EMBA International Elective: Italy

Don Trynor, Executive MBA ’37, recently completed an international elective in Italy. A Product Management executive with over 15 years of experience with technology products and services, Don works as an independent consultant focused on helping tech start-ups.

We asked Don to tell us a bit more about his experience in Italy.

R: Why did you want to do an international elective? What did you see as the main benefits going in?

D: I have always wanted to study aboard, however I never had the opportunity to do so until now. Also, since I love to travel and experience other countries – including learning about its people, culture, food and taking in its many attractions, this was something that was very much of interest to me.

In addition, I thought that it would be a great way to meet other like-minded people that could become lifelong friends – as has been the case with my classmates at Rotman. So really, the main benefit that I perceived at the time of applying to the program was the relationships that I would build with my classmates.

Don Trynor with classmates Kelly Grieves and Jasmine Wong in Italy during their international elective.Don Trynor with classmates Kelly Grieves and Jasmine Wong in Italy.

R: Why did you choose to complete your international elective in Italy over China or the US?

D: I chose Italy over China since the specific modules that I was most interested in and those that aligned the most with my professional experience were only offered at SDA Bocconi in Milan.

R: Was there a different benefit or outcome at the end of the elective that you didn’t expect? What was your biggest takeaway?

D: I have to say, the whole experience greatly exceeded my expectations. I met so many great people from Italy and other schools around the world. I got to see a lot of sights and attractions around Milan and the Italian countryside – including a day trip to Cinque Terre for some hiking along the Mediterranean coast and another day trip to Florence.

I learned a lot about how classes are delivered in Italy, which is a bit different than what we’re used to at Rotman. In addition, the many examples, case studies and presenters that we had in class provided great insight into how business is conducted in Europe. Of course, I learned a lot from the class material too, which will help me professionally in my career.

In terms of my biggest takeaway, I would have to say that it was the relationships that I formed with my classmates and the memories that I will take away from the experience as a whole.

R: What was your favourite part of the experience?

D: My favourite part of the experience would have been spending time with my classmates outside of class, trying out new restaurants, enjoying good food and learning about Italian culture. And I got to spend some quality time with two of my Rotman classmates – Jasmine Wong and Kelly Grieves, which was awesome. Of course, the day trips to Cinque Terre and Florence were amazing too. So many favourites actually.

You can read more about Don’s experience in the Globe & Mail.

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