Having Italian roots led Fiorella Patrucco to pursue an MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milan under the Global Leadership Scholarship. That and her passion for coffee.
Back in 2019, she moved to Italy to explore her background and instantly felt attracted to the language and way of living. She then moved back to Peru to start working but, like many others worldwide, the pandemic caused the company to shut down.
This didn’t deter Patrucco. She chose to use this as an opportunity to boost her skills and knowledge. As her passion was to travel, meet new people and get to know different cultures, why not go back to Italy as an international MBA student?
Fast forward to now, this Peruvian has graduated and is working as a marketing executive. Below we talk to her about what she enjoyed most about Italy and her career experience:
What made you choose to become an MBA student at MIP Milan Polytechnic University?
I always wanted to be an MBA student, so this was the perfect time. My brother, who also studied at MIP Milan Polytechnic University, strongly recommended the school to me.
By then, he was already working in Milan and had a good experience as an MBA student. Some of the highlights from him was the human approach (personalisation) and the faculty (academic professors).
Therefore, the interesting fact is that in 2020 the MBA at the school opened new “specialisation” tracks that are based on bootcamps focused on a specific topic. Once I passed the process and got the Global Leadership Scholarship, I decided to get onboard this new journey.
What do you like most about Italy?
I love the coffee culture, the architecture and the language. Italians are also very welcoming and always open for a talk.
I used to explore different bars (cafeterias) and always had the chance to establish a conversation with the baristas. Besides, Milan is a city known for its serious Milanese people.
You always find people from all over the world and also Italians from other parts of the country. This makes it a unique place to live. The good thing is that it’s close to the mountains as well — the Dolomites is one of my pending travels.
Walk us through your international experiences and career roles.
As part of the Global Leadership Scholarship, I identified myself as a citizen of the world. I started my career in hospitality management in Peru that took me to Australia.
Then I started to work within the tourism industry where I found my passion for outdoor sports. Afterwards, I decided to study for my master’s in innovation in the US where I learned more about sports, tourism and hospitality.
The fact that I was eager to work in sports marketing led me to work in Spain and get a second master’s degree. This in turn had me begin a career in the sports industry.
Around the same time, I was also in the process of receiving my Italian recognition (as my great grandfather was from Alexandria) so I decided to live in Italy for a few months. Then I lived in Berlin to immerse myself in the start-up environment and finally went back to Peru to work within the travel-tech industry.
Finally, I moved to Milan to be an MBA student and expand my networking by finding new friends and life connections. This long strategic journey had the objective of finding a position and a company that mixed my passion for sports, tourism, and hospitality but also where I could apply my language skills.
I’m well-versed in English, Italian, German and Spanish. That’s how I ended up living in Munich and working at Precor from Peloton Interactive as a marketing executive for DACH.
What are your favourite things about Milan?
Milan is a cosmopolitan city. It seems big but you can tour it in a few days. My three favourite things were the architecture, coffee shops and closeness to the mountains.
What have been your most memorable, non-academic experiences thus far?
The most important and valuable part of the programme was to meet incredible people from all over the world that were always eager to learn new things. Also, I had fun exploring the Italian culture and learned a lot from the locals and my international friends.
Tell us about your hometown.
Peru is a unique country with hidden destinations. You could choose between the beaches, mountains or forests. The main point of arrival is Lima so the beach would be the best spot to hit first. After, the place to visit would be the mountains like Machu Picchu (one of the Seven World Wonders) and finally, to the forest for that Amazon experience.
Have you explored the region in Italy? What stood out to you?
Once in Italy, I explored Lake Como which is very close to Milan. Liguria is where you can visit the famous Cinque Terre, all these places in Italy stand out. There is always stunning architecture, interesting people, good coffee and cozy cafes.
What’s the local food like? Tell us your most and least favourite.
You will find food for sure in every corner: pasta, brioche, and gelato. I enjoy coffee with pastries. I’m not a fan of pasta or pizza but I love the variety of gelatos. Especially the flavours: pistachio, coffee and cappuccino.
Is it hard for a foreigner to order food or strike up a conversation with the locals?
Not at all. Italians like to talk. You will always find different options for food. Of course more heavy on the pasta and pizza side but since Milan is one of the Italian cities with one of the biggest Chinese communities, there are many Asian options available.
What cultural sites have you explored there? Tell us something you learned from this.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the museums were closed. However, you have many other options to explore Milan. I used to go to Sempione Park daily and my apartment was close to Santa Maria delle Grazie (where you find the famous Last Supper painting from Leonardo Da Vinci).
The area of Sant’Ambrogio and Cadorna were the coziest and fanciest places in town. I enjoyed my stay there especially because of the ancient architecture and cute balconies.
Do you have any advice for international students looking to study in Italy?
To learn the basics of the Italian language. It’s a lovely language and it opens the door to different opportunities in the country. Most of the Italians in the towns don’t speak English so I encourage everyone to learn this beautiful language.
Lastly, give us three fun facts about yourself:
I love rabbits, I’m very flexible and I enjoy being upside-down (through handstands).