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, for a history of our Community. The protagonist of the XVIII episode is Samantha Labanti, Global Training Manager at Bolton Medical, MBA Part-time (Weekend).
Samantha’s soundtrack is: “It takes a fool to remain sane” The Ark.
“So, from the airport you drive towards Barcelona down-town, on that sort of motorway-bypass. You get to a certain point, under a few bridges… you know? Well, right there, to the right there’s a crooked, red building. It’s the Fira neighbourhood. Opposite, there’s a 25-storey silver tower. That’s Werfen’s building”. It’s not the beginning of the story. Actually, not even the end. Entering that building, headquarters of a large multinational, was Samantha’s decisive step, when she stops for a while to observe what came before. The story she narrates concerns the exhausting, complex, even disorderly path she faced to enter that building in Barcelona. Now she has to take a plane with her husband and move to the Miami operating office of the same multinational. Now, let’s rewind the tape of the events.
THE STORY SO FAR
Samantha was at the third year of high school when she decided to attend a nursing school. At the time a high school diploma wasn’t required to start the course. She studied, she worked, she concentrated five years of study in one, to jump straight into university: degree in Educational Science. And meanwhile she kept working as a nurse in the operating theatre. “In there, I saw medical sales reps in action, I interacted with them, directly. And they noticed me.” She started a new experience in sales in the medical sector. For Samantha, work is a necessary experience for her own evolution. She discovered professional mechanisms, the “how-works-what”. “Taking the first steps in a small company allows you to see everything: logistics, the commercial side, accounting, external relations”. An overall company view that Samantha lays claim to as the base knowledge to mould her professionalism. Eclecticism becomes her strength.
EMBARKING ON NEW EXPERIENCES
Reflecting, eclecticism is a rather important part of Samantha’s life. She unveils it clearly when, at the end of our conversation, she tells us about her relationship with sports. “The idea of running every morning, putting my shoes on and running always along the same circuit, nauseates me”. Samantha heard about surfing, she got interested, she went to Torbole-Lake Garda to try windsurf. Then, Fuerteventura to do kite-surfing. Her passion for motorbikes took her quickly from Harley to BMW. Such an outlandish passage that bikers might swoon. “As soon as a curiosity arises in me, I have to try it. Once my curiosity is quenched, I move on to something new”. Eclectic indeed.
INVESTING ON ONESELF
Working, of course, also means an income. And she reinvested the income she had accumulated to train herself. “The EMBA at BBS, I paid it for myself, I was awarded a grant for higher education that covered 50% of the fee”. Six months of studies during which Samantha approached Marketing and Sales “at the time, for me, it was something totally unknown”. Here is the context: she left the operating theatre, where she worked as a nurse, and she started working for a medical products distributor. “A fantastic experience. A small company, where I could keep an eye on the entire business process: from accounting to sales, through external relations.” What she studied at the Masters course, she saw it applied on a daily basis, every single element of it, in the company she worked for.
PLACEMENT STARTS FROM YOURSELF
Here comes Samantha’s trick: she added the EMBA to her CV while she was still attending it. The saying goes that you create your own luck and Samantha followed it literally. A medical multinational immediately contacted her and she went from the national small business to a context where her career could take off. The glue is the theoretical competence she acquired in that moment, by attending the Masters course. “From the crisis that occurs when something doesn’t go as it should, a delayed product, from the panic of having to find a solution to a setback, I moved to analysing the framework of the situation. Where exactly along the whole process the problem emerged. Identifying it with clarity of mind and detachment”.
THE OVERALL PICTURE
“The EMBA leads you to reflect on things and to develop an emotional objectivity when you need to face responsibilities”. In a working context that is characterized by a high scientific level, Samantha works closely with highly specialized professionals: they normally transform the solution into a rule, once the solution is found. “This though carries the risk of stiffening processes, it clouds the overall picture.” This systematic approach, that she learnt at the Masters course, becomes fundamental to make her plan training projects that will be proposed in every international office of the company she works for. Having marketing, R&D, sales needs and targets clear in her mind.
A PIECE OF ADVICE TO A STUDENT
“If you choose a part-time course, make the most of it by comparing what you’re studying and the business organization in which you’re operating. From this approach, that must include an exhaustive view of the structure you’re involved in, try and draw as many examples as possible. Apply what you’re studying, put it in practice always taking into account that, faced with complexity, you must always act in a diplomatic way”.
The richness of the experience is not the fact in itself, it’s what’s left in you that prepares you to face the future with ever new eyes.