How these 5 lessons have changed my life
Alumni / 21 May 2024
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Master of Finance, Class of 2013
Francesco Pisani is a Director in the M&A Transaction Services team with a focus on Value Creation Services. He has many years of experience in working on strategic projects for established companies, startups and investors as well as public institutions. Francesco has completed his Master of Finance and the doctoral programme at Frankfurt School and is a lecturer on the topic of Entrepreneurship.

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Time goes by so fast. Since the publication of my last blog post for Frankfurt School almost 10 years have passed and many things have changed, or better, evolved I would say. After the completion of the Master of Finance, I stayed at FS to pursue my PhD and over time I further added various qualifications to my CV.

Take the right choices, they will pay off over time

Today, I work at Deloitte as Director in the M&A Transaction Services department with a focus on Value Creation Services. I have spent almost a decade consulting established companies and investors like private equity houses as well as startups on topics linked to strategy and corporate transactions.

In the past years not only my professional accountabilities have grown, but also my responsibilities at home. I am happy to mention that I am married today and a father of two kids: there is a connection with FS as well, as I met my wife during our studies – she is also an FS alumna.

In almost all key aspects of my life, FS played a pivotal role. This is the beauty of this Business School: Once you are part of it, it will make a difference.  If you want to continue your learning journey after your studies, there are a lot of chances via dedicated accreditations, research centres, the alumni community, and much more.

Surround yourself with inspiring people

Especially the alumni events are a good opportunity to stay connected. I still have very good relationships with some of my colleagues from the Master programme. It is very emotional to see how we all have changed, now having a family with kids and a completely different life.

The person I am today has also been shaped by the learnings and influence I received from the people around me. In Italy, we like to say, “dimmi con chi vai e ti dirò chi sei” (“tell me who you are going with and I’ll tell you who you are“). In this respect, FS was a great place to find very motivated and smart people, and whenever I have the chance, I always try to reach out to some of them.

Keep learning and remember to give back

Additionally, because of my teaching activities, I kept a closer connection to FS. After my PhD, I started lecturing selected classes and nowadays I have the pleasure to teach entire modules on entrepreneurship. I love to provide students with the most viable tools and frameworks to help them establish successful ventures, develop an entrepreneurial mindset and work out desirable solutions for tricky challenges.

As the speed of technological innovation is increasing, especially the younger generations will need to develop new skills centered around problem-solving and critical thinking to stay relevant. The rest must come with continuous learning and the ability to interpret major macro trends having a long-term approach. It is not a secret that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Identify your own way

I learned that both in business and life, success is determined by what we choose to do as much as by what we choose not to do. When starting the Master of Finance it seemed obvious what career path most students would take. Some were aiming for a career in asset management, others in consulting, and some had already worked in banks for years. And then there were the ones like me: fascinated by knowledge, curious to know more, passionate about specific topics like private equity, and not classifiable in old-school HR grids.

When I started my studies at FS, I already held another Master’s degree and work experience, thus there was no pre-defined career path from where I was coming from to what I am doing today. My responsibilities range from commercial due diligences to topline acceleration, from market entry strategy to carve-out support and costs optimisation. Now all is linear, but back then, it seemed overwhelming.

Appreciate more, complain less, and work smarter

I cannot imagine how tough it is be for students nowadays to decide which career path to take. The scarcity of skilled people has increased by the digitalisation of work, and hyperconnectivity makes almost everything within reach. Nevertheless, the illusion of great opportunities is counterbalanced by the reality of entry level jobs, where hierarchies, culture, and required tasks are not always as expected.

Reflecting on my experiences, they were not always as polished as I hoped. But I am happy that I did not give up. Things might be different now, but there is one thing that I would like to share with the new generation: For those who dare, the future reserves many chances, and I cannot wait to