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MIP Growing Leader Blog

The blog dedicated to MIP international programs is ready to inspire a new generation of students helping them to grow as leaders

March 7th, Milan. Growingleader, the blog of MIP Politecnico di Milano originally dedicated exclusively to the International MBAs of the school, has now been renewed and has opened its doors to the world of International Masters, both through a graphic restyling as well as the inclusion of more and up-to-date content regarding contemporary management.

Launched in October 2014, the blog was initially dedicated to MBA students and in it you could find their stories, the different aspects of the MIP MBA experience as a whole, a focus on the latest business topics and the testimonial and trigger of the growing leadership attitude of current and future students.

Through the recent graphic restyling, even more user-friendly and engaging, the blog presents many topics of a wider scope that reflect the MBAs and International Masters programs, by using these categories: Create Value, Go to Market, Grow Sustainable, Innovate and Project & Organize. Moreover, the platform gives some useful advice to those who want to apply to the different programs, as, in addition to the Tips & Tricks and Life in Italy sections, you can also find the Meet the Team one. In this recently introduced section, MIP staff welcomes, through videos and articles, the new #growingleader candidates, and provides them with suggestions and insights about their journey @MIP.

Thanks to the new format, the MBA & Master students play more and more the leading role, as, in addition to telling their stories in the Career and Study in Progress sections, they take on an active role and write their own contributions and reflections on the topics covered during class, eventually enriching the blog with an insider perspective. An example is the article “Global empowerment led by tech giants” written by IM4 master student William Funck and published in the Go to Market section. The current students play also the role of Ambassador of different programs and countries, giving future candidates first-hand information on the experience of MBA or International Masters at MIP.

Finally, the blog is linked to different social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In particular, students can share their moments at MIP on the Instagram page of the blog, by adding the hashtag #growingleader on their Instagram pics.

An opportunity for information, discussion and inspiration, #growingleader is dedicated to students of the International Full Time and Part Time MBA and International Masters such as the Advanced Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AMIE), the International Master in Multichannel Marketing Management (IM4), the International Master in Luxury Management (IMLUX), the Master in Business Analytics and Big Data (BABD), the Master in Supply Chain and Purchasing Management (MSCPM), the Master in Performing Arts Management (MPAM), the International Master in Industrial Management (IMIM), and the Master in Strategic Project Management (MSPME). Furthermore, the blog includes International Executive programs such as the new International Flex EMBA (i-Flex) and the Global Executive Master in Operations & Supply Chain (GEMOS).

To learn more about the blog, visit and follow the relevant Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.

MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business Founded in 1979 as a Consortium between the Politecnico di Milano and many Italian institutions and several leading public and private industrial groups, today MIP is a non-for-profit consortium limited company. MIP and the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering together make up the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, which is involved in all the many aspects surrounding research and education in the fields of management, economics and industrial engineering. In 2007, the School of Management was initially accredited by EQUIS. Since first joining the Financial Times’ rankings of best European Business Schools in 2009, the School of Management received today is in the list with: Executive MBA, Full-Time MBA, Master of Science in Management Engineering, Customised Executive Programs for business and Open Executive Programs for managers and professionals. In 2013, the MBA and Executive MBA programs received the prestigious international accreditation, AMBA (Association of MBAs). From 2014, the School is member of UniCON (International University Consortium for Executive Education), PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and Cladea (Latin American Council of Management Schools).

SquareOne Training meets Theo PaphitisSquareOne Training, a Wirral-based IT company, meets entrepreneur and 'Dragons' Den' star Theo Paphitis after winning a Twitter competition 'Small Business Sunday' (#SBS) back in September 2015.

SquareOne Training’s Managing Director Lisa Johnson was invited to the #SBS Competition Winners Event 2016, which she attended Friday 12th February in Birmingham along with Marketing Executive Michelle Suckley to pick up their award presented by Theo Paphitis himself.

SquareOne Training tweeted Theo about their business during ‘Small Business Sunday’, an initiative set up by Theo and the Ryman Group to promote Small to Medium Size Companies. After picking SquareOne as the winners; Theo then re‐tweeted SquareOne’s company details to his 497,000 followers and as a result, the business now has nearly 1000 followers on twitter, which has boosted the company’s social media interactions across the whole of their social platforms.

Lisa Johnson says “We are extremely honoured to have been chosen by Theo Paphitis as winners. Being part of the small business Sunday family gives us the boost we need to promote our services all over the UK. Because this was setup for entrepreneurial businesses, this has allowed us to share ideals and network with a diverse range of companies and understand their needs and business growth ideas”.

SquareOne Training provides IT Training services to companies large and small across the whole of the UK. For further information, services and available courses, please visit the SquareOne Training profile.

Anyone looking for a re‐tweet from Theo should tweet him about their business on Sunday between 5 PM and 7.30 PM and include the hashtag #SBS.

For further information about Small Business Sunday please visit

E-Learning Graduation Ceremony in Edinburgh

Castle Graduation Ceremony for E-Learning Students

An E-Learning course does not typically bring to mind a graduation procession in the stone halls of a Scottish castle. The Interactive Design Institute is turning the assumption that e-learning is a lonely enterprise done inside grey cubicle walls on its head.

E-Learning students – the majority of whom who have never met face-to-face with their tutors or classmates – will gather in the halls of Edinburgh castle on November 13th, 2015. Students will fly in from around the globe to Scotland’s capital from as far afield as Canada and the Philippines.

Vicki Cane will be traveling from Canada to attend her graduation ceremony and has been looking forward to it from the start of her programme.

At first she found the experience of online learning to be ‘isolating’: ‘’It was just odd to know that all over the world there were students working on the same work as me but we weren't communicating often.’’

She used the graduation ceremony in Scotland as a motivating factor to find time for her course amidst all of her family and work responsibilities. ‘’To be honest, in the beginning it was about going away on a trip but towards the end it became much more about pride and strong feeling of accomplishment,’’ said Cane.

The Interactive Design Institute chose Edinburgh castle for both practical and aesthetic reasons. ‘’We also felt that it was appropriate to hold our graduation event in the Castle because it brings together the old and the new; an ancient castle and a new, dynamic mode of delivering education internationally, namely online provision" said Michael Stewart, the director of IDI.

The Interactive Design Institute - IDI currently educates 550 students in over 70 countries 100% online. Their courses are fully accredited by the University of Hertfordshire and have approval from some of the UK's most respected awarding bodies; such as the City & Guilds of London Institute, ABC Awards and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

If you're interested in learning more about studying with IDI, enquire to get in touch with an admissions advisor.

Contact IDI

Learning & Skills 2015

Last week, attended the 2015 edition of what has quickly become Europe’s largest Learning & Development event: the Learning & Skills Exhibition and Conference, co-hosted with the more technical Learning & Technologies show.

With over 250 exhibitors, 7,000 visitors and hundreds of seminars, talks and workshops, it is no surprise that it creates an environment where new ideas not only thrive, but get shared, discussed and often even argued about.

So what were the hot topics and trends that dominated the agenda this year? Well, the size of the event is such that it’s impossible to name (or even know) them all, but we picked up on 6 main topics that stood out from the rest as areas of great interest for L&D in the year(s) to come.


For those who think eLearning has seen better days – think again. Yes, we are used to the concept by now. Yes, we are living in an increasingly mobile world in which the “e” part of eLearning may cease to be enough. But with many companies still sensitive to the cost of “traditional” forms of training, combined with the need to train increasingly large groups of people in geographically distant parts of the globe, eLearning continues to be a big area of interest for many L&D departments.


But the types of eLearning out there vary wildly in terms of format, content, interactivity and a whole host of other factors. So what kind of set-up reaps the best results? We are far from achieving a consensus on the matter, but what L&D practitioners and learners themselves appear to increasingly agree on is the fact that video must be an integral part of any solution that can hope to work. Be it virtual classrooms (also a popular topic), YouTube videos or user-generated videos, people seem to want to make more of them, using them in bigger and better ways than ever before.


This relates more to the focus of the training, rather than the delivery format. What skills are being prioritised as essential to the business environment? Obviously different organisations will have different requirements, but it seems that training in productivity and time management is creeping towards the top of the training agenda (again?). Perhaps the issue here is that technology has the potential to make us much more effective, but can also be hugely distracting. This fact, combined perhaps with a continued resistance to recruiting new staff during uncertain times, makes the need to “get the most” out of every employee more important than ever.


The same reasons mentioned above contribute to steady demand for solid leadership and thus, in many cases, for effective leadership development. Good leaders can manage change and guide teams through uncertain times, while bad leaders can exacerbate fragile situations and put entire companies at risk. This means two things: that companies continue to consider leadership a priority area when it comes to training, and that training providers continue to work on new solutions and products that they hope will set them apart from the competition and win them some new business.

Psychology and Neuroscience

They haven’t quite reached the same levels of hype, but neuro-scientific approaches to learning appear to be drawing more and more attention. Again, it may be the many distractions that we face in modern workplaces that is enticing L&D departments to take a closer look at how exactly the brain functions, and how learning can be constructed in such a way as to deliver the best possible results. Psychological approaches, which focus on mental functions as well as behaviours, seem to be following the same trends. Could it be that increasing pressures to measure results are pushing L&D to opt for a more scientific approach?


Last but not least, we have the biggest headache of them all: engagement. Whatever type of training you are trying to deliver and whatever the intended result, the challenge is getting learners engaged enough to actually benefit from it. In this sense, many of the technologies and solutions on display at events like Learning & Skills are ultimately means that are designed to reach this end.

As ever, the challenge is finding the right mix for your company and staff and getting the implementation right. Let’s hope that 2015 turns out to be a good year for it!

UKCES Careers of the Future ReportWe recently wrote in this blog about several studies investigating the effects of technological advancements on the types and numbers of professions likely to exist in the future. The rather dreary conclusion appeared to be that robots would be taking over the world and making a large number of current job titles completely irrelevant in the span of just 10 to 15 years.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and a report released two days ago by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests that "technology-rich" roles are actually among those that will offer the best prospects in the years to come. Entitled Careers of the Future, the purpose of the report is to provide tomorrow’s job seekers with a clearer picture of the careers offering good job prospects for the future. Analysing the three key indicators of pay, predicted job opportunities and business, it thus aimed to create a shortlist of professions "engineered to stand the test of time" across 10 sectors.

But it’s not just that hi-tech jobs in mechanical engineering and software development are increasingly in demand. It’s that technology is creating new opportunities from old jobs. So while some jobs in the top 40 are in emerging sectors, others are in more traditional areas where economic growth and technology are serving to "future-proof" roles such as farmers, train drivers and electricians.

Other careers highlighted as offering good prospects include:

  • Care workers
  • Construction project managers
  • IT business analysts
  • Nurses
  • Police officers
  • Programmers and software developers
  • Sales account managers and business development managers
  • Secondary school teachers

Picture of a pen and calculatorAccording to a recent Swiss study, the answer is no… but they are dishonest by training.

Seeking to establish whether they are the cheating, scheming scoundrels they are often made out to be, the study put the honesty of 200+ international bankers to the test. And what they found is that they are fundamentally decent human beings until they are reminded about what they do for a living.

The test consisted of a simple coin-tossing task, which required them to flip a coin 10 times and to self-report the outcomes of the flip. In order to test the honesty or dishonesty of their behaviour, the researchers gave them a financial incentive to lie about the results. For example, the bankers were told that getting heads in the first coin flip would give them $20, which meant that they could easily cheat to reach that outcome and increase their earnings. But in order to better test the relevance of their occupation to cheating behaviour, they had to go further. What they did is to split the participants into two cohorts: the first group, which was intended to act as a control, was tested after being asked a series of questions entirely unrelated to their job. Things like “how much tea do you drink on a regular day?” and “what are your favourite leisure activities?”. The experimental group was instead asked a series of questions about their careers, with the intention of “increasing the saliency of participants’ occupation and role as a bank employee”.

The results were telling. In the control condition, the bankers were very honest, which suggests that they are not inherently prone to lying or cheating as individuals. As soon as their professional role was emphasised, however, they began to cheat. Interestingly, when the same experiment was run with professionals from other occupations and industries, no significant difference was found between the two groups.

So what does this all mean? Well, there are no absolutes when it comes to this kind of research, but the results do suggest that there is something about the behaviour and atmosphere of the financial services industry that dishonest behaviour. This means that some big changes will need to be made if the culture of the banking industry (and thus the behaviour of bankers) is to change for the better. According to the researchers, this means taking a serious look at practices related to giving big bonuses for generating high profits. In addition, it means that ethics training cannot remain in the abstract – if it is to work, it needs to start placing a bigger focus on the concrete behaviour that is required to avoid seeing the industry falling into complete disrepute.

Emotional demands worse than dangerous jobsNo two people are alike and a job that appeals to one person may sound like a nightmare to another. But if you were to ask the average person what they think the easiest and toughest jobs out there are, what would you expect as an answer?

Well, a recent study conducted by Samsung starts by confirming a few points that we may have predicted. Firstly, of the 1,000+ UK employees surveyed, 69% believe that long hours make a job tough while 64% point to low pay as a primary factor. This is fairly understandable – long hours mean less time to relax and disconnect from work, which we know by now can contribute to high stress levels. Similarly, low pay can lead to stress about making ends meet, which can then have repercussions on both mental and physical well-being.

On the other hand, what we may not have expected is that the average employee would rather perform a dangerous job than have to deal with a demanding boss or with difficult colleagues. More specifically, a good proportion of British workers would consider working at height (48%), deep underground (47%) or in a role that could potentially put their life at risk (47%), indicating that they somehow feel more prepared to deal with physical rather than emotional demands. In fact, almost half of all respondents indicated that having a supportive team to work with would be a benefit, while 39% said that having the backing of their boss would make their job easier.

What can managers take away from these results? It’s nothing that hasn’t been said before, but it is yet another confirmation that soft skills including emotional intelligence, leadership, motivation and conflict management are key to building strong teams that are able to give their best on a daily basis. So rather than trying to push individuals to their limit by piling on the pressure and taking an it’s-never-good-enough approach, they need to adopt a balanced management style that still challenges the team to go beyond the mediocre, but at the same time makes them feel supported in a way that makes getting there a real possibility.

Employability is a big deal when it comes to education and training.Picture of a diploma

Many options, and particularly the high-end MBA programmes offered by top universities and business schools, require a significant investment. As a result, graduates will understandably want to end up in a position that helps them launch a successful career, which in turn means that employability figures are an extremely important factor in their choice for the right school.

According to the 2014/2015 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, British business schools can breathe a sigh of relief on this front. With London Business School topping the rankings, the survey found that UK-based business schools are the highest rated in Europe by MBA recruiters, including the likes of global consulting firms such as KPM and technology giants such as Google and Apple. But it wasn’t just about dethroning last year’s number-one school (French school INSEAD) – British schools have come to dominate the chart in general, with 26 out of 65 spots occupied by a UK-based institution.

Since this year’s methodology was altered to make employability count for 85% of the final ranking, this bodes well for both British schools and their graduates. It also supports calls made by the CMI for greater collaboration between business schools and employers in an effort to produce the business-ready graduates that can help British businesses emerge from the recession while fulfilling their own ambitious career goals.

How good is your company’s L&D department in making use of new technologies to achieve business objectives?

With all the talk about online courses, mobile learning, gamification and MOOCs, one may take it for granted that digital technologies have already come to dominate the learning environment. But the results of the 2014 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study, released in early November, suggest that there is still a lot of adaptation to be done. Interviewing 600 L&D professionals and over 5,000 learners in 45 countries, the study revealed that technology-driven innovation of this kind actually achieved more for business 5 years ago than it does today. More specifically, while 90% of L&D leaders described themselves as keen to modernise learning provision in their organisations, only 31% claimed to be achieving the business benefits they were after – down from 51% in 2010.

With 93% of respondents using e-learning courses, 86% using online learning, 74% using mobile devices and 50% using more than 16 technologies to support learning, it is clear that the uptake of new technologies is not really the issue. The problem is measuring results and ensuring that technology is used as a means to an end, rather than simply being an additional resource that is used for the sake of being used. And indeed, although Towards Maturity can used the data collected over 11 years to measure bottom line impact, only 15% of the organisations surveyed measure the success of L&D technologies against key performance indicators (KPIs).

But how can you focus investment in the right places when you don’t measure the effectiveness of your initiatives? Perhaps it is precisely this lack of measurement that is to blame for the fact that only 21% of L&D leaders reporting positive changes in staff behaviour as a result of technology-driven training. Businesses should be smart enough to know that what works for one company may not work for another, and that being open to the use of digital technologies in learning is only one part of the equation. The other is experimenting, trying out different solutions and focusing on what works. It is arguably only by taking such an approach that L&D departments can hope to deliver on the very high expectations they are setting for their learning strategies – responding to change; speeding up application of learning at work; improving talent & performance management; boosting job productivity.

Picture of a cartoon robotThough we all know that advancements in technology are being made at a rapid pace, we probably don’t often take the time to stop and ponder just how much our lives are being affected by it. New gadgets, apps and devices get launched every day and many are quickly incorporated into our already high-tech existence in a way that is somehow revolutionary and unnoticeable at the same time.

But it’s one thing to appreciate that technology and automation can increasingly complement or facilitate our day-to-day activities – what would we think of a world in which they replace them entirely?

This is more or less the scenario depicted by a couple of recent studies that focus on how technology – particularly in the sense of artificial intelligence – is likely to impact the number and types of professions available in the next 10-20 years. The first of these, conducted by CBRE and Chinese property developer Genesis, suggests that the significant shifts likely to be made in terms of how workplaces operate will result in up to 50% of professions ceasing to exist by 2025. Conducted on a global scale, it suggests that professionals will look to take up more creative professions as jobs like customer work, process work and middle management gradually fade into non-existence. Moreover, the dramatic changes that will continue to affect how we work will also have a large impact on how workplaces are designed and organised. Traditional workspaces, for example, will likely become redundant as their purpose vanishes and work becomes increasingly integrated with our personal lives.

The second study, which was conducted by Deloitte in collaboration with Oxford University professors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, supports these findings with the claim that 35% of jobs in the UK are at risk of being replaced by robots in the next 20 years, including office & administrative support, sales & services and transportation & construction. These kinds of jobs will gradually fade away, the report argues, while roles requiring creative, digital and management skills will grow in demand.

To some extent, the revolution is already underway. The Deloitte research points out that some sectors have already seen drastic declines in job numbers, with library assistant jobs, sales-related occupations and travel agency roles at -48%, -40% and -44% with respect to 2001. A big worry is that it is the lowest paid workers and jobs that are showing the greatest likelihood of being replaced, which will potentially lead to a situation in which the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” will continue to grow.

At the same time, there are 199 times more Android developers now than in 2008, as well as 396 times more zumba instructors. This may not console you much if you aren’t a developer or a dancer, but it does mean that the overall number of jobs will not necessarily decrease – they will just require different skills with respect to those you have now. And this is why the authors of both reports point to the need for both businesses and individuals to start adapting to these changes sooner rather later. Businesses need to start thinking about the innovative workplace strategies and designs will serve them well, while professionals will benefit from focusing on the digital, creative and social skills that are likely to be in high demand in the future.

In this sense, far from making talent irrelevant, technology will only serve to make it an even more critical issue, enhancing the competitive advantage it can create for individuals and businesses alike.

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