GEMBA in San Francisco and Silicon Valley

The Rotman - SDA Bocconi Global Executive MBA


It’s one thing to talk about Silicon Valley; it’s another to go there and see what is happening in person. For the first time, a SDA Bocconi program has completed an entire weekly module in one of the most iconic places in the world, the beating heart of innovation: San Francisco and Silicon Valley. From June 6 to 11, 2022, the GEMBA class of 2023, in partnership with the Rotman School of Management, fulfilled an exciting dream. They studied digital transformation from up close by spending two days at a global company that represents some of the most relevant topics to managers worldwide today, such as infrastructure, security, collaboration and digital transformation.

The GEMBA class was hosted by the general headquarters of Cisco Systems in San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, thanks to the hospitality of top corporate leadership and the excellent organization of the event by the Italian team at Cisco Systems. “We are honored to have contributed to this incredible learning opportunity for GEMBA, reinforcing the great relationship between Cisco Systems and SDA Bocconi,” said Gianmatteo Manghi, CEO of Cisco Systems in Italy. The GEMBA class saw and experienced the latest technological solutions at the Customer Experience Center in building 10 of the San Jose campus, under the guidance of Massimo Malizia, Director of Corporate Integration Development of the American headquarters. He explained the integration processes that follow the acquisition of other companies, a growth and development strategy that Cisco Systems is famous for.

The second visit was to Salesforce, at their iconic “Salesforce Tower,” the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco’s financial district. The meeting was organized by Maurizio Pettorino, SVP of Salesforce  and Mildred Azuaje, Director of Executive Programs, and the group was welcomed and thanked by Dean Giuseppe Soda streaming from Milan. The class had the chance to talk about the challenges of the digital transformation with Rob Lamb, Senior Director Customer Evangelism, Peter Coffee, VP for Strategic Research, and Mick Costigan, VP Salesforce Future. The meeting ended with Polly Sumner, Chief Adoption Officer. All are leaders with proven experience at Salesforce. “It was an incredible chance to host the GEMBA class at our headquarters. We were able to illustrate how we work at this company and the importance we give culture and values, and we visited our office on the top floor, the famous OHANA floor, a beautiful, one-of-a-kind place with a view of the entire city, where all Salesforce employees can go and host clients and/or friends in the hopes of sharing our company culture,” said Maurizio Pettorino.

Ferdinando Pennarola, Academic Director of GEMBA and professor of Change Management in the program said, “We call these visits “learning safaris” because on each one, management of the host company presents data and business strategies – quite often ones of confidential nature – that offer the GEMBA class an incentive to consider how they might apply what they learned in the classroom to real-life cases and situations. They are important moments in the learning process, and every visit is unique to the country and place where the residential module takes place."

SDA Bocconi School of Management


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Related Programs

PROGRAMMA DI SVILUPPO MANAGERIALE WEEKEND 80° EDIZIONE Sviluppare le proprie competenze direttive e strategiche a 360 gradi
  • Start Date
  • Duration
  • Format
  • Language
  • 9 Sept 2022
  • 20 days
  • Class
  • Italian