Italian-born Antonio Gallo Toro works for Mitsubishi Electric in the Middle East. He rose through the ranks to area manager after joining the company in 2007, when he was based in Germany.
He decided to study a part-time MBA degree at Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano to beef-up his mostly engineering-focused background, and to become a manager within Mitsubishi Electric.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA degree?
I grew up as an engineer, and I felt I required something on top of my engineering background – I needed to add skills in terms of sales and marketing, skills to manage people and teams to reach goals.
Leadership is also important to understand how to organize the work.
What was it like studying at MIP in Milan?
I felt that as my background was in engineering, having some knowledge about commercials or marketing from an engineering perspective based on the engineering culture at MIP, was the perfect thing to do.
I attended classes in the evening, part-time. It was a very tough experience because I had to work and study at the same time, and had no social life. But it was balanced by the knowledge I got, and by meeting very extraordinary people at Politecnico.
It’s not just theory. I could take a lot from getting people from different fields together, for example people in the pharma or luxury and fashion sectors, which are of course different from the automation business, but you have some similarities such as business models and managing.
What value do you place in your MBA?
Managing people and managing HR are the most important things which I learnt during the two-year MBA. In my career now, I have to manage a team of people abroad and in a different environment and totally different markets.
You've worked in the automotive industry in both Europe and the Middle East – what are the main differences between the two?
The market in the Middle East is completely different from the one we have in Italy or Germany; the policy and sectors are totally different in terms of automation.
The players are also very different, and the end-users of this market are different in the sense that investment is also very different. Investors are more likely to invest here than investors in Europe. People are eager to invest and eager to hear about new technologies. It’s moving fast, so competition is also very tough here.
What are the benefits of living and working in a booming economy such as UAE’s?
Of course Dubai is a challenging place because the culture is totally different. The people different. And also when you meet customers or clients, the approach and the way to do business is different.
It’s challenging but because I’m a guy who is looking for challenges, this is my place.