“To me, leadership means working with integrity, knowing your team, utilizing their strengths and improving their weaknesses. Each member of the group can be fundamental to the success of a project.”LUISS student Micol Spizzichino represented Italy at the Unilever Future Leaders League, a competition sponsored by the multinational company to expose students to real-world business topics such as global brands and innovation in addition to sustainability and management in order to “shape future leaders.”
With a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management, Micol is in her second year of a master’s program in International Management. “At a certain point in my academic career, I felt that I needed to challenge myself, and so I responded to a notice from Career Services on the LUISS website. These often-underestimated experiences allow students to come in contact with important business situations.
After an initial selection phase based on students’ CVs and cover letters, Micol was chosen alongside nine additional candidates from all over Italy. “With the notification, Unilever sent us a business case that we would have to resolve during a group interview day at the Unilever Headquarters in Rome. We each presented our strategy in front of a jury of managers and directors. We then took part in a group activity to test our teamwork skills.”
Michol was subsequently chosen to represent Italy on both the European and global level alongside another student. “The first stop on our adventure was March 4-6 in Rotterdam where we participated in an event organized for the seven European teams. We spent three days at their incredible headquarters in the center of the city to see Unilever's work with our own eyes. We participated in events organized by the HR staff and in workshops with important company spokespeople such as Anniek Mauser, Sustainability Director, and Vice President of Savoury Europe, Pablo Perversi. It was a unique opportunity to introduce ourselves and to acquire skills necessary to face the second part of the competition with determination and preparation.”
At the Global Final in London, March 15-20, “30 teams and 90 students from all over the planet took part,” explains Micol. “I was a member of Team Mediterranean, with my Italian colleague and another Spanish student. The final challenge was to develop a business strategy for Cornetto; we met with different cultures and presented our project in front of all the other competitors. Unilever also gave us the opportunity to meet their top management and learn as much as possible.” CEO Paul Polman and Senior Vice President HR John Nolan shared their experience with the students and “were open to all our questions and doubts. Participating in these seminars was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. I learned the importance of working with enthusiasm, but especially with determination and ambition. The Unilever Future Leaders League was educational on both the professional and personal level. It both motivated and inspired me.”
Now in her final year of study, Micol wants to continue dedicating time to her professional development. “Soon, I’m going to begin an internship with the Trade Marketing Team at Findus. It’s an opportunity to reinforce my experience in the so-called fast-moving consumer goods sector. Working with products that millions of people use every day is a huge motivation.”