2021 MBAs To Watch: Diego Cammarano, ESMT Berlin

Diego Cammarano

ESMT Berlin

“Dave Grohl look-alike aiming to bring the Sun to the Earth to achieve carbon neutrality.”

Hometown: Milan, Italy

Fun fact about yourself: From my childhood onwards, I have always been willing to entertain in exchange for chocolate biscuits

Undergraduate School and Degree:
Bachelor degree in Energy engineering, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Master’s degree in Nuclear engineering, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Diplôme d’ingénieur, École Centrale Paris (France)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was employed by Ion Beam Applications (IBA) as the Site Technical Leader at the Proton Radiotherapy Centre of Newcastle upon Tyne (United Kingdom).

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Our MBA schedule did not include a summer internship, but rather a team consulting project at the end of the program. Through my network, I managed to source a project at Renaissance Fusion, a young startup based in Grenoble (France). They aim to fight climate change by designing, building, and commercializing a nuclear fusion reactor called stellarator that aims to “bring the Sun to the Earth” in the next 12 years. Three other classmates jumped on board and we worked for a couple of months directly with the founders of the company, performing a due-diligence assessment of Renaissance Fusion’s business plan, and an analysis of the client’s financing strategy.

Where will you be working after graduation?
The final consulting project I have just described helped me to find a job: from the 1st March, I will join Renaissance Fusion in Grenoble, France, as Chief Project Officer.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have been elected as class representative at the beginning of the year and confirmed in the same role for another mandate in the second semester. In addition, I was one of the two class representatives for the MBAT, which unfortunately never took place.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  From a strictly academic perspective, I am proud I decisively left my engineering comfort zone to establish a first relationship with economics and finance — or what I had earlier considered as “enemies”. Surprisingly and with great pleasure, I heavily appreciated studying such topics and highly recommend to any hard-core engineer to find a way for them to get a grip on such topics.

Personally, it was surviving through the world pandemic while remaining a functioning human being and completing a full-time MBA was not given. Also, in such complicated travel conditions, I made it to my granny’s 90th birthday party in a remote town in the South of Italy.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
The treatment of the first patient at the Proton Radiotherapy Centre of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) was a thrilling and rewarding experience. Due to a temporary failure on a site in Wales that started operations a few months earlier, the clinical staff decided at the very last minute to move to our site a patient who needed to be treated in a timely manner to conclude the treatment cycle. Because of the sudden decision, I happened to be the only technical personnel available to support the operations, with no mock treatment. Luckily the clinical staff showed their expertise and the machine behaved properly.

Why did you choose this business school?
After having lived in Italy, France (where I also learned Spanish) and the United Kingdom, I wanted to live in Germany to further foster my Europeanism and familiarize myself with Europe’s biggest economy. Berlin’s charm and party vibes (almost none of which I experienced) made the rest!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? By far, it has been Professor Guillermo Baquero, the only teacher to get emotional when looking at the CAPM line. Although his Finance course happened to be fully online due to the pandemic, his engagement and true passion were transmitted via the screen in a unique and unforgettable way.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The pub quizzes organized by the MBA program, where the student teams could face the school staff in a battle to the last question!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would’ve explored and partied in Berlin since day 1 and don’t wait for better/warmer times because unforeseen events (like a global pandemic) might happen and push such better times away for ages.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I’d be happy to know, if there is one.

What surprised you the most about business school?
It was the connection of the school to the German history and government. The historic main campus building of ESMT formerly housed the state council building of the East German government (it still features huge stained-glass windows inspired by socialist principles and realized by Walter Womacka) and later held the office of the Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? The school provided the average GMAT results, and I knew my score was exactly corresponding to the average of the previous cohorts. This allowed me to invest more time on the other parts of the application.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Yu Jean Chng has been by far the most inspirational classmate. She attended a full-time MBA with flying colors, co-founded the “ESMT Women in Leadership” club while taking care of her 3 year-old daughter and having her husband working.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit?
It was sudden, hard, and challenging. As a class representative, this required a special dedication and the investment of a lot of extra time and energy: the initial setup of the online environment; the uncertainty regarding the summer holidays timing; the return to school with strict rules where the class representatives had a special “surveillance” role; the negotiations with the school to have a substantial Corona credits package; the overall lack of processes; and the postponement of the graduation ceremony and party. All this still gives me headaches but makes me very proud that we still made it!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dear friend Luigi Cristo, who got his MBA a few years ago, put the bug in my ears just after his graduation. Since that time, I have worked and planned in order to find the good timing for a full-time MBA: he has always supported such choice, helped me in the selection of the school, the preparation of the application, and the comeback to the professional life.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
Contribute directly to the fight against the climate change, become a member of the EU Parliament

What made Diego such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Diego kept impressing the faculty throughout the MBA programs in multiple ways. It already started in the first week of the program, during a teambuilding activity, when he showed his amazing guitar-playing talents. He always showed an open and curious mind in the classroom and brought value to the in-class discussions. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Diego was also nominated for the President’s Award. As one of the class reps, he helped immensely to manage the class and keep the spirit high in toughest times of COVID-19. He finished the MBA journey by receiving the MBA degree with honors and was nominated for the President’s Award as well.”

Michael Grajek
Associate Professor of Economics (with tenure) and Faculty Lead for the ESMT MBA Program



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