Seniors in the Business Administration program wrapped up their “Capstoner” semester with an exciting field trip to the “Green Heart of Italy”, the Region of Umbria.  The trip, now in its third iteration, featured visits to businesses typical of the region, meetings with top managers, and a day of team-building activities including rafting and hiking that was financed by Matthew Ripsom (BUS ’15), now a member of AUR’s Board of Trustees.

Among the business meetings was a lively, insightful session with Luca Regano, CEO of Froneri Ice Cream, the firm formed by the 2016 fusion of several of Nestle’s ice cream brands, and R&R Ice Cream.  Luca walked the students through a classic brand and business analysis, described the cultural and organizational challenges that came with the merger, and expressed excitement about the future prospects of the firm. 

Paolo Bartoloni, the owner of Cantina Le Cimate, not only conducted a lesson on wine tasting but discussed the challenges he faces as he strives to expand the global distribution of his line of fine Umbrian wines.  The Ronci sisters opened up about their family olive oil business, and taught the students about the process of growing olives and processing and marketing the oil produced.  They also gave tips on tasting olive oil – surprisingly, no less sophisticated than the process of tasting wine!

According to BSBA Program Director Kathleen Fitzsimmons, “This trip was the culmination of a successful semester and is designed to be a great team builder, ensuring the seniors remain connected to AUR and to one another once they leave.”   

For the third year in a row, the team-building events on Saturday were underwritten by alum Matthew Ripsom and hosted at Rafting Marmore, the family business of another alum, Camillo Dall’Oglio (BUS ’16).  It was that "esprit de corps" aspect that motivated Ripsom to earmark a portion of his now annual donation, to the Business program.   After rafting the rapids, the group hiked the Marmore Falls, the tallest in Europe. 

The highlight of the evening was dinner at “Alla Via di Mezzo” in Montefalco, the restaurant of famed TV Chef, Giorgione, star of the Gambero Rosso TV Channel cooking show “Giorgione Orto e Cucina.”  Our host thoroughly enjoyed meeting the enthusiastic representatives of The American University of Rome and showed off his gift – an AUR hoodie - while taking photos with the students.

The Capstoners take their name from their final project – a capstone or senior thesis. In their last Spring semester, each Business senior researches and delivers a “Strategic Audit,” a 360° analysis of a publicly traded, transnational company, applying models and frameworks studied in previous courses, including the senior seminar, Strategic Management.  The capstone project showcases the critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills students learn at AUR.  It also represents an important element of the students’ “Portfolio” as they move forward to either graduate school or the world of work.  A number of former Capstoners have parlayed their Strategic Audits into jobs in the companies or industries they studied, including Johnson & Johnson, Disney, Mapei and Oracle.

Prof Fitzsimmons and AUR Event Planner per eccellenza, Naima Borgese, are already planning the details of the 2020 iteration, for the next lucky group of Business Seniors! 

Rafting video:

To enjoy photos from this event, go to