Milan, Italy may be one of the world’s fashion capitals, but nine Providence College School of Business MBA students, along with our Assistant Dean and one of our marketing professors, recently learned that the breadth of the city’s market for luxury products and brands expands far wider than just fashion. As part of MBA 662, Marketing Global Luxury Brands, students traveled to Milan during last week’s Spring Break for an inside glimpse of the marketing and branding used by high-end Italian companies.
Prior to departing for the trip to Milan, students met for three classes early in the semester to prepare for their corporate site visits and lectures. These pre-departure classes equipped students with an understanding of the city’s luxury brands by requiring them to conduct and present research on the overall industry as well as on specific products or companies.
The one-week study abroad component of the course began on Saturday, March 4, when students and faculty arrived in Milan, Italy. Dr. Jacqueline Elcik, Assistant Dean, and Dr. Helen Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Marketing, co-led the group of MBA students during the trip with the guidance of representatives from IES Abroad.
Before exploring the fashion brands Milan is renowned for, students visited both Ferrari and Lamborghini for an exclusive look at the luxury automobile industry. The trip to Ferrari featured a discussion about how the company markets their cars, while the visit to Lamborghini included a walk through of its production line.
Students also had the opportunity to perform a walk through of a fashion production line at Gucci and observed the production of runway dresses and apparel sample pieces. A guided tour of the recently opened Armani museum also offered a taste of the fashion industry. In addition to garments, students explored Milan’s market for fashion accessories during a behind-the-scenes look at Pomellato‘s jewelry production. Other corporate site visits included trips to Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Kering Group, and Bottega Veneta.
Industry professionals and Italian faculty from well-known business schools in Italy, such as Bocconi, met with students during the trip to give lectures on topics such as fashion, jewelry, and watches. In addition, they received a presentation from a tea stylist who transformed tea in Italy into a luxury brand.
While corporate site visits and lectures consumed much of the days’ scheduled programming, students had an opportunity to immerse themselves in Italian culture during their stay as well. The first full day in Milan featured a trip to the Duomo for mass, followed by a walking tour through the city’s “Navigli” Canals District. Students also paid a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” one of Milan’s most famous artistic attractions. The agenda also allowed for time to explore Italian cuisine, with students attending a cooking class and visiting Eataly in the Modern District. A farewell dinner at Terrazza Triennale, a restaurant known for having one of the best views overlooking the city, concluded the week.
Students and faculty have returned to campus and will convene on Sunday, March 26 for a final course meeting. This class will focus on discussion of the cultural differences students had expected to find and those that they actually observed between the United States and Italy.
According to Alexis Egidio ’17G, the abroad component of the course provided her with greater insight into luxury branding and enhanced her learning experience as an MBA student.
“The Global Luxury Brands trip to Milan was an amazing experience that allowed me to grasp how much passion and detail goes into each Italian-made brand such as Gucci and Lamborghini,” she said. “In addition, I was able to expand my global acumen and my professional network through various company visits and guest lecturers.”
For more information about the international experiences offered by the PC MBA Program, visit our Go Global web page!