SDA Bocconi School of Management: Sailing Club

Brazilian Andre Diomelli nearly went into professional sailing as a teen. He talks to us about the school’s prestigious club and their signature annual Regatta

 
We’ve caught up with Andre Diomelli, President of SDA Bocconi School of Management Sailing Club to learn more about the club’s activities and their popular regatta which takes place once a year. 
 
This year’s regatta was held from the 28th to 30th of September in Santa Margherita, Genoa, Italy. The event brought together around 500 MBA students and alumni from 21 top-ranking business schools. This meant plenty of networking opportunities and fun to be had. A Rolex watch was up for grabs for the skipper of the winning boat!
 
Can you tell us what led you to apply for the SDA Bocconi MBA?
I felt the MBA was a beginning for me. I wanted to stretch my knowledge and the MBA is a chance to do this in a very short time. I worked as a business leader for one of South America’s leading producers of steel, Gerdau, for nearly four years.  In my experience, people with great careers were those who had an MBA so I quit my job even though I was on a good track. I’m glad I did because the knowledge I have gained has been invaluable. 
 
I decided on SDA Bocconi because my father is Italian and I wanted to experience the Italian lifestyle for myself. Bocconi also offers the best overall MBA in general management, I found. It’s a great fit with my profile. 
 
Have you been sailing for a long time?
I’ve been sailing since I was eight years old. I came very close to going professional when I was 18 but then I had to leave for college. Bocconi’s sailing club is one of the biggest clubs at the school. Its been running for a long time and the regatta is 11 years old. It has become quite a tradition so I was very excited when I was asked to become president. 
 
Has the sailing club competed in other events?
We competed in the Global MBA Sailing Trophy organized by London Business School and came first. We also organized a sailing weekend for our colleagues at Bocconi. It was a three-day weekend and we put out about 15 boats.
 
It was nice for people who didn’t have experience of sailing to try it. It was chilled, not too much competition but you know how MBAs like competition... some of them couldn’t resist!
 
How much work went into organizing the regatta?
The regatta is the Sailing Club’s signature event so people start looking forward to it from the start of the MBA year. We worked really hard to maintain standards but of course we got a lot of support from the school and from our partners Rolex and the Yatch Club Italiano. 
 
The event lasted for four days and has two divisions, for competitive and for non-competitive participants. There is also a conference and a gala dinner. This year’s conference discussed profitability, sustainability and innovation. 
 
Did the Bocconi team win the race?
We finished in second place but it was a lot of fun!
 
What are your post-MBA plans?
I am interested in going back to Brazil. The companies are growing and I think they are paying more. The weather and the food is good: life is generally great over there. I would like to focus my career on consumer goods. However, it's still early so I’m keeping my options open. 
 
Read what club presidents at other top business schools are doing on our MBA Clubs page. 

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