Italy Post MBA Job Trends: Consulting dominates followed by Manufacturing, IT and Luxury

Post MBA in ItalyItaly is among the 9th largest economies, with the 2015 GDP reaching $1,814 billion. More than 90% of Italian companies are small and medium-sized entities that manufacture top class consumer goods all over the world. The industrial belt in Italy is centered in the Northern part of the country. This belt extends from Turin to Venice via Milan. It is one of the most prosperous areas in Europe and accounts for more than half of the national economy.

Around 85% of Businesses in Italy are family owned contributing over 68% of the employment. The case is similar in France, UK, Spain, and Germany, but what makes Italy unique is that in 66% of such Businesses, Managers are handpicked from the family, and this has allowed the Businesses to survive over 100 years. In fact, 15 of the world’s 100 oldest Businesses are in Italy. For MBAs, this means, the resistance to entering the largest market of small and grand old Businesses in Milan or any part of Italy most likely would not facilitate unless you have some connection with the family. The other options include world-renowned global brands that encourage recruitment with the intention of placing MBAs in Asian markets.

Italy Population Growth

Finding post-MBA opportunities in Italy has cultural and language barriers for International students. However, Italy’s population of 61 million is aging, and with its low growth rate, offers immense opportunities for unskilled and managerial professionals.  The 12%+ unemployment rate in 2013 and 2014 with a marginal drop to 11.9% in 2015 is a matter of concern for Italy, but the most disturbing part of the trend is that the youth unemployment has reached 35%.

Italy Unemployment Rate 2011 to 2015
Reforms are underway in social policy, education, labor laws, energy, and institutions that monitor progress. You would probably have to wait 10 years to see 4% GDP growth or a turnaround in the trade imbalance. For MBA applicants planning to join Italy’s Top Business Schools, focusing on growing and stable industries in Italy – Fashion, Finance, Manufacturing, Consulting and IT, would yield a better return on your investment.

Top Sectors in Italy for Post MBA opportunities.


According to FEACO's 2015 report, Italy is the 7th largest consulting market in Europe with a turnover of €3.5 billion. The industry supports 33,436 employees, a figure that includes 28,186 professionals. The revenue per employee was a very impressive €110,000. Management Consultants are mostly in demand among Services (53%) – Telecom & Media, and Financial Services, followed by Manufacturing and Government. As the need for public policy initiatives has diminished, the consulting engagement has declined by 30% in public administration while the faster adoption of digitization has led to a 17% growth in the Manufacturing sector. If you are planning to join a consulting company in Italy, you are most likely to be involved in a digitization project that involves an ERP system or an Enterprise Business system catered for the needs of the company.
Italy’s consulting market has a high correlation with the economy. When the economy grew by 0.8%, the industry in 2015 took in €1.15bn with 1% growth. Customers have evolved. They have turned tech savvy, finding independent consultants at 1/100th of the established consulting company’s price. When you realize that 3 or fewer employees run 85% of the 19,000 consulting companies in Italy, the commoditization of the service is inevitable. Earlier, finding the right consultant was a challenge but with the advent of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Italian companies began finding competitive alternatives. 

For MBAs who are likely to be recruited by the consulting giants, the challenges are mostly related to branding, selling, and developing a clear plan for implementation. The market is skeptical of highly billable consultants and their opaque pricing model. Companies train consultants to fight the perception war. MBA Consultants are trained to convert Strategies to a simple action plan with a framework that monitors the progress at three levels - individual, process, and company.

Among the biggest market for Consulting services – Financial services were #1 in Italy with revenues of to €349 million at 1.6% growth rate although the Big Cs got a small cut from the consulting pie. The majority of the work was distributed across individual consultants specializing in regulation. Manufacturing was a growth industry for consulting companies with 2.6% annual growth, touching revenues of €220 million, mostly contributed by the mad rush to digitize the infrastructure and processes. Technology also hit the 2%+ growth target in 2015 capturing €254m in revenue. With the technology giants unwilling to change their plush pricing model, newer start-ups have found a way into some of the traditional industries with special agreements on migration and Service Level. Expect the legacy systems to be slowly phased out and replaced by cloud-based technology. 

Consultants well-versed in Technology solutions will be in high demand for overseeing implementation and the process change that comes with wider adoption of a new technology infrastructure.

For MBA graduates, Consulting remains a significant source of employment. At SDA Bocconi, Italy's #1 B-school, 21% of the latest class chose Consulting as an Industry, and 26% is working in a consulting job function. Consulting is the 2nd most popular industry and job function at Bocconi. In Consulting, the Top Recruiters in 2015 include Bain & Co. and McKinsey while PWC and Deloitte were among the other recruiters. This is a clear fall(ten to four consulting companies) from the recruitment cycle five years back when the recruiters included AT Kearney, Accenture, Booz & Co, Porsche Consulting, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Schlumberger Business Consultant and BCG in addition to that four recruiters from consulting. However, SDA Bocconi still is the preferred Business School when it comes to consulting with MIP Milano placing 25% in consulting sector although the job function does not cite Consulting, hinting that Management Consulting offers were limited in MIP. MIB outshines MIP Milano in this regard with 12.5% entering both the function and industry. However, the lack of mention of Salary in MIP and MIB Trieste School of Management career reports limits us from recommending the two programs for a salary increase.

IT - (Cloud Computing/Telecom/Consumer Electronics)

Italy is EU's 4th largest ICT (Information and communications technologies) market according to Europa, the European Union's Information Society portal. It has a market value of €67.5 billion, and is forecast to grow by 3% in 2012. The IT market itself is worth €18.4 billion, while the telecommunications market is worth €41.8 billion. The market for cloud computing, estimated at €130 million in 2010, is expected to triple in the next 2 years, hitting €410 million in 2013.

Even as large corporations in the telecom, finance and media sectors drive growth in the IT market, other large players in retail, utilities, and manufacturing sectors are becoming a part of the growth scene. What's more, small and medium manufacturing firms, particularly the “Made in Italy” sectors like furniture, fashion, food and mechanical automation are making investments in software and hardware infrastructure. Giving a further boost to this sector is the Italian government's “Industry 2015” program where 'Made in Italy' sectors and Research Centers will be given grants worth $280 million.

For MBA graduates, this is sector that hold good potential. 16% of SDA Bocconi's Class of 2011 was hired by this sector. Amazon, Apple, EBay, Ericsson, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Samsung and Vodafone are some of the companies that hired, giving a clear indication of the good prospects for MBAs. At MIP, 20% of the outgoing class of 2011 was hired into the services sector which includes IT, and 8% of the class had an IT-related job function. Acer, Prysmian, Bravosolution and ST Microelectronics were a few of the companies that were hired from the school.


Italy is one of the world's top producer of luxury and fashion goods and world-renowned for its design. After all "la bella figura” or ‘the good impression’ is an integral part of Italian life. Bulgari for example, is the 3rd largest luxury jeweler in the world, and the first Italian family run establishment to go public in 1995. In 2011, the FDI in this sector had reached a record $6.5 billion. And more than the Italian market, it is the world market that is the key to Italian luxury brands' future growth. Emerging markets, particularly in Asia are beginning to attract the best, requiring greater investments, outlets and marketing campaigns. By 2020, China is expected to account for 19% of the luxury goods consumed in the world. According to Prada, the famous Italian fashion label, as much as 40% of its revenues in USA will come from internet sales. All of which calls for the expertise of an MBA familiar with multi-cultural environments and modern marketing techniques.

In fact, the SDA Bocconi MBA even has a Track In Luxury Business Management (LBM), taught in conjunction with Bulgari. As a result, 14% of the class of 2011 finds employment in this sector. A wide range of global leaders in this sector hired MBA graduates. They include Adidas, Gucci, Guess, Levi's, L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, Luxottica and Yoox. While precise statistics for this sector at MIP were not available, companies like Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo, Zegna, and Yoox hired MBAs from the school.


Italy's industrial sector makes up 24.7% of the economy and is worth around €422 billion. It is dominated by a few very large names like FIAT and thousands of small to medium sized firms which are mostly family run. They offer world-class vehicles, precision machinery, chemicals, electric goods, pharmaceuticals, fashion and clothing. FIAT itself produces around 3 million cars a year. It is considered to be among the world's best in the automobile sector with names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Piaggio and Ducati. As these and a host of other "Made in Italy" firms seek to take advantage of globalization and expand their market, MBAs prove to be an invaluable asset.

At SDA Bocconi, 12%+ was hired in this sector. Firms who picked up the MBAs include Arcelor Mittal, Brambles, Case New Holland, Everel, GE, Hilti, Lamborghini, Lombardini, Whirlpool, ExxonMobil, GE Oil& Gas, Shell, Siemens Wind Power and Vestas Spain. MIP, being part of a technical university saw as much as 48% of the class finding employment in this sector. The companies include De Longhi, Enel, Gruppo Falck, Lanxess and Sun Power Italy.


Source Global Research
Focus Economics

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