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Harvard | Mr. Harvard 2+2, Chances?
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Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
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Columbia | Mr. Developing Social Enterprises
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Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Guy
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Harvard | Mr. Overrepresented MBB Consultant (2+2)
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Wharton | Mr. Big Four To IB
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Meet Minnesota Carlson’s MBA Class Of 2021

Matteo Panero 

University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management

“Dedicated and passionate business leader, strategy-oriented, pursuing a successful career as an entrepreneur.”

Hometown: Fossano (Cuneo), Italy

Fun Fact About Yourself: I had the opportunity to complete a six-month internship in the magical world of Disneyland Paris. Enchanted atmospheres, thrill rides, amazing characters: this was the most fun experience I had in my entire career!

Undergraduate School and Major: Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Industrial Engineering and Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: For the last seven years, I worked as a Supply Chain Director in my family business in Italy, which specializes in beverage distribution.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As part of a company-wide modernization project, I was in charge of planning and executing a significant warehouse upgrade. Once I identified the new building, I managed the implementation of the new storage facility. This consisted of planning the new layout and selecting the best industrial equipment to fulfill the company’s needs and respect the allocated budget. My team was then directly involved in the moving operations, which we accomplished in less than the forecasted time, without service interruptions, in spite of the inclement December weather. After completing the process, our logistics attained a capacity six times greater than before.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I believe that the 2021 MBA class can be described in one single word: ambition. The class is one of the most diverse groups I have ever worked with: Each student comes with a unique professional background and life experience. Students are determined to get involved in discussions, and they constantly support each other, hence contributing to the stimulating learning environment of the school. The combination of their genuine passion and desire for success will make my experience at the Carlson School an incredible journey.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Early before enrolling, I visited two of the four Enterprises, which engage the students in low-risk, real industry projects during semester-long assignments. I was highly impressed by these creative and collaborative environments, which actively strengthen students’ professional skills. Through these activities, I had the opportunity to seize the essence of being a student at Carlson. I saw their multicultural and international backgrounds and how they were continuously stimulated by experiential learning. This factor fully convinced me that the Carlson School of Management MBA program was undeniably suited to my career goals.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most interested by the case competitions, where the Carlson School owns a historical winning tradition. Being motivated by real-world challenges and problem-solving tasks, I would like to put my MBA experience into practice in a highly competitive environment. I believe that these opportunities could be the key factors for my professional growth, fostering analytical talent, leadership potential, and communication skills.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? During the in-person admission interview, I was asked to “talk about one of my leadership weaknesses, and explain how I dealt with it in my previous job position.” Who likes to talk about his or her own weaknesses, right? However, I strongly believe that the MBA experience also teaches us to take care of our fragilities, build on them with confidence, and become the world-class leaders of tomorrow.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? At this stage of my life, I felt that my professional career would strongly benefit from an MBA experience. I indeed believe that it will be an eye-opening journey, which will help me to gain a novel perspective on the modern business world, and thoroughly understand how to promptly deal with its dynamics. At the same time, it would also allow me to hone my strategic thinking and strengthen my communication skills, which are of critical importance for an acknowledged leader. Finally, it would further develop my management and leadership capabilities and facilitate the realization of my ultimate goal to start and run a successful entrepreneurial initiative in a new country.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Carlson was the only school where I applied.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I started to get some information about the school from the material available on the internet. I was looking for a program with a recognized reputation, human-scale class size, a strong focus on experiential learning, and a location in a thriving business community. Long story short, the Carlson School jumped out at me as the best fit for my career objectives, offering the essentials needed to put my entrepreneurial venture to practice. Then I proactively participated in a series of events prior to the application process. These experiences confirmed that Carlson was indeed the right choice. One of these was a class visit during the spring semester under the friendly guidance of one of the current MBA students. It was an eye-opening experience, where I was able to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of teaching at Carlson. A guest speaker from the service industry provided the students with exceptional real-world insight, inspiring a collaborative discussion within the class.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I believe that being born and raised in an entrepreneurial family significantly contributes to one’s personality. My passion for entrepreneurship dates back to the early stages of my life and was mainly fueled by the daily intertwine between private life and business dynamics. This constant eye on the company challenges made me soon realize what my professional and career objectives would be. My family taught me several values that, in my opinion, are crucial for effective business leaders: strategic vision and interdisciplinary education, relentless commitment and passion for leading organizations.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? My ultimate goal would be to jumpstart a new company, ideally in the food or beverage industry. I see myself pursuing this ambitious objective with the precious support of my MBA experience. I would certainly remain a Carlson ambassador in the business world, eventually supporting new students to succeed in the MBA program and career.