Name: Milena Cirulli
Place of work: Toyota
Graduation year: 2017
Current Job: Toyota Italy Product Communication & Event Organization
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five-year’ time, I see myself obtaining a Senior Marketing Group Manager role in the Automotive/Software industry either in Europe or USA.

So you finished classes in 2017, tell us about your experience after your MBA Program.
I started the last year of Bachelor program in 2015 and then enrolled for the MBA program in 2016 in Rome SSM. I specialized in Marketing and Global Management. I was able to complete both programs in 2 years while working full time. I truly enjoyed both programs and I was able to grow professionally especially during the MBA program. The main reason for my professional growth was the application of tools learned in class directly at work. At the same time after the application of the content learned in class at work, I was able to bring back my experience in class and discuss the results with my team and professors.

What skillset do you need to do your job?
Working in marketing requires a mix of analytical and soft skills. Specifically in my field is important to understand the product in details but also establishing strong relationships cross teams in order to collaborate successfully with other departments. Communication skills are also very important in my role as I meet with both internal and external clients. I lead some of the key international events and my communication is critical to ensure I represent my company in the best way I can.

How has your MBA helped you in your current position?
My MBA program has helped tremendously to accomplish career development and advance as well as personal enrichment. Since I was working full time during the MBA I was able to apply the concepts learned in class at work. The program provided me with tools that I was able to utilize to solve important business problems. In addition the class discussions were extremely rich and it helped me to extend my knowledge but also enrich my network with business professionals from other industries than Automotive. Also, my learnings helped me to get promoted and take a new role in the Press Team at Toyota. I also developed additional critical skills in Marketing that make a much more appealing candidate for companies. Overall, I feel the MBA program has also contributed to my personal development. Going back to school has open my mind to more program opportunities that can help me further to grow and develop as a professional and an individual.

What are your future plans?
After the MBA program I plan to obtain a new position in the Automotive/Technology industry in Europe or in the USA. I will focus on transferring the skills I learned in the MBA and at work these last two years in a new role. In the same time, I will perfect my English skills, in order to be a strong candidate for the company’s in the Marketing and Communication department in the USA.

If you could describe your experience in Rome during your MBA how would you sum it up?
I am from Rome and I lived most of my life in Rome. However through the MBA program I experience Rome in a completely different ways. Most of my network at Toyota Rome was primarily Italian. In the MBA program I was able to meet business professional from different countries, with diverse background and with professional experiences from different industries. They also introduced me to other contacts they knew in Rome or in other countries. So all the sudden I started having a huge and rich network in Rome made of international business professionals that I would have never been able to make on my own. After the MBA program I plan to continue the relationships with my colleagues and tap in this network in the future as needed to get an advice or perspective on business issues.

Can you share an experience that is most memorable with relation to the MBA program?
I am glad to share two great experiences. The first one was during the Leadership class. We read the book “Rich dad poor dad” author R.T. Hiyosaki and I realized like never before, how important are the external influences in regards of business vision. The second was in the occasion of our finals for the Competitive Strategic Management class. Our tasks was to present our business project including the Porter Analysis. That assignment was so useful and fundamental that gave me the base for a project that I am launching now.

What was your favorite class in the program and why?
My favorite class was Competitive Strategic Management with Prof. Pardi. We explored global strategic business realties of multinational companies from different industries. The class, thanks to the precious experience and commitment of the professor, opened my mind, influenced me positively and brought my business vision to a broader prospective.

What advice would you give newcomers to the MBA program or for those interested?
I would definitely advice young graduates and young professionals alike to join the MBA program with an open mind. Also if they can to perform an internship during the program (if they are not working full time) to put in practice their school learnings.

What do you think differentiates this MBA from other MBA programs?
I am convinced that the SSM MBA possesses several unique aspects that have contributed tremendously to my future success. The regional and global core courses in the curriculum has allowed me to focus on different international business areas; it taught also teach me innovative techniques for solving managerial problems. Through the SSM MBA program, I developed the broad-ranging skill set that I needed to assess my organization and guide my team more effectively. At the same time, the flexible curriculum offered elective courses where I was able to pursue special areas.

The international orientation of the program aligned itself well with my current experience. I was particularly interested in participating in establishing a global knowledge and building relationships with students and executives, including those from other countries. At Toyota, it is not easy to interact with employees from other industries. Most of my networking in Rome consists of Toyota professionals. For this reason, I enjoyed meeting with professionals outside the automotive industry and learn from their experiences. In addition, these contacts will be useful in furthering my career.

Moreover, SSM collaborative learning environment and broad curriculum has been ideal for the type of experience I was seeking. I enjoyed tackling complex challenges in a team setting and have a great deal of work experience in this area. Furthermore, I possessed the ability to adapt quickly to new work environments and people.

Academically, I am excited that the SSM program provided hands-on learning of the concepts taught in class. In fact, the program structure will allowed me to immediately apply new functional and managerial skills in my everyday work. Finally, SSM MBA Programs are classified in the European rankings. Earning an EMBA degree from SSM will add internationally recognized credentials to my portfolio.