MBA Alumni Profile: Nunzio Quacquarelli, Wharton

 MBA Alumni Profile: Nunzio Quacquarelli, Wharton main image

Nunzio Quacquarelli set up the company that became QS during his MBA studies at the Wharton School. He tells TopMBA.com how he set about selecting a business school, and what his MBA helped him to accomplish.

Having long-possessed a passion for publishing and entrepreneurship, Nunzio Quacquarelli knew what he wanted to achieve when he enrolled on The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania’s MBA program in 1988.

“My application to business school set out my career objective – to start my own business,” Quacquarelli explains. “I saw the MBA as a training ground to provide me with the broad set of skills to become a successful entrepreneur.

“My rationale was that becoming an entrepreneur is high-risk. I was aware from one of my previous roles in consulting of the large proportion of failure amongst small-business start-ups, so I wanted to equip myself with the best skill-set and broadest knowledge base to maximize the chances of success. It was very much a risk-assessment strategy and a clear investment in my personal capital.”

Now, almost a quarter of a century since enrolling on his MBA, and Quacquarelli is able to take considerable pride in having set up the world’s leading network for careers and education.

The organization that he founded whilst at business school, QS succeeds in helping people make the best career and study related decisions available to them.

Selecting a business school

Looking back at his time before business school, Quacquarelli remembers how he successfully chose the right MBA program to fulfill his career aspirations.

“I took my MBA in 1988, and whilst working in consulting with what was then Mercer Management Consulting, I asked a number of my managers for their input on reputable business schools. I also attended an MBA fair and met with a selection of business schools. From that I short-listed the schools that I wanted to apply to.

“My short-list actually came down to two target schools – INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and Wharton in the US. Both have strong reputations for their innovation and entrepreneurial management departments, so I felt they were ideally aligned with my career goals.”

With offers from both schools, Quacquarelli found himself in the enviable position of deciding between two of the world’s top ranked MBA programs.

“Ultimately, it came down to a choice of geographical location – I had always studied and lived in the UK, and I really wanted a US experience. At the age of 24, I thought that two years in the US would be fun, and offer an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of globalized business.”

For Quacquarelli, it was the right choice, as more than 20 years later he still utilizes some of the key skills he learnt.

Life-long business lessons

“Whilst at Wharton I majored in entrepreneurial management and finance, and those aspects of my MBA have been extremely valuable.

“Within entrepreneurial management, Professor Ian Macmillan was a really inspirational figure. One of his practices was, every week to make you think of a new business idea and to present that to your class. The class would then vote and mark your business idea – if you scored low marks for two or three successive weeks, you’d then fail the class.

“As you could only fail two or three classes during your whole tenure at Wharton, it was a pretty intense experience, but very worthwhile. It really made you think about innovation and product opportunities to quite a high level of detail on a very regular basis.

“In running QS since, it has certainly been useful to have a strong understanding of net-present-value and a means of estimating and calculating risk when making business investment decisions – both of which were really drummed into me at Wharton.”

Written by QS Blogger
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