1. What motivated you to take a course abroad? How did you learn about IBS Americas?
Going on an exchange has always been a dream. I wanted to live the experience of being in a new country, getting to know a new culture and developing a new language. I knew it would be important for my career. But I didn’t want to do an exchange just to learn English, so I was thinking about a specialization. On the other hand, I didn’t want to quit my job or take a very long leave of absence.
I was still looking for an academic extension that would meet these desires, when Professor Ricardo Britto contacted me on LinkedIn. When presenting the IBS Americas program, the professor explained that, as a collaborator of a partner company, he had access to a pre-approved scholarship. In this way, IBS Americas was the perfect opportunity, as I was able to take advantage of my vacation from work to take a course in my area of expertise and with a scholarship.
2. How did you choose the course and the university? What factors contributed to your decision?
When I found out about the IBS Americas program, I searched through the different partner schools for all the courses related to strategic management. With this theme, I hoped to complete my experiences in Finance, Supply Chain and Marketing with the opportunity to learn how international companies behave in the face of market changes. The choice for the Business Strategy & Marketing Management course was fully aligned with my plan to be CEO.
The main factor that contributed to my decision was the syllabus. In publicizing the programs, IBS shared that the Business Strategy & Marketing Management course would address distribution chain structure optimization; channel conflict management; brand creation and positioning; communication with end consumers; and international strategy. I saw that deepening these matters would help in significant contributions in the company where I work. My choice of CUOA was also influenced by visits to fashion and design companies, which is an area of personal interest.
3. What were the main challenges you faced being in another country, with another language and colleagues of different nationalities?
As my first international experience, the main challenge was to overcome shyness when speaking in another language. To assist in this development, CUOA encouraged us to make presentations during classes, in addition to the preparation and presentation of the final project. Particularly, to overcome this shyness, I challenged myself to be the representative of the room to always be in communication with my colleagues. My luck was meeting very dear people from different places in the world. This allowed us to exchange experiences, collect moments of lots of laughter, as well as learn new accents, expressions and customs. They made this experience even more unforgettable.
4. How do you assess the quality of teaching, infrastructure and resources offered by the university?
Excellent. Professors, content, business visits and the availability of tutors were key to making the exchange experience more complete. About the infrastructure, it is worth mentioning the heating of classrooms and corridors that brought comfort to overcome the Italian winter.
5. What about the routine, how did you organize studying and enjoying your free time? What did you do during those times?
My time of study was during classes and, with the intense routine of 8 hours of class and mandatory visits, to be able to absorb all content, my strategy was to sleep early. I enjoyed my free moments after classes with the friends I made during the course, we delighted in Italian pizzas and, also, we risked cooking our own dinner. The best free moments were on the weekends after the optional visits in Milan and Geneva. In addition to getting to know a little more of these cities, the ease of using the trains allowed us to visit other cities such as Lake Como, Padua, Verona, Vicenza and Venice.
6. How were the experiences of lectures and/or visits to companies?
Mandatory business visits were fundamental to complement the course. My class made three visits: Morato (bread factory), Louis Vuitton (shoe factory) and Zordan (furniture factory). Seeing the production line and the strategy behind three totally different businesses showed us how companies implement resources, decisions and processes to be able to strategically position themselves in the market and achieve success. It was very interesting to see in practice all the content presented in the classroom. The Business Strategy & Marketing Management course was fully focused on the luxury industry, which stands out for exclusivity, high quality, manual production and customer experience.
\All these characteristics were easily noticed during the visit to the Louis Vuitton shoe factory and also in the optional visit to the Fashion District of Milan, especially in the Pinko store, where we live the experience of service in luxury stores. In addition, we were able to deepen the theme of international relations during the optional visits to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN in Geneva.
7. Were you able to network during the course? Could you share some interesting experiences?
Yes! During the course I met people from different specialties and areas of expertise, and we connected on social networks to keep in touch. In fact, one of my Project Work colleagues is a Designer and has a wedding dress studio in Peru, and since I’m engaged, I was super interested in learning more about his brand.
8. What were the key skills you developed during the course?
In addition to the technical specialization in Business Strategy & Marketing Management, I believe that my greatest development is related to interpersonal skills.
Project Work allowed me to develop strategic vision and sense of ownership. We had the challenge of proposing an innovation to Louis Vuitton and my group suggested a collection of wedding dresses. I saw this challenge as if Louis Vuitton were mine, and thinking about the growth of the collection in a visionary way, I sought detailed data to support important decisions for the company. In addition, during the preparation of the project, I overcame the challenge of communicating with colleagues of different nationalities, accents and cultures. I worked on the ability to listen, absorb information, organize ideas and communicate clearly.
I would also like to highlight the skills related to staying in another country. The first is autonomy. When planning the trip, I organized my routine, places I would like to know, financial planning etc. without the need for supervision, for example, from a travel agency. For most of the trip, my planning worked well, with a few exceptions. For example, when you miss a train and pay a fine for not validating your ticket. In those moments, I had to exercise resilience, adapt to the country’s rules and be able to overcome unforeseen events. I wouldn’t want challenges like these and homesickness to take over my psyche and prevent me from enjoying the trip, so I highlight emotional intelligence as another interpersonal skill worked on.
Everything I experienced in these 3 weeks of the program aroused the curiosity to fill gaps in personal and professional life, and the desire for new experiences and continuous learning.
9. How do you think this international experience will contribute to your career?
More than an international certification by CUOA Business School in the curriculum, I am sure that this experience will be a great differential in personal and professional life. With CUOA and IBS, I was able to learn from great masters, visit companies of different segments, meet the fashionable quadrilateral in Milan, WTO and the UN, challenge myself in Project Work, as well as meet new places, new cultures, and make friends. With the education I gained at this college, with the technical and interpersonal skills I developed, I feel I can make significant contributions to future projects. And when challenges come, I want to remember that in deciding to do the international extension, I allowed myself to live challenges and this brought one of the best experiences of my life.
10. What message would you leave for other students and professionals who wish to take a course abroad with IBS Americas?
The dream of the exchange may seem distant. I thought this would only be possible when I managed to save a lot of money, enough to have a long work permit and still be able to keep myself financially in another country. With scholarships for executive training programs during the holidays in partnership with universities around the world, IBS Americas appeared in my life to make this dream come true.
IBS offers a broad portfolio of courses in Italy, England and the United States. You can choose which topic makes the most sense for your career, which country you would like to visit, and then apply yourself. With the scholarship and financial planning, you will have access to high-quality teaching, professors with academic knowledge and experience in the market, as well as the security offered by IBS with all the support for trip preparation and presence of tutors during the 3 weeks of classes and visits. If you have a dream of doing an international academic extension, trust IBS to carry it out.
Remember, more than dedicating yourself to the certificate for the resume, try to live this experience intensely, allow yourself to make friends, visit new places, learn about the culture of the country you are in and the people you meet. Be prepared to live challenges and overcome them. Trust your ability to learn. Seek growth at every moment. Make this a unique experience.