- Programme: Market Driving Strategies
- Nationality: Italian
- Job Post-programme: Senior Manager, Business Development Executive Director, illycaffè
I’ve always believed very strongly in the value of continuing education, particularly in relation to improving my business skill set. When I was tasked with new responsibilities at Illy leading on business development and strategy, I decided to look for a dedicated strategic marketing programme. It was a combination of reputation and programme fit that led me to London Business School. The strong brand and overall academic excellence, combined with the ability to take a short, immersive programme was a very attractive proposition.
Having completed a number of programmes at other schools, my expectations going into this programme were extremely high, but I have to say that Market Driving Strategies exceeded them all. The thing that really differentiated my London Business School experience was the way it cleverly combined the theoretical knowledge of strategic marketing with practical business cases and specific company studies.
The faculty were outstanding and used an unconventional approach that stimulated lateral thinking. Within this environment I was able to take on board a basic canon of knowledge that every manager should possess, at the same time as learning how to innovate outside my standard business models.
One of the challenges currently facing Illy is how to develop a strategy that works at both a global and a local level. Italy has been hit particularly hard by the financial crisis, so we have to adapt our business and products to suit new countries and customers, whilst maintaining our existing brand identity. Studying for a week with a peer group representing so many different nationalities, professional sectors and business environments was enormously useful in this respect. The faculty encouraged a very cohesive atmosphere so I always felt very comfortable with my group, whether in the classroom, at dinner or on a trip to the brand museum. Since the programme finished, I have continued to exchange messages and emails about specific business challenges and I hope that this network will stay with me.
Shaping organisational strategy
My overriding takeaway from Market Driving Strategies is that it has changed my mind-set. It has improved my ability to think about our company strategy in a more holistic way. My strategic vision is now more structured, but I also make an effort to bring fresh ideas to every new project and business framework.
Innovation is becoming increasingly important as Illy moves to meet current market challenges and increases its drive to become more international in its outlook. My role, like that of so many managers today, requires me to be adaptable and flexible – customer engagement is changing fast along with the profile of our customer base. My experience on Market Driving Strategies has done a lot to shape the way I think and maybe even more to shape our organisational strategy for the future.