A person who studied at BBS will talk about themselves. What was before, what came after and a memory of the actual experience, to offer a personal story and a narration of one’s own professional experience.
The protagonist of the second episode is Rachele Busca, Global Reimbursement and Health Economics Manager at Medtronic, MBA distance learning XIV, 2011-2013 (currently Professional MBA Part-time).
Rachele chose her soundtrack: Breathe by Midge Ure.
She identifies the object of her replies with surgical precision. She uses metaphors as tools to explain her job. This is Rachele, a blend of precision, calm and enthusiasm, which only the greenery loving suburbs know how to leave space to. All very informal. We speak via Skype, one from the office, the other from her home near Lausanne, waiting for the arrival of the Savior: the Plumber.
The story so far
“A straight line journey from Fano to Lausanne. The first pit stop in Bologna for my degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology; the second in Milan where I started working for a company in the pharma-sector”. Rachele is now Reimbursement & Health Economics Manager for a medical devices company. She has to identify the key stakeholders so that the new products will get to hospitals and patients, through the funding systems provided for by individual governments. This is only half of what she does though: mainly, she needs to convey what the cost-effectiveness ratio of a new device is, to support decisions in healthcare. “It’s a job combining economics aspects with clinical outcomes impacting patient life and quality of life.”
Rachele’s background is technical-scientific, but the Byron-inspired hues of her job are what excite her. “Moving from open surgery to minimally invasive procedure, with a heart valve introduced by a catheter through the femoral artery is thrilling. It affects enormously the life of a person who may be eighty and have other conditions. Bio-medical stuff is more exciting than pharma”.
“The back to the future really did the trick“. For Rachele, Bologna equals University, the years spent at the Ciamician (the chemistry department). When Internet shows her she can improve and fine-tune the direction she’d taken in Bologna, commuting from Milan at weekends, she has no second thoughts. Reminiscing the Art Nouveau library in via Belmeloro, she decides her next experience will be right at the heart of a late Renaissance villa on the hills. “I understood only afterwards that I’d made the right choice, and at the right time in my career. I needed new skills to be able to see all the strategic aspects of the business, not just those connected to the core of my everyday activities, but in order for my path to continue”.
Rachele has many behavior features that support her professionalism: reliability, tenacity, expertise and punctuality, in every sense. Unlike her Swiss plumber, gone AWOL.
Dreams, private and public
Rachele believes that the professional skills developed in the private sector could bring great value to the public sector. “When I’m asked whether I’d come back to work in Italy, my answer is yes, but only for the public system. They call me crazy, but I do believe that to manage clinical governance what is needed is a great deal of rationalization. I keep on building on my skills thinking that perhaps, one day, this dream might come out of its drawer.”
The hunger for competence, efficiency and efficacy often roars during the interview, but never in a detached way. Rachele doesn’t sound to be much affected by everyday life in Switzerland. In her words there’s an unsaid need of seeing things in their right place, so that all the rest can grow at its best. The global job in a green and privileged suburb of Europe offsets Milan weekends “where everything is more creative”, she says, and that wish for significance in positioning things extends to people too. First and foremost herself.
“When I started working at Medtronic my English was very weak, but despite this they chose me. In actual fact, it’s such an international environment that you end up speaking and thinking in whatever language you wish. Going from a local context to a global one was the real challenge, in terms of mindset. I used to get mid-of-the-day crises.” But Rachele’s hardest challenge was an altogether different one.
“If you’d asked me this question years ago I’d have answered differently. Today though I’ll tell you the hardest challenge was motherhood. We resorted to artificial insemination, an amazing journey, difficult as well, that demands a lot from you, psychologically speaking. Faced with this experience, I put into perspective all that happened before, basically everything was small in comparison.”
Little Riccardo was born nine months ago. His mom talks to him in Italian and she believes in the quality, rather than in the quantity of free time. “I’d like to imagine him with fewer language difficulties than me. That’s why I’m thinking about an international school for him. I’d like to give him the gift of the time one devotes to learning a foreign language to do something else. I dream he might have nice chats with his cousins, as they have American, Kazakh and British blood in their veins”.
The maternal report sounds as follows: Riccardo is a good boy, we’re very happy and everything is going well.
Faced with the choice between knowing how to do things and being able to do these things, Rachele goes for the former. “That’s what suits me best. I don’t think you ever end the journey. I’m a very concrete person: I’m inspired by people who can produce, words are not enough for me. I don’t know much about art, but I visit contemporary art fairs observing what’s tangible around me, and it’s so exciting.” The plumber is still missing, but I can easily figure out a dialogue during which she tries to unveil the craft’s mysteries.
A piece of advice to a student
“I’ve had interns, often from the London School of Economics. They’ve just graduated and they introduce themselves as Nobel prize-to-be. Then Italian newly graduated kids arrive. They’re not too good at marketing themselves, but you sense there’s experience there, and substance. Italian University curricula, at least in my field, are excellent, but what is lacking is they don’t teach you how to communicate and the soft skills, like they do in foreign programs. I mean: my six-year-old niece lives in Florida, she attends elementary school and she had to put together a bookmark. But first, they made her devise a business plan. It’s too much if you’re six, but it makes you realize how backwards we are as for these aspects. So, my suggestion is, spend time abroad. An Italian stomach with a good foreign diet, it rocks”.
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