Following the fil rouge of Italian Excellence

A MAFED, MFB and MAMA joint initiative


Which notes make the Italian Sound unmistakable throughout the world? The ‘global’ and almost unanimous answer is: art, creativity, fashion, design, food & wine. Not bad, but it’s not enough. To avoid stereotypes, you need to distil the essence, find a common denominator of these diverse fields. You will find a unique mixture of good taste, competence and expertise, saper fare and saper vivere. The mixture is brought together by a managerial attitude that can leverage tradition and is at the same time capable of focusing on innovation. That’s what makes Italian excellence famous throughout the world.

Italian Excellence is precisely one of the leit motifs across three of SDA Bocconi’s international Master’s Programs: MAFED - Master in Fashion, Experience & Design Management, MFB - Master of Management in Food & Beverage and MAMA - Master in Arts Management and Administration. A common thread that cannot be kept under wraps. This is why SDA Bocconi designed its Italian Excellence. Insights on Italian Symbol-Intensive Industries course and offered it to the participants in the three Masters. The course has recently come to an end with the students presenting their projects before Directors Emanuela Prandelli (MAFED), Vittoria Veronesi (MFB) and Andrea Rurale (MAMA). The program featured participation by first-class testimonials in their respective fields: Alberto Cavalli, Director Fondazione Cologni Mestieri d’Arte, Stefano Corrado, CEO Richemont Italia, Stefania Lazzaroni, General Manager Altagamma, Fabrizio Dosi, Chief Operating Officer Marchesi de Frescobaldi, Riccardo Illy, President Domori (Gruppo Illy), Gianluca Toniolo, Country General Manager LVMH Italia, Davide Usai, General Director FAI.

The aim of the course was to offer an overview of the drivers of Italian excellence in the management of fashion and design, food & wine and Ho.Re.Ca. as well as culture and the arts. These are fields where brands (also) incorporate significant symbolic value added. We focused on the prevailing business dynamics and business models as well as the sources of competitive advantage in spheres where the country-of-origin effect is strategic, and a managerial approach to valuing your cultural heritage and its multiple elements is the hallmark of successful entrepreneurial ventures.

A key method for capturing the essence of Italian Excellence in its various practical forms is by letting practice and theory interact, like in our course. A full immersion across different entrepreneurial ventures in the three industries helped participants to glean the bases of success for brands that have been capable to marry their cultural history with the innovative momentum needed to compete in the global arena.

At the end of the program, teams composed of participants from the three Masters presented their project work focusing on the strategies companies from one of the three industries might use to expand in the two other sectors. This experience has a value added for the participants, many of whom come from abroad, in that it takes place in Milano, the home of Italian Style that has always been an international hub for fashion, creativity and design. The city is a cultural capital of Europe and one of the Italian centers where the food & beverage as well as Ho.Re.Ca. sectors reach the highest levels. Milano is the place to be if you want to discover Italian excellence, bringing together culture, business and innovation.

“Art, fashion, design and food & beverage are not only distinctive traits of the quality of Italian life the world craves for,” says Enzo Baglieri, SDA Bocconi’s Associate Dean for the Master Division. “They also originate in well-established capabilities. MAFED, MFB and MAMA look at Italian excellence from three different points of view but with the same attention to the managerial distinctiveness and high potential for development of these sectors."

SDA Bocconi School of Management.

Italian Excellence

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