24-year-old Sicilian Antonio Panta joined WHU this year via the double degree collaboration with MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business. After completing his bachelor’s degree at Bocconi in Milan, he decided to move away from economics and to an International Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship with MIP.
Why a double degree?
“It was a challenge I wanted to set myself; I was always interested in Germany, particularly from a job opportunities perspective. I also have a friend who visited WHU as an exchange student. So, it was a combination of his experience, the rankings, and the number of unicorns from WHU that ultimately convinced me. My focus is on innovation management to help companies adapt to future changes. I would also like to start my own company one day. I chose WHU and Germany because of the network and the commitment students have to their studies here. It’s a very motivating environment to be a part of.”
What surprised you about German culture?
“It wasn’t a surprise, but I find Germans very open-minded. Since the first day I arrived at WHU, I felt very welcomed and included. Of course, I must integrate myself into the culture, so I am learning German. I ask my classmates to help me by speaking for 15 minutes only in German sometimes. I love Germany’s community spirit, especially during events, both on and off-campus. I went to WHU Euromasters (Europe’s largest sports event for business schools), and I was so impressed by its scale. What was a surprise was the Cologne Karneval (one of the biggest carnival celebrations in Germany). We don’t have anything like this in Italy, and I didn’t expect it in Germany either. But it was nice to see so many people together having fun, being friendly to each other, and enjoying this cultural spirit.”
What has been a highlight so far?
“In Italy, the focus is on the academic side of the studies. The practical approach at WHU is very complementary as you build both a solid academic background and practical knowledge. Whether this is through visiting companies or start-ups or guest speakers joining our lectures to offer insights, you can touch what you are studying.”
What advice would you offer to students considering a double degree?
“I think it is essential to open your mind to new experiences and opportunities. Through my studies both in Italy and in Germany, I gain two perspectives that I can merge. I can sell myself with a greater value proposition for my future career, especially with top German business school studies on my CV. However, I think it is essential to be 100% committed to a double degree. You must have the drive and be willing to pursue the available opportunities to get the best from experience. You work hard at WHU, and you need the mindset of wanting to challenge yourself to make the most of it.”
Please sum up your WHU experience in three words!
“Campus – I enjoy the culture and spirit on campus. The school is open almost 24/7, and you can meet other students in Vallendar. It’s a very positive campus environment.
Network – The power of the network here at WHU is impressive and not something we have on a similar scale in Italy.
Opportunity –There are many opportunities at WHU. You realize that you can also achieve something; the possibilities become much more tangible. When you speak to someone from a start-up, you really believe in yourself, that you could be a part of that company or maybe start your own.”