What is your name, where are you from, and what year are you attending at Franklin? 

I am Giovanni Desiderio, nicknamed Gio, as everyone calls me. I come from Rome, Italy, and am attending the Master of Science in International Management (MSIM) with emphasis in Responsible Management and Digital Transformation.

What is your favorite thing about your home country, what is your favorite thing about Switzerland? How would you compare the two countries?

Well, Italy means funny people, delicious food, deep culture and surprising landscapes, and my hometown, Rome, has probably the best of everything on this list. Switzerland, however, really stole my heart with its breathtaking natural beauty. Switzerland is synonymous with nature and the best way to compare the two countries is to live them both, as I am gratefully doing.

How did you learn about Franklin?

After doing some research, it was evident to me that the Swiss economic market offered many more job opportunities than Italy. In addition, Switzerland is very well geographically placed in the heart of Europe and Lugano is the third most important business and financial center in Switzerland. With these premises, I wanted to move here and started searching online for an interesting and unique master's program. Flash forward to one year later and here I am at Franklin University Switzerland.

What is your favorite thing at Franklin? 

I would call it “unconventional education”. Franklin has a very wide network of partnerships and collaborations worldwide. At the same time, the campus is intimate and enables you to get to know your student colleagues, faculty, and staff on a personal basis. I liked this paradox of global yet small-scale reality at Franklin. 

Additionally, the MSIM is structured in a very smart way. The first part of the program is mainly theoretical, with assignments and academic activities. These courses are fundamental and called “core courses” because they give you basic knowledge in a wide variety of subjects, including managerial finance, project management, leadership, and more. Finally, there is a wide focus on sustainability and the creation of a responsible and innovative solution for our future. The MSIM teaches us to become aware of the important economic, social, and environmental needs, encouraging us to dive deeper into different topics.

The second part of the MSIM is structured in a more dynamic way, focusing on specific areas, experiential learnings, attending seminars, organizing events, working on practical projects, interviewing business leaders, and most importantly, getting closer to the business world we would like to reach as the next step.

What are your aspirations for the future, and how is Franklin teaching you to become a successful professional?

I originally graduated from an international law school based in Rome and started my career as a business lawyer, working for different law firms. After a while I realized that I was missing something: I was forgetting a whole commercial/entrepreneurial part of myself. This is what I found at Franklin University Switzerland, which taught me about management and how to aspire in becoming a future leader. Franklin is giving me a wide array of tools to face leadership in an innovative and sustainable way.

What is one of your all-time favorite courses?

Undoubtedly Project Management with Professor Florence Labati, who today is not just faculty but a friend to me. There is no need to explain why, just look out on the internet and see what we were able to do with our projects Vivido, MoveMe, Big Foot and Amafruit.

As a matter of fact, I took part in participating in the Lugano Living Lab’s Speakers’ Corner Workshop – more details here – where I and fellow graduate students had a chance to pitch and explain different startup ideas. We recently published our projects’ videos which were recorded in a professional studio. My team and I presented Amafruit, the future of distribution of fruits and vegetables, a unique digital B2B marketplace, connecting the best wholesalers to the best retailers, all by helping the fruits and vegetables supply chain to increase its efficiency and improve the quality of the products. 

What is your proudest accomplishment and why?

I guess that being able to “reinvent” myself for future challenges is the proudest accomplishment of my life. I come from another sector, I became a lawyer and then decided to start over again after all those years of studying and working. It’s a choice that requires courage and a great family to support you. Thankfully I have both!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Franklin taught me that there are so many different lives that a person can live during a lifetime. So, I am prepared to expect myself to live all of them. Should I bet on one, in particular, I will become a high-level manager in an organization that I love, working with people that appreciate and support me. In fact, the next stage in my career might be just around the corner, as I am glad to share that I will be joining Connecting Food, a technology company based in Paris serving agribusiness clients and consumers worldwide, for a 6-month internship in the end of March 2022.

What motivates you and why?

I can’t deny that I’m a very very very ambitious person. Money was a driver for many years. Now, at the age of 28, I decided to follow my passions, NO MATTER WHAT. Why? It’s easy. Because I am very lucky, and I can dedicate my life to this meaningful possibility.

Who has been your favorite professor at Franklin and why?

I already mentioned someone in a previous question, but please let me say something in general about teaching, that I have found at Franklin: we, students, need inspiration. We need motivation. We need relationships. Each professor, teacher, mentor should remember that. It is not only about transmitting the knowledge to students but about making them fall in love with life and that specific academic program and course.