Dr Paolo Taticchi is a leading academic in business management. His research focusses on performance management, business networks and corporate sustainability, while his academic background includes two masters and a PhD in International Engineering with a focus on operations management. Paolo’s role as Programme Director of MSc Management at Imperial College Business School includes overseeing this intensive one-year programme that provides recent graduates with a world-class education and the practical experience to become a future business leader. In this interview, Paolo explains his view of what makes the MSc Management programme distinctive and discusses where the course is headed for the future.
Q&A with Dr Paolo Taticchi, MSc Management Programme Director
What can a student gain from studying MSc Management at Imperial College Business School?
Academically, it is a very solid programme. Not only do you get a very good education covering all the important aspects of business, you also get a branded education. You will be studying at a university that is globally known, on a programme that was ranked second in the UK and nineteenth in the world by the Financial Times Masters in Management 2016 ranking. We are a top Business School and on the MSc Management programme you will be taught by top academics and professionals from across all of our faculties. Our MSc Management class is extremely diverse. Students come from many different academic and cultural backgrounds, and we leverage this diversity. There is a lot of group project work and so the programme forces you to go outside your comfort zone and collaborate.
In your mind, what does Imperial College Business School represent?
Innovation and entrepreneurship. The Business School is part of Imperial College London and that connection has been crucial to the way it has developed. A focus on innovation and entrepreneurship is not just a claim that we make – it is part of the Business School’s DNA and it is substantiated by everything we do here. Very few MSc Management programmes teach entrepreneurship as a core module or have as many entrepreneurial activities going on as we do here. Imperial College even has its own venture capital and entrepreneurship opportunities through initiatives such as Imperial Innovations, the Imperial Create Lab and the Enterprise Lab. Imperial Innovations has raised £300 million by spinouts since 2006 and that is a fairly unique position for a Business School, not just in the UK but in the world. I would also emphasise that we have impressive strengths with regard to teaching finance and preparing students for careers in the financial services, which is helped by our position here in London, a global financial capital.
What is particularly distinctive about the MSc Management programme here?
The programme is highly practical. We really push students to develop their practical experience. There are many opportunities to do this including work placements, entrepreneurship projects and the Consulting Projects, which allow students to work on real business problems with companies, and that could be any company, from a globally-known business like Lamborghini or Ernst & Young to a start-up here in London. Also, the way we teach combines theory with its practical applications. We continually challenge students to look at topics that are growing in importance today, like sustainability and crisis management. MSc Management is also very flexible, which is something we have really been focussing on as the programme has developed. Students cover all the key management topics and then customise their experience through the pathway modules and summer electives.
Why does the MSc Management programme place such high importance on international exposure?
Business is becoming more complex and more global every day. You cannot aim to become an executive in a corporation and not be prepared to think globally. Global exposure itself is now a skill in the job market. MSc Management students don’t only study with peers from across the world, they can study additional language courses for free, they can choose to take part in Consulting Projects with international companies and we even now have the International Study Tours. We also offer students the opportunity to study at universities abroad which allows them to experience learning in a different institution, to expand their network of contacts and to access the career services at those universities, which is fantastic if they are considering looking for jobs in that country after graduating.
How has the MSc Management programme changed and what is your vision for its future?
It is now more flexible than ever before. We have reduced the number of core modules and increased the number of electives through spring term pathways and summer electives that allow students to personalise their learning experience. We are also continuing to increase our students’ global exposure. We make sure that we teach the skills the market wants, and the things affecting businesses today are reflected in the programme. Things that mattered for Business School students five years ago are not the same as those that matter today and the areas we focus on today might not be important in five years’ time. Right now, we are seeing an increasing focus on sustainability, big data and analytics and their impact on businesses. I would also add that we are experiencing extremely turbulent political times. Here, we saw the UK vote for Brexit and we are continuing to see shifts in political power in elections across the world. There is a lot of tension driven by these political situations and businesses are affected by that. The world of business is changing and we will continue to adapt our programme to reflect those changes.
What do you personally enjoy most about coming to Imperial College Business School every day?
Dealing with smart people: smart, motivated students and smart colleagues. Not only do we discuss very challenging problems here, we deliver solutions. It is a stimulating environment and a very interesting one.