Many graduates and undergraduates are unsure about which careers to pursue. The worst global pandemic in a century has overturned the job market. And many trends that were already shaping the world of work at the beginning of 2020 have accelerated significantly. If you feel uncertain about the future, you’re not alone. A large number of individuals, all of whom are preparing to begin their careers, are in the same situation.
Entrepreneur Alberto Barsanti joined us to discuss these problems. He has spent decades working for some of the world’s leading companies and has helped hundreds of business students make sense of the ever-changing and difficult-to-navigate career landscape.
Alberto Barsanti was born and raised in Italy. When he was 24 he moved to Barcelona and has called the city home ever since. After graduating from Bocconi University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Marketing, he worked for Dehler Yachts before joining the Ferrero Group, one of the biggest confectioners in the world, where he spent ten years. He also had a year-long stint at Glovo, one of Spain’s most successful startups, before changing direction to focus on his own projects as an entrepreneur in the food service industry.
Build a Solid Foundation for Your Future Career
Alberto said that before thinking about specific careers, graduates need to lay a solid foundation. And the central pillar of this foundation should be self-knowledge. People that clarify their values, attitudes and priorities have a much greater chance of identifying suitable careers.
For example, if you crave the excitement of a young startup, you will likely feel unsatisfied in the settled environment of an established enterprise. Alternatively, if you want to take full charge of your vision, setting up a company will likely be preferable to working for somebody else.
Alberto pointed out that the job market is extensive, arguably more so than at any other point in history. Because of this, job-hunters have an excellent opportunity to find a position that fits with their unique requirements. And understanding those requirements in a general way is the first step.
According to Alberto, once you have clearly defined your values and goals, specific company characteristics to search for, such as industry, size and products, will become apparent.
Find Mentors and Advisors
Alberto went on to highlight the importance of advisors and mentors. When working at Dehler and Ferrero, he formed relationships with business leaders that were older and more experienced than him, with a wealth of knowledge to pass on.
These mentorships had a powerful impact. He was exposed to an array of different points of view and learned a variety of practical skills. An open-minded, nuanced mindset proved invaluable to him at later stages of his career, both in terms of creating innovative business strategies and working with diverse teams. Alberto repeatedly noted that he had already had a string of mentors when he started his own business, many of whom he met while working for Ferrero.
His time at Glovo, a billion-dollar startup, also gave him valuable insights into how a young company can be managed effectively. Working at such a fast-growing enterprise gave him the opportunity to learn from mentors who understood how to gain traction with a new brand rather than expand an established one, which was his primary experience at Fererro with Nutella.
Seek Manager-Company Balance and Complete a Career Cycle
Another crucial point for graduates to consider when evaluating potential employers is what Alberto called the manager-company balance. Many graduates focus exclusively on the company’s profile when searching for jobs, especially if it’s one they already like. However, it’s equally essential to find a manager you can work well with and learn from. You will spend most of your time, especially at the beginning, with this person.
Alberto reminded graduates to take their time. As members of the “instant gratification” generation, it is easy for young people to fall into the trap of jumping from career to career. Instead, employees should ensure they complete what Alberto calls a “cycle”.
A complete cycle doesn’t mean that you should spend ten years at every company. Instead, you should set clear goals and remain with an organization until you achieve them. In this way, you will build a broad set of abilities, made up of both “soft” and “hard” skills.
Even though Alberto only spent a year working at Dehler Yachts, his time there gave him a valuable insight into how a top international company operates. It also allowed him to connect with people he wouldn’t have otherwise met had he stayed in Italy.
After moving to Ferrero, he spent nine years in various marketing roles, eventually becoming the country marketing manager for Nutella in France, with an advertising budget of thirty million euros. This experience represented a “career cycle” with different goals and a longer time frame compared to his first job.
He rounded off by emphasizing the value of passion, perseverance and willingness to take risks. He advised that graduates take advantage of the myriad of opportunities in the job market to build a career that truly aligns with their purpose and values.
Fuel Your Entrepreneurial Spark at EU Business School
Are you excited by the prospect of a career as an entrepreneur, either at the head of your own company or in an intrapreneurial capacity at an established business?
If the answer is yes, studying with EU Business School will provide you with a space to develop your skills and gain the confidence you need to achieve your ambitions.
We offer a range of graduate and undergraduate programs in entrepreneurship and our campuses are located in leading European business hubs like Barcelona, Geneva and Munich.