Carolina Decastri, from Italy, chose the ESCP Bachelor in Management (BSc) to continue building on her classical humanistic background with an educational experience deeply rooted in practical work and hands on projects.
Passionate about fashion, design and sustainability, Carolina learned during the three years of her Bachelor how to combine her practical and rational side with creativity, to lead and inspire a team.
The transition to university studies involves numerous choices. How did you learn about ESCP Business School and what role did your family and network play in this decision?
It was actually a very spontaneous decision, a last minute one. It was my dad that introduced me to the concept of ESCP and to a friend that teaches at the School’s Turin Campus. When he started to talk about ESCP and what it would mean for my education, also getting away from my little bubble in Milan, my very traditional lifestyle with family and friends, I got very curious of the unknown, of the different.
Moving out of my apartment at the age of 18 was a huge, extreme change, even more for the Italian traditional family concept I was tied to. Not only because of living abroad, but also because of living in an international environment, in a different setting.
Also, the subjects proposed by the Bachelor in Management (BSc) were different for me, since I was coming from a very classical humanistic background. Before, I was all about philosophy, Latin, Greek, and other very theoretical studies, while at ESCP I got the chance to do a lot of practical work and hands on projects.
How did you get to choose the Bachelor in Management (BSc)? Did you already have a clear idea about your professional future?
I was not assigning a very precise meaning to the word ‘management’ before starting the program. My parents had told me a bit about it, but at first my idea of the future was that I wanted to study fashion and management. Now I am glad I didn’t do it because it’s a very specific sector, while ESCP instead gave me the bigger picture and expertise that one can apply to every single field, so whether it is fashion, automotive, media or other industries.
I was very interested in the idea of leading people, projects, creating things. I have always had, since I was a kid, this strong passion for creating things from scratch and see them through.
You mentioned the practical teaching approach at ESCP. What were the new teaching methods that you found most useful and what you brought with you from your background?
The most challenging part was working in groups. While the Italian education gives you a very strong background on studying individually, ESCP teaches you how to accomplish things together, achieving bigger results as a group. Also, by giving the pride to a group and not to a single person. A different method and approach that I barely knew before joining ESCP.
I was raised to be a very rational and practical person, I have always wanted things to be done in a certain way and follow a certain course, planning everything at the beginning and then implement it. I think I brought this to the groups I worked with, organization and concept. What ESCP gave me was the missing piece of the puzzle: creativity, the spontaneous ingredient.
The opportunity to study in 3 different countries is without a doubt an important added value of the programme. What were the main differences you found in the different Campuses where you studied?
I did London, Turin ad Berlin Campus. In London we were all new to each other, even a little bit scared of approaching different people and a new lifestyle. We managed it very well as a group, we always tried to include everybody. In Turin we were less people, 45 students instead of 110, and we all knew each other, we lived the challenge together. In Berlin, the third year, we knew better each other and it was perhaps the most mature experience.
I found many differences in the teaching styles across campuses, but they were still consistent throughout the programme and complementary to each other. In Turin, for example, the style was the most diverse, rooted in theory and fundamental, basic knowledge that is needed to build up other skills. It was a perfect mix and I appreciated it a lot.
In addition to the study itself, the life on campus also offers many other opportunities for participation and learning. Were you involved in any of these activities?
During those 3 years I was part of many societies: In London I was a member of the Technology and Fashion & Luxury Societies, as well as the “ESCP For Others” one, a charity initiative active in helping homeless people all over London. Moreover, I was the Bachelor’s representative for all the 5 campuses in the Agora Board. The endless engagement opportunities are a big plus of ESCP Business School, because you get in contact with people that have your same interests, even though they are enrolled in different programmes. How ESCP brings people to a common goal by combining different skills and points of view is impressive.
In addition, I started learning German in Turin and then I pursued my studies of the language in Berlin, also during the summer.
What are your plans for the future and what would you suggest to those who, like you three years ago, are currently considering ESCP Business School for their university education?
I decided to take a gap year between the Bachelor and my Master, working at Allianz in Munich for one year. I definitely want to do my Master afterwards, also to expand my network and gain more experiences in general.
My ultimate goal would be to start my own business. Probably a mix between fashion, sustainability and interior design. I am interested in those topics and I am trying to bind them all if possible.
As for what I would tell whoever is considering applying, I would suggest taking the leap, definitely. Do it, challenge yourself, don’t sit in your comfort zone, don’t go for the things you know, for the normal University. Do something different, you will never regret it.
Carolina Decastri – Italy