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  • Locations: Milan, Italy
  • Program Terms: Summer 1st Session
  • Restrictions: Babson applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Class Status: Graduate Program Type: Elective Abroad
Eligible Populations: See Eligibility Link Below Pre-requisites: See Below
Academic Highlights: Competitive Dynamics, International Business, Luxury Models Program Advisor: Alexandra Nesbeda
Program Description:
[Explore the competitive and strategic dimensions of companies doing business in the European Union (EU) and gain a deeper understanding of how companies can manage their positioning and financial goals in light of global competition, regulation, and market disruptions.]

ECN 7575 Business Models, Competitiveness, and the Changing European Environment 

Italy - Ducati

Lidija Polutnik
Professor, Economics

Summer Session 2021


Important Dates

Information Session

Graduate Electives Abroad Info Session

Watch for online and email announcements, Summer 2020


Application Deadlines

Application Opens


Initial Application Deadline


Rolling Application Opens


Rolling Application Deadline


Mandatory Course Dates

No partial participation is allowed.
Admitted students must participate in ALL program activities.



Pre-Departure Class #1


Pre-Departure Class #2



Course Travel: Spring Break 2021



Academic Overview

Course Description

ECN7575 explores competitive and strategic dimensions of companies doing business in the European Union (EU). The EU’s institutions, history and culture provide unique opportunities and challenges for firms. For example, students will see firsthand how global companies refine their solutions across different markets within the EU to better capture customer value and increase profitability. Market dynamics and disruptions, such as current trade wars, Brexit, changes in technology, and evolving EU regulations, make strategic thinking based on understanding of global markets critical to firm success. This course prepares students for such thinking and provides a rich context for evaluating the decisions made by companies engaged not just in global competition, and sales, but also in global supply chain management.  Applications discussed will also include luxury brand management, and consequences of specific business model choices for valuation, revenue potential, and brand equity objectives.
ECN7575 is divided into two parts: two on-campus lectures (WebEx available for Blended Learning students) and a week-long site visit to Italy. Through a combination of classroom lectures, discussions, and company visits, students will get the chance to develop a deep understanding of how companies organize themselves to compete and grow in the European Union.  During the Milan visit, faculty from Bocconi University, a leader in business and economics education in Europe, will deliver lectures and case discussions pertaining to current developments in the EU and global markets and relate them to company visits. In Italy, students will visit 5-6 companies to study challenges and opportunities these companies are facing in the context of the EU, its institutions, and global competition. In the past, we have visited online firms, such as Amazon and Google, automakers Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati, luxury fashion brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna and Armani, the Italian food disruptor, Eataly, and business-to-business product and service companies such as Brembo and DHL.
Last but not least, several activities are planned that will allow students to engage in and embrace Italian history and culture. Past excursions included a night at La Scala, one of the oldest opera houses, a viewing of Leonardo DaVinci’s The Last Supper, and attending a soccer game at San Siro Stadium.

Students who have taken this course have gone on to pursue careers in international business, global brand management, strategy, consulting, and have benefited greatly by their deeper understanding of how companies can manage their positioning and financial goals in light of global competition, regulation, and market disruptions.

Faculty Video


Course Information

Course Type



3 credits


Evening MBA must have completed 12 credits by the time the Elective Abroad course begins travel.

Student must be, and remain, in good academic standing with the college for duration of the course.

Student must be in good standing with the Office of Community Standards by time of travel.

For specific eligibility information by program visit the Eligibility page.


​Students are recommended to have completed the following two courses:  Managerial Economics (ECN7500) and Global Macroeconomics (ECN7501) courses.   

Course Documents

Course Syllabus  |  Sample Schedule  |  [Information Session Materials]

Academic Accommodations

Students requesting accommodations due to a disability should visit the students with disabilities abroad page for more information.

Course Logistics


Milan, Italy


  • Students will be staying in 3-4 star hotels in Milan during the course in double occupancy rooms.
  • Students will have the opportunity to choose single room accommodations prior to departure for an additional fee. Single Supplement Fee: TBD
  • Students interested in requesting housing accommodations on an Elective Abroad, should visit the students with disabilities abroad page for more information.


International Flight (Not Included in Program Fee)

Students will be responsible for booking their own international flight to/from Milan (MXP or LIN). A recommended international flight itinerary will be provided to students registered for the course. Students are responsible for booking their own flight AFTER the course has been confirmed to run (i.e. participant minimum number is reached). The international flight cost is not included in the program fee.

  • Arrival Airport Code: MXP or LIN
  • Departure Airport Code: MXP or LIN

Local Transportation

The program fee includes the following transportation: charter bus and subway tickets. Students should also expect to pay for additional individual transportation around the city.


Students should also expect to pay for additional individual transportation around the city and to do significant walking.


  • Breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
  • The following meals are also included in the program fee: welcome dinner.
  • Students are responsible for paying for most lunches and dinners on their own.
  • Students with food allergies, intolerances, or other dietary restrictions are encouraged to contact their Program Manager prior to committing to the course to discuss any questions or concerns.
Electives Abroad Cost Elements

Estimated Total Cost:  $TBD + Tuition (3 credits)

Program Fee: $TBD

  • Included: Accommodations, breakfast, ground transportation, program planned meals and cultural excursions. 
  • Not included: Tuition, international flight, single room supplement (additional cost TBD), visa costs, additional meals and personal expenses.
  • Payment: The program fee is paid to the Glavin Office.
  • Cancellation Policy: All students who confirm their placement and later withdraw from the course are subject to the Elective Abroad cancellation policy. Please review this policy to understand any additional financial obligations.

Babson Tuition: 3-Credits

  • Tuition is paid directly to SFS and is billed at the 2020-2021 credit rate. Elective Abroad course is 3 credits.
  • To discuss tuition or your financial situation or to learn about grant opportunities, visit Student Financial Services.

Travel & Meals: $1,500

  • Airfare (Individual estimated to/from BOS): $800
  • Estimated Additional Meals: $500
  • Estimated Incidentals: $200
    • Incidentals and additional meals (lunches and dinners) are based on estimated expenses from the previous year's course.
    • Expenses may be higher or lower depending on student's meal preferences.
  • Visa (if applicable)
    • All students are asked to research the visa requirements for their nationality to travel to Italy (including countries transited through) before committing to the course.
    • Students are responsible for securing visas (as needed) before travel.

Grants & Scholarships

Contact Information

Lead Faculty

Lidija Polutnik  

Professor Lidija Polutnik 

Dr. Lidija Polutnik is a Professor of Economics. At Babson she teaches mainly in the MBA program in the area of managerial economics, pricing and competitiveness. Since the Fall 2014 she is also a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.Dr. Polutnik's research and consulting work has mostly been focused on pricing, revenue management and strategic cost management. Her work in this area is based on the analysis of the relationship between the firm's costs and customers' value and the influence of this relationship on the firm's profit. Dr. Polutnik also conducts research in public finance and examines the role institutions play in market economies and specifically in countries in transition. Dr. Polutnik's work has been published in numerous academic journals and books including: The European Accounting Review, Advances in Management Accounting, Journal of Cost Management, Journal of Corporate Accounting and Finance, Industrial Relations Journal, and Comparative Economic Studies Journal. She has received several grants and awards for her work; most recently she received The Davis Educational Foundation grant for the project entitled "Containing Costs While Enhancing the Educational Mission: A Study of Best Practices for Small Private Colleges".

Dr. Polutnik has extensive consulting and executive teaching experience and has developed and delivered customized corporate training programs for many multinational companies in the area of tactical and strategic pricing, customer value, cost, and profitability analysis. She regularly teaches in the Executive MBA Program at the University of Bologna, Italy.


Program Manager

Alex Nesbeda  

Alex Nesbeda 

Alex Nesbeda, Senior Program Manager for the Short-Term Programs team, manages the programming for Electives Abroad & Away, International Consulting Experience, and the Global Entrepreneurship Experience for the undergraduate and graduate student populations. She is the program manager for undergraduate Electives Abroad in Japan, Germany, Uruguay/Argentina, Ireland, and Italy/Greece; the graduate Elective Abroad in Italy; and the MSEL Global Entrepreneurship Experience in Tanzania and Israel. She also handles the risk management for the Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) program.


Course Administrator





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Student Testimonials

Heidi Ragone

Marcus Barrozo Bellas

"The Elective Abroad to Italy was simply fantastic. We got to visit eight companies from luxury brands ranging from the fashion to automobile industries and a three-star Michelin restaurant. It was very interesting to learn how companies located around Milan pay a lot of attention to details, and how they compete in very focused and specific niche markets. Milan is an wonderful city with a lot of history, great food, and many wonderful places to visit. Professor Lidija is excellent and led very well the discussions together with great professors from Bocconi University. I highly recommend this Elective Abroad and would say it was one of my top three courses at Babson." - Marcus Barrozo Bellas (Italy Elective Abroad - March 2019)

Sarawgi Vasudha

"There are two reasons to go for the Milan Elective Abroad – you will be thrown out of your comfort zone and Professor Lidija Polutnik teaches the course. We visited nine companies across five days and had lectures from three other professors, all while soaking in the Milanese culture. The course provides an insider look at the challenges faced by companies of different sizes and operating in different industries. Companies like Ermenegildo Zegna shared their strategy for growth and how the family business is setting itself up for success. We had the privilege of enjoying dinner at Da Vittorio, a three-star Michelin restaurant just outside Milan. The dishes were exquisite and the hospitality unforgettable. The visit was an eye-opening experience on how companies differentiate to stay competitive when faced with ever changing consumer trends and increasing competition. Visiting American companies like Starbucks and PayPal gave a sense of the struggles foreign companies face when entering the Italian market, and how these challenges can be used to successfully forge new innovations. The trip itself is extremely well planned. The lectures give a great base on which to understand the information shared by each company. The cohort for the class is a mix of the various programs, and is an excellent opportunity to diversify your Babson network. Would I sign up again for this elective? In a heartbeat." - Sarawgi Vasudha (Italy Elective Abroad - March 2019)

William Lohr

"My trip to Milan was simply incredible. I learned a tremendous amount about the culture within the city and the intricacies of how business is done on a day-to-day basis in Italy. From the company visits to taking in the breathtaking scenery, it was truly a wonderful trip. A couple of key highlights were the tremendous meal prepared for us by Da Vittorio and the inside look into Pagani’s manufacturing facility. We were accompanied by Bocconi University Professor Stefano Riela who was more than knowledgeable about the EU and Italy given today’s current political and global economy. His experience combined with our company visits gave us a wonderful first-hand experience on how global companies navigate successfully in the EU. I 100% recommend this Elective Abroad to any of the future students looking for an amazing experience, filled with good times, incredible food, unbelievable company visits and a truly wonderful city. To capitalize my testimonial I have attached a picture of il Duomo, it is truly a site to behold at any time of day but as this picture will display is a beacon of beauty in the night." - William Lohr (Italy Elective Abroad - March 2019)

Nazim Haider

“The Italy Elective Abroad was one of the highlights of my Babson MBA experience. The course was very well structured, giving a great overview of the business scenario in Italy and the challenges faced by companies in the evolving EU business environment. The pre-departure sessions set the stage on what to expect in Italy in terms of culture, language, and way of doing business. The sessions conducted by Prof Lidija, Prof Janice, and Prof Kent got us excited about the Italy trip. In Italy, the program involved visits to different companies, which were very diverse in term of size, industry, and origin. The companies included Colnago, Modo Eyewear, Da Vittorio, Zegna, Acetum, Pagani, Starbucks, Paypal, and Dompe Pharmaceuticals. The variety of companies catered to the interest of the class, which was amazing. Apart from company visits, regular lectures conducted by Bocconi University professors helped us learn more about the dynamics of European market and luxury businesses. Special events such as the guided tour of Milan, La Scala opera show, visit to The Last Supper, networking with Babson alums, and group dinners were organized. This was truly an outstanding course, which created learning and networking opportunities for everyone.  I would highly recommend this course to future Babson students.” - Nazim Haider (Italy Elective Abroad - March 2019)

This program is currently not accepting applications.