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A Certified Public Accountant and Military Officer Sees the MBA as a Major Transformation Opportunity
Cosimo Italiano, admitted to Tuck
by Brian Henry, PhD (Trinity College, Dublin)

By doing an MBA at a top business school, Cosimo Italiano hopes to transform the strengths from his distinguished military career into a professional profile where his international experience comes to the forefront. It is a long shot, but he is not one to wilt under fire.


Could you start by telling us a little about your academic experience? You’re Italian, aren’t you?

That’s right. I hold a business degree from Università degli Studi di Torino (1997) and a political science degree from Università degli Studi di Trieste (2004). I also earned my CPA certification in 2002.

I understand you acquired some of your first international experiences as an officer in the Italian Army which helped you decide on an MBA.

It is a fact that the MBA degree attracts many former officers with similar experiences worldwide. As for myself, I served in the Italian Army as a Commissariat Corps Officer for nine years. I actually was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Regione Carabinieri based in Bolzano, where I was assigned to help in the rebuilding of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999.

And so you chose to take a pause in your military career and take on a new challenge?

Yes. My decision to apply for an MBA was a critical next step in the planning of my short- and long-term career goals. As an officer, I gained experience in government and public policy, enriched by national and international assignments, foreign missions and constant leadership opportunities. It is, nevertheless, a career that follows a well-defined path in terms of progress and responsibilities. Now I want a new professional challenge, one which I can only find in the world of business and finance. My academic experience would not support this radical change of career even combined with years of work experience. An MBA can give me the right tools and competencies to face this change.

How did you get through the application process?

It went well, though I must admit that I struggled with taking the GMAT. Another difficult point was to find the right school and program, given that I could not travel and visit all the different schools that I had in mind. Finally, as the application process involves so many different steps, such as sending letters of recommendation and writing essays, I found it very helpful to be assisted in these steps by the MBA Center Milan. I found their staff very professional, and they truly helped me tackle the process in the right way and time.

Which program did you finally attend?

My first choice was Tuck. As a European, I wanted to join an American program in order to enjoy a well-rounded international educational and life experience. Tuck Business School is also where the MBA was invented. Every day when I go to school, I realize how much importance Tuck attaches to its MBA heritage. As an Army Officer, I tend to be emotionally involved with the institution I am working with, and I am very attached to the school’s values and traditions.

How would you describe the learning environment there?

Tuck’s approach is practical. The coursework is enriched with real-life activities that are providing me with the adequate tools to perform in business. The international aspect of the program is also enriching, making my experience enjoyable and interesting.

What advice would you give to future MBA applicants?

Well, let’s say: Do your best on the GMAT and the essays, and do not be afraid to seek help from the folks that specialize in MBA test preparation and coaching. You will save yourself a lot of time. A high score at the tests and good coaching can be the winning determinants in your admittance to a top school. It can make the difference between being admitted to your first targeted program or to your fifth or sixth. Now is the right moment to improve your chances. In short, work a bit smarter now and you will earn a big asset for the rest of your life.

 

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