BBS Alumni talk about themselves: what was before, what came after and the memories of the student’s life, to offer a personal story and a narration of one’s own professional experience. For a history of our Community.
The protagonist of the eleventh episode is Gerardo Famiglietti, Subsidiary Managing Director in Brazil and Export Area Manager at Unigrà S.r.l., Master in Management 2012-2013.
Gerardo’s soundtrack is La Vida Tombola by Manu Chao.
“As I step out of my home, I need to be ready to interpret a series of parts, roles, scenes. The hardest part is making the others I interact with have a feeling of improvisation, when in actual fact there’s a whole work of preparation, of study, behind.” Gerardo’s job is ever-changing: he has no typical day, his professional life is made of relationships, acts of mediation, inventories of situations, voices, audiences and different languages. Gerardo is right at the beginning of his career and he fills a double role for an Italian company in Brazil.
The story so far
“Every life experience tends to change us, to form new layers in our personality.” If this statement of his is true, Gerardo has as many layers as a puff pastry. Originally from Naples, at the age of fifteen he left home to attend the “Nunziatella” Military School, at the end of which he abandoned the army and enrolled at the University of Bologna, to study Humanities, Ancient Languages and Literature to be precise. In order to be able to complete his MA in Ancient History (spiced with a year for the Erasmus project in Spain), he had to dip into his personal reserve of motivation. “I had only two exams left to do, I’d already written my final thesis, but I had lost momentum. For about five months I asked to be tied to a chair like the Italian dramatist Vittorio Alfieri with his famous motto “volli, sempre volli, fortissimamente volli” (I willed, and always willed, and passionately willed).
In the meantime Gerardo kept busy with a series of odd jobs, all more or less on a fairly regular basis and linked to his studies. “The most significant experience I had before the Master was with a banking group, still in Sales, specifically it was B2C. I left when I started attending the Master. I had the feeling I was hitting my head against the ceiling.”
“I was working at a booth, inside a shopping mall, and I was lost in thought staring at the shop-window in front of me. The neon light was showering me from above: I was a glaring example of the alienation of a non-place.”
Gerardo was twenty-seven and was thinking: why not get back in the race?
He started looking around with new eyes and in the end he found BBS. The balance between theory and practice seemed perfect for someone like him, who worked in the field without any academic basis. Remaining in Bologna, for him, was also a remarkable practical investment. It was a way to come full circle about his education with the University of Bologna, in a sort of final raising.
“I left no room for disappointment or enthusiasm during the Master. I attended the course for the course’s sake, art for art’s sake. Those who attend a master usually access a mental process in which they become slaves of concepts such as placement, assessing partnerships and the school’s network. Personally, I just closed my eyes for a year and stayed focused: I believe it was the best choice for me.”
Football, Naples and fantasy
“I was born rolling with a ball in a football pitch, I swear by the success of a team and don’t believe much in the success of an individual”. For Gerardo, 96.7% of his job is done together with the others. He explains this belief he has about work done with the others, together with them, in two distinct moments: when he talks of the football team locker rooms and his childhood in Naples. “One of the characteristics that always distinguished me is that I always seem to be in my element, whether I find myself in loud Naples alleys or at a gala dinner. I’m a healthy carrier of ‘Neapolitanness’ and I’m very proud of it: this town forces you to constantly adapt, to relate to social classes and experiences that are continuously mixing up”.
This gift he has turned out to be fundamental for his job in Brazil. “When you think you’ve solved a problem, you’ve actually triggered at least two new ones. When you have to reconcile a European corporate, organizational culture with a working universe that is 100% different like the Brazilian one, you must adapt and come to terms with it.”
In our chat with Gerardo, here, something peeps out: there’s no space for easy excitement or disappointment in working in the field. If you believed you’d found the right way to funnel a situation, that you were able to establish a rule shared with the whole organization, well you’re only deluding yourself and “from around the corner the other side of the matter peeps out”.
There’s a lot of drama and theatricality in Gerardo’s way of presenting himself. He improvises methodically, he’s in his element in different social contexts, he wanders, he comes form the south [of Italy] and has moved to another south, he gets transformed.
He sounds ambitious, and he confirms it right away. I ask him what inspires him. “Daydreaming about the developments of my future life helps me, not just in economic and professional terms though. When I look for inspiration to get out of certain mental blind alleys, I try to disengage myself from the present to imagine a possible future, more or less real.” He quotes “Cristoforo Colombo” a song by the Italian singer and songwriter Francesco Guccini (the absurd challenges us to push us to be proud of ourselves), to say that like all paths of the imagination, his too often lead to less traveled roads.
A piece of advice to a student
“Never stop being one. We live in such a dynamic and fluid era that those who think they’ve made it are just one step short of failing. Never consider the end of studies as a target in itself, as a terminus post quem (a limit after which): we are a whole path, that goes from the beginning to the end of our life. Those who weren’t good up to now won’t be penalized. Those who were geniuses, won’t necessarily always be one. We’re always under scrutiny, everyone, all the time.”
Do you want to read more stories from the BBS Alumnae and Alumni Community? Click here.
Oops! We could not locate your form.