Ambitious Italian looks for options

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'I always had a desire to do an MBA, in fact I have been fascinated by the great American MBA for a long time. Things don't always work out the way you expect. After studying at Bocconi University in Milan, I was going to start at Citibank there when I found myself liable for military service. It brought forward the decision to look overseas, as I knew I wanted international experience.

I came to London and approached US banks, but found it too difficult to get a green card for work in the US, so I worked at two Italian banks. Then I went through the big selection process at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, complete with Super Saturday, dinner, breakfast and 21 interviews. I was told then that it would have been better to have worked as a waiter than to have worked at some of the Italian banks I had been at. The recruitment process was my first disillusionment with meritocracy.

When BCI headhunted me I found I liked being in charge of a team, responsible for people. I also liked doing credit in a more sophisticated way. After a year in charge of the credit secretariat, I developed a good relationship with the head of credit.

In January last year the head of the dealing room came up with the idea of a new analytical unit aimed at making the bank a leading player in corporate bonds.

As I did more analysis on European corporate bonds, largely for Italian counterparties, it became clear that what I wanted was to develop corporate bonds in Europe, and possibly cross the divide to a corporate one day.

It was time to do an MBA. I was not sure if I would remain in banking, but if you want to be a good chief executive in a corporate you must understand how a bank works.

Choosing City University was really a matter of luck, although it came well recommended by Bocconi University. What really makes a difference is both faculty members and the other students and the MBA offers a chance to mix in a very diverse and international atmosphere.

Although my bias was initially towards the US business schools, I have found City University to be both stimulating and challenging. Beyond a certain point, you get out of an MBA whatever you put into it.

As I am not sure which path I'll pursue in the long term, the degree offers me a good chance to consider many options, including banking and consultancy. I am tied to BCI for a certain period, but after that I may either work in a corporate, try to develop it and become a European player, or found my own business in Italy.

In the end, although I admire the US with its self-made individuals and its cheerful leadership, my family is in Italy and it is in my blood. I think it was destiny that kept me in Europe, and I feel a certain responsibility to take what I have learnt back there.'