Getting to know Italians better

Just a few days ago, I had wondered if I had a fundamental fit issue with the Italians given the course of my two internship interviews. At the outset, I must mention that the actual outcome of the interviews weren’t as disastrous as expected. One of Italians was generous enough to let me interview with the firm in their next round of interviews. Irrespective of the result of this interview, which I only recently learnt about, I had begin to enjoy the competitive strategy taught by an Italian professor, Marco Tortoriello. He always has tons of videos to share with the class and he has a strange yet interesting style of conducting a class. He’s also very open to hearing equally strange comments in his class I later learnt (through experience) and this equality in interaction makes it more palatable compared to other classes. Until this point, my knowledge of the Italians was limited to them being a very good looking race (I’d met a gorgeous looking boat conductor who I’d mistaken for an actor), their inability to make pizzas tasty for Indians (Yeah, I know I’m being unreasonable here), the Godfather series and that most Strategy professors at IESE were Italian.

In today’s class about Ryanair’s entry strategy, Marco made computations based on some very basic assumptions that Mike Rosenberg would have a billion objections to given that Marco was reducing the complexity of the problem from a Chinese knot to a loosely tied bow. It was by far the laziest yet coolest solution I had seen for a case at IESE. The rationale was heavily coloured by intuition over hard facts. This was exactly how I had solved it the previous night (Well, I didn’t bother doing all the numbers but the approach was ditto; I guess I’m lazier than the Italians!!). At this point, I remembered my conversation with Jonathan Cassoni, an Italian from Milano from Saturday night.

We were discussing about the stereotypes among the various European races. I jumped and tried to make a point about how good looking Italians are but Jon quickly shot down my enthusiasm by illustrating how few good looking Italian actors (true-bred) there were, which is kind of true (Though Roberto Benigni is kind of cute I thought?). However, he told me that Italians are among the laziest people among all Europeans as they always try to find the easiest way to get the best results. Now, one might argue that you’d need to work/ optimise a lot in order to arrive at the best results and it actually takes more work than a lazy person could afford but  here I’d like to take the assistance of this post to illustrate my argument –

Now, Marco can easily be classified as a stud – producing superior results for the quantum of effort injected (purely based on the nature of his computations in class today). New found harmony between Indians (me) and Italians.

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