XIV Alumni Reunion | Growing together, looking to the future

21 October 2022

The recent BBS Reunion was not only an opportunity for Alumni, Faculty and friends of the School to get together, but it was also and above all a treasured opportunity to bring value to the area and the people who live there by sharing ideas and insights for the future.

The 2022 BBS Reunion took place hot on the heels of the 2022 Graduation Master Class, the most important event of the year for the entire School Community, and of the latter it represented not only the extension but also, in some ways, the meaning and depth. Indeed, if it is true, as BBS Dean Max Bergami recalled in his introductory speech before the crowd gathered in Piazza Maggiore, that BBS is “a living community that continues to learn,” the Reunion can only become a practical demonstration of how important this is not only for the Alumni and Alumnae who attend, but also for those who live in the area.

The protagonists of the 14th BBS Reunion were ideas and the Community’s ability to turn them into projects; ideas, visions, projects that nurture a social fabric rich in inputs and opportunities. A fact that is not surprising when one considers that Bologna is located in one of the most productive districts in a country that has creativity in its DNA, as Alec Ross, Distinguished Adjunct Professor in BBS, author and expert in Economics and Geopolitics, was keen to point out in his opening speech. A lover of Italy and optimistic about its potential, Ross was an injection of energy and confidence that was hard to resist. Like him was Max Ciociola, Founder and CEO of Musixmatch, an innovator and startupper who started in Puglia, passed through Bologna and landed in the Silicon Valley.

As a matter of fact, Musixmatch, the world’s leading music data app born in Bologna, was acquired by a major California investment fund, which is present in giants such as Airbnb, Burger King, Uber, Lenovo and Spotify. And speaking of startups and business stories and people who really know how to inspire, the fourteenth edition of the BBS Alumni Reunion also featured Joe Zadeh, former product VP and now Head of Airbnb Experiences, and Silvia Wang, a Milanese born in 1986 with a passion for innovative companies, founder, among others, of Serenis, a tech startup that offers online therapy sessions.

Intuition, courage, a desire to really make a difference and to offer increasingly valuable, personalized, concrete and effective experiences are among the most evident characteristics of these startuppers. Characteristics that are also part of the mindset of the Alumni and Alumnae of Bologna Business School who in the second phase of the event had the opportunity to get involved in a hackathon linked to a project as ambitious as it is necessary for the city of Bologna: City of Knowledge. Mayor Matteo Lepore spoke at the Reunion and introduced the underlying idea, which is to transform the city into a “circular learning ecosystem” that brings together universities, research centers, foundations and the area’s extensive industrial system, creating interconnections useful for enhancing its competitiveness. By developing “an urban collective knowledge,” it is possible to create a city of learning that does not remain only on paper but becomes concrete experience. This is also thanks to the efforts of former BBS students who, led by Andrea Pia, Adjunct Faculty Member of the School, and also a startupper, entrepreneur and Chief Growth Officer in AKQA, have framed projects and proposals that are useful in turning the dream into reality. “The truly innovative vision of the knowledge city is the vision of a platform model that does not try to propose a role model to you but provides tools for people to fulfill themselves and decide who they want to be at different stages of life,” commented Pia.

The element that most distinguishes BBS from other Italian and international business schools returns, in the circularity of this receiving and then returning to giving, in this continuous exchange of passions, skills and energies: the deep connection with the local area, and the ability to unite people and values in an international vision that never loses sight of the value of the community in which one is immersed. Whether it is for a course of study, for a phase of one’ s life or forever.


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