“When I first arrived in Rome,” says Opp Punyarak, a young Thailand national on the marketing team, “I was a little disappointed to find out that it wasn’t as international as I’d imagined it would be.” These words have come out of the mouth of everyone who moved to the fourth largest city in the world with no intentions of being the ‘diversity’ people had been waiting for.
But this movement is starting; there is a shift in the general attitudes as it seems Rome, like many other Italian cities, is only now beginning to recognize its potential as a cultural melting pot. One business school is pulling people from all over the world to its classrooms, both virtual and on campus.
I was honoured to speak to Rome Business School’s marketing team for this week’s interview. Before leaving I twitted, asking some business bloggers in the community for questions they needed answers to and not only did Marco Rosci, head of marketing answer them all, himself and his talented team helped clarify and break down the doubts and myths surrounding the conservative Italian academic system.
Why choose Rome Business School?
Students flock to Rome Business School from over 140 countries, for a myriad of reasons. The very practical training is one of them. Unlike Italian universities where things are very theoretical, RBS’ main aim is to bridge the gap between your university education and what companies want.
When we graduated from university we had no idea what we were doing. Many new graduates barely know the theory that was a compulsory prerequisite in order to pass but have no idea how to actually put it into practice, simply because there is no ‘practice’. That’s where we come in as a business school.
Too many students realise the hard way that the empirical formulas they used at the university guarantee them no success. The function mentality, where you put in the studying and you get the results, hardly works in the hullabaloo of the real world.
Companies these days are searching for people with specialised skills. It doesn’t pay to be a jack of all trades. In order to prepare students for the real world business problems they will encounter, we do a number of things. One example is we offer only paid internships made especially possible through our large and growing global network of companies and businesses. We aim to prepare graduates for specific skills necessary for even more specific business tasks, thus providing students with real world experience.
What is something you offer that most other business schools in Italy dont?
One thing we’ve managed to do is we’ve given a new meaning to the definition of distance learning. Not only do we offer live and post video lessons, we have interactive video conference sessions that enable the teacher and students to speak to each other and ask or answer questions. Of course a limited amount of participants at a time otherwise chaos would ensue.
We also offer an intensive MBA program that is 1 year long to meet the demands of professionals and graduates who are pressed for time. This MBA is more than complete, so while you’ll have less free time on your hands than with a two year MBA you’ll be done sooner and you’ll acquire all the abilities you need.
We offer personalised services to our international students. Many international students come to Italy without a concrete idea of where and how to start. We assist them with documentation, housing, airport pick ups and much more; we organize events to aid their integration and Italian, even Chinese language classes. Another rare thing is our double degrees available even in multiple countries like Ukraine or in Nigeria for example, in collaboration with other universities, all under a formidable study abroad programme.
Some people believe that the MBA is obsolete. It falls under heavy fire from major editorials to every-day individuals for being generic and overly accessible. In fact, even I blogged about it not too long ago.
I agree, few years ago the MBA was an exclusive program. I also believe companies are looking for people that are more… tailored. Companies want the best from the niche. The MBA is great for people who want this real world experience also to gain the skills necessary to start their own businesses someday. You learn how the job markets work and how to manage your business in the most competent and efficient way.
70% of todays jobs didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Creative directors or social media marketing managers were not a thing. So while I agree to a certain extent, the MBA is for a specific few that wish to implement these skills in their own practices. It’s not reasonable to spend 36,000 euros just to say ‘Hey, I’ve got an MBA!’
One netizen in my blogging community posed an interesting question. “Why would people want to study at a private business school where they have to pay higher tuition fees, than at an Italian university where they can pay much less.”
We are not a university… our goal is not to replace the university, which is critical for theoretical knowledge. We position ourselves after the university for students who want to get into the job market backed with all the abilities they will need.
In fact, we select the most motivated students, not necessarily the best in terms of grades. If you’re motivated enough you can almost certainly achieve success.
We work with companies so we get to see the criteria for selection. They want to invest in long term talent with specitifc mastery. RBS imparts that mastery.
I noticed you offer various formulas targeted towards various students needs.
The student formula is full-time and is aimed towards helping students gain an advanced knowledge of how the market works with real life experience, the executive is a weekend formula and the professional formula which is very successful,is also most flexible with the online or campus options. It is fair to have these formulas creating opportunities to suit the needs of these different categories.
How secure are student placements after RBS?
We have a 95% placement rate at the moment. We assist students in the job application process; CV preparation, even video CVs, and of course they are well prepared thanks to the real world experiences they get to live through the company visits and internships. Not only do our students get jobs at prestigious organizations like the UN, they are able to forge careers as well.
Everyone on your staff seems so young. This is unusual in traditional Italian schools. Did I miss the fountain of youth on my way up?
The average age of our staff is 40 years. This creates a vantage point for us. One professor, the owner of a renowed marketing company in Italy, does not teach with textbooks or slides. He teaches using his own personal experience. His hands on approach is a strength that is highlighted by his youth and international experience. Young professors are aware that the times are changing and the markets are more demanding, so they are able to adjust their teaching techniques accordingly
What’s one ingredient you use in preparing students for success?
Our core value is training students with a very ethical approach. The recent world crisis has shown that it’s important to run businesses in an ethical way so growth and success are more sustainable in the long-run.
Thanks for having us RBS.
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