Massimo di Giovacchino grew up in Abruzzo, in rural Italy, where he’d spend his weekends and summers cycling through the picturesque mountain roads.
It’s a far cry from the high-rise office in downtown New York City, where Massimo currently works for Big Three consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Bocconi University in Milan, where he studied a Master of Science in Finance, has undoubtedly played a big role in Massimo’s sharp career trajectory at McKinsey, where he has accelerated to a managerial position after just five years at the firm.
Here’s how his Master in Finance helped prepare him for success in the role.
Choosing a Master in Finance at Bocconi
Massimo headed straight to Bocconi out of high school, where he studied a bachelor’s in economics and finance. There he became settled and suited to life in Milan, falling in love with the city, and starting to build friendships and networks that he wanted to consolidate.
So when it came time to graduate, it was a no-brainer to stay on and study for a master’s. The MSc in Finance (MiF) program was the perfect opportunity to dive deeper into topics from his bachelor’s.
“I became very passionate about financial markets and how they could support companies' strategic decisions,” Massimo recalls, “I decided that I wanted to go deeper and build a stronger knowledge foundation around those topics.”
Beyond personal reasons for wanting to stay in Milan, Massimo was drawn to the academic rigor and reputation of the program. The Bocconi MiF is ranked seventh in the world in the Financial Times Masters in Finance Rankings. In particular, Massimo notes that he was excited by the job opportunities available to Bocconi MiF graduates, many of whom go on to work at the world’s top financial institutions.
He was also awarded the Bocconi Graduate Merit Award—a 100% scholarship offered to students with outstanding academic records.
Opting for consulting over banking
While the program was hard, Massimo enjoyed the challenge that the program presented.
The MiF really gives students an essential preparation on all subjects related to finance, with core programs on everything from financial modelling and corporate valuation, to risk management and derivative pricing. In this sense, it’s not surprising that Bocconi’s MiF is a launchpad for many into the world of investment banking.
Investment banking did capture Massimo’s attention too, at first. He did a summer internship at UBS in the investment banking sector, where he also received a full-time job offer to start after he graduated. But he wasn’t totally confident in this decision.
“I was determined to try something different before committing to a full-time role,” he remembers.
During a company visit to the Bocconi campus, Massimo spoke with a McKinsey recruiter, and impressed by her support and enthusiasm, was keen to learn more about the industry. After being accepted onto a two-month internship, where he worked on a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) study, he quickly saw that McKinsey would be the right company for him.
“I really enjoyed looking at the organization from a different perspective, much deeper into the company's business model and operations than what I would see in banking.”
And so, while many of his classmates went into investment banking, Massimo accepted a full-time role as a business analyst with McKinsey in Milan.
What’s it like working at McKinsey?
In his five years with the firm, Massimo has progressed through a few different roles, both in Milan and now in New York. His current role as an engagement manager focuses on working with industrial and automotive clients on a variety of strategic and commercial topics.
It's clear to him now that, while finance isn't the only aspect of his day-to-day, his Bocconi MiF gave him the work ethic and inclination for teamwork that serves him well as a consultant.
“The intellectual rigor instilled by the MSc in Finance, and the collaboration style encouraged by the group assignments, gave me the right mindset to enjoy addressing new problems at McKinsey,” he says.
It’s these things, he believes, that make a good consultant— “Intellectual curiosity and passion for solving problems together with a team of brilliant minds.”
Working in management consulting has given him powerful insight into how companies across multiple industries work. And now in a leadership position, Massimo feels he is able to bring his own ideas and insights to the table when working with clients and driving forward the thinking of the firm.
For those unsure about their careers, he is happy to share from his own experience. “Be passionate about what you do and keep exploring, without being afraid of choosing the ‘less conventional’ path.” For Massimo, the less conventional path has proved to be fruitful.
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