Mauro Bruni, Full-Time MBA

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In brief:

  • Full-Time MBA 2019-20 student
  • International figure skater
  • Founder of performance company House of Mauro
  • First recipient of Imperial’s Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Scholarship
  • Marketing Director of the Business School’s LGBTQ+ Business Club

International figure skater turned entrepreneur Mauro Bruni is not one to suffer from stage fright. He’s performed in front of crowds at Wembley and worldwide, and recently staged his own gala on ice. And he’s bringing that same level of chutzpah to his debut on Imperial College Business School’s Full-Time MBA programme. “Anyone gets jitters, but I love to perform. I’ve developed the tools necessary to handle anxiety.”

He’s the Business School’s first student to receive the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) fellowship: a scholarship awarded by the Business School to MBA students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. ROMBA aims to change misconceptions around business education and inspire a broader range of candidates to apply for MBAs.

House of Mauro

Not that Mauro has always planned to do a business degree: “I loved my job so totally it was hard to think of doing anything else.” But beginning an MBA is a fitting way to end his performance career. He’s also just launched a performance company to bring contemporary skaters, choreographers, musicians and artists together. “Every athlete has a shelf life.” He’s here partly to sharpen up his business skills for the new venture, House of Mauro. “It’s early days but I feel I’m finding out what it is that I need to learn.”

His new company has already staged one event, in June 2019: “A big gala show collaborating with professionals in different industries, from costumers to painting, music and dancing.” In the past he’s choreographed productions, but this time he found himself in charge of the nuts and bolts of staging a show too. “All those things that happen off the ice – the preparation, lighting, staging – this time I had to take care of that, and it involved way more juggling.”

Most initial investment in his company came from his own funds, and he found sponsors to help with the first production costs. “I was able to make the experience special for audience and cast.” But he’s first to explain where he lacks experience. “I’m a creative, I don’t have a business background, and there are some areas I’m not comfortable with. I’m coming here to learn how a business is run.” If he brings creativity to the classroom, he’s delighted at the variety he’s discovering among his fellow students. “There are different personalities from all backgrounds and sectors: finance, energy, sustainability. This brings colour and dynamism to the programme.”

He’s also comfortable rubbing shoulders with different nationalities and cultures. “I’ve worked around the world, as a leader, manager and team member. Navigating cultural differences and learning styles comes naturally after so many years spent in cosmopolitan teams.”

New realms

When deciding where to go to business school, London, where Mauro’s performed many times, was a natural choice: it’s home from home. “I only applied to schools in cities where I feel comfortable. I love it here, and that helps when I’m outside my comfort zone. I have many friends who are performing here.” While in London, he’s also been appointed Marketing Director of the Business School’s LGBTQ+ Business Club. “As an [LGBTQ+] professional, it’s important to remain active and connected.”

In the past, he’s led productions, choregraphed shows, and coached performers. “People management comes naturally to me.” He’s also adept at skills such as time management, but he knows the MBA will fill in the gaps: “In anything related to finance for instance – that’s absolutely outside my realm. But I’m really interested in learning; I hope my knowledge expands in different ways I didn’t know I was capable of.”

Once he’s completed his MBA, he will return his energies to House of Mauro, but the platform will go on the backburner this year. “The company revolves around me. I need to manage my workload, so at present it’s just simmering. We want to promote what’s contemporary and avant garde, and build momentum. Bringing a whole community together to realise this project is my greatest achievement to date – it’s my greatest leap of faith.”