Linking customised learning to corporate needs
Stefano Baraldi is full professor of Planning and Control at the Milan campus of Università Cattolica. He is currently the Programme Director of the Master of Science in Management offered by the School of Economics and is the Director of the Master in Planning and Control offered by ALTIS. His main areas of research cover planning and control systems, performance measurement and managerial practices in large companies and healthcare organisations.
What are some of the unique experiences and expertise of your faculty?
The Master of Science in Management faculty at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore has a well-balanced mix of research-based skills and, on the other hand, practical skills and business experience. This was the vision when building up the faculty for the programme. The idea is to have professors who derive viable solutions to real-world problems from their research output and business experience and educate students to implement them successfully in practice. Of course, this is a broader principle, and we have professors in fields ranging from mathematics to psychology, with their own approaches and diverse backgrounds.
How can students customise their individual study experience?
The students are actively involved in designing their own learning experience. The first range of options they have includes creating their own curriculum. Even though this is a general management programme, students can take different courses in various business areas to build up a professional profile consistent with their ambitions. There are only three mandatory courses at the beginning of the programme: mathematics, transnational business law and managerial economics. After that, students may choose among a wide range of courses.
In addition, in the second year of the programme, students are sorted into five business labs adapted to different business settings. However, in this case, the idea is not to acquire specific skills, such as accounting or marketing, but to understand how different kinds of business organisations (multinational companies, consulting companies, luxury and fashion, small and medium-sized enterprises and healthcare organisations) are managed to gain knowledge about a specific business setting.
How does your programme develop active and life-long learning skills that are in demand in the workplace?
The development of skills related to problem-solving and not just specific knowledge learned by heart is promoted by active teaching methods, such as business simulations, case studies, discussions, teamwork and group assignments. In addition, within the business lab experience, students have the opportunity to get in touch with our partner companies.
We have approximately 20 companies partnering with our 5 business labs, so each student and each group of students will work for up to six months with these companies. During this time, the work will include company visits, delivering to partnering companies, group assignments working with the company managers and eventually undertaking fieldwork in either an internship or a field project, which means delivering their consultancy project to one of the company departments. Students are continuously exposed not only to the need to learn, but to find the best application for what they learn.
What is it that attracts international students to your programme?
One aspect that attracts international students to the programme is the general reputation of Università Cattolica and our faculty. Moreover, the location in Milan is appealing in terms of the international landscape. Another important reason is the opportunities this course offers to get in touch with many kinds of companies and business environments. In fact, Milan is one of the best places to study and work in a business lab related to luxury and fashion. At the same time, with regard to small and medium-sized family-run enterprises, Italy is one of the most prominent countries developing this kind of business. I therefore believe the business environment and the connections that the Master of Science in Management creates are major factors for attracting students not only from Italy, but also from other countries.