#MyLuissBusiness | Luiss Business School - School of Management
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#MyLuissBusiness
#MyLuissBusiness

13 January 2022

Michaela Nelson: «Luiss Business School showed me how to be a leader»

The American alumna chose the Luiss Business School's Big Data and Management master. Now she has become People Data Analytics & Admin Manager at Senti Biosciences, and recommend this experience as «the best challenge of my life» Thinking about the master in Big Data and Management at Luiss Business School, Michaela Nelson has just one regret: having not learned Italian first. Now she is People Data Analytics & Admin Manager at Senti Biosciences and says, «data are everywhere», so it's more and more important having a background in this field also to catch all the opportunities behind data. But Statistic is not just about numbers and technology: it's about people. In Rome, at Villa Blanc, Michaela learned how to lead people and to be more confident. Michaela Nelson, why did you choose a master in Big Data and Management from Luiss Business School? I studied in California, and I knew I wanted to do an international career. Since I wanted to work in Business Analytics and Data Science, the best way to reach my goal was to choose an international school. So, I look abroad at a couple of other schools in different countries, and I saw that Luiss Business School has a very comprehensive programme, they had all the classes I needed and that they were taught by professor and business people who were coming and share their knowledge. All of this would really start me off on my international career. Which are the benefits of the program offered by Luiss Business School you experienced? I was in the fourth year of that master, so they were still developing the programme. When they had professors came in, they were teaching from their real place of business. We were getting a selection of people from very different industries who came in to teach us how to use skills in very multi versatile way. So, one of the biggest strengths that Luiss Business School has is that it can get people and professors from different backgrounds to come and teach how to be the most well-rounded students they can be. Which have been the best moments of your master in Luiss Business School? The first day that I showed up at Villa Blac, I was very nervous. I was learnt I was the only non-Italian in the programme, and I was very concerned that people would not like me. I couldn't be more wrong: I was welcomed so warmly in the programme since the first day! I did a couple of projects with the same group of students, who became some of my best friends. Because I'm not Italian, they wanted to teach me everything! What did they teach you? We ended up doing a project once from the home of one of the other students and well, while we were there, they taught me how to do Carbonara and we had that kind of cultural exchange while we were learning together and that was important to me. What about the courses you attended: which one was important to you? I have a Statistic background. So, from a technical perspective, I felt like I've learnt the most out of some of the programs in classes, like the Machine Learning one that was very challenging for me. It was one of the classes I've never taken before and it was an excellent next step in my learning, taught by Professor Ragusa. He really pushed us to challenge ourselves. I checked them during my internship and then, coming to the real world, I now use of those methods and knowledge in my current work. I'm grateful for that course. How did you work on soft skill during your master? Luiss Business School had some soft skill workshops. Those were very interesting because sometimes we got to do this with other masters as well, so we got to meet new people. I think that outside those workshop Luiss Business School has teached to all its students how to be self-sufficient and how to work in teams. We were eleven in class and from the beginning to end I felt like I had a team. Now, being a part of this real career world, I know how to chat with people of different backgrounds: we can learn how to work together, how everybody has different strengths and that together we can make very successful projects. So soft skills like collaboration and cooperation are incredibly important. So, you have participated on a project work during your master? Could you please tell us about this experience? How did it change or influence your career? Working with other students in Luiss Business School was much more collaborative than I've ever experienced before. We were split in group between 3 or 5 students to work on a project together. We were organized in finding who was good at which part of the project, how we could help each other learn. I spent several nights in campus with my teammates, using the white blackboards, sharing screens, writing down ideas. Now that I come back to United States, I'm in my office and when my manager come to give me a project, I say «Well, I need these three people on my team, and this is how they're going to work». I feel I can be a leader because I've been in a place where someone has shown me how to lead and how to bring people of different backgrounds together. You studied Statistic: what did the master add to your knowledge of this field? It was an application-based programme. Statistic is incredibly versatile just as an area of study. To make a career out of it, I wanted to learn how to make it in to practice in the best way. We did study some technical classes, but then learning from professionals who use these skills in their everyday lives helped me shape what I wanted to do form my career path. So, I know now that I want to be a statistical consultant, I want to work in different fields so that I get to work on projects in different industries. Professors showed me how versatile these skills really are and how much of an impact I can have on any business using my skills. What are the most important memories of your internship in Iconsulting in Rome, after your master? Was the internship research step easy or difficult? Did Luiss Business School help you find it? Getting in there was not very simple for me only because I didn't speak fluently Italian: there were many internship options available. The Prof. Venturini, my Marketing and Analytics teacher, said: «Hey, actually we could use an English speaker». Until now, it was one of my best professional experience of my life. I think it was the best introduction to work life. I've made some great friends. I've got to learn a new software from the very beginning: it was very interesting to me. I felt very successful for the whole way. Since you are from the US, having the internship in Rome represented a plus from a professional point of view in your career? Definitely, I came out my whole my experience in Italy thinking I can do everything. I went to Rome with knowing nothing and no one, none the language. I was completely unprepared. It was the best challenge of my entire life. So, when I came back to the United States, people say «Wow, you studied in Rome! That's interesting». I think I can take every challenge now. You are a People Data Analytics & Admin Manager at Senti Biosciences: how do you use your master experience, hard and soft skills, in your job? From a technical perspective, my job at Senti Biosciences I use data analytics to monitor the company culture and how employees are doing. The point of my job is monitoring the activities to grow in the right direction. From a soft skill perspective, I work with people, in a place where people are happy to be. It'is not just computer. This job offers me a chance to work with people in very two different ways: once I have the data, I go in there and ask, «what is the best way to solve this issue?» or «how can we make this aspect of the company better?». Having been with Luiss Business School I feel very comfortable in making questions. I want to communicate better. Senti Biosciences is a start-up, so, I just don't work one job. How Big Data will reshape our lives and why it is important to improve knowledge in this field? Data is everywhere. It happens when you don't even understand it is happening. It's learning something about us all the time. It may be scary, but it offers a lot of opportunities. The possibilities are truly endless. Our skills as data scientists are applicable in every industry: it's imperative for future students to take data classes and statistic classes so we can all be part of a growing digital system. For everybody to be included in a more growing technical world, we must have a technical legacy throughout the population. As an American woman, what do you think about gender gap in Italian workspace, especially in Stem fields? What we need to do to create a more equal scenario? Just based on my classes anagraphic, there were 3 girls and 8 boys. So, from a learning space, there is a gender gap. In my internship there were more men than women. I think the offering this master and the internship is very important. One of the reasons I wanted to go so badly to Luiss Business School was that graduating from my class in the US was incredibly difficult to get a job right out the college because I was a woman and because she doesn't have so much experience. Going to Luiss Business School and having the perfect curriculum, as well as a whole section of the program that was devoted to work experience – there wasn't nothing more valuable to me than helping a young person, a woman, to enter the real workspace. Advertising this program to undergraduate students, specifically women, is going to be very important to not get lost in the idea that Big Data seems too much technical. People would be very surprised to find out the places the master could take them. Let's give a piece of advice to future students and to those who are evaluating the decision of enrolling in a master at the Luiss Business School. If you are nervous about the decision to go, don't be: you will have a wonderful time! Something that would be very useful before is to learn a little bit of Italian first or at least studying a little bit before you go! Going to Luiss Business School is a real privilege: it's a beautiful school with very dedicated professor, that are there for you, to let you learn what you want to learn. Ask your questions, talk to the professors because their resources are there for you. I'm so lucky that I have this opportunity. So go for it, use everything you have and enjoy every second: it was truly the best academic experience of my life. 1/13/2022

04 August 2021

Dalia Caterino: «The real boost for my career? Competencies, competition and soft skills»

The Luiss Business School values cannot be counted only thanks to its educational offer, but mainly through the people who passed through our classrooms, collecting excellency in their professional path. This is the story of Dalia Caterino, Creative Office Library & Vintage at Gucci, for #MyLuissBusiness series A study of the World Economic Forum reveals that 65 per cent of children attending primary school, in future will hold job roles not existing yet. Dalia Caterino, alumna of Fashion and Luxury Business – Major of the Master in Fashion, Luxury and Tourism Management at Luiss Business School - proves it: nowadays she works in the Design Department Team at Gucci, in Rome offices, especially dedicated to the Creative Office Library & Vintage. During an interview for a vacancy in the Communication Department, Dalia told her experience carried out in the Design Department at Valentino, an opportunity achieved through the Master, and she caught the eye of her Recruiters: they allowed her to adapt her skills to a professional role supporting designers in the creative process. After a Laurea Triennale in Moda e Costume (comparable to a Bachelor of Art in Fashion, *not) at La Sapienza University in Rome, Dalia has chosen our School’s Master in Fashion & Luxury to enhance her education. Nowadays, she is 28, an alumna in the true sense of the term: «Every time I am telling about my path in Luiss, I always keep a light in my eyes». Educational offer, focus on language competencies, and soft skills developed during courses: these are Dalia’s acceleration factors in the fashion world. Dalia Caterino, why did you chose Luiss Business School? I had already got positive feedbacks by other people, who had chosen it for their education. Actually, I had compared Luiss’ program with similar proposals from other universities, but ever since I participated to the Open Day, I have been charmed by meeting the Professors. Which do you think to be the strengths of the master in Fashion & Luxury? The focus on English language: I think it is fundamental for fashion industry. When started, despite my English level was high, I was a little bit awed: anyway, the master allowed me to boost my English. The comparison with people belonging to different cultures has been really valuable: in my class, we were 17. Moreover, the educational curriculum – wide, but not generalized – convinced me: every aspect would have been examined in detail and not generally treated. Along the path, this helped me to understand what I really wanted to do in my life. How? When attending a master for the fashion industry, where roles are many and various, it is difficult to pinpoint the most specific ones. Thanks to this master I have been driven towards the understanding on where-to-be in the next future. How much important has it been the development of soft skills declared in the curriculum? I used to be an introverted person: thanks to the master, I have been able to step forward. Comparing oneself, not only with the Professors, but also with Professionals, it represents a bit of what is going to happen outside the comfort zone. Too often, the main scare of young people is not being able to measure up: we are often said not to have studied enough, or not to be adequate experts about a certain topic. I believe that with Luiss Business School masters instead, thanks to its wide but curated educational offer, it is possible to seize the necessary. There is no redundancy. The most significant moments of your path in Luiss Business School: what have they been? The final exam, where we managed to put in practice what we have been learning. It is about teamworking: you must match your ideas with those of other team members, but you must also compete. This last point is very important: without it, you cannot grow. It allows to overcome one’s own limits: otherwise, you do not get out of the comfort zone. Another important activity is the on-site visits to corporates’ headquarters. What do you remember about such experience? Above all the visit at the Design Department at Valentino’s headquarters in Rome marked my path. Over there, we have visited their historical archive. Along the interview aimed at the internship within Gucci, I told the recruiters about such experience. This pushed them to offer me the position I currently hold, even though I had applied for another role within the company. What position have you applied for? I wanted to work in the Communication and Public Relations Department. By the way, through soft skills labs, and courses aimed at analyzing them, I realized that what is generally told about the world of fashion is a bit misleading: nobody tells you what you’re really going to do, what the real job is. It is possible to dream about a non-existent role.  Hearing from the Communication Director of Alexander McQueen has been very useful: he helped us to understand what are the underlaying mechanisms of this role. I have always tried to observe and learn from professors, from professionals, but also from colleagues. Till today, I have never stopped myself thinking about where I am. I have been dreaming to join Gucci since I was younger, and I have got it, but in a job role I didn't know existed. What did bring you to such awareness? We must have a goal in our lives, to be reached with little steps, concentrating on what we are doing into the here and now; on what we can bring with us in the future. You work in the Style Library & Vintage Office at Gucci: what do you do, in detail? My Team works on library management, supporting the designers in the initial development of the collection, and to the Vintage management, which is part of the company’s property. It is a cross-sectional position to the whole Design Department. In two years and a half the position has been growing a lot: in other companies, it does not exist. My and my boss are shaping it on our desires, on the company’s exigencies too, and I feel to be growing a lot. I firmly believe that part of this merit is due to the trail I have walked within Luiss’ walls. Coming from Luiss world, has it represented a plus in entering the professional world? Have you noticed any difference? Absolutely yes. Luiss Business School is a nationally and internationally recognized institution. You are constantly in touch with the world of practice, and this makes the difference. Without a specialization I wouldn’t have been able to deal with it, even if I had been the most prepared person in the world. Apparently, the world of luxury and fashion seems to be less masculine than other ones, but in holding certain job roles, difficulties persist.  Being a woman, and the educational path carried out in Luiss, have they helped you to build up an armor? Yes, they have: in comparing each other in the classroom, but also soft skills labs have been very helpful. The Design Department represents a challenging reality: it constitutes the fashion world at its utmost. The master helped me to get stronger. Playing the game and competing with others: they give a higher self-confidence and help to overcome some barriers, demonstrating the real oneself, without feeling disadvantaged just because women. In the future, do you ever think to carry on building up yourself in the field, or would you rather “go back to school” to acquire new skills? I would rather do it right now! I graduated at the master two-and-a-half years ago, and I soon started working at Gucci. But I am very curious, I love learning and I would appreciate diving back to coursework. Fashion is not the same as 20 years ago. There are many topics – sustainability and innovation, among others – which are changing the governance of many corporates.  How is Gucci juggling this? When it comes to environment and sustainability, Gucci is the first one to expose itself. Within the Design Department, we keep ourselves updated about such topics. When working in fast-paced environments, you do not have much time to keep up-to-date, and it is very positive when your workplace pushes you to get informed and educated. You have also been a mentor for Coursera: have you put something borrowed from Luiss, within this experience? Every single piece of what I learnt! Despite I was just out of the university, it has been very interesting being a mentor for people like me. Providing ideas about how to get informed, which is something we have always been doing at Luiss, is fundamental: staying curious and updated should not be undervalued. Your tips to those approaching. Observe and learn; ask professionals as much as you can. Look for internships since the beginning. Before the end of master, we felt very anxious about the search of the internship experience. It takes not to fall by the wayside when looking for the internship. Do not give up, believe that something is ready to welcome you. By the way, Luiss Team is constantly by your side when preparing the interview: along the whole path, full sustain is ensured. 8/4/2021

04 August 2021

Luigi Caldarola: «Career change is easier, thanks to Luiss Business School»

After five years in Nike, the alumnus launched himself in a new adventure, diving into an industry to be discovered according to his personality. To back him up, skills and a wide curiosity. Luigi Caldarola’s story, after the Major in Corporate Finance, for #MyLuissBusiness series Leaving the job of his dreams in Nike, diving into the unexplored: Luigi Caldarola has chosen to try it, without any fear. The university journey made at Luiss gave him energy and self-confidence. Nowadays he is 30, training himself to become the European Senior Financial Analyst at StockX, a company working with limited-edition products reselling. The bravery to start again with solid skills and great curiosity, it comes from the Major in Corporate Finance of the Master in Financial Management, that Luigi attended at Luiss Business School. Luigi Caldarola, why did you chose to enroll in the Major in Corporate Finance at Luiss Business School? I got my Bachelor in Economics and Management – Administration, Finance and Company Control at Luiss Guido Carli. After an educating experience in London, both at a personal and professional level, I have understood what to do in my life. What happened? During my first experience, I had to deal with investment funds based on climate change. Afterwards, I understood that I wanted to get closer to the Corporate Finance world. Then, being very attached to my roots and family, I decided to come back to Rome and to go on with my education thanks to the Major in Corporate Finance (MACOFIN) at Luiss Business School. Why have you chosen a Master program instead of a Master’s degree? Holding a Master program outweighs abroad. The world of practice is very competitive, especially at an international level: I wanted to try to accelerate the whole process. How was the environment you found at Luiss Business School? A splendid, serene, international environment: it allowed me to make friends along the whole journey together. I have met a stunning team, and we keep on staying in touch: we have never been only colleagues, but real friends, studying and going out together. The relationship with the faculty members has been wonderful, and the teachings have been excellent. A limited number of students constitutes each class, and this is a factor which allows professors to provide attendants with a specific, student-oriented mindset. At the beginning, I did not know it would have been like this. MACOFIN is fully in English: has this fact been a threat or an opportunity? I have started with a good English basis, since I had had the opportunity to practice it, but it is very important to be in touch with the language every day: speaking, understanding, reading it and express oneself. Even among us we tried to speak English as much as possible. The master enhanced it, thanks to the concentrated focus on Corporate Finance glossary, a brand-new subject for me. Soft skills: how have you worked on them during the master? Communication is everything: we have tried to communicate each other as much as possible. Building up relationships, even with small talks is basic, a factor which helped me both in the past and in my current job. How to work in teams has also been pushed as activity, in addition to the change of the group itself, aiming to interact with everybody. The master has given us a specific mindset on how to approach particular themes in the future environment. What about the most significant moments along this journey? There have not been significant moments above others: the whole path has been wonderful. Starting a new chapter of your life with people you get on well with, it represents a plus, indeed. The only worst moment arrived at the very end, when we were perceiving to be almost concluding the year, and we were about to separate each other. Instruction and teachings: what did make the difference? Among professors, some more, some less – important names were counted within Faculty team – had collected important experiences along their careers. Everyone used to arrive in a happy mood to lesson, aware that there would have been important people to listen to. In addition to be actual teachings, they have been life lessons. From Luiss Business School to Nike: how did you get there? Working in Nike has always been the dream of my life, and I got there by chance. I was in Croatia, and I thought to send an email to the HR department to ask about vacancies. I was not expecting an answer, but I received a prompt one instead, offering me the possibility to do an interview immediately. I had a pending offer from British American Tobacco, but Nike was my dream. So, I said to myself: “Let’s see how it goes”. Coming from Luiss world, what did it mean? It meant a lot, as I told before, it is an international environment. The approach with the English has been important, in addition to how teaching experience was. About your moving to StockX: did the experience in Luiss make the difference? Luiss has represented the core. When I introduce myself, I start from the basis, from my university path, and I widely highlight this. During the application I have been doing, in the drop-down menus the Luiss item was among the very first ones. It is very popular, especially abroad. What position are you going to hold at StockX? I will be Senior Financial Analyst at European level. StockX is a big company born in America, ready to land in the Old Continent.  The company has two hundred employees in London’s offices and the Finance Department is currently empty: I am the first and only resource of the sector. It is a very dynamic position, in need to be organized at a structural level, and I am going there for this reason. This is a new, increasing business and it must be in-depth analyzed. I will report to the headquarters, in the United States, despite I will largely work in smart working, travelling among The Netherlands, London and the United States. How will your life be in StockX? A famous proverb says the devil you know is better than the devil you do not. This is true regarding Nike: life in its campus has been incredibly beautiful. By the way, now the corporate routine is different for all. StockX allows me to be in smart working, I won’t go to the office daily, thus at a human level it will be completely different.  For this reason, I requested in person meetings in the headquarters: personal encounters are essential. What will you bring from Nike? I will try to bring with me all the multiethnic experience I have made, being more open-minded compared to when I started, trying to be a better business partner. Moreover, I carry on keeping in mind Nike’s structure and technical skills, which I have been strengthening in Luiss, also. What are your future plans? Do you ever think diving back to education? I consider my career still at a beginner step. I was not planning to change, but it happened: it may happen the same with studies. Nowadays, changing and finding something new is very difficult, but it is possible. Competition is huge. Once I feel to be able to deal with both, I would like to try to carry on my studies for expanding my knowledge, one of the reasons which drove me towards the change. Have you students been trained to competitiveness during your time spent at Luiss Business School? Yes, we have, but I found a “nice” concept of competitiveness among colleagues. Your suggestions to current and future students: how to fully catch opportunities along the path? Above all, believe in that: I collected a difficult experience at high school. But I always have had specific objectives on which I have focused my attention, and I never surrendered. Life must be eaten up: this is something Luiss taught me. Another fundamental aspect is to seize every moment: years at Luiss have been tough but beautiful. To which creativity to appeal, since the last students have not had the opportunity to live what you could do in presence? How to compensate for? The human factor is fundamental, I have experimented it on the work field. Last year spent in smart working allowed me to come back home, but the ideal is the right mix between the office and the screen. You are about to face an important career switch: did the journey made at Luiss Business School help you in in this passage? Yes, it did. In Luiss I have learnt to widen my vision. At first, I thought I would have worked in Italy, but during my journey in Business School, having to do with many cultures, I have learnt to let me go. Since there, it was born my desire to try to join Nike, in The Netherlands, and I have not been scared anymore. I must be grateful to my family, who has stayed by my side, supporting my choice. I am thankful to whom has been close to me during this journey, a person in particular. I am also grateful to whom contributed to make this experience as unforgettable. After my first experience abroad, after many difficult moments, I felt braver and said to myself: «…why not to try with a smaller reality, to make it greater? ». But there is also another question to which I am going to answer, sooner or later. What? We often talk about brain drain from Italy. I think we have the moral duty to take back our experiences: I believe that one day I will put together all of these, to make them greater in our homeland. 8/4/2021