Last Monday, after an all day affair of precourse exams, 90 bright-eyed MBA students flooded Bocconi’s main campus to kickstart Welcome Week with our opening ceremony. After a short but succinct presentation with various speakers including our Dean and Director, we mingled with faculty and staff over dinner. It was a great opportunity to chat with professors, alumni and our career services staff in a more personal way. It also got us excited for what was in store for the rest of Welcome Week. As our Director Gianmario Verona explained, each of the upcoming days would be devoted to a different focus: Know Your School, Know Yourself and Your Class, Know Your Career, and lastly Know Your MBA.
The week was filled with a lot of information about the breakdown of the program, and getting to know the ever-so-important Career Services and how we can best work with them in the search for our dream jobs. Wednesday was devoted solely to learning about our own personality styles as we studied the results of the Myers-Briggs test which we had taken in the previous week. Although I have taken several personality tests in college, I found this discussion to be very helpful in learning what qualities I possess that I will need to be aware of when working in my class groups this year. Furthermore, it helped me understand the range of diverse personality styles of my peers and how we could best benefit from our differences. While I won’t go into the play-by-play of each day, I will say that I was very impressed by how SDA Bocconi chose to incorporate certain elements of Italian culture into the program. And by this, I mean more than simply enjoying aperitivi together (even though those were great too!) For instance, on the first day about getting to know Bocconi, we had an art curator take us on a tour to talk to us about various contemporary art pieces around campus. Along with the art theme, we also created our own “masterpieces” in groups which surprisingly demonstrated a great deal of creativity and ingenuity from a class which may be stereotyped as being strong in financial/consulting skills but lacking in artistic ability. Also, we had a special guest presentation about Italian culture and business with Beppe Severgnini, a well-known and highly entertaining Italian journalist. The highlight of the week came on Friday when, after a night of reading a case study about the wine industry, we were led in an intriguing case analysis by our director as an intro to the many case studies we will break down during the year. After spending the morning analyzing the wine industry in Europe, we then piled into buses and headed to Franciacorta to visit the Berlucchi winery. Berlucchi is a small but successful family owned business that consists of only about 75 employees and caters mostly to a domestic market. There, one of our marketing professors gave a lecture on the industry before we were given tours of the winery and taught about the wine-making process. It was a fun and engaging day of learning and I’m pretty sure that it can go down as the coolest class field trip I’ve had yet (second has to be learning about life in the 1900’s at the Stagecoach Inn in elementary school.) I think I speak for my classmates when I say that we are all very excited for what we’re going to learn at SDA Bocconi and by living in Italy, and for how we are going to better ourselves professionally and personally this year.
Artwork at Bocconi University