In September 2020 – only a few weeks before the end of our studies – the Full-time MBA class of 2020 set off to complete the module abroad at SDA Bocconi in Milan. While the trip had to be postponed due to the pandemic, once we had the chance to travel, the course abroad became one of my highlights during the MBA programme.
The postponement of the module to the end of our study programme enabled us to participate in person at SDA Bocconi’s brand-new campus, only shortly after it had reopened. On the second weekend of September, most of the Full-time students headed from Frankfurt to Milan – only a handful of students had decided to participate remotely. Together with a group of about ten classmates, I traveled to Milan by train through the Swiss alps – the great views really made up for the long travel time.
After our arrival on Sunday, we grabbed some nice Italian food and started to explore the city center. While the week started like a nice vacation, on Monday morning, we were reminded that we were in Italy not (just) for fun, but for studying. During the week at Bocconi, we had an intense curriculum with classes from 9 to almost 18 on most days. Though the days were intense, the first-class lecturers, all of them experts in their field, often made the time fly by.
On Monday, we started with a lecture by Prof. Mikkel Draebye on innovation and intrapreneurship. We learned about different frameworks on how to measure and foster innovation at incumbents. This class was my personal highlight of the week – not only because it was a joint lecture with SDA Bocconi students, but also because I had just finished working on a thesis project about how automotive OEM’s foster innovation through partnerships.
On other days at SDA Bocconi, we received courses focused on negotiation and change management. Both classes were highly interesting and spiked with practical insights from the Professor’s personal experience. In both classes, we played simulation games and directly applied the learned concepts.
Another highlight of our stay at SDA Bocconi was the company visit at Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello. Prof. Annoushkina, who was organizing the Leadership module at SDA Bocconi, joined us on the trip to Maranello and taught us about the history of Ferrari and Motor Valley. After a two-hour bus ride to Maranello, we had a nice lunch with local specialties before we were headed to the factory. At Ferrari, we received a factory tour and a guided visit to the Ferrari museum. Some of our group tried themselves as Formula 1 drivers in a driving simulator before we started our bus ride back to Milan.
On the last day in Milan, we learned about how becoming a leader challenges learned behavior and about how to successfully make the transition. In the afternoon we got the chance to learn more about our working style when we did the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. The test results led to enriching discussions within the group – as we had worked together a lot over the past year – which continued even after class.
On Friday night, we first split into several groups for having dinner, before meeting up at a bar and celebrating our (almost) finished studies. Over the following weekend, we all headed back to Frankfurt, where we needed to attend our last week of classes. All in all, the Module at SDA Bocconi was a week of intense learning from experts in their field and great group experience, which set a nice endpoint to our MBA programme.