The EMMS, an international experience in pursuit of Marketing & Sales Excellence


Excellence is a key word in corporate strategy and gets implemented through marketing and sales visions, processes and functions that are more and more integrated and in line with the ongoing digital revolution. It is a need that has become pressing in the current market dynamics, and in which EMMS – Executive Master in Marketing & Sales, now in its 11th year – has been ahead of the game, making it one of its fundamental principles since it was created. We asked its Director, Professor Marco Aurelio Sisti, to explain why the Master is considered a strategic training investment for managers and companies.

Marketing & Sales skills are, and will always be, on the frontline, since they are the most exposed to ongoing social and cultural dynamics. How do you see them evolving in the near future?

What we have noticed over the past years is undoubtedly a significant and rapid change of the needs and purchasing processes of both consumer and business clients. The market is clearly more and more in the hands of the clients rather than the suppliers, forcing the latter to truly rethink their strategies both in terms of offered value and of communications, sales and delivery. All of it made significantly faster and more challenging by the digital transformations that have an indirect impact on the entire value chain. As often happens situations where there is a strong discontinuity from the past, this change is perceived as a threat by companies that are not very innovative and dynamic, but as a fantastic opportunity/challenge by those with a more visionary and dynamic strategy. What does this actually mean for companies? On one hand, they have to be highly responsive, seize new market trends quickly and develop more adaptive skills in marketing and sales. On the other, they have to become proactive, meaning they have to learn risk-taking and how to beat their clients and their competitors to the punch with innovations in products, communications, sales and distribution. They have to do all of it while staying one step ahead. This requires more advanced and integrated technical and managerial skills, both in marketing and in sales management. On this level EMMS was ahead of its time as it contributed in a visionary way to constantly develop innovative managerial skills within the program, with a strong orientation towards both fronts since its founding ten years ago. Always paying close attention to the right mix of marketing & sales skills on the analog and digital fronts. 

Besides its contents, EMMS is characterized by a mix of locations and by its international and intercultural soul. How does this translate into benefits for participants?

Since its founding in 2007, EMMS set the objective of developing its integrated and international vision in pursuit of diversification, which to us is a fundamental source of value. Being a joint effort between two business schools (SDA Bocconi and ESADE), which are at the top of the international rankings, has allowed EMMS to call upon participants from all over the world and from all major industries. This year, for example, we have representatives from 19 countries; an age average of about 35; experiences in marketing, sales and complementary skills; many sectors, from the heavy industry to distribution services. This diversity has always been a strong point for EMMS, because it allows us to compare different cultures, visions and professional experiences, thus enriching personal and managerial growth. The intercultural and industry cross-over at EMMS are also expressed by its faculty, with 20 highly specialized senior professors, who come from the two business schools, all of them with extensive international experience developed in different market sectors and in close contact with important companies. Furthermore, we have the expertise of corporate speakers who are often called in to share their managerial experience in the classroom.

The organization of this Master’s degree—with periods in the classroom in close contact with the participants, as well as distance learning sessions—and the locations—three cities of cultural and economic importance ( Milan, Barcelona and Madrid)—complete the picture.

Tell us the main strong points of EMMS.

One of them is certainly its specialization on vanguard topics in marketing and sales. The global market of executive training offers an increasingly wider choice of topics and academic formulas, which on one hand helps attract a more varied audience, and on the other it indicates a certain maturation of the market. This pushes people towards specializing their skills more and more, and we can say that EMMS has foreseen this by constantly developing and updating an innovative specialized training program for over ten years.

Another strong point has been our pursuit of marketing and sales excellence meaning, as I was saying before, the ability to help the participant develop not only deep and up-to-date vertical knowledge, but also a T-shaped vision between marketing and sales, integrated and in line with the times. This is possible not only thanks to consolidated research and interaction with the companies of the two business schools, but also to the quality of the program made up of theory and methods, many business cases and also field project work.

Another strong point is the format, which goes well with career and personal demands of an executive. The program is composed of both in-class sessions and intense and challenging distance learning activities (online). The seven face-to-face residential modules cover about 50% of the whole duration of the Master’s and represent opportunities for heated debates and professional enrichment, as well as intense personal relations. The distance learning sessions, on the other hand, answer the need to ensure high-quality training and interaction that is compatible with one’s work obligations. This requires our participants to hone their long-distance individual and team working skills, which are organizational skills that are increasingly being requested by international companies.

So, it is a sustainable investment for those who already have a career underway?

Yes, EMMS is conceived mostly for those who want to invest in their own professional future without freezing the present, meaning without interrupting their career. Of course, with a length of about one year and residential training modules (distributed between Milan, Barcelona and Madrid) on top of the online sessions, this Master’s is surely a challenging and demanding experience, which requires a strong commitment both at a personal level and from the company.

What is a company’s interest in EMMS?

Challenges in marketing and sales are such that they have reignited companies’ interest in these roles and skills. More and more companies that are enlightened and innovative on marketing and sales excellence are investing in their best talents using the EMMS blended formula. They do so by offering the opportunity to participate in the Master’s, thus offering them faster growth thanks to the honing and integration of their managerial skills being tested “live” on the issues of their own company. 

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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