Michigan State University Broad College of Business Full-Time MBA Class of 2016 students leveraged opportunities to interact with global companies and enjoy activities during a European study abroad in May. Here, they share what they picked up along the way.

As we began our tour at Ducati in Bologna, Italy, we were first greeted in the museum hall of the factory and received a brief overview of the company. The presentation began with the history of the company—how it first started as a humble radio manufacturer and then began to establish itself as a major motorcycle manufacturer after World War II. The company was purchased by Audi and is now a part of the Volkswagen Group. However, they were adamant to explain that they are an Italian company—just simply a part of a German group.

We were taken on a tour of the factory and saw first-hand how each aspect of Ducati was implemented on the manufacturing floor. Every motorcycle is made to order, so every motorcycle we saw in the process of assembly was already ordered by a customer somewhere in the world. Ducati emphasizes style, performance, and brand recognition.

“It is an Italian motorcycle; it must look beautiful,” our tour guide stated to us.

Performance was by far the most impressive, yet secretive aspect of Ducati. It was emphasized how important it is for Ducati to win as many motorcycle racing championships as possible. There is a portion of the manufacturing plant completely blocked off from the general public, dedicated just to performance development for racing. Each Ducati assembler is held personally responsible for its performance in testing.

The company also highlighted its accessories for bicycles and Ducati merchandise. The company believes they are on track for growth.

—Adapted from Taylor Strosnider