From classroom to boardroom: the impact of Monaco’s MBA programme

In an interview with Monaco Life, Marika Taishoff, MBA director at the International University of Monaco, reveals how the degree is integrating Monaco’s world-renowned luxury and wealth management ecosystem into its curriculum and forming the business leaders of tomorrow.

Marika Taishoff has been Director of the Master of Business Administration programme at the University of Monaco (IUM) for 13 years, and is celebrated for her expertise in luxury sectors, strategy and customer experience management. She is a recognised ‘Top 40 Business Case Writer’ and her impactful career has spanned education, consultancy and keynote speaking.

All considered, she’s perfectly placed to offer detailed insights into the programme’s strategic positioning at the intersection of luxury services, wealth management, entrepreneurship and innovation. As Taishoff explains, the degree has been tailored to leverage Monaco’s unique strengths and to ready leaders to navigate the complexities of the global market.

“We specifically designed our electives around Monaco’s core competencies. For instance, our luxury brand destination management course isn’t just about luxury, it’s about understanding the dynamics of how a place like Monte-Carlo crafts and maintains its luxury status,” says Taishoff, emphasising the programme’s unique approach to integrating Monaco’s world-renowned luxury ecosystem into its curriculum.

Marika Taishoff, MBA director at the International University of Monaco

“Understanding the pillars of entrepreneurship and innovation isn’t optional, it’s critical”

The importance of entrepreneurship and innovation is deeply woven into the fabric of the programme.

Taishoff highlights, “In today’s business environment, understanding the pillars of entrepreneurship and innovation isn’t optional, it’s critical. That’s why we’ve embedded these disciplines right at the core of our curriculum.”

A distinctive feature of the Monaco MBA is its robust career and personal development coaching, coupled with a mentorship programme tailored to the aspirations of its participants.

“Our one-on-one coaching sessions are transformative as they’re about shaping leaders who can confidently navigate their professional landscapes,” Taishoff explains.

The programme’s commitment to experiential learning is evident in its capstone options: the Corporate Consulting Project or the Entrepreneurial Business Plan.

“We want our students to leave not just with knowledge but with experience. Whether they choose to develop their own business plan or work on a corporate consulting project, they’re applying what they’ve learned in a real-world context,” says Taishoff, before recounting the success of two MBA graduates who, through their capstone project, launched a productivity platform that has since garnered investment and attention from a Monaco-based investor.

Navigating global business with a Monaco MBA

Monaco’s diverse, international setting plays a significant role in enriching students’ educational experience. Taishoff recalls the transformation of a student from the US: “He had never left the US before joining us. Monaco, with its cosmopolitan flair, was a revelation to him. Today, he’s thriving as a CFO in Los Angeles. It’s a testament to the growth we foster here.”

Flexibility is another hallmark of the Monaco MBA, with hybrid learning options that accommodate the changing circumstances of its students.

“We’ve evolved our delivery methods to ensure that no matter where life takes our students, they have uninterrupted access to their education. This adaptability is crucial for today’s professionals,” she notes.

The success stories of Monaco MBA alumni underscore the programme’s impact. Taishoff details several, including: an MBA graduate who transitioned from language translation to leading a real estate agency in Monaco; a Portuguese alumnus who, post-MBA, co-founded a successful trading company in Monaco; and a former professional cyclist who now works for a leading wealth management company as a wealth advisor for athletes.

“These stories are a reflection of our programme’s ability to not just educate but to fundamentally alter career trajectories,” she asserts.

The Monaco MBA programme caters not only to career-focused individuals, but also to those seeking personal growth and new perspectives.

“They might not need a job or have independent means, but they feel like they are missing out on something. It’s more of a question for personal development for some,” says Taishoff, highlighting the programme’s commitment to broadening horizons and engaging with a diverse community.

The Monaco MBA offers a holistic business education, merging luxury, finance, entrepreneurship and innovation to prepare graduates for the global business landscape.


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Crime rates remain stable in Monaco

Monaco’s reputation as one of the safest places to live in the world is justified, but that doesn’t mean crime is non-existent in the Principality. 

According to “délinquance générale” figures published by the Monaco Matin, 834 incidents ranging from thefts and burglaries to drink driving and drug possession were recorded by the Principality’s Police Department in 2023, up 0.9% on those reported in 2022.  

The 606 officer-strong police force, which is backed up by a massive network of 1,087 security cameras to make it the world’s largest per-capita and per-area force, attended 9,400 callouts and emergency interventions last year and conducted 44,750 identity and 57,000 vehicles checks over the course of 2023. 

Just one incident of car theft was noted, down from four the year before, but the number of two-wheeled vehicles rose to 11 from nine.  

143 people were found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, an increase of nearly 24% on 2022’s statistics, while 118 cases of drug possession were registered by officers, up almost 50% in 12 months.  

Richard Marangoni, the head of the Police Department, confirmed to the newspaper that the force was keeping a close eye on telephone and email scams and those behind them. 18 crimes of this category were recorded in 2023, compared to 27 the previous year. Marangoni added that one perpetrator had very recently been arrested.  

See more: Authorities warn of new email scam doing rounds

For the first time ever, statistics on crimes against members of the police force have been made public: seven officers were the subject of verbal assaults while 10 came up against resistance while attempting to perform their duties and seven were violently attacked. Marangoni told local reporters that he hoped communicating these figures would help demonstrate the reality faced day-to-day by his officers.  


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Photo source: Jakub Zerdzicki, Unsplash

Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler sells personal guitar collection, breaks records

The final hammer has gone down on the auction of guitars from the personal collection of music legend Mark Knopfler, the celebrated singer-songwriter, guitar hero and frontman of the iconic British band Dire Straits. The sale was 100% sold, realising a total of €10,342,987. 

The sale was led by Knopfler’s 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard which sold for £693,000, setting a new world auction record for the model. Further new world auction records were set, including for a Pensa-Suhr, which sold for sold for £504,000. The guitar was completed in record time so it would be ready for Knopfler to play at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert on 11th June 1988 at Wembley Stadium. The guitar made its debut a week earlier when Knopfler played ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Layla’ with Eric Clapton’s All-Star Band at the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala on 6th June 1988.

Another record was broken with the sale of a  Red Schecter Telecaster  setting a new world auction record for a Schecter. Knopfler purchased the guitar in 1984 and used it to record the hit Dire Straits song ‘Walk Of Life’ and its accompanying music video. This vermillion red workhorse has become one of his most recognisable and long-serving instruments, with a live performance history spanning Dire Straits’ 1985-86 Brothers in Arms Tour through to Knopfler’s 2008 Kill To Get Crimson Tour, with notable appearances at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert in 1988 and on the 1996 live concert DVD A Night In London Schecter. This legendary guitar sold for £415,800.

Music aficionados, fans and collectors from 61 countries registered to bid, with high levels of competition across the 122 lots offered, resulting in the auction lasting over six hours.

25% of the total hammer price will be divided equally and donated to charities that Mark Knopfler has supported for many years: The British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East. 100% of the funds raised from the final lot are being donated to Teenage Cancer Trust. In addition, Christie’s is contributing a further £50,000 to each of the four charities.

“This auction has been an incredible journey and I am so pleased that these much loved instruments will find new players and new songs as well as raising money for charities that mean a lot to me,” said Mark Knopfler. “It has been heart-warming to witness how much these guitars mean to so many people and I am also pleased that they will continue to give joy to many through the songs recorded over the years with me. To you fellow players, enthusiasts and collectors, I wish you all good things.”

According to Amelia Walker, Christie’s Specialist Head of Private and Iconic Collections, London, “The auction saw an unprecedented number of bidders register to take part. We feel privileged to have been entrusted by Mark to find new owners for his old ‘friends’, some of which appear on his upcoming new album One Deep River to be released in April, and to have helped raise money for his chosen charities.”

Another standout in the auction is the Gibson Les Paul ‘Gold Top’ which sold for £403,200. The guitar betokens a highly anticipated collaboration project featuring some of the world’s most iconic musicians, spearheaded by Mark Knopfler, to be announced in February. The autographs on this guitar include Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Slash, Ronnie Wood, Brian May, Sting, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, The Edge, Joan Jett, and Nile Rodgers, as well as many other world-famous artists.

For the full set of the results, click here.

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Photo source: Christies

Puccini’s legacy to be honoured with gala evening at the Opéra de Nice

The centenary of the death of Giacomo Puccini, the lauded Italian composer, is to be commemorated later this month with a spectacular gala evening in Nice that will feature a performance by Ermonela Jaho, the Nice Opera Choir and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra.  

On 9th February at 8pm, the doors of the Nice Côte d’Azur Opera in the old town will open for a dazzling night of culture and cuisine.  

The evening is being held in commemoration of the centenary of the death of Puccini, the Italian composer renowned for revolutionising the world of the opera with works such as La Bohème, Tosca and Madame Butterfly.  

The cultural highlight of the event will be a performance by Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho, who is recognised worldwide for her spellbinding interpretations of Puccini’s heroines. In the role of conductor will be Daniele Callegari, who will lead the Nice Opera Choir and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Following the concert, guests will be invited to mix and mingle at a VIP cocktail before heading through to the Opera’s Salon for a gourmet dining experience.  

Tickets cost €350, but up to 66% is tax deductible, while a table for 10 guests can be reserved for €3,500. 

Click here for more information about the event.  


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Photo credit: Opéra de Nice

Basketball: Roca Team dominate Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade

AS Monaco Basket put on a commanding performance for their home fans in the Salle Gaston Médecin on Wednesday 31st January, overcoming Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade by a 15-point margin and improving their record against the Serbian side to 14-10. 

Despite an early points deficit, AS Monaco were on track by halftime and maintained a steady control of Partizan Belgrade and their top scorer Kevin Punter.

The third quarter solidified Monaco’s dominance; the standout moment came when Mike James hit a three-pointer and further extended the Roca Team’s lead whilst simultaneously dampening Partizan’s hopes of a comeback.

Monaco’s defence held strong, preventing any significant challenge from the opposing team in the final quarter, and the close of the game saw the Roca Team earn a comfortable victory: 85-70.

James’ contributions not only helped his side win the fixture, but also saw him claim the title of the EuroLeague’s top scorer this season with an impressive 19.2 points per game rating. He also moves up to third place in the all-time rankings, behind Nando De Colo and the legendary Vassilis Spanoulis.  

Post-game, AS Monaco’s coach Sasa Obradovic praised the team, saying, “This is a special team. All players were engaged; it’s a real pleasure to coach them.”  

Looking ahead, the Roca Team will next host Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in a EuroLeague clash on 2nd February.  

Read related:

The February schedule of home games for AS Monaco and the Roca Team


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Photo credit: AS Monaco Basket

Blue Coast Brewing Company launches new burger range and beer pong tournaments

Just in time for the Six Nations Championship, the Blue Coast Brewing Company in Nice has announced a brand-new burger menu to accompany its taproom beverages as well as a monthly beer pong tournament that will begin this Friday. 

The French Riviera micro-brewery, which was launched in 2017 by a collection of avid brewers, sports stars and celebrities, is branching out with a range of gourmet burgers that will be served on-site at the taproom on Chemin de Saquier in Nice. 

The kitchen will be open from Friday 2nd February, a date that marks the start of the 2024 Six Nations Championship, with a game between Ireland and France due to begin at 9pm. 

The same day, and on the first Friday of every month going forwards, the Blue Coast Brewing Company will host its first beer pong tournament. 

Beer pong, for the uninitiated, is a game where players aim to land table tennis balls in a cup of beer located on their opponent’s side of a table. If a ball makes its way into a cup, the person next to the cup must drink its contents.  

It costs €6.50 to sign up for the tournament, which will kick off at 7.30pm. The prize is a free metre of the Blue Coast Brewing Company’s award-winning artisanal beer! 

Click here for more information. 


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Photo source: Blue Coast Brewing Company, Facebook