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Grand plans in Milan: P&Q's exclusive interview with Federico Frattini, Dean of the POLIMI School of Management

Federico Frattini, Dean of the Milan-based POLIMI School of Management, said: What is its responsibility in society? What do we really want to achieve in terms of our purpose, our vision?”

It’s been a busy two years for Federico Frattini. In 2020, at just 39 years old, he was appointed Dean of Italy’s leading Business His School of Business. has spearheaded digitization efforts, including the launch of a powerful AI. platform.

But the biggest changes began shortly after Frattini took over, and have continued this year. Frattini’s B-School, his MIP Politecnico di Milano, has been renamed the POLIMI School of Management in a move that involves more than just renaming the B-School founded 43 years ago. It’s part of the strategic plan, which Frattini says will result in a school “recognized as one of his most innovative schools of business” and “building a more equitable, inclusive and mindful society.” Thanks to our commitment to

“The social responsibility we feel for ourselves”

A big ambition in any environment. That it was done in the midst of a global pandemic is doubly impressive.

“The path we have taken is not limited to new logos and visual identities,” says Frattini, who spent 12 years at the school as professor of innovation before becoming POLIMI’s dean. “In fact, Polimi School of Management wants to be a school rooted in Milan and present all over the world.”

Frattini is one of the reasons why sustainability is a priority. A graduate business education is not only likely to bring about the most positive and sustainable change in the world, it may also be the only one.

“There are 13,000 business schools in the world, millions of people study at these business schools each year, and millions of alumni who are in contact with them,” said Frattini. I will tell you. Poets & Quants“I really don’t think there’s any other place where a source of change could be a catalyst for positive change. It doesn’t come from institutions. It doesn’t come from regulation. It doesn’t come from financial markets.” No. It comes largely from a new generation of business-school-trained leaders, and the roles they can play, between maximizing profits and shareholder value and having a positive impact on society. We become more aware of the paradoxes that can be resolved, and as I said before, there is increasing research evidence that this is possible — that there are ways to combine shareholder well-being with a higher set of objectives. However, it has not yet become the core of business school activities.

“And I think it’s the social responsibility we feel towards ourselves. We believe that, in the words of Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.” Now is the time to take action in business schools, there are special issues in top management journals discussing the repurposing of business schools (forums, books), but action is still delayed. , this is a small experiment at our small business school.”

Big plans in Milan

AI expert Frattini has overseen an ambitious digitization effort at POLIMI. financial timesIt ranks second in Italy behind SDA Bocconi, and given its ambitious string of initiatives, it is likely to move even higher in the rankings in the future.

Earlier this year, POLIMI launched FLEXA. FLEXA is an AI learning platform developed in partnership with Microsoft that acts as a career coach for potential students, current cohorts and alumni networks. FLEXA analyzes each individual and suggests personalized materials to fill skill gaps while promoting your profile to recruiters. As Dean, Frattini is also heavily involved with POLIMI and recently received a ‘B Corp Accreditation’, an award that recognizes a company’s commitment to sustainable development and building a more inclusive society. POLIMI is the first Italian business school to secure the designation and he is one of the few business schools in the world.

Even in the classroom, Frattini’s policy is in the news. In January, B-School announced the ‘New Generation MBA’, which aims to prepare a new generation of leaders for an era focused on sustainability, offering advanced management skills combined with tools A number of leaders committed to meeting the unique challenges of the 21st century, “Unlocking the Potential of Purpose and Enabling a New Generation”. ” The new MBA will start this fall. More recently, POLIMI announced a partnership with French B-School SKEMA, a course in product management and UX design that provides students with the combination of technology, business and design skills most valued by companies looking to strengthen their product teams. We have created a unique double degree. The first cohort of the new program, splitting time in Paris and Milan, will also start this fall.

Q&A with Federico Frattini

“We want to be a testing ground for innovative, practical and applicable solutions to solve the most pressing problems facing our society,” says Frattini. say. “A school that can foster a true sense of community that unites not only students, teachers and alumni, but all school staff. Making our planet and society a better, more sustainable, fairer and more inclusive place.” It is an institution committed to inspiring and promoting a genuine commitment to

in an exclusive interview with Poets & QuantsFrattini discusses his plans for the growing B-School, including the rebranding that has led the school to launch a new strategic plan and redefine its purpose and values. and edited for clarity.

Poets&Quants: Let’s start with the school rebrand. The new name is only a few months old. Changing the name of a business school is no small thing, but this wasn’t just a name change, was it?

Federico Frattini: Well, there are two interrelated things that explain why we decided to take this brave step. One is the fact that from 2020 we have entered the process of thinking deeply about how the school should be. What is its responsibility in society? What do we really want to achieve when it comes to our purpose, our vision? And this as a place to inspire people and organizations who believe in innovation, to really shape a better future for all. , was able to identify a clear positioning of the school. Create a new generation of leaders who are deeply aware and conscious of their inner values, their inner motivations and the meaning they give to their work. And through this process of building awareness, they can also become active agents of organizational change.

We strongly believe that sustainability and impact do not come from the outside and cannot be viewed as something you must do. Because there are certifications and there are political, social and institutional pressures. If it comes from a greater understanding of the role we play in our day-to-day actions, not only in maximizing shareholder value, but in impacting society at large, that is what really happens. , a new culture of business schools, a new set of values ​​for business schools was actually established. And we wanted all of this to be reflected in all the experiences we provide to prospective students, current students, alumni, and the companies we work with. It also required a change in the value it conveys. So this is one of the key trajectories.

The second, acknowledging that our earlier naming today stands for something that cannot really be identified, traces back to our legacy founded in 1979. MIP is an acronym for Master in Production Engineering and was a very early positioning of the school, that is, a school that trained engineers on more management-related topics. In its 40-year history, even before our new strategic plan, the school has actually become a business school, opening its programs to non-engineers and non-technical people. So even without the strategic development that started in 2020, we understood that our name didn’t really tell us who we were. This process was done in collaboration with Interbrand, one of his top branding consulting firms. Our data proves that our name doesn’t really convey the essence of a modern business school.

The name also reflects the strong connection with Polytech Milano, the university to which we belong. Because it has truly become an internationally recognized brand. It is among the top 10 technical universities in Europe and among the top 15 in the world. 4th in the world in design and 5th in the world in architecture. Highly reputable Tech Entrepreneur Innovation School. We therefore wanted to establish closer ties and strengthen our affiliation with the city of Milan, which has undergone a period of real growth, development and innovation after the 2015 World Expo. Today, Milan is considered one of Europe’s most popular destinations for students. come from anywhere in the world.

So the name, the values, the tone of voice, the responsibility we feel is reflected in the type of brand graphic elements, the colors we use and the tone of voice we apply. And this is the process that led to our name and rebranding.

See next page for more P&QInterview with POLIMI Dean Federico Frattini.