Could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Emanuela, I studied at Bocconi University in 2011. I did my bachelor’s degree in Italian, I studied Business and Management (CLEAM). After graduating from Bocconi and passing all of my exams, I got an internship opportunity with a start-up company in Amsterdam. This experience was very useful because at the time they were looking for business developers for the Italian market, which made it possible for me to develop and acquire more big clients for the start-up. It was a very international start-up, so I also grew a lot. After that, I decided to go back to Italy, and I began working as a consultant for Google AdWords. During my internship I developed skills in the digital marketing area and focused more on business and retail companies. By moving to consulting, I had the chance to manage European-level projects. I then worked for Ernst & Young as a consultant in the product innovation division. It was more innovation driven and I had the chance to lead a team. After Christmas 2018, I began working as Global Business Development Manager for AliExpress, which is part of the Alibaba group. In May 2019, I moved to China. I now currently work as head of Global Business Development Manager at Impossible Brands.
What would you say is what attracted you most about Bocconi University?
I was very interested in Bocconi University because, compared to other universities in Italy, it gave you both an international network and international opportunity, especially regarding the exchange program. You could go abroad and explore international markets. Another aspect that really stood out from Bocconi was all the managerial skills they offered, including job fairs and connection with companies. I was very satisfied during my 3 years at Bocconi, it was a new environment for me. I met so many international students, I had the opportunity to go in exchange to the United States during my last year and attended the University of Illinois, so my overall experience was very positive. All the different job fairs going on in the campus made it useful to chat with the HRs in the companies and get insights regarding the skills that the companies are looking for. You actually have an overview of the job market and what the companies are looking for, which is very useful.
What is your best memory in Bocconi?
For me, it was definitely the student associations. I was vice- president of the Bocconi Chinese Student Association and it was great for me to create events about China and inviting professionals to talks regarding the China market and business opportunities. In a big university, it was really fun and it helped me create a great network of friends. It was my first experience as a bridge between Italy and China. Going back in time, I would tell my younger self to be even more open-minded and take every single opportunity Bocconi offered me. If you are a student, you should really explore and figure out what you like doing during your university years.
What would you say is the most important skill that Bocconi University provided you with?
Competitiveness. Bocconi is a very competitive university. You meet so many ambitious and intelligent students, so at the end of the day you are there to become even bigger. You are surrounded by peers that are maybe more talented than you, so you can get inspiration from them.
What does it mean to be a Global Business Developer Manager?
My role when working with Alibaba was creating an ecosystem for the Chinese company I worked with. We need to create an international network with partners who can support us in reaching our goals, so for this position you need to clearly know the business goals and what the company wants to achieve. You need to be able to talk in creating business opportunities with several countries. There will definitely be cultural gaps because I had to work with European companies, American companies, basically companies all over the world, so you have to be open-minded and flexible. You are enabling business opportunities for both your company and your business partners, and creating a win-win situation.
What hard/soft skills should someone in your field have?
Regarding hard skills, I would say being very analytical and data driven. When managing so many different markets, you have to prioritize top markets for you and being able to keep monitoring and reviewing the data you are getting from both your project and your partners. On the other hand, the soft skills needed are being able to understand different cultures and being open-minded. Bocconi definitely helped me achieve these skills. From a hard skills point of view, it gave me the basics of management and data processing skills needed for my previous position. Regarding soft skills, you are exposed to many different cultures because it is truly an international environment.
What would you say has been your biggest success factor?
For me, I would say being Italian-born Chinese. I have always been able to adapt and be very flexible in every environment. To be able to quickly catch up with everything.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
First of all, I would say time zones. You have to be able to organize your agenda and be very flexible. It is quite challenging working with so many countries and cultures. You can have some misunderstandings along the way, but by learning how to properly communicate you can overcome these issues.