It was a beautiful sunny morning on the first of September 2015. The square next to the ESE Florence Campus was filled with journalists, classmates and relatives of two Italian third-year Bachelor of Business Administration students at the time, Cesare Poccianti and Michele Sabatini. An impressive Land Rover was parked in the middle, ready to start a 30.000-kilometer journey across 30 countries. The Overland Expedition ‘From Florence to Singapore’ was about to start.
Several months and incredible adventures later, the two ESE Florence students euphorically celebrated their arrival in Singapore with a bottle of Italian sparkling wine on top of their truck, proud of having realized their dream and completed their ambitious project. Their Bachelor graduation was now about to approach and it was time to start thinking of what to do next.
Six months later ESE Florence spoke with graduate Cesare Poccianti. What is he doing nowadays? How is he looking back on his study and travel experiences at ESE Florence?
Name: Cesare Poccianti (right)
Study programme: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSc Hons)
How are you doing and where are you these days?
‘I am doing very well, thanks! I am in Munich (Germany) working for a private equity firm called Avoncourt Partners GmbH.
I am currently employed as a project manager. My main responsibilities are developing startups within the firm and consulting companies within our portfolio. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by work these past weeks, but it has been great, I like it a lot so far. It is a very interesting work environment and really fits my previous study and internship experiences at ESE Florence.’
In what way have your Bachelor studies at ESE Florence helped you to get in your current position?
‘The Bachelor in Business Administration was a very solid and complete preparation. What I really appreciated was the fact that you get a lot of space for doing what you love and develop projects as you expand your knowledge. Also the fact that you end your 3-year Bachelor degree programme with at least 5-6 months of professional experience through the internship placements, the priceless opportunity of interacting with lecturers continuously, and not to mention having the chance of living in up to 6 prominent cities during your studies is just unique.
It helped me to discover the world, to discover myself and to shape my future plans. Thanks to the opportunities I had during my time at ESE Florence, I am where I am now.’
What have you learned from your study experience? Do you use the knowledge and skills in your job and daily life?
‘My three years at the Florence campus were amazing and ESE helped me in many different ways. Apart from the core courses and specialization modules, I also learned to develop much needed practical skills such as problem solving, team leading and negotiation.
But what I am most grateful for was when ESE believed in me and my classmate Michele Sabatini the day we pitched our dream project to ESE’s management and wanted to take part in our crazy and virtually impossible overland journey. That very day I understood that you can get things done without necessarily having years of experience and double degrees, if you genuinely believe in your dreams. A lesson for life I think.’
What have you learned from your internship experiences that is useful in your current job?
‘During one internship in particular I did in a start-up called Gourmant, I learned a very useful skill: the art of selling and negotiating by phone and e-mail, without ever meeting with counterparts in person. I still use these techniques today saving a great deal of time and money.’
What is your most precious memory from ESE Florence?
‘Now that I live in Germany, I realize that I miss the Florentine beauty, passion and culture. I also miss the ESE Florence peers and faculty staff. My most precious memory from ESE is that I could be part of such a unique group of people with whom I could learn, grow, debate and share my opinions and findings on a daily basis.’
What are your ambitions for the next 5 years?
‘In the next 5 years I would like to keep growing professionally and continue discovering the world with its features and opportunities. And I will return to my homeland, but I am not sure if that would be on the short term already.’
Cesare Poccianti at his current job at Avoncourt Partners GmbH, private equity firm in Munich, Germany.