I joined SOIL with a belief that this one year would provide me amazing learning experience. So when we were told that whosoever wants to go to MIP should apply for it, I took no time in giving my name. Finally on 26th February I boarded the flight for Milan. The journey was no less than a dream, on the screen it showed that the plane is crossing Turkey and as soon as I looked out of the window, what I saw was something beyond words. Our plane was right over the Black Sea. Our plane was right on time, I finally stepped on the land of Fashion capital of the world and I reached my hostel in the evening when sun was setting and the sky had turned orange blue.
Soon after I had my first ‘interaction’ with Italian culture and I got to know that its not a country but a ‘community’ in essence. So if you are staying in a building, whenever somebody would cross you, he or she would say Ciao with a smile, Ciao which means hello in Italian. You know the person or not doesn’t matter, the very fact that your paths met is enough reason for them to share a smile. How beautiful! The very next day, I took my SLR and set out to explore Milan. The city was simply breath taking, where everyone seemed to be celebrating life. Beautiful street restraunt, bi Boeing performance happening in the centre of the piazza, a girl playing violin at the end of the street, an old couple walking in the street holding hands, every moment was an experience to live. And one of the most pleasant site was of Indian Flag in the streets of Italy.
Next day was the first day in the college and the building was beautifully designed with a colour mix of grey, white and red. My first subject in MIP was Entrepreneurship and students from different countries had come to take this course. The class began and truly speaking I just didn’t realize when did my watch ticked six in the evening. Ufff! What a class, so systematic so organized and so holistic. A typical day in MIP is divided into 4 sessions of 2 hours each, wherein first session was taken by the main professor of the subject who provided a broader picture of the subject, then the second session was taken by an Associate Professor who took us deeper into the subject. Third session was then taken by another faculty who took us further deep into the subject and finally the last session was taken by an Industry expert. It was not just the first class but each and every class was as systematic and as amazing a learning experience as the first one rather with every class the learning became even more deep. One of the most interesting lecture was a session on Elevator Speech where we were given 30 seconds to convince a client, a venture capitalists and a potential partner respectively in 3 different rounds. From business model canvas to crowd funding to life cycle of fund generation, there were so many things that we learnt and meeting Business Angel of the Year for Italy was icing on the cake.
My another really big ‘interaction’ with Italian culture was during lunch time when I found that one thing that means the world to an Italian is food. When we were standing near the coffee machine my classmate told that, “Don’t even think of taking a Cappuccino from the machine in the afternoon, you would experience weird looks” I was puzzled that why did he say so and then he told that there is a rule about drinking coffee in Italy that you take Cappuccino only in the morning and espresso in the afternoon. I didn’t realize that Italians actually followed these rules about food and beverages so seriously until I had an experience in the canteen. After I took pasta from the counter in the canteen, I realized that everyone in the canteen was looking very weirdly at my plate and me. Very confused, I asked my classmate if he could tell me the reason. He looked at my plate and said,” Just now you did a big crime in Italy” And it was that time that I got to know that putting tomato ketchup on pasta is a big insult of it for Italians. After the college would get over, I used to rush towards the metro station and explore a new part of Milan everyday, meet new people and experience a mew aspect of their culture.
After entrepreneurship, second subject that I got an opportunity to study in MIP was Creating and capturing the value through Innovation. I had always heard about patents but I never knew that patents are not just a way to tell the world about your creation but for other companies or individuals it is actually a great repository of knowledge. And even more amazing was the fact that how licensing, joint ventures and other form of alliances are such a crucial phase in the life of any start up especially one in R&D industry which highly revolves around patents. One week of course was completely packed with case studies, frameworks and knowledge filled sessions with some of the leading Venture Capitalists of Italy, founders of really successful start-up ventures and CEO of HP Italy. As part of the learning we did lots of group work and my team comprised of an Italian boy, a Finnish boy, a Chinese girl and myself. That multicultural learning experience was simply amazing and it was a true learning experience not just in terms of knowledge sharing on the topic but also during those discussions we shared a lot of knowledge about different cultures and every intricacy of it.
I just didn’t realize when those 18 days got over. Everyday I used to get up early to watch sun rise from the window of my room. And there used to be a different sun rise as if God is an artist and creates beautiful scenery everyday. It was 15th morning my last day In Milan, I was standing right next to that window reflecting on my journey and stay in this ‘foreign’ land. I realized that actually this land was never a foreign land and accepted me the very first day I landed here and since after that I felt a part of everything there. Italians are really generous in terms of expression, I knew that but my experience of beautiful smiles with every Ciao, with every Grazie (thank you in Italian) and the fact that people respect individuals there and whole heartedly acknowledge each other’s talent are few of the many things that would always remain in my memories. I would also not forget the warm and interesting ‘encounters’ that I had with few Asians in Italy. With all these most cherishable experiences of the culture, city and people, the kind and amount of knowledge that I was taking with me was just enormous and I would be thankful to SOIL for providing me this opportunity. My amazing journey of experiences in the land of Renaissance might have got over but its positive impact would always stay in my life.
HR Leadership Program 2015