Fabio FRAU - Italy - Master in Management
Where do you come from?
I'm a 24 year old Sardinian and Italian student. I was born in Cagliari, one of the main cities of my island: Sardinia (Italy) where I lived until the begin of 2013, and I took my Bachelor's degree in Economics with a thesis in Marketing, with the support of my professor Giuseppe Giordano Melis, about how to manage and measure the firm's performances achieved through a Social Media Strategy.
After my Bachelor's degree, and recently engaged to a girl from Bergamo, a city in the north of my country, near to Milan, I took an important choice and I decided to attend my Master's Degree in Management in one of the most important private universities in my field in Italy, "University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore" in Milan and to enter one of its most important and historical four colleges where the the past Italian ruling class had been educated (for example Romano Prodi, ex-Italian Prime Minister): The Augustinianum College.
FinalIy, in August 2013 I received my answer: I won a scholarship to the college and was accepted to the university. So, I went to Milan where I have lived since September 2013 and attended my first academic year studying, attending college activities, theatre (with my college we presented a brief version of a Molière opera, "Le Malade imaginaire ") and worked in radio (In Italy I'm a web-radio speaker in a cultural association called VOX ). The environment there has been rich with stimuli and challenges – academic and personal – but I'm proud of my choice although in one year my whole life has changed so much!
What studies have you already done, and what exact programme are you doing at TBS?
I am currently in the midst of finishing my Master's Degree in Management in Milan, at the University "Cattolica del Sacro Cuore". In my university there are not majors and minors, but instead students following my degree can specialize in a specific field such as accounting, marketing, finance and so on. As for me, I chose a specialization in Finance and when I return to Italy I'll start my Master's thesis on this subject.
Here at TBS, I have joined the Masters in Management program at the M1 level. For Core Courses I am taking International Business, Human Resource Management and Strategic Management. I am taking International Management as my Major Course here in March.
Why did you choose TBS over other schools?
There are three main reasons why I chose Toulouse Business School instead of another.
The first is the prestigious reputation of your School. I wanted a place with an important history and to be able to stimulate myself in a positive way again, a place where I could grow more and which would give a huge "weight" in my CV and in my life experience.
The second reason is the city and the country. I received and read a lot of feedback about "La ville rose", a city with unique architecture made of pink terracotta bricks, which I have visited with other exchange students. I like green and historic cities, where you can wander across the river La Garonne, go to Place Saint Pierre in the afternoon during the weekend to breath and take in the amazing landscape. I have never been to France before, it's my first time in this country and since I was a child I always wanted to see this country in Europe and its symbols (Tour Eiffel, Louvre Museum, Versailles, discover French habits and culture). I believed a smaller city may allow me to experience and embrace the true French culture and to review my French language skills after years, thanks to the stimulating environment and its connection with close interesting and important cities like Albi, Carcassonne, Bordeaux and Barcelona in Spain for instance.
Lastly, I spoke to many students who have attended TBS in the past, and they convinced me of the amazing experience I would have here thanks to the numerous events on campus and because of how inclusive the French students are to exchange students as I have already witnessed with my own eyes, even though I had to arrive late at the beginning of the semester due to courses in Milan.
These are the main reasons why I chose TBS and France to regenerate myself after the many changes in my life in the last year. I needed new air, to breathe and recover – new people, culture, places, habits and brand new stimuli to continue my pattern at the top and build a solid future... and I guess France, Toulouse and your Business School are the right choice to reach them.
How has your integration into TBS gone?
My integration has been almost perfect although I arrived three days after the beginning of the core courses, because of exams in Italy, and was still looking for accommodation in this beautiful city, so the first days were really tough and hard, new city, lessons just started, administrative issues etc. I'm really grateful to the Welcome Team from the help and support received before and during my first two weeks, especially to my tutor Camille and to Margot who helped me in my quest. To the French people who hosted me who were understanding, kind, sympathetic and friendly sharing your culture and explaining many things about France, Toulouse and TBS to me, and to the girl that help. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the International Student Office! The ISO team has each student’s best interest in mind and you feel that when they ask you questions about your accommodation and your time at TBS every time you walk into the office. It shows that they genuinely care about your well-being. And I can never forget when I had a problem with my computer and I spent the whole night writing my HR report on my smartphone to respect the deadline, and the day after the teacher – noticing that there was something wrong – asked me about it and helped me to fix the technical problem and in the end told me “We care about you and we want you to take all your exams here as relaxed and ready as possible without any kind of technologic or, or other, handicap; for us it is important that you spend your time doing your real best”. In that moment I understood that my choice of TBS was completely right and I felt like a member of a large family and not only a number inside the School.
I appreciate very much the small size of the classes and the teamwork assignments, as this helps you to face real life and understand how much the synergy and the different cultures can influence your outcomes, giving also the opportunity to learn and improve in other ways – how much cultures can be different in speech, gestures, actions, mindsets and so on.
So far, what do you appreciate about Toulouse?
Frankly I appreciate everything about this city and its people. I fell in love with Toulouse from the first moment my feet touched the ground from the airplane. The language is really nice. Although I studied French when I was 13 I'm still recovering my basic language skills and during the first few weeks it wasn’t easy to make conversation in French. I knew the basics, but, like for any foreign language, it’s difficult when you arrive in that country and speaking with your landlord or other French people, especially because they speak really fast, obviously. But step by step I’m progressing and many French friends here are helping me to correct my errors and improve.
The city is wonderful and charming with its small streets, beautiful monuments and the red bricks that make the city shine pink and also many amazing boulevards. I love cities with a lot of history and nature; you can wander around surrounded by rivers, trees and people who you can talk to and ask for help. If you are stressed and you want to breathe, you can get out of your house and go to Place du Capitole in the centre, or walk along the river Garonne and go to Place Saint-Pierre and take a coffee at the “Cafe des Artistes” or try the ‘salons de thé’ for example.
TBS is a good place to prepare for future management because it gives you the chance to live and work in a multi-cultural and stimulating environment including meetings with companies, high interaction during courses and encouragement to be active and to respect the work of others. Professors and lecturers come from many parts of the world: in the last two months I have attended lessons with Chinese-American, French, English and Brazilian teachers, each one with a different theme and way to teach or act with us.
I very much enjoyed the three weeks of campaign, during which time my esteem for the French students at the School was further improved. There has been time to set a good balance between lessons and leisure time, soirèes, Open Bars, Petit Dejeuners, Dejeuners and so many other things during this moment of electoral campaign for the association. Each event, each moment at the Cafeteria, Le Foyer, Place de l'Europe etc. fellow students showed their capabilities, energy and willpower through performances, goals, objectives and skills inside their team with each other and the other students but always with the maximum respect and fair play.
Can you give us a small anecdote concerning your time so far at TBS?
It's pretty hard to give only one anecdote about my experience here. In only three months I saw and enjoyed many things. As I have mentioned above, the 3 weeks of ‘Campaign’, including the soireès, the Open Bar, the French students joking and singing on the bus and during the party, the teamwork, the kindness of the people here with foreigners like me at the beginning… But if I have to choose one from the bunch I remember, I'll choose this: the respect among students and between students and teachers. During the Campaign, for instance, I was very surprised about the way they challenge each association. I've seen a lot of fair play and competition in each action/thing: events, parties, debates about their goals, objectives and how they manage their budget efficiently, or not, during this period. Many questions between them, but always with respect and this is rare in Italy. In my universities I have unfortunately never seen a competition that proceeds in this way, so I was really surprised and happy about it. My second anecdote is about the respect the students show their professors and the high rate of participation in class during the lessons; students are hungry for knowledge and work well together. An environment with these things is very stimulating and pleasant.
What advice would you give to a future incoming international student?
If you have the chance to be an exchange student here, take it without a doubt, because in my opinion TBS is a great place where students learn how to make the balance between studying, leisure time and stimulating extra-curricular activities. Don't use the metro too much: Toulouse is rich of beautiful landscapes that you can see by wandering around – walk or use the public bikes instead! Talk as much as you can with French students, they are very open and willing to know you. You'll love the school and the city with its students and people. So... Don't hesitate! Trust me, you will never ever regret it!