Bella Italia

In March 2023, a group of 21 Full Time and Executive MBA Students traveled to Italy with Professor Karan Sonpar for the Doing Business in International Markets study tour. There, they heard from experts and executives in fashion, food and beverage manufacturing, luxury brand management, financial services, and technology sectors ranging from data analytics to aerospace engineering. Here’s what the students had to say about the experience.

The Italy travel group in front of the Milan Duomo

The Italy Study Tour was an incredible experience visiting the offices of Campari, Enterprise Ireland and Piaggio. The presentations were insightful and the visit to Insoore showed us the innovative start-up culture in Italy. A great opportunity to learn about the luxury brand industry, heritage marketing, and competitive advantage of nations. In addition to the valuable business insights gained from the Italy Study Tour, the quality time spent with my MBA batchmates was truly unforgettable. The opportunity to bond over delicious Italian cuisine and explore the beautiful cities of Milan and Rome together was a highlight of the trip. A truly enriching experience both professionally and personally. Abhinav Agastya, FTMBA Class of 2023

FTMBA Student Ananya Singh submitted this photo of herself & two classmates during the Duomo Rooftop Tour the first day in Milan
A group of Indian, Chinese, and European young people standing in a sunlit lobby smile for the camera.
MBA Students wait eagerly for their tour of fintech startup Insoore to begin.
A white man takes a selfie of a group of students standing with their luggage on a street in Milan
EMBA Student William Boyd took a selfie as the group assembled for the train journey from Milan to Rome.

Experience is the teacher of all things.’ – Julius Caesar.
The international business trip to Italy was an invaluable experience I would carry for my life. The trip provided an opportunity to immerse in a new culture, try local foods, visit local landmarks, and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the world. I was able to meet business leaders and learn from the experts in the field. I got a chance to visit local companies and industries to learn about their operations and business models and to observe the challenges and opportunities they face in the global market. Overall, I found the experience was more tangible, and I could see how the theories we learnt in the class apply in the real business world. Ananya Singh, FTMBA Class of 2023

FTMBA Student Blessing Ehinomen Ebare poses with a matching Vespa at the Piaggio Showroom in Milan.
A white woman accepts an Aperol Spritz from a bartender.
The visit to Campari Group wrapped up with aperitivo hour in the company’s function space.

Did you know that more than 85% of businesses in Italy are family-owned? This makes up about 784,000 businesses and accounts for around 70% of employment in the country. These businesses include the Said chocolate factory, the well-loved Borsalino, specialists in Italian luxury hats,  the luxury Italian fashion house D&G and Piaggo, the Italian motor vehicle manufacturer to mention a few.  If there is one thing all these companies share in common, it’s the appeal to lifestyle, culture, and joy of life which Italians are known for.

Well, it was not all business. I did get to enjoy some Italian delicacies, tour the Campari museum, the Duomo Di Milano Cathedral, the D&G fashion house in Milan, and visit the Milan Fashion Institute, among others. It was also a great opportunity to bond with my classmates and the Executive MBA students outside the classroom setting and make new connections. I also got to appreciate a culture that was different from mine. I fell in love with Italy and look forward to visiting again sometime. Blessing Ehinomen Ebare, FTMBA Class of 2023

A soccer pitch at night, with bright lights overhead and stadium staff in orange in the foreground
A group of students arranged on their own to see a soccer match during a free evening: EMBA student Noel Quinn submitted this photo from the outing.
A group of around 20 students, faculty, and staff smile behind a banner reading UCD Smurfit School MBA in front of the obelisk in Rome's Piazza Navonna
The MBA Travelers on their walking tour of Rome

This should give you an idea of why so many UCD Smurfit MBA Students consider the International Study Tour a highlight of their year! Thanks in particular to Legacy Ventures for putting together such an engaging and rewarding itinerary.

To any prospective students reading this: Just think, next spring this could be you.

Kathryne Del Sesto, FTMBA Programme Manager