BBS Alumni talk about themselves: what was before, what came after and the memories of life as a student, to offer a personal story and a narration of one's own professional experience, to form a history of our Community.
Maria Rosaria's soundtrack is Liberi… liberi by Vasco Rossi.
It doesn't often happen, in Italy, to stumble onto the word Manager in the job title of a person under 35 years of age. In addition to that, if the professional sector is international sales, usually a men-dominated domain, if the person in question is a woman and she's 34, it's hard not to think you've encountered a natural talent –and a sparkling one at that.
To complete the exceptions, Maria Rosaria is the first recently graduated interviewee of this feature: she is a BBS Alumna since last July, 4th.
The story (not) so far
“After my degree in International Relations, and a few and short initial working experiences, I joined Ferrarelle, dealing with Customer Care and Logistics, supporting the Export Sales Division”. Maria Rosaria entered the company through this door, and four years later she moved to the Sales Division to manage and develop the markets of Australasia and America. After two years working side by side with her then boss, Maria Rosaria replaced him in his position. “I can't think specifically of a moment of particular difficulty: if you operate in Sales, you must deal on a daily basis with targets to achieve. In Sales, though, a general difficulty is managing to acquire credibility if you're a woman. You need time to make people understand that even if you're young, you take decisions. In some areas of the world, like in the Far East, the problem is age, because they're used to often talk directly to the CEO or the founder. On other occasions, still because of cultural reasons, the fact of being a woman may complicate things, like in the Gulf countries and in the Middle East”.
When she was promoted, Maria Rosaria made a proposal to her company: because of the position she'd just come to fill, she'd have liked to go on studying, to improve herself in order to improve the business she'd been put in charge of. She asked to attend a masters.
“Among all the training possibilities I checked, the Executive Master in Sales and Marketing seemed to be comprehensive, including all-round subjects, about both the sales sector and pure marketing.”
Therefore Maria Rosaria, originally from Naples but by then located in Milan, started investing two days a week on the hills around Bologna, commuting every day, because “as I travel extensively for my job, anytime I can, I try to avoid hotels”.
“It's been a fantastic experience. The continuous exchanges of views with other professionals is an experience that makes you reach for the stars. Then there's the networking, with both students and teaching staff.”
Despite her preference for home rather than hotels, Maria Rosaria adores travelling. We talk briefly about her most recent destination and then the next business trip. I dare being nosey with her diary, to discover when and where will be her next pleasure trip. It's hard to get information from Maria Rosaria about her life outside the office, about the spare time that, as she says, she's only recently resumed indulging in.
It's normal: Maria Rosaria is young and with a career to look after, and the time she has at her disposal to make it grow is now. I ask her whether there's something that inspires her and she curtly replies “targets”.
“Despite being Neapolitan, I have no amulets. My motto is if you do, you have.” So, what's perseverance then? “It's everything, and everyday, it's the special ingredient.”
A piece of advice to a student
“To today's students I suggest to be tomorrow's students as well. It's important never to stop, to go on learning and stay up-to-date. To continue studying also beyond the years at University is a very strong, beautiful experience, a demanding one, that forces you to a more meaningful exchange of views. The fact of still studying is seen under a positive light. You understand it is a privilege, to go on doing it.“
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