Guido Dania, Matteo Nobile and Silvia Pizalis are among the LUISS graduates (alongside Federica Forte, Antonio Perrotta and Stefania Zanfagna) that have recently been hired to work in the London and Milan offices of Mediobanca.
In addition to their academic paths, the students share a common belief that career preparation is a combination of theoretic knowledge, experience in the field and a willingness to try new things. “A university’s role is not only to provide substantial academic knowledge, but also to give students the opportunity to develop the transversal skills that have become essential on the job market,” states Silvia. “LUISS gave me both a solid academic preparation and a series of soft skills, as essential as theory to best begin a successful career.”
Each of them has developed excellent abilities to adapt and take on new challenges thanks to experiences abroad. For Guido, an Erasmus period in Istanbul was crucial: “Living and studying in another country really helps you grow in many different ways and helps you to overcome both linguistic and personal barriers, helping you to interact properly with future colleagues.”
Silvia chose instead to participate in the Double Degree in Management with Fudan University in Shanghai. “The practical approach that characterizes Fudan tested my teamwork, leadership and public-speaking skills. Above all, my year in Shanghai made me a more mature person, conscious of my strengths and weaknesses. Continually pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and explore such a faraway place with such a different culture, I developed incredible adaptation skills and strong sense of initiative.”
Always attracted by challenges, Matteo spent a semester in Bangkok before being selected for the QTEM program. “I spent a semester in Tokyo and another in Melbourne. It was an extremely important year for my professional growth that allowed me to discover new interests and narrow in on a concrete and ambitious goal."
The proficiency earned at LUISS and abroad were the essential to their subsequent entrance into the job market and, more specifically, to Mediobanca. “The entire Mediobanca selection process is structured like those from large investment banks, the so-called bulge bracket, where candidates are evaluated by entire teams instead of just senior members,” explains Matteo. “The process is structured in two parts,” continues Guido, “an initial interview with an HR specialist and a second series of technical interviews in the company’s headquarters. The requested skills cover all areas of Corporate Finance. Obviously, is is important to be very prepared for these types of interviews.”
“In addition to solid basic technical preparation, the two most requested characteristics are stand-out teamwork skills and the ability to learn quickly,” added Silvia. “During the initial internship, you have to learn an incredible amount of information, procedures and techniques in order to perform the job. According to Guido, “with a solid theoretic base, it’s easier to find an answer, but sometimes it’s not enough. For issues that are more practical and less academic, it can be hard to find a rational solution.”
For all three graduates, the winning factor was their attention to recent developments and functioning of financial markets, as well as their ability to express their motivation. “Another fundamental element was the Career Services Office, their contacts with the bank’s Human Resources and their advice on preparing for job interviews,” states Matteo. The selection process was hard, and the competition was tough, but even negative experiences help you to improve. To those interested in working in Corporate Finance, Guido suggests to not “understimate the amount of work that you have to face and all that it comes with: the working hours are tiring and you often have to stay late to finish everything.”
Matteo further explains: “My suggestion is to be as proactive as possible, don’t be intimidated by the competition and try to improve constantly. It is important to start working early, even in different fields, to practice working in teams and obtain additional tools. IT skills are particularly requested by banks, but often universities don’t provide them.” Silvia concludes: “Stay motivated and resourceful, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. To get a job with a big company, you need to be well prepared, but you also need a strong understanding of yourself, enthusiasm and a little bit of luck.”