Gaelle Gouraige, a London-based public relations strategist to clients in the financial services sector, is a graduate of the full-time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano.
She values her MBA network and still contributes to MIP by writing for and editing Growingleader.com, the business school’s full-time MBA blog. From EY (Ernst & Young) recruitment days to entrepreneurial graduates’ stories, the website is designed to provide a glimpse of MIP’s culture and a look into alumni careers.
Gaelle has also benefited from MIP’s unique design and luxury management MBA track, which allows students to specialize. It has helped her to use design thinking in her career, a creative approach to problem solving that can transform and innovative business strategy.
She co-founded digital marketing agency Better Mark It! in Miami after leaving the Italian business school in 2011, after working as a marketing and brand management consultant at Boffi spa, the luxury kitchen and bathroom products designer.
She joined Templars Communications, a PR firm in the UK capital, as an account manager last year.
You worked as a paralegal and law clerk. Was the transition to marketing and management difficult? Are there any transferable skills?
I spent the majority of my free time at the University of Pennsylvania handling the marketing and production of student-run theatrical productions, making the transition from legal to business fairly seamless.
That being said, I learned invaluable skills such as client management, organisation, critical and strategic thinking and planning, as well as the importance of attention to detail.
Why did you initially want to begin an MBA?
I always planned to go to graduate school, be it a masters program or law school. Once I made the choice to go into marketing, attending business school was a logical next step. An MBA program would teach me the necessary hard skills I knew I needed in order to be competitive in today’s [jobs] market.
What made MIP Politecnico di Milano stand out?
A combination of both the project work experience and the design and luxury management concentration.
Looking specifically at international MBA programs in Europe, I had first heard about MIP at one of the QS MBA fairs held in Miami. I was looking for an MBA that offered a concentration in luxury management and [that] offered a new experience.
I wanted a challenge – uprooting my life and moving to Italy was just that. MIP has valuable connections within the design and luxury community – another aspect that drew me to the program.
You specialized in design and luxury management – a rare program at business schools. What were your main takeaways?
MBA programs have now realised that luxury and design firms place value on hiring people who not only understand the nature of their firms, but have business acumen.
What many people don’t understand is that the luxury industry, whilst a multibillion dollar industry, functions very differently from others. You’re still manufacturing and selling a product, but the value placed on brand, image and heritage is far greater than in any other industry.
The design and luxury concentration utilises the principles of design thinking — a way of thinking that invites businesspeople to approach problems the way that creatives do in order to create innovative solutions. This is something that I use in my career today.
What value do you place on your MBA now?
I place a tremendous amount of value on my MBA — it has helped to shape my career. My experience in the legal profession and prior marketing experience in student theatre at university was only going to take me so far.
The MBA not only gave me the confidence to embark upon a different career path, but it gave me the skills to be successful.
You manage the full-time MBA blog at MIP. What purpose does the blog serve?
It gives prospective students an inside look at the international MBA at MIP.
When researching MBA programs, applicants tend to look not only at the business school’s main website, but at any blogs that are connected to the MBA.
Understanding the culture of an MBA program is vital to figuring out whether or not it is the right place for you.
Growingleader.com not only looks at the inside of the MBA program, but it catches up with alumni to see how the MBA has impacted their careers — in effect, growing future leaders.
Why should prospective applicants consider MIP for their MBA?
The MBA at MIP is a truly international program that focuses on the cultivation of global leaders.
You get the opportunity to work in a multinational environment and learn from industry leaders. From the beginning of the program, you have exposure to top global companies, which translates into invaluable work experience.
Because the class size is small, you’re given a greater amount of attention by both the professors and the staff. This means that they are invested in your success.
Going through an MBA of this nature, you will change — and so will those around you.
The relationships that I built at MIP I know will last a lifetime. They will result in friendships and business partnerships, and MIP’s alumni community provides more opportunities to connect with former students around the globe.