As the newly appointed Leader of the Luiss Alumni Association Chapter in São Paulo, could you share what this role of “ambassador” means to you and the importance of forging new collaborations, including academic ones, in countries like Brazil and Argentina?
I am deeply honored to have been chosen as the Chapter Leader for Luiss in Brazil, a university to which I owe so much. I am immensely grateful to Luiss for not only providing me with an exceptional education but also offering me the opportunity to participate in various activities that have been crucial to my career. For instance, during my Bachelor’s degree, Luiss supported me in undertaking an internship abroad in Brazil in 2008, working at the ANSA correspondence office here in São Paulo. The support with insurance and the generous scholarship system not only benefited me but also extended to other family members who could pursue their studies. We are all incredibly grateful for this support. Being the representative of Luiss graduates in Brazil is a tremendous honor. Our community comprises accomplished professionals engaged in diverse fields such as management, company leadership, journalism, chambers of commerce, and diplomacy. We collaborate and support one another, striving for both individual and collective success. Establishing new collaborations and partnerships with academic institutions in this region is of paramount importance. Given the demographic challenges faced by Italy, it becomes even more intriguing to foster connections here. Moreover, creating economic opportunities for companies seeking to enter the South American market, where the Italian presence is already substantial, is crucial. Looking ahead, Luiss graduates could become catalysts for the growth of new enterprises, acting as a driving force for development.
Throughout your remarkable career, which has been characterized by various international experiences, do you believe there have been pivotal or ‘sliding doors’ moments, that have significantly impacted your life, particularly from a professional perspective?
One pivotal moment occurred when an older friend of mine from Luiss completed an internship at ANSA in Paris. We discussed it one day at Viale Pola, and I impulsively decided to apply as well. This decision ultimately led me to Brazil, where my career took off. I had never imagined that an Italian could work as a writer in a foreign language and engage in activities typically associated with locals or natives. This transformative turning point opened up new possibilities for me. Another significant event was when I became a correspondent for Limes magazine in Brazil, thanks to my encounter with editor Caracciolo during my studies at Luiss. Caracciolo, who was my first-year geopolitics professor, later became my thesis supervisor, and our collaboration continued after graduation, playing a crucial role in shaping my career. It also provided opportunities such as teaching geopolitics in Brazil. The international opportunities offered by Luiss were instrumental, including my university exchange program in Israel. Being the first Italian student to participate in this program under the newly established university agreement was an incredibly valuable experience. Luiss has provided me with numerous significant opportunities that have shaped my journey.
From the café at Viale Pola, your journey in journalism began—a field that remains highly competitive, especially with the strong digitalization it has witnessed in recent years. Could you please share with us the most daunting challenges you have faced in your recent career and how you managed to confront them, leveraging new technologies?
Journalism is currently undergoing a transformative phase, comparable to natural selection, where only those who adapt can thrive. We have witnessed renowned newspapers struggling to keep up and, unfortunately, shutting down. The most challenging aspect revolves around the ability to stay relevant and captivate the audience, ensuring user retention and generating advertising revenue. To tackle these challenges, one skill I developed, even prior to the pandemic, is mastering the language of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In the digital age, where the majority of information is conveyed online, understanding SEO is crucial for crafting online articles that perform well. Given that Google’s algorithm changes daily, this challenge is ever-evolving. Journalists must not only search for news but also write in a manner that secures a prominent spot in search results. Artificial intelligence poses the next potential challenge, and it becomes crucial to emphasize the importance of having journalists on board, as many organizations are replacing human reporters with ChatGPT and similar technologies. While journalism continues to evolve, it is not a cause for alarm; rather, it is part of the game. The crucial factor is to provide journalism that adds value, preventing it from becoming a mere commodity driven solely by price. In such a scenario, the use of ChatGPT and similar technologies could have an advantage. Currently, establishing relevance on social and research platforms is pivotal, but the next frontier will involve effectively harnessing artificial intelligence to streamline tasks, allowing journalists to focus on areas that require human intelligence.
When it comes to giving advice to Luiss graduates, one of the common concerns is the fear of failure. However, their most significant challenge is staying relevant in an ever-changing world. In this regard, do you believe that the network, public relations, and opportunities provided by the Luiss Alumni Association can assist in overcoming these challenges?
It is crucial to understand the dynamics of the ever-changing world in order to stay relevant and continuously adapt. One piece of advice I would like to offer to graduates is to never stop studying and remain up-to-date even after completing their studies. Unfortunately, many individuals tend to neglect what they have learned once they have finished their dissertations, but this is a serious professional mistake. We live in a time of rapid change, and it is essential to stay constantly updated to avoid being overtaken by younger individuals who have studied recent market-relevant subjects. If we fail to stay updated, we run the risk of not being able to re-enter professional fields that align with our qualifications. Despite the challenges, the era we live in also presents significant advantages, such as easy access to information and the opportunity to engage in activities at a lower cost.
The advice I would like to impart is to never cease studying, to continuously stay informed, and to have a firm grasp of the market in which you work. It is common to fear making mistakes and experiencing failure, but it is important to understand that failure is not the end of the world. Approaching new endeavors with sincerity, giving your best effort, and learning from failures are crucial steps, as they often bring benefits and added value to the business. In the first few years after graduation, it is vital to take risks and even embrace failure in order to explore different activities and gain professional experience, which will help you better understand the career path you should pursue. Public relations and networking play pivotal roles in staying informed about the latest developments and seizing opportunities that may arise. Allow me to share a personal example: when I applied for an internship at the European Commission, the relationships I had nurtured led me to a position that suited my previous experience. Interestingly, a colleague of mine followed the same path and successfully filled the position I had previously held. Networking is crucial for fostering collaboration and mutual support, enabling you to discover opportunities in various professional fields.
Interview by Rita Gismondi and Angelo D’Alena, members of the Executive Board of the Luiss Alumni Association.