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“I came to Florence for the first time in 2019 and my heart told me to return as soon as I could. Back in the Philippines I learned a bit of Italian language and culture, and applied for a business course at ESE Florence.

I started with a short course in management, but soon I understood that I wanted to stay at ESE longer and learn more, so I decided to change my enrollment for the Master (MSc) degree in Management.

There are quite some cultural differences between the Philippines and Italy, but I honestly love them all! I really enjoy the walking culture in Florence. The weather is nicer. The food is healthier. And there are so many different people here with various cultural backgrounds and languages that I can learn from. Everybody is super friendly, the ESE Florence staff is amazing and always very helpful.

From an academic point of view, I really love the way the professors encourage critical thinking rather than reproducing theoretical knowledge. It was eye-opening for me to learn that different opinions and interpretations, as long as you can defend them, are appreciated. This gives the students a lot of freedom to explain business ideas and theories.

The professors are all professionals and talk a lot from their own experience. They always give great practical and pragmatic business examples in class. I learn so much from them!

I came here with the aim of finding useful business contacts or even an internship position related to sustainable agriculture. I’ve had this business idea of sustainably producing banana crisps in the Philippines for some time.
Right now I am actually more looking for manufacturing opportunities – I am curious to learn more about the Tuscan leather industry and would love to see how the Italian and European mentality and work culture is. Hopefully I can apply their best practices back home in the Philippines.

On a personal level, I am proud to say that I am learning Italian and enjoying the Italian lifestyle. And that I ran my first ever Marathon in Florence in November. It was such a great experience! I am really happy and grateful to be here.”

Jerard Matthews Abad

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