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From Frankfurt School to CEO, in the blink of an eye
Master in Management / 26. April 2021
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Master in Management Class of 2015
After graduating from Frankfurt School with a Master in Management, Eliomaria became the youngest CEO of ITKAM (Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany).

Autorenprofil

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When I look at the companies and positions that me and my former classmates reached in this amount of time after graduation I could not feel prouder. The concentrations in Manufacturing, Strategy and Banking lead us to the top players in industry, consulting and banking. The Master in Management helped me to be ready to deal with the different inputs that I have to manage today.

I have a lot to thank Frankfurt School for. I got in contact with my current employer, ITKAM, through an event with the former Italian Minister of Justice co-organised by ITKAM at Frankfurt School. On that occasion, I was able to meet some of the representatives of the Italian community in Germany, the diplomatic and public organisations as well as the top managers, professionals and entrepreneurs working with the two countries.

It all began with a question

I went to the conference as an FS Student Council’s speaker representing the School. In 2015 the youth unemployment in Italy was at record levels and because of my role at FS and my personal experience of expatriating to find better opportunities, I asked the Minister what the Government’s agenda for the younger generations was. From this question a debate started. I explained that in Germany I was immediately given the possibility to work with very experienced professionals and that, it is the mix of knowledge and the vision of experienced people, together with the energies and willingness to do and to make mistakes of the younger generations, that makes organisations go forward and improve. My speech was actually heard. Soon after, I was invited for lunch by the President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany who offered me the possibility to start a collaboration with them. ITKAM was facing in that moment one of the toughest crises ever experienced in more than 100 years of existence and the President said to me “I think you are the right person to work on this challenge, if you are interested you have carte blanche, you can start tomorrow”.

A life-changing decision

I remember going home and calling my family. My dad said that this story was so interesting that he wished to see the end of it. Then he paused and said: “remember that in this home if any of us ever has a problem, a plate of pasta will always be granted!”- I quit my previous position and started as a consultant at ITKAM. The first months at the chamber were tough. I had to restructure the whole organisation while the business was still running at continuous losses. We were losing subsidies and our main clients at the same time. We were cutting costs while developing and generating new revenue streams. I was restructuring the debts of ITKAM during the day and writing my master theses at night. At the end of 2015 we recorded the first break-even after years. In February 2016, the supervisory board of ITKAM appointed a 24-year-old recent graduate as CEO of the Chamber.

How does the future look?

 Today, ITKAM continues its historical role as reference point for the economic relationships between Italy and Germany. We operate among politics, public administrations, business associations and companies. In 2020, the pandemics had a strong impact on the Chamber, but we were able, thanks to our business model, to soften the effects of the decreasing revenues. We are continuing working, always trying to develop new projects that can help the recovery of the German and Italian economies.

 2020 was also a year of great changes for me. Suddenly I stopped flying to our offices in Germany, Italy and Brussels. The conferences and meetings all around Europe became digital. Unexpectedly, I had a less busy schedule and I could work on my PhD in Economics, Management and Accounting, which I hope to soon finish with my thesis on Internationalisation.

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