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.
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.
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.