Every year the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) awards outstanding international students at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, the DAAD-prize for academic excellence and intercultural commitment.
Eliomaria Narducci from Italy is awarded this year’s DAAD-prize, which is endowed with 1.000 Euro. Eliomaria Narducci is studying the Master in Management at Frankfurt School and graduates in October. “Elio is a very motivated student and volunteered as class representative and speaker of the Student Council at Frankfurt School”, as Tanja Ward, programme director at Frankfurt School, points out.
The DAAD-award and various scholarships for the academic year 2015/2016 was awarded at the scholarship ceremony on October 16th at Frankfurt School.
Elio, you have been awarded the DAAD-prize 2015 for outstanding foreign students – Congratulations. What was your first thought, when you received the good news?
Thanks! It was a real surprise to receive the e-mail informing me that I was awarded the DAAD-prize 2015. It was really unexpected. To be honest, I looked at the email a second time after getting it and I checked whether it was really addressed to me. I am honoured that I have been awarded this important prize that makes my experience at Frankfurt School even more valuable.
Why did you choose to study a Master programme in Germany?
After graduating from Bocconi University in Italy I thought it is time to move. At the time the economic situation in Italy was not promising. I had the chance to visit Germany several times during my Bachelor and on these occasions I got to learn about its business environment. At the end of my studies in Italy I decided to write my thesis on the strategic growth of German SMEs, also thanks to the contacts I made with some companies around Frankfurt. I also noted that it is possible at German universities to work besides studying and I found this aspect very important and somehow unusual coming from the Italian education system. I therefore looked for possibilities to continue my studies in management in Germany and Frankfurt School of Finance & Management was the most promising Business School in the country.
Do you think studying in Germany was helpful for the job entry / your career?
Even before moving to Germany I was told that without speaking any German I would have difficulties in finding a good job. The Frankfurt School Master programmes offer the possibility of being at the university for three days a week and to work the rest of the week. At the beginning of my Master in Management I spent those available days studying German and looking for jobs. It turned out that my fear of not finding any job was absolutely ungrounded. I found a very interesting job as a financial controller and assistant to the CFO of a multinational automotive company. I have worked for this company for one and a half years, learning a lot while deepening my theoretical knowledge at Frankfurt School. The most interesting part was that due to the fact that almost all of my classmates were working in different sectors, in class we were often having discussions about our professions and thanks to this exchange of practical and sector-related knowledge, I was able to grow professionally.
What are your next steps after the graduation? Would you like to stay in Frankfurt and work here?
I wanted to find a way of staying in Frankfurt, where after two years I have many friends, while being closer to Italy. Thanks to Frankfurt School the solution came by itself. Some months ago the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany organised a conference at Frankfurt School with the Italian Minister of Justice. On that occasion I was able to introduce myself to the German-Italian business community and a work relation with the Chamber started. I find Germany and especially Frankfurt a place open to international people and that gives young people many possibilities. I do not know what the future will bring but for now I feel very good here in Frankfurt.
You have been engaged at Frankfurt School in some student’s initiatives. What do you like most about Frankfurt School and why is social engagement important to you?
During my time at Frankfurt School I had the honour of being elected initially as class representative of the Master in Management and the year after as the Speaker of the Student Council of Frankfurt School. Both experiences were highly valuable. Frankfurt School has set for itself high goals that with time I am sure are going to be accomplished. Reaching these goals requires on the one hand the constant work of the wonderful people working there, on the other the support of the students and alumni. I have always seen Frankfurt School as a big family, where the students are smart and ambitious. I also thought that I could bring something new to the mix, trying to make it even better. My Student Council worked for enhancing the community spirit and the student bodies’ organisation that is now also represented by a students’ parliament. I think that everyone should take the chance to make something good happen.
Did you feel as an ambassador of your culture when you are abroad and study with students from all over the world? Do you agree that Frankfurt School’s international community helps to understand other cultures better?
I had the great chance to study in the USA and some years later in Hong Kong. From my experience I learnt that it is very important to be an ambassador of your culture of origin. I realised that only by showing diversities there could be a deep learning exchange. Frankfurt School is a very international place where many cultures meet. Given the large number of projects we had to realise with our classmates, it was interesting to observe how the different cultures collaborated together and I think each of us is now more open and ready to work in international environments.
You have lived in Germany for almost two years now. Did you experience any of the popular “cultural shock” during you stay?
It is hard to answer this question without falling into a stereotype, but I would say that my biggest cultural shock was related to the working habits of the Germans compared to the Italians. First of all, here in Germany everybody is punctual and very efficient in the use of time. Structures are always thought of and the responsibilities of each member of the organisation tend to be clear. In Italy this is not always the case, even if this statement is a generalisation. What I have not found so often in Germany is the flexibility and sometimes the creativity of the Italians that I find essential characteristics when a project has to be closed in a short time. Apart from the more serious cultural differences there is one thing that I still find very difficult to accept: When somebody eats a pizza in Italy it always has mozzarella on it, here in Germany it is cheese.