200 young talents ready to innovate the new hybrid world

FTxBocconi Talent Challenge 2022



200 young talents around the world are already connecting with each other as they prepare for the kick off on Thursday 3 February of FTxBocconi Talent Challenge 2022, the third edition of the competition organized by Bocconi University and Financial Times to challenge university students and young professionals from all over the world in finding new strategies and business models.

With the importance of digital technologies in all aspects of our lives amplified during the pandemic, the Challenge this year will focus on finding the best solutions and the most innovative ideas to get the best out of, and integrate, the experiences we have in the physical and digital worlds – specifically in the fields of work, healthcare, entertainment and customer experience. The participants will work with alumni and academics from Bocconi who will support and mentor them throughout the event to help understand how innovation works within management, financial, policy and entrepreneurial frameworks.

The challengers will have access to masterclasses and talks on the impact of digitalization and emerging digital technologies, delivered by panels of experts from Financial Times, Bocconi and leading guests. Guest speakers, all Bocconi alumni, include Francesca Bellettini, President and CEO Yves Saint Laurent, Margherita Della Valle, CFO Vodafone Group, Davide Grasso, CEO Maserati, Federica Tremolada, Managing Director Southern & Eastern Europe at Spotify, Sergio Picarelli, President of Talent Solutions at Adecco Group, and Silvio Campara, CEO Golden Goose.

Divided in teams, they will be assigned specific challenges for the four fields and at the end each team will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a jury of professionals, Bocconi faculty, alumni, as well as FT journalists and board members.

“The world of work has been hit by a perfect storm – the acceleration of the transformation caused by the digital revolution and the Covid pandemic, which has further amplified this transformation,” highlights Giuseppe Soda, Dean of SDA Bocconi who heads the Work topic. “We have discovered that we can work in a totally different way. But, like all revolutions, there are upsides and downsides and we need to find a new balance and the right solutions. So new ideas are very welcome!”

“The Covid pandemic has laid bare an undeniable fact: health is the cornerstone of any society. The loss of health threatens the very social fabric of our societies, exposing the rifts that exist between generations, classes and countries,” says Aleksandra Torbica, professor of Health economics and policy at Bocconi, who will guide the participants in the Healthcare topic. “We need a paradigm shift in the way we think about health in order to build back better and more resilient societies to manage future shocks.”

Regards entertainment, “it is an industry that is a global economic powerhouse and the Covid pandemic put at risk the sustainability of artists and professionals, urging for new solutions of monetization and audience engagement,” underlines Simone Autera, professor of Management of Cultural Industries and Institutions at Bocconi. “With new techs, we learnt new ways for "being there" and "being together” that merge the real and the virtual. The challenge is to take the best from both and let them work as complementary rather than substitute modes of our live experiences.”

“Customer experience arises from all the interactions a consumer may have with a brand.  And transitions toward brand interactions through digital touchpoints have accelerated, and consumers’ expectations for those interactions have risen,” highlights Kurt Munz, professor of marketing at Bocconi, who heads the Customer Experience topic. “Communications with brands are more immediate, bi-directional, and personal, leading to new and exciting questions.  For example, how can companies convey (and protect) their brands in the metaverse or how can they leverage digital interactions to build communities?”

The 200 participants, representing over 50 nationalities, will be joining the Challenge online from across all five continents.

“I expect to develop new understandings of the world of business and hope to learn to look at things with a different perspective,” says Avnish Agarwal, 19, Indian, a student at NYU Stern. “I also really look forward to meeting students from around the globe.”

“What I am looking forward to the most, apart from the exciting talks and workshops, is the challenge of working in a team of people I do not know: getting to know them really quickly, even if in distance, understanding the main assets and skills of each member in order to create the best project together,” says Anne-Sophie Lecoanet, 26, a communications consultant in Paris. “It is not going to be easy, but it is an exciting challenge, and it will be deeply useful for future team work in a company.”

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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