MBA Students Apply Classroom Skills in Foreign Internships; Immersed in Italian Culture

Jan 04, 2019

While “Villino Duffault,” Assumption’s Campus in Rome, Italy, is usually home to undergraduates spending their fall or spring semesters abroad,   this summer, Rome, as well as several other Italian cities, became a classroom for students in the MBA program.

From June 4- July 3, a small group of graduate students traveled to Italy to study the economy, learn new skills, and obtain a better understanding of a different culture, customs, traditions, and way of life. While much of the one-month trip was spent in Rome visiting historical, cultural and political sites of interest such as the Bank of Italy, European Union Headquarters, Mount Vesuvius, St. Peter’s Basilica, the U.S. Embassy Trade Department, the students also explored the villages of Florence and interned with local businesses in Como, Italy. 

Reflecting the mission of the instituion, Assumption’s MBA program focuses upon instilling in its students a foundation in ethical business practices, strong leadership skills and developing strategic management concepts that will best prepare students for an array of careers in the workforce.  While much of the program is taught at the Assumption Campus in Worcester, the International MBA class offers students the opportunity to study in Italy over the summer. According to Tomasz Jaster, the trip’s group coordinator, this is the fifth International MBA class that has done business in Europe, and the fourth time in Italy; the class took place in Poland one year.

Jaster says that this international business trip, a collaboration between Assumption and the Italian Small Business Association, “informs students about European and Italian economics, as well as the differences in each country’s banking system.” The 13 students that attended learned about multiculturalism and business regulations in foreign countries, which will help prepare them for future employment. “Many people have a chance to travel and see new places. In most cases this is a good learning experience. But this program is very special, it gives a unique opportunity to do so much more,” he added.

Eduardo Rivas Rosales ’15, an MBA student from Worcester, said he learned a great deal about himself and what he’d like to pursue in the future during the time he spent in Rome. “This was a meaningful experience that has made me grow as a person and professional, and will have a positive impact in my professional career,” said Rivas.

While in Como, Rivas interned for a company called Bavelloni Spa, which specializes in exporting glass and stone machines, an opportunity that was among the many highlights of his immersion in the Italian culture. “Before this experience, I knew nothing about how glass was processed,” he said.  “At my internship, people made me feel that my contributions to the company were valuable. I feel that after this experience my interest of working in this industry has increased.”

Originally from El Salvador, Rivas relished the opportunity to experience another culture first-hand. He gained a new appreciation for the beauty of Italy’s art and history by visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican, and learned a great deal about Italian life. “I think I learned a lot about the different aspects of the European culture and economy during this trip as well as how businesses run,” he said.

Rivas also appreciated interacting with both his classmates and locals. “Sharing time with these people was incredible,” he said. “The students and individuals I met in Italy made me feel like I was at home.”