Week 2: September 28th-October 4th

Lesson of the Week: 

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”

-Leonardo Da Vinci

Week 1 was a blur, week 2.. still a blur, but things are starting to slow down as I get used to my new life in Italy. Back in the States I had a 2 bed 2 1/2 bath townhouse, a car, a large social network, and very good paying job. Life was comfortable. Through week 2 everything has been uncomfortable, but it is a good uncomfortable. In order to be successful we have to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. A lot of stress was relieved once getting through all the paperwork needed to stay in Italy. I was able to quickly master the train and metro system, now to figure out the trams and buses, small victories though. We were able to add some personal touches on our (very) small but quaintly cosy apartment on the 4th floor. The slanted ceilings cause some annoyances but the apartment is comfortable with red tile floors and natural wood beams and the exposed brick, a traditional Milanese apartment!

The title of week 2 was “Back to the Basics” for the fact that the first week of classes is Marketing 101. Most anyone who took an Intro to Marketing class would be able to get through the first real week of classes. This intro is great as there is a good number of students who do not come from a Marketing background, and for those of us that do have a Marketing background, it is a good review. Also looking back at this after spending 5 years in business and coming back to school to learn, I really look at the material in a much different way.

One the greatest things for me is meeting and learning about my classmates. We are a very diverse group and to get to know them is EXACTLY why I chose to study abroad. It is very easy to sit in a classroom and talk about a global economy and the importance of International Marketing and learn from a book. That is the science of it, the art of Marketing really comes from immersing yourself in the culture, learning and experiencing the culture, something that you can’t replicate in a class room. I am very excited about where I stand in regards to my previous knowledge and the experience I bring and being able to really participate in the class. We have some extremely smart and intuitive peers so I really believe that this will be a beneficial experience.

I read an article on the Iowa Hawkeyes and how after getting embarrassed last year in their bowl game against Tennessee, they challenged themselves to be better. They chose the book “The Slight Edge” to do this. Every week one of the upper-classmen were in charge of leading a presentation/discussion on what the lesson was. Hence my inspiration for the lesson of the week. I read this book back in undergrad, and it is a very good book and it is incredibly interesting to see how a team has implemented it to create a culture. This brings my point about being uncomfortable full circle. It is one thing to read, learn, and talk about something, but it is another thing to actually act upon it. Thus the reason I chose to leave the States, a beautiful townhouse, a strong social network, and high paying job to do something that makes many others uncomfortable. I am excited about this journey and what it will do for me professionally and personally. I am even luckier that I have someone here to experience this with [my girlfriend]. Everyone wants to do something great, but only a few are willing to actually do it.

For any of those reading this that are interested in Graduate School and getting their MBA or Master’s I challenge you to really research and think about what you want to get out of the experience. Yes that piece of paper is nice to have, but if you have seen the movie “21” when the main character is interviewing for a scholarship in the top school, he is asked; what makes him unique, what dazzles about him and his experience? If you are looking to interview for your dream job, what will your story be?

*Attached are some pictures of Milano, it is a beautiful city!

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