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The course name is called Brand Management, but Senior Lecturer Jay Lipe says it should have a subtitle of “Italian Style,” since the focus of the in-country experience in its curriculum is on studying Italian brands.

Undergraduate students in the class focus on mass-branded products in the first few weeks and learn how they are successfully (or not so successfully) marketed. The final weeks of the seven-week course are devoted to luxury-branded products and the differences in their marketing mix. “Students are interested to see how some luxury-branded marketing strategies can be diametrically opposed to mass-branded strategies,” Lipe says.


By far, the most exciting part of the class is to see these strategies up close and personal as the students visit the Italian cities of Milan and Florence for two weeks. “Using these two great cities as counterpoints, we’ve designed the in-country learning experience to enable students to compare brands, business practices, and cultures,” Lipe says. “Milan is the industrial, commercial, and financial center of Italy. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and so is steeped in history. But it is also the economic center of the Tuscany region.”

The field experience included site visits to the Lamborghini headquarters, the Barilla Pasta Academie and factory, the Angela Caputi jewelry facility, and the 3M Italia headquarters. “Top-level executives at each company briefed us on key marketing and branding issues ranging from sustainable food production, to pop-up stores in Italian train stations,” Lipe says. Students also attended two days of academic lectures on fashion marketing at Bocconi University in Milan and visited several corporate museums, such as the Gucci Museo, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museo, and the Kartell Museo, featuring the innovatively designed products of a furniture, accessories, and lighting manufacturer.

“I gained skills and life experiences that I wouldn’t have gained if it hadn’t been for this class,” says student Alison Ryan. “The two most interesting site visits were Lamborghini and Angela Caputi. Actually seeing the effort and time that it takes to go into making a Lamborghini was crazy.” Classmate Andrew Maher agrees. “The site visit to the Lamborghini museum and factory was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn more about the luxury car company,” he says. “We were able to see the entire production process and have our questions answered about distribution, marketing, and overall business philosophy.”

Learn more about Marketing 4082W: Brand Management in Italy at the Carlson Global Institute. Applications are still being accepted for May/June of 2013.

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