Naturally, the guest stars throughout the 18th edition of the 1-year full-time Master in Corporate Finance (MCF) were all main representatives of today's financial world. A calendar full of presentations and meetings with companies and institutions transformed the MCF classroom into a stage where spokespeople from investment banks, rating agencies, asset managers, big consultancy firms, advisory boutiques, multinational and dynamic medium-sized companies, as well as operators of private equity and venture capital and fintech start-ups showcased themselves.
"Once again our program was able to arrange meetings with a selection of leading operators in the financial sector, ranging from international companies to local ones, who offered a direct insight into the current state of many areas of the financial industry,” said Antonella Liuzzi, MCF Program Coordinator. The MCF class, made up of 17 different nationalities, had the opportunity to interact with the professionals of the sector, to get to know more about the various opportunities for professional development and recruiting directly from hirers looking for specialized professionals in the field of Finance. "These MCF presentations are usually delivered by the key managers of these entities, such as CEOs or CFOs, or they are showcased by the directors of the HR division, accompanied by senior professionals but also junior ones who talk about their own personal work experience and offer suggestions and tips to our students,” Liuzzi continues. “An important role was then also played by the MCF Alumni network, a community of 500 members with whom we always keep in touch. Many of them came to meet the current students, shared their experiences, or even took part in teaching sessions".
A prominent display of international banking.
The first two guests at the MCF were two of the most important international investment banks, Nomura and UBS. Their representatives illustrated the different business models of the two companies that have different backgrounds and locations, presenting career opportunities in the segments of investment banking and wealth management. Nomura then invited the female participants of the Master to a specific event on the role of women in finance organized in Milan with the collaboration of some Milanese universities. After that it was China Development Bank’s turn, an emerging reality in the global banking scene, whose representatives presented the peculiarities of the Asian bank's business model and its development objectives in various financial sectors in the near future.
A comparative view of rating agencies. One of the MCF’s traditions is to host some of the major agencies operating in ratings assignment. Several of them were present at this 18th edition, giving attendees the chance to compare them. Moody's national manager, Mauro Crisafulli, a regular member of the MCF classroom, was the first to meet the participants. In October of last year Crisafulli presented Moody's international organization, the values that distinguish the work of their professionals, their operational areas, and their career opportunities. This presentation was followed by Standard & Poor's, another international rating giant. Their Italian National Manager, Roberto Paciotti, and some members of his staff interacted with MCF students during a very stimulating corporate presentation. The main issues they dealt with were the role of the credit rating in the current market context, and ratings applied to some complex and structured financial products. The rating models also live in an evolutionary dynamic, to adapt to the "new normal". Another important presentation was in fact given by Cerved Rating Agency, the largest Italian rating agency in the issuance of ratings, with an emphasis on small and medium-sized companies. They provided a local vision to fully understand the current dynamics of the Italian credit and financial system, and MCF students were able to acquire information on career paths within a national rating agency directly from the source.
Big international consulting firms and highly professional advisory boutiques.
The big names in international consulting did not miss the MCF. In fact, a company presentation by EY was organized to discuss the "hot" issues of the restructuring of non-performing loans (NPLs) in banks' balance sheets and to examine the opportunities and career paths at one of the "Big 4". Another welcomed presence was that of Excellence Consulting, a young and dynamic reality of management consulting, active in various areas of service with a customer portfolio focused on financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, asset managers). They illustrated their career opportunities, which were oriented not only to Italian students, thus reflecting the strong international vocation of the boutique. Alantra, one of the biggest players in the international M&A advisory market, with offices in 23 countries and at the top of the international ranking in deal making, also took part in the meetings. The Alantra representatives allowed MCF students to take a closer look at the current dynamics of the investment banking market, with a particular focus on the mid-market, and to learn more about career prospects in this ever-fascinating field.
Asset management and excellent securities brokerage.
Top-level national players also made their presentations within the sphere of asset management and securities brokerage. The first of them was Algebris, in the person of its CEO Massimo Massimilla. He presented the strategies and trajectories of today's development of the leading Italian asset manager, who made activism and specialization on alternative assets its distinctive mark. Anima SGR, the largest Italian independent management company, returned to the MCF classroom to illustrate the current trends in the Italian asset management market and its corporate positioning; it also presented its career opportunities. Finally, Equita Sim, one of the leading independent brokerage firms in Italy, planned a company visit for MCF students where the MCF participants met some of their managers and analysts.
Innovative forms of private equity, venture capital, and fintech.
MCF could not miss a closer look at the world of private equity and venture capital, which is in turmoil, and the fintech phenomenon. The MCF hall welcomed with great interest the fascinating initiative of Guido Fileppo, a thirty-five year old Italian who just returned from various professional experiences abroad, and who decided to launch a "search fund" called Patria Private Capital. Its objective is to identify a small/medium-sized target company operating in Italy that can be acquired through a so-called "management buy-out" transaction, and subsequently managed by Fileppo. An ad hoc event was organized about everything that concerns the trendy fintech phenomenon, featuring a selection of the best Italian fintech companies such as Tinaba, Prestiamoci, Chainblock, Alidat and the venture capital fund Apis Partners. "We are planning to build a specific track of the Master around the fintech topic, which could also involve international academic partners," said Alberto Dell'Acqua, Academic Director of the MCF.
Finance at the corporate level as well.
To underline the importance of corporate finance strategy, the MCF classroom hosted some large Italian companies. ENI, the largest Italian company in the Oil & Gas industry, with the presence of its CFO Massimo Mondazzi, illustrated the evolution and challenges of the energy sector in the near future, and the career opportunities in the Italian multinational giant. The food sector is key to our economy, and a prominent figure within it is Paolo Lualdi, CFO of the Italian food multinational Cremonini, who explained to the students the role of the financial management within a corporation that has important activities abroad.
MCF alumni, their experiences and their advice. A precious and indissoluble heritage for MCF is the vibrant community of its alumni, which now counts more than 500 former MCF students who have started careers around the world. Some of them frequently return to the MCF classroom to meet current students and bring their testimony and their suggestions. As in the case of Giulia Ferranti, MCF 17 and today financial analyst in the ENI group, who told MCF students about her career choice path, or Giovanna Malponte Tesolat, MCF 15 and today managing director of SIME Partecipazioni, who discussed how she was able to reach top executive positions just a few years after her Master. Lazar Nikolic, MCF 11 and now associate director of Unicredit Group, and Sandro Dabaghian, MCF 17, today analyst in Anacott Capital, a London-based private equity firm, also offered their testimony. A speech that was particularly appreciated by the MCF 18 classroom was that of Giovanna Maag, MCF 4, with a long career at managerial level in the field of international private equity. She took part alongside the MCF Director as co-teacher in the Private Equity & Venture Capital course, discussing a real case and offering useful tips on how to start a career in this stimulating world.
SDA Bocconi School of Management