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Aesthetics, culture, and business: kmbs international study tour to Rome
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Aesthetics, culture, and business: kmbs international study tour to Rome
24.09.2021
Aesthetics, culture, and business: kmbs international study tour to Rome
An integral part of MBA programs at kmbs is impact visits that allow participants to immerse themselves in other countries' contexts and see how modern management concepts work.

From September 13 to 17, the Executive-34 and Executive-35 MBA groups had an impact visit to Rome. It was organized in collaboration between kmbs and Rome Business School.

Learning in many dimensions

The impact visit usually has a reasonably tight schedule that includes study sessions, company visits, and context exploration within economic, cultural, and social dimensions. This module was no exception, although some restrictions for business visits were applied due to the pandemic.

During the five days of the module, the participants had several sessions with the Rome Business School faculty. In particular, Professor Valerio Mancini spoke with the group about the peculiarities of the Italian economy and doing business with local partners. The presentation covered several topics, including the development of the country's brand, the importance of managing cultural stereotypes, football, sparkling wines, family-centric business models, the cult of food, and history.

The overarching challenge of this module for the group was to develop several decarbonization projects under the supervision of Enel X executives and RBS faculty. Federico Caleno, Head of e-mobility at Enel X, a global leader in renewable energy, spoke about the unique experience of decarbonizing the island of Sardinia. Based on this case, the participants had to develop and present a strategy for decarbonizing Ukrainian territories on the final day.

The whole group was divided into smaller ones, and Professor Marshall Langer led the first stage of the challenge. Participants generated ideas, evaluated and selected alternatives discussed the criteria that should form the basis of the decision. The professor paid particular attention to the calculations of the Risk-Adjusted Return indicator (profitability taking into account the risks). Participants tried to think about what the risks are in current conditions. And in the following days, Professors Antonio Scialletti and Luca Dondi continued to moderate group work from strategic leadership and talent management.

During the module, participants met with five large Italian companies, had discussions with their executives, met with representatives of cultural institutions and Rome municipality.

For example, participants got acquainted with TIM  the largest Italian telecommunications company, which provides mobile and fixed communication services and Internet access. During the meeting with Ida Sirolli, Head of Internal Communications at TIM Telecom, and Victoria Danii, Senior Project Manager at TIM Academy, they discussed the impact of internal communications on the company's reputation and the challenges that arise when you have more than 50,000 people.

With the management of Eataly, which manages Eataly's gastronomic centers, the module participants discussed the implications of COVID-19 for food retail and HoReCa. Martina Carla Cecchi, who leads people operations in the company, said that the drop in visitor traffic was less traumatic than those wishing to work in the field. Over the past year and a half, their number has decreased by 70%.

Another exciting event was a meeting with Luisa Caluri, who shared Eni's experience creating a startup accelerator. This meeting triggered an active discussion and many questions from participants: how to select and grow startups and turn the partnership of startups and corporations into a win-win case.

Level of decisions

On the last module day, the participants presented their findings on the decarbonization of the Ukrainian territories to Enel`s executive team and the Rome Business School`s faculty. Groups chose four different regions  Kyiv, Lviv, Kherson, and Prykarpattia, for their projects.

Each team started with a two-minute business card from Ukraine. Thus, they revealed to the group of the Rome Business School and representatives of Italian business essential things about the history, culture, economy, community of Ukraine.

"I am impressed by the level of professional decisions of our participants," says Head of Executive MBA program Olena Zhyltsova. — They demonstrated big-picture thinking, appropriately applied a lot of complex approaches and methodologies, which are based on kmbs philosophy. And all this - in three days and 15 minutes of presenting the case! And when each team started with the representation of Ukraine — profoundly and with dignity — I got goosebumps."

Reflection and conclusions

It is impossible to cope with loads of the module without reflection  both group and personal. Traditionally, each morning of the module started with a reflection session, leading by the Head of Executive MBA program Olena Zhyltsova. The discussion topics covered Italy's and Ukraine’s cultural features, cultural stereotypes, differences, and much more.

For example, a visit to the ALDA FENDI FOUNDATION art space, where the exposition of Ukrainian artist and sculptor Zhanna Kadyrova was operating at the time, as well as walking through the ancient streets of Rome, identified one of the themes of morning reflection — aesthetic intelligence.

There is a theory that people with a high level of aesthetic intelligence are more inclined to study and accept new ideas and projects, have a developed ability to be surprised, and enjoy learning. Consequently, this type of intelligence is essential for managers because it allows you to effectively decide the meanings and symbols of corporate space, media content, identity, organizational artifacts.

Many participants reflected in person and then shared their findings on social media pages. For example, Dmytro Suslov, director of Bitrix24, wrote: “What did I feel and want on this trip?”

To see the whole world, touch many cultures, and live and work in Ukraine and for Ukraine. Despite the topics and meetings dedicated to Italy, we constantly drew parallels between it and our country. The level of digitalization, service quality, innovation, and richness of history give us a massive chance for a decent future.

Appreciate and maintain friendly relationships with those who enrich your life. Seek such people in your environment. Do everything to create the subjectivity of Ukraine in the world. Bring into the world history and culture, achievements of Ukraine and outstanding Ukrainians. Keep a balance between consumption and creation. To be valuable not only for your immediate environment, to create meaning even for those you do not know personally.

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