconi,
where students get to study at the Bulgari office in Rome, and to work for a luxury firm during the summer internship period.
The school also has established collaborations with a selection of firms offering students summer projects in industries ranging from banking and financial services to energy and utilities to industrial products, consulting, and technology.
Initiatives to strengthen the SDA Bocconi community, such as the Rolex Regatta and the Ski Cup, will be joined by more events aimed at attracting members of community.
One of the exciting new initiatives is “A Cocktail With", a bi-monthly lecture series that allows students to meet with professionals from Bocconi’s research divisions. So far this year, Guido Tabellini, Rector of Bocconi University has led a discussion on the sovereign debt crisis.
Another event is “A Movie With”, where students watch films that deal with economic problems and ethics. The new class have watched and debated “Il Gioiellino” and the famous “Inside Job”. Over the next few months, “Margin Call” and “Too Big to Fail” will be screened and discussed with faculty members.
In terms of student engagement, the new MBAs experienced the opening week where they took on activities designed to encourage team spirit, motivation and commitment. Ties with alumni are also being strengthened to enable students and alumni to come together and share their experiences.