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Why MBA: MIP (Politecnico di Milano)

After an engineering degree and experience in telecoms and the auto sector, Kiriti Rambhatla moved to Italy for a tech-focused MBA. Now he’s interning at Indesit and enjoying aperitivo.

By  Giulia Cambieri

Mon Aug 1 2011

Kiriti Rambhatla had worked and studied in many countries before he arrived in Milan last year to do an MBA at Politecnico di Milano (MIP). The school is great for anyone interested in technology, innovation and manufacturing, he says.

Born in India, Kiriti, 27, graduated in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ottawa in 2007 and worked for three years in the telecommunications and automotive industries in India and Tanzania.

He had always wanted to do an MBA to increase his knowledge of economics and finance. However, he wanted to gain some international exposure first: “I worked in North America, Africa, and India to build some experience that could be useful for my MBA”, he explains.

In 2010, he applied to MIP, SDA Bocconi, INSEAD, and London Business School, but didn’t go through the whole application process for the latter three schools, because MIP was fast in giving him an answer and he had to reserve his seat. “I was also keen on going to MIP because I have an engineering background...and the school is obviously really well known for technical studies.”

Kiriti, who also did London Business School’s Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy, first heard of MIP at a career fair organized by his school in Canada about the best engineering schools in the world. He did some research and found that the Italian school was listed in the Time Higher Education’s ranking for technical schools.

What he likes the most about MIP’s MBA program is its curriculum: “I had some really good courses in International Economics, Industrial Economics, Innovation Management, and Technology Strategy”.

A Professor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) taught one of his classes: “We were asked to put ourselves in a real-world situation of a company and had to take decisions”, he says.

“It was really exciting because we were really feeling the hit of the moment. For example, the supply chain was affected by a natural disaster, and we had to make decisions for the firm. This is something that I really enjoyed because we thought we were responsible and it made us put into practice things we learnt”.

Apart from the classes, an important component of the MIP MBA program is a three-month project for a company: “Companies scan through our CVs and pick people that they feel are good for their specific projects. It’s an actual internship but is also part of our curriculum, and at the end of the three months we have to make a presentation and state what we have achieved”.

Kiriti is working for Indesit, a leader household electric appliances company based in Fabriano, in the Italian region of the Marche: “I’m working on innovation management and I report to the Director of innovation”.

In addition, at MIP he had the chance to be executive assistant at the World Business Forum 2010 convention, of which MIP is official partner: “I got to assist Barack Obama’s advisors last year, which was really interesting”.

Finally, he says, “MIP has a bit of an Italian touch: the school took us around places in Italy the first months; we did some rafting outdoors. We also took an Italian language class during the first two months, which has been really useful, especially now that I’m working in a small town. And then there is cuisine, of course”.

He thinks his previous work experience is helping him a lot: “When the case studies we studied in classes were related to my field, telecommunications, broadcasting and the automotive sector, I felt I could bring a lot to the class. In general, an MBA is a really good learning experience because the practice you already have helps you understand the case better”.

For him, in order to choose an MBA program, one should take into consideration firstly the course’s curriculum and secondly the school’s position in the rankings.

“The curriculum is crucial because every business school has its own set of specializations. London Business School (LBS), for instance, is well established in terms of finance and marketing, but if you want to go into innovation or technology you don’t have many options there.

“MIP, on the other hand, offers innovation, international economic and global affairs, which are all fields that interested me and which I couldn’t find at other schools.”

The possibility of learning another language was also decisive for Kiriti: “I remember a recruiter back in Canada who told me ‘Every given day I take a CV of someone who speaks an extra language’. I wanted to do that and experience a new culture”.

He would recommend MIP to anybody who is “looking at a career in consulting specifically related to the technical industry or manufacturing. People in these fields would be able to get more out of the program...but MIP has also a great focus in economics, which I haven’t seen in many other business schools”.

Setting up in Milan hasn’t been difficult at all. In particular, he loves the “aperitivo system”, a Milanese tradition of after-work cocktails and free and unlimited appetizers: “I like the way they’re set up, which allows people to go out at night and yet to be fresh the next day”, he explains.

“In general, the nightlife is exciting and vibrant. It’s got a lot of things for you if you want to go around and explore”. Kiriti uses his precious free time to visit many places in Milan.

Next year, Kiriti will be a visiting researcher at MIT, working on a model that he started developing at Indesit: “It’s a model that helps in quantifying innovation. For patenting reasons, it can’t be done in Europe, so I’ll work on it in the US”.

In the long-term, however, he wants to do policy-making in the technology sector with governments in Africa, and in particular with the Ministries of Technology and Science: “But for that I need some background in economics and policy-making and build a very strong portfolio in the technology sector… I want to do this in the next five years.”

Read more about the reasons people head to business school in the Why MBA section