3 Things A Business Degree Student Could Learn From Silvio Berlusconi

Everyone needs an icon, an inspiration, someone who shows just how much can be down and how well. Not necessarily a role model, because the most successful people tend to have extremely negative qualities, but even the most evil character can teach some important lessons. For example: Darth Vader teaches you the value of presentation, black is always in fashion, and don’t jump uphill at a man with a light sabre, you idiot.

But since the dark lord of the Sith isn’t a great exemplar for business degree students (the profit/loss sheet on the Death Star is horrifying), we’ve looked for a more down to Earth villain. Italian ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is a glory of capitalism. He is at least four different male fantasies crammed into one body. He’s made more money than Midas, twisted the law into shapes which would confuse Escher, and scored with more women than the entire population of several colleges.

What lessons can a business degree student take from this mastermind?


The single most important lesson in any business degree is networking, and Silvio masters this the same way Genghis Khan mastered making first impressions: way harder and better than anyone had ever dreamed possible, and than most people had even had even had nightmares about. Mr. Berlusconi has a more powerful network than most Yakuza and uses it much more blatantly.

If you don’t make connections during your business degree it might as well be a piece of novelty toilet rule. Luckily modern technology means you can mingle without ever having to stand up, which is great, because when you work online you can take the time to craft the perfect image. Or, like Silvio, you can just own most of the TV stations and tell them to do it instead.

Think Big

No-one gets a business degree because they want to be a faithful secretary. It’s more a Gordon Gecko without the bad ending thing, power and riches and most importantly the feeling of doing something worthwhile with your time. This means you have to aim high and just keep climbing, an no-one solved his problems by aiming higher than Silvio. When his businesses were under legal investigation, he became the government and changed the rules. When Medusa cinemas were investigated for embezzling five million Euros, the judge decided that Silvio probably had nothing to do with it because the amount is too small. When you’re excused on the grounds that you couldn’t be bothered with a paltry seven digits, that’s the success of thinking big.

Understand The Rules

The most important thing in any project is a clear understanding of the rules. Some will say that this is to make sure you obey them, but come on, we’ve already mentioned Gordon Gecko and Silvio Berlusconi in this article. Sure, Berlusconi might have been finally forced to resign as prime minister, but he still has more money and sex than everyone you know put together.

The real reason you need to understand the rules is to succeed as quickly as possible. The hardest work in the world doesn’t necessarily, or often, lead to a the best reward. That’s why you’re studying a business degree instead of bomb disposal. A clear set of guidelines means clear targets and knowing exactly what you’re allowed – or able – to do to get what you want. When you study for a business degree you’re practicing dealing with the real world by getting ready to do the same. You have a clear set of tasks and courses to complete and, by far the most importantly, you have total command of your own time and resources to do so. That benefit cannot be overstated. So many jobs are based on sitting down and doing what you’re told – you want to be master of your own destiny. And like Silvio Berlusconi, you want to fill that destiny with money and fun.


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