Dr Mario Carandente (EngD, University of Warwick; MSc Engineering Loughborough University and University of Naples), MIT Sloan School of Management
Prior to starting his MBA at MIT Sloan, Mario worked in the automotive industry for several years staring with an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Mechanical and Automotive Engineering from Warwick University. His EngD was sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and during his study he developed a new approach for the design and assembly of lightweight architectures which formed part of JLR research into lightweight technology to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental impact of the vehicles.
He became a Principal Engineer at McLaren automotive in January 2018, and leads the design and engineering of body panel components across all McLaren platforms. Mario has worked on several vehicle programmes from development stage to launch and he has gained experiences from R&D and product development, to manufacturing operations and program management.
Mario is also an ambassador of STEM subjects and he has collaborated with several charity organisations including Rotary Clubs and Generating Genius to support and inspire students with disadvantaged backgrounds to excel in STEM careers.
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
After an engineering doctorate and several years of experience in the automotive industry with both technical expert and managerial roles, I felt that an MBA was a stepping stone for the development of fundamental business and leadership skills needed to accomplish my long-term career goal.
We live in a world where leaders are expected to solve complex problems and take critical decisions to allow the growth and/or transformation of their organisations. This is particularly important in the automotive industry where the development of disruptive technologies to tackle complex mobility problems is becoming a vital subject. Therefore, being able to drive these technological transformations with a wider business and innovation perspectives is the key for success.
What stage in your career were you when you decided to do an MBA?
I decided to pursue an MBA after reaching a middle management position in the automotive industry. During my career and academic studies, I have had the opportunity to develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills working across different areas of the business with experiences ranging from R&D and product development, to manufacturing operations and program management. A formal business education is a logical step for my career to enhance further development around leadership and global perspective.
How will you use what you learned on your MBA course to further your career?
My long-term career goal is to become a senior leader in the mobility industry and enable the development of key technological transformations in this sector. Following my intense research around several MBA programs, I came across with Sloan Fellow MBA at MIT and I learned about the strong emphasis of the program on leadership, global perspective and innovation. Having the opportunity to learn from influential leaders, solve challenging problems with extraordinary classmates from different backgrounds and build a network of meaningful people will help me to develop the skills and intellectual integrity to lead a business globally.
What are your expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
Becoming a SMF member will be an immense privilege for me considering the opportunity to access a network of business leaders and learn from their mentoring. During the application process, I had the opportunity to interact with several SMF alumni and it was clear that the mission of the community to promote the next generation of engineering leaders will contribute to the wealth of the UK.
How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school?
The emphasis of the SMF community on diversity and integrity are certainly key principles of my leadership aspirations. After my MBA, I can see an opportunity to promote and inspire the young generations and future SMF fellows to undertake a STEM career. I would also be inspired by the possibility to create links and networks between British universities and MIT for future collaborations.
What difference has the scholarship made to you?
Doing an MBA requires extensive research and planning. The financial aspect is surely one of the most critical to face considering that in many cases a full time MBA program requires you to be out of work for a minimum of 12 months. Having access to the SMF scholarship has been a key factor to influence my final decision of pursuing an MBA.
What tip would you give to someone seeking financial support to do an MBA?
It is known that pursuing an MBA requires a significant financial investment and often this might influence the final decision. However, seeking financial support can be a real opportunity for many students that are seriously motivated to undertake an MBA program. Over the last decade, the number of scholarships available has increased and therefore my advice is to start reaching out to the different opportunities in parallel with the MBA application process.
What did you learn by going through the scholarship application process?
The SMF is certainly one of the most prestigious scholarship awards in the UK. During the application process, I reached out to several alumni and learned from them the purpose of the organisation. Having a clear objective and mission statement to fulfil during and after the MBA are certainly important values for the SMF community.