Often I stop for a few seconds and look back at my past, trying to answer questions like "Who am I?", "What made me this way?", or "How did I get here?". I guess most people do the same, and have one period in their life that’s replayed more than others. For me, it is definitely that one year I spent in London studying at the LSE.
Once I landed in London, I thought I knew. My long-term goal was clear – at the time I wanted to work in academia, enrolling in a PhD programme after my masters, and one day become a professor at a prestigious university such as LSE - and the MSc in EU Politics at the EI was the next big step to get there. Six years later, I’m now a Senior Business Intelligence Engineer at Amazon, leading a team of four incredibly bright engineers. I’m really proud of my current position and of what I’ve achieved over the last few years, even though I would never have imagined it in the first place. Over the last few years, Amazon has provided me with the opportunity to work with incredible people, be promoted four times, learn from extremely experienced professionals, and improve both my soft and technical skills.
However these successes, my attitude towards my professional and personal life, and parts of my identity as a manager and leader of tech team, are to be attributed to a large extent to that one year I spent at the EI. That year I experienced confusion and uncertainty for the first time. A few months into my degree, I was no longer sure about my long-term career goal – which I then realised is quite normal at twenty-two – and also came to learn I would have to become a father. With thousands of questions and little control, I went to meet a representative of the European Institute Student Affairs Team. That meeting was evolutionary.
Since that meeting, my approach toward studying and continuous learning has drastically changed. I understood that LSE was bringing me much more value than I was able to recognize. I embraced it. I started to regularly meet with members of staff and with my fellow students as well; I was open to receiving any lesson, to challenging and being challenged, and to making others' experiences my own. The LSE course’s structure was ideal for this to happen.
During lectures, I was like a blank book. I’ll never forget a lecture from Prof. Paul de Grauwe about lessons from the sovereign-debt crisis. That lesson, like many others, was really inspirational: the subject was explained with such care that everyone after the lecture related to it and kept the conversation going. On the other hand, thanks to the professor’s methodology and detailed narration, I realised that the ability to assess a particular situation and develop lessons learned is fundamental to anyone wishing to improve, identify new risks in the future, and potentially avoid similar mistakes.
Overall, my year at the LSE was magical. The EI helped me introduce structure, look around corners, and discern opportunities from threats; it taught me that not all problems shall carry the same weight. Since my year at the LSE, I have never stopped studying (I am completing my MBA program now) or learning new things. I have become curious about everything that surrounds me, and I am open to learning more. Thanks to the LSE, I matured and slowly transformed into the person I am today. That is why that year will always be replayed in the movie of my life.