"The executive MBA at MIP is not just a printed degree certificate," states Deborah Peracchi, a 2009 graduate of MIP Politecnico di Milano (MIP).
Peracchi started her career as an accountant almost 30 years ago and rose steadily through the ranks to become managing director (MD) at F2A FIS ANTEX, a financial services firm based in Milan.
Her career encompassed a decade-long stay at the supermarket chain, Paladini Otello and a subsequent 19 years at her existing company, throughout which Peracchi has acted as a steady presence, facing challenges head-on, and becoming a pivotal contributor to their growth and expansion. F2A FIS ANTEX was estimated to be worth US$53 million in 2015, and Peracchi proudly leads as one of the executives at the helm, obtaining her position as MD after receiving five successive promotions at the organization.
A point Peracchi underlines in her responses to her experience at MIP, is the extent to which the EMBA program enriched not only her professional life, but also her personal life. Here is an account of her experiences as an executive MBA candidate and how they helped make her the successful woman she is today.
Where it all started and deciding on MIP
Peracchi had a good 10 years of experience working at FIS before she started to consider taking an executive MBA. She states that it was in fact, her managing director who spotted her potential and made the initial suggestion. At the age of 38 at that time, her organization was ready to sponsor her, and she bought into the idea.
As a senior professional, Peracchi knew that she had to continue meeting the responsibilities of her job while studying for her EMBA. She therefore researched business schools within a feasible radius to her offices. After attending presentations at two of Milan's top business schools, she decided on MIP Politecnico di Milano, stating that it was the university's reputation, track record and faculty, as well as the content and format of its EMBA program that ultimately drew her attention. "It felt instinctively right, there was no ostentation...I could see that this was a properly structured course with an international outlook, designed to build solid professionals."
The value of a demanding EMBA program
Peracchi studied her executive MBA during evenings and weekends. Balancing multiple business projects with study involved acute time management skills, a methodic approach to her responsibilities, and real self discipline. Free time, vacations and hobbies were out of the question. She was not a lone soldier in this battle, however. Peracchi's classmates, the faculty at MIP and her employers enthusiastically stepped in to support her, and, in the case of her peers, eachother. "We felt powerful, capable of reaching any goal, and in the end, this is what happened; we all got there."
Peracchi puts real emphasis on the value of the EMBA program’s 'human side'. "At MIP, the exchange of ideas was one of the most enriching parts of doing the EMBA," she says, adding that this made the qualification so much more than "a piece of paper."Peracchi, her peers and faculty had, through their engagement with each other, built a solid and lasting network.
Career impact of the executive MBA
"An EMBA effectively teaches you the grammar and syntax of business administration – the theory helping the practice," says Peracchi. A well-known advantage of doing an executive MBA and working in parallel is that what's learned can then immediately be put into execution. She cites the case study methodology, in particular, as really helping her engage with her peers to devise solutions to complex business challenges. "All in all, I think that the EMBA made me a better person, a better colleague and my business partners and clients observed the improvement I made right from the beginning of my studies."
After all, an EMBA program is not just about career advancement, it's about self-development, a desire to grow as a person, as well as professionally. This is the outlook Peracchi had when she envisioned doing her executive MBA, and it was the sustenance of this view that enabled her to complete it. "Let others understand how much your want to improve yourself, be conscious of your potential - it really is much bigger than what you now believe," she concludes.