Hybrid teaching and the future of training. Interview with Franco Visani

8 January 2021

“The only certainty about the future? That we won’t go back” states Franco Visani, Academic Director of the Hybrid MBA at BBS, who helps us look at the next developments in the training sector, in which online and face-to-face teaching will continue alternating.

In a sea of uncertainties due to the pandemic, there is a single certainty: the need to be flexible and being able to manage a “hybrid” form of education, partly online and partly face-to-face. Somehow this is what the Hybrid MBA, of which you’re Academic Director, at BBS does: a unique program, which often has turned out to be in step with the times. What do you imagine could be the next leap ahead in the training sector?

This is an excellent question, I’m not sure though I have an answer. Who could have foreseen just 10 months ago that by the end of the year, at BBS, we would have transferred entire courses from being held live to online, that we’d design others directly online and again that we’d hold many others in a “blended” mode? Who could have guessed the success of a “hybrid” proposal like ours, alternating online teaching with live educational activities (company visits, hackathons, business games, speeches)? Briefly, in 10 months BBS has introduced a series of educational innovations that probably exceed those put in place in its previous 20 years of life.

Thus, it’s not easy to know what the future has in store for us, for sure there’s no going back. Online education, in a more or less prevailing manner, will definitely have a larger role than it had in the past. It’ll be up to us to understand what teaching structure, which technological tools, which “devices” could enable an improvement of its efficacy, especially in fostering interaction among students and between student and instructor.

I’m certain though that we won’t witness a complete transfer online of courses from the live format because face-to-face teaching maintains its value, both for teachers and students, in a way that online teaching shall never be able to replace totally.


In a world that is changing faster and faster and in an ever-unpredictable way, to which extent is it important to keep up, continuing to study and choosing formats able to reconcile study and work?

This answer is definitely simpler and already included in the question. There’s a statement by Abraham Lincoln about this which I’ve always really liked: “I have to study hard and prepare myself because sooner or later my time will come.” In this extremely dynamic historical period, it’s fundamental to increase one’s skills, knowledge, one’s view of the world. Nobody knows, when they enroll in a Master’s or another training program, whether it will bear practical results after a day, 3 months, or 5 years. Certainly, those who don’t do it will progressively be cast aside. Simply because the world runs faster than them.


What is the application of the concept of multi-disciplinarity in a context like the one of the Hybrid MBA, in which all participants are professionals, involved in person only for a portion of the course?

An MBA is by nature multi-disciplinary, because it’s an across-the-board training path, one that analyses in depth all the different aspects of corporate life: from operations to finance, from marketing to HR. We, also helped by the flexibility of the online lessons, have made it even more multi-disciplinary, with a very much appreciated mentoring pathway, a hackathon, and a Business Game in which you have to activate a series of skills and different knowledge fields, and finally a series of meetings on the way in which the digital is changing all company functions (digital talks). Getting to know one another mutually, ‘crossbreeding’, the ability to leave your functional “comfort zone” to see what is “out there”. These are all elements that nurture participants in their capacity as managers, but I believe also as women and men. For sure I’ve been nurtured by the exchange of views with all the colleagues, the managers, the entrepreneurs who, in different roles, decided to collaborate to this project. I’d like to thank them wholeheartedly for that.


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