MIP Partners With Microsoft To Launch Artificial Intelligence Learning Platform

Raffaello Balocco, director of the Full-Time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano, says it’s time to change the way business schools educate students

“We are at a turning point here at MIP,” says Raffaello Balocco, director of the Full-Time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano.

The 12-month International MBA program at MIP was created in collaboration with a host of multinational and Italian companies, offering scholarships, internship opportunities, and even a one-week study trip to Silicon Valley.

The focus so far has always been technology. MIP is renowned for its flexible, digital learning platforms, allowing students to study while retaining their careers.

And Raffaello predicts 2018 and 2019 will be the years of FLEXA, an innovative artificial intelligence platform developed in partnership with Microsoft to ensure personalized, continuous learning for MIP students, alumni, and working professionals. 

The platform, the first of its kind worldwide, uses Microsoft’s cloud service and AI platform, Cortana Intelligence, to help to identify courses, tutorials, digital materials, and even mentors and coaches to help to bridge skills gaps for students.

“Artifical intelligence will become a competitive edge for our school,” claims the enthused director, who is also a professor in digital business innovation and co-founder of the Osservatori Digital Innovation Research Centre at MIP.

“Just like in 2014, when we launched our first digital learning MBA, we are at a pivotal moment in how we educate our candidates—it’s an exciting time!”

BusinessBecause caught up with Raffaello to find out more.


What makes the MIP MBA experience unique?

Firstly, MIP is the leading technical university in Italy. We pride ourselves on being strong in technological areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, bio-marketing and innovation. 

I would say what makes MIP stand out from the crowd is its strong integration with the business environment: we have 20 top companies among MIP’s shareholders. Not to mention that MIP has a unique collaboration with startup incubator PoliHub.

We try to involve companies in the daily life of our students, inviting them to participate in boot camps, career days, workshops and company visits to their plants or headquarters. 

How is technology and digitalization integrated into the MIP MBA? 

Technology plays a key role in our school and with good reason! Its importance has increased rapidly over recent years, and will do long into the future.

When we launched the Flex EMBA in 2014, our first digitally-delivered EMBA, we increased the number of distance learning courses available. 

Today, digital learning is blended into 30% of our portfolio, even in the Full-Time MBA course, which is an on-campus program, where the first two months of the masters is delivered through Microsoft-designed distance learning platforms.

How is technology revolutionizing the future of work?

We’re in the middle of a technological revolution that is radically transforming both the manufacturing and business world. 

Industry 4.0 and digitalization are shaking up the way we do things, and managers need to develop new skills to be ready to predict major changes and to adapt accordingly.

The world is moving fast and you have to keep pace. To do this, I strongly believe in investing in education. MIP, thanks to collaborations with the Politecnico di Milano research departments and Osservatori Digital Innovation Research Center, is tech-savvy and up-to-date, providing students with the right toolbox to face the challenges and changes posed by such technological advances.

What do applicants need to know before applying to MIP Politecnico di Milano?

The best way to avoid mistakes during the application process is to contact the school directly and to get in touch with the Marketing and Recruitment Department. Our professionals will guide candidates throughout all the necessary steps in the application process.

Sometimes, applicants worry that their academic background does not fit the MBA program, but, nine times out of ten, the MBA is the right course for virtually any profile. I would say: don’t be fooled into focusing too much on your academic achievements. Experience is just as crucial, if not more so. 

Candidates should also think about their future plan and goals, even if they’re still vague, and be ready to enter an international class, working with classmates from a wide variety of industries and cultures.  

Oh, and one final tip: make sure to address your cover letter and reference letter to the right school!

What are the major challenges you face as MBA director?

It is estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will do a job that does not presently exist. The world is changing and developing fast.

Hence, the challenge for professors is knowing how to change the way we educate people. For students, it is no longer about 'know-how', it’s all about 'know-where'. 

We need to help students collect the information they need, when they need it, and to select relevant content. In a world overcrowded with information, this is the key to success. 

We at MIP have an answer to this major challenge and its name is FLEXA, available from the end of this year. FLEXA is an artificial intelligence search engine which will suggest personalized materials and information to close skills gaps for students, as well improving the visibility of their profiles with recruiters. 

It’s something I'm very excited about seeing progress and grow into the future. 

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