How did you first become interested in economics?
It happened very early in life. My father moved to Switzerland when I was a child, and I would always check what the exchange rate was for the Swiss franc. I thought it was incredibly interesting. From then on I was always more interested in mathematical subjects, and when I took economics in high school I knew I wanted to study it at university.
Why did you choose to study at the School of Economics at Nottingham?
At the time I was very keen on development economics, and Nottingham is one of the top universities in that field. I applied to a number of universities, but I was overjoyed when I was accepted by Nottingham.
What are your fondest memories of your time at the school?
Microeconomics in my first year was one highlight. To this day I remember how my tutor made diminishing marginal returns interesting by using a real-world example about beer consumption.
One other great memory was co-founding a Society in my first year! Together with a friend I had met in primary school and who was in my Economics class we founded The University of Nottingham Italian Society. It was a great experience and we organised many events for ourselves and in collaboration with other societies. I still wear our football jersey to this day. The Society still runs so I left a legacy in Nottingham.
The school also gave me the opportunity to spend a semester abroad. I went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. It was an incredible highlight of my undergraduate studies.
What advice would you give to someone considering or about to start a course at the school?
Apart from what you learn and what your career aspirations are, by attending a top school you really meet an incredibly talented and diverse pool of students and academics. These are invaluable assets both for your personal life and your professional career. So my advice would be to meet as many people as possible and leverage the excellence you find at Nottingham.
What did you do after graduating?
First I pursued a masters in mathematical trading and finance at Cass Business School. It was refreshing to have a classmate from Nottingham there and to have many friends from Nottingham living in London. I then went to work at Commerzbank AG as a trader in its fixed income department.
Tell us more about life as a trader.
Working in trading was an incredibly exciting and professionally rewarding experience. It's especially challenging at the start, when you have a steep learning curve and there's a need to contribute to the business as soon as possible. The job itself requires quick thinking and a deep belief in your ideas - you can't give a client a price and then change your mind! You have to update your market knowledge and skills all the times, so it's important to be entrepreneurial and self-motivated.
And what did you do next?
I completed an MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles. After almost five years at Commerzbank I decided to return to further education.
In what ways have your experiences at the school helped shape your career?
They've been absolutely fundamental. I had only lived in Italy before moving to Nottingham, and I was pushed out of my comfort zone. The experience taught me to challenge myself and to try to do things differently.
Of course, the school itself gave me strong academic foundations. Also, many of its students pursue careers in banking, so being part of that environment helped me achieve one of my main career goals.
Are you still in touch with your fellow alumni and, if so, how do you stay in contact?
I am! Most of my good friends from Nottingham came from my class. London is an economic and financial hub, so that's where many alumni go. I still occasionally play football with some of them - yes, we're not as good as we used to be - and I regularly meet with others. Those I can't see in person I stay in touch with through social media.
Why is staying in touch important?
We shared a fundamental part of our lives. We went from being teenage high school students to experiencing university life and building our paths into adulthood. That really brings you together. Even though a lot of our paths have diverged since, there's an invaluable depth to our relationships.
Also, one thing I find great about Nottingham is how many alumni it has. I was recently trekking in the Colombian jungle and started talking with another tourist, and after about 10 minutes we found ourselves chatting about our experiences in the student halls at Nottingham!