MBA EVENING – an interview with Nicola Tomesani

7 August 2023

Nicola Tomesani, marketing expert and professor of Economics and Business Management at Bologna University’s Faculty of Engineering, is the Scientific Director of Bologna Business School’s Evening MBA.

The part-time evening, online, and on-campus MBA is tailored for managers and professionals aspiring to acquire the soft skills required to move from operational roles to managerial positions.


– Who is the ideal candidate for the Evening MBA? What are the strengths of this formula?

The ideal candidate is a highly motivated person who wants to grow: the Evening MBA is a challenging program, taking place in two sessions a week, one online and one on-campus, in the evening, so after a day of work. This commitment is rewarded, however, because the density of meetings allows for a leaner schedule than other MBAs: 14 months of classroom time, 18 total.

Let’s talk about content: the faculty members involved in the program are all highly experienced, having at least 20 years of work behind them. The mix of academics and managers and consultants who come from the business world, then, generates a top quality of teaching, determined precisely by the heterogeneity of the Faculty proposal.

The third distinctive element, which is discovered during participation, is the powerful network that is generated by the Master’s program. All MBAs create a network between students and the school, but this one in particular: with two meetings a week, one of which is face-to-face, a feeling comes up among the participants, an intimacy that leads to the birth of strong and cohesive networks.

– The Master’s program has a teaching approach aimed at concreteness, in conveying directly applicable management tools. How is this achieved?

The School and Master’s Management have always focused on inductive teaching, which we can synthesize with analysis and solution of management problems. Each lecturer centers his or her method on this type of topic both in the classroom and in distance work. Teaching can be done in many ways; our choice to promote simulations and case histories is the result of a desire to offer participants pragmatism and effectiveness.

– Meetings are weekly, one on-site and one online: what is the plus offered by in-person classes, compared to online-only formulas?

The combination comes from the wish to give practicality and convenience, but, at the same time, allow a live meeting once a week. This increases interactivity, the discussion, and the relationship between participants who, as mentioned earlier, create strong connections. Then, it should be considered that the use of space as an element of orientation is crucial to empower the lessons. One remembers much more about live meetings, thanks also to the iconic venues that Bologna Business School can offer: a lecture in the monumental classrooms of Villa Guastavillani hardly fails to imprint itself in the memory.

– The transition from an operational to a managerial role involves intensive work on open-mindedness and leadership. What, in this sense, are the strengths of the Master’s program?

Leadership is an elusive subject. Sometimes, in the business world there is some demand to know how to put it into practice, without anyone having formalized or explained it. There are different styles of leadership, and so in the evening MBA we decided to ask different lecturers to give their own view of the concept of leadership. So, we talk about People Management, Mentorship, Relationship Management with one’s work ecosystem, and Career Development. They are different perspectives on the same topic. By developing them, we can offer not just one model, but many. Still following our pragmatic approach, this setting describes a broader panorama and offers different solutions to be used according to the specific case and necessity.

The concept of Leadership has different declinations depending on whether it applies globally or locally, the Evening MBA at BBS offers a complete picture that is as useful as possible. Often, these are the courses they like the most: many students come from a technical background and are captivated by the study of this necessary yet often unknown element, because it is little taught in a formal way, least of all in companies. The figure of the Mentor has grown so much that we are trying to export it to other Executive Master’s programs so that it becomes a widespread format.

– In conclusion, a more general question about the School. How is BBS positioned in the Executive Education scenario? What competitive advantages does it offer?

Bologna Business School positions itself as a relatively young school in terms of age, but one that is growing rapidly. It is an International School, which is important because it means understanding competition in a global way and having a strategy and standards explicitly referring to that. Equis accreditation is a good example of this vision.

Another key element of the School comes from the foundation of BBS itself: it was built and continues to be run by a public presence, the University of Bologna, and a private one, companies, banks, and associations. This is a very strong positioning element because it represents almost a uniqueness: usually a business school is either public or private. It may seem like an administrative detail, but instead, it ties in very much with the content and how things are taught. It is more complicated to build, but once it is built, it takes into account a number of dynamics and peculiarities with good balance: it has the ability to see the reality of both the private and the public; it can be useful both to public organizations and to private managers, who have different goals and follow different dynamics.

Bologna Business School is among the very few institutions that can speak the right language according to the market segment, cover a very broad spectrum, and offer, precisely because of its nature, knowledge that always tends toward the practical, while starting from a high academic base.


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