Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?.
My name is Marco Tolotti, I am an associate professor of Mathematical Methods for Economics. I arrived at Ca' Foscari in 2008, shortly after receiving my Master's Degree in Applied Mathematics at the Scuola Normale di Pisa. Since my undergraduate days, I have always been stimulated by the idea of using mathematical models to study complex social structures. Think about the fundamental role of epidemiological models, so popular these days, in reading and predicting the spread of a pandemic. Mathematics can help us understand how behaviour and interactions between individuals can influence the course of infection. As for teaching, at Ca' Foscari I teach mathematics, but also more specialised courses in analytics and advanced techniques to support management choices.
Tell us about your academic path.
After graduating in mathematics in Padua, with a specialisation in probability and mathematical finance, I decided to pursue my studies in the applications of mathematics to economics. I chose the Postgraduate (PhD) course at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, where I explored models of interaction and infection that have served me well in my research on complex social systems. I then spent a year and a half in Zurich to continue my studies in finance at the ETH Zurich. In 2006, I obtained a research grant at Bocconi University in Milan where I started teaching courses on models and methods for finance and economics. Eventually, I joined Ca' Foscari as a university researcher in 2008.
What are you most passionate about in your research?
What fascinates me most about my work, as a mathematician working on economic and business problems, is the possibility of helping explain complex phenomena through an analytical approach. Take, for instance, any decision-making problem where you have to choose between several alternatives. To this end, models can be deployed to identify and aggregate significant variables to help a decision-maker better understand the value, costs and risks involved in each choice. Business decision support systems and analytics are now widely used, especially today where every company has to deal with an unprecedented amount of data and the new challenges of the digital revolution.
Why should someone choose Ca’ Foscari?
Ca' Foscari combines its centuries-old history with a modern vision of inclusion, sustainability and internationalisation. Exactly fifty years ago, our department was the first to offer a programme in Business Administration in a public university. In 2008, we were the first in Italy to offer a Bachelor's Degree Programme in economics/business, taught entirely in English, anticipating a trend that has now spread to all universities in Italy and abroad. Today, the challenge is to understand how to rethink the range of courses in light of the remote learning experiences imposed by the pandemic. At the Department of Management, we are at the forefront in designing new forms of teaching that can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the challenging times our society is experiencing.
Which degree programme would you recommend to a young graduate and why?
I pose this question to my department: "Why should a student choose a degree in management?" I think it may be difficult to grasp how varied and interesting the university's range of programmes in this field can be. In the Department of Management, lecturers from different areas coexist, not only all areas of management (business administration, strategy, organisation, finance...), but also mathematicians (like me!), statisticians, lawyers, historians, agricultural economists, and so on. We teachers and researchers in the Department of Management try to provide the students on our courses with a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills that will enable them to read and interpret today's economic and business phenomena, to have an impact on society and to become tomorrow's leaders and managers.