2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Raffaele Ragini, CEIBS

Raffaele Ragini

China Europe International Business School

A data-driven marketer who loves to get out of his comfort zone to learn and grow.”

Hometown: Republic of San Marino

Fun fact about yourself: I was born in San Marino, the oldest republic in the world. The city-state has a population of only 30,000 people, as big as the compound in Shanghai where I live now.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bocconi University – Bachelor in International Economics, Management and Finance, Finance Major

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Procter and Gamble – National Marketing Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? At Allbirds, in their Shanghai office leading their marketing strategy for China.

Where will you be working after graduation? CrossFund – Chief Marketing Officer

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

– President of Consumer Goods and Services Club

– Recipient of the Student Committee Special Award Club

– Selected to represent CEIBS at the Venture Capital Investment Competition

– Recipient of the CEIBS Diversity Scholarship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am particularly proud of the achievements I made as President of the Consumer Goods and Services Club. My team and I came into contact with several multinational companies operating in China such as PepsiCo, Gucci, Unilever and Apple and we were able to provide learning and employment opportunities for my peers. I was proud to be held up as a role model during mock interviews with industry leaders and happy to be learning from and for my classmates. Moreover, I am proud my team and I were able to do this during pandemic times. We often had to reschedule for concerns over COVID-19 cases. In response, we organized hybrid meetings to accommodate our cohort divided on two continents (in China and in Europe) and we dealt with tight safety regulations which challenged our offline events. In recognition of our efforts, we were awarded with a special award by the Student Committee and received overwhelming positive feedback from our peers.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? On the business side, I am proud I was able to lead the launch of what became the third most profitable brand for P&G Europe. This project took 18 months from conception to launch and involved more than 100 employees from different departments and countries, tens of key customers, and several marketing agencies.

On the personal side, I am proud I drove a cultural change in P&G Italy, making the company more inclusive and more receptive to everyone’s unique diversity. I personally talked in front of audiences of more than 300 employees explaining why lifting and nurturing diversity should be relevant to all of them. Everyone’s feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and it has been a truly rewarding experience.

Why did you choose this business school? I moved to China in December 2019 because I had been in love with it since I was young. I started to study Chinese when I was 13 years old and I had visited China several times since then. I decided to permanently move to China in 2019, but once I arrived I had very few connections and little market knowledge. CEIBS was perfectly positioned to give me an unparalleled network and deep China market knowledge. I had the pleasure to meet previous alumni and every one of them spoke very highly of the school. I can say my expectations have been exceeded.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? One of my favorite professors was Wang Yajin. She taught a very insightful marketing course using strong psychology and science foundations. She added a personal captivating take on more general knowledge, making it new, entertaining and easy-to-remember. Despite my previous career in marketing, I learnt a lot from her and I started to read many of her recommended books.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? During my time in the CEIBS MBA program, I have cultivated a vast network of connections both inside and outside the MBA program. Some of these connections have become close friends and mentors and I feel blessed I was lucky enough to meet these wonderful people. CEIBS has a variety of executive-level programs and the MBA is amongst the most junior ones.  If I could change something, I would start reaching out to students from other more senior programs from the very start of my MBA journey. I started to reach out to EMBA students only during the second quarter of my studies and I feel I could have engaged with them sooner.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the biggest myths might be that CEIBS is extremely focused on China. While the program offers valuable insights into the Chinese market, it still has considerable global breadth.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by how collaborative the other classmates were. Despite the program being highly competitive, people in the cohort were constantly helping each other with a very strong feeling of comradery.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe it was the clarity of explaining both why I wanted to attend CEIBS and what I could bring to my fellow classmates that would elevate the MBA experience for everyone. I always tried to show the balance between these two sides throughout the application process.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Natalie Liu because of her emotional intelligence, resilience, and kindness. Natalie comes from eight years with Apple as a Retail Manager. She jumped into her MBA with tenacity, never giving up on subjects she had never studied before, but instead approaching them with curiosity and proactiveness. She was an excellent contributor to class discussions, offering a fresh perspective and feeling strongly about diversity and inclusion. She is sharp and she stays true to her principles. On top of studying subjects vastly different from what she learnt in her previous experience, Natalie also gave birth to a beautiful baby. She showed grit and leadership while juggling with school, networking and family life demonstrating that people can have it all if they learn to prioritize and be determined.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father was a successful entrepreneur in the real estate industry and I grew up experiencing his success. He would spend evenings explaining how his business works or he would bring my brother and I to the construction sites. The way he impacted our community and his generosity truly inspired me. I wish to be able to create the same value in society.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would like to experience roles in different geographies and industries while creating value for my employer. I hope to meet brilliant people along the way and grow personally and professionally. With the knowledge acquired and the new friends made I would like to start my own business with an ESG focus.

What made Raffaele such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“It was absolutely a pleasure to have met Raffaele. He is an intelligent, hard-working, and kind student who has made precious contributions to both his fellow students and his community.

In my class, he has enriched the learning experience for everyone. He truly lifted the classroom discussions to a higher level by providing constructive feedback and counter arguments to points that were raised in class. His comments were always sound, logical, and clear. Moreover, Raffaele seemed always willing to help out his classmates when they struggled with class materials. He even helped me! He took the time to stop by my office and provide me helpful feedback on how to better design my teaching notes. I believe his feedback has helped me deliver a better course this year.

Outside class, Raffaele went above and beyond to bring unity to his cohort, which was separated in two continents for pandemic reasons. As he was also president of the Consumer Goods and Services club, he impeccably organized several industry coaching sessions, company visits and mock interviews while dealing with the uncertainties caused by the pandemic. Finally, Raffaele has joined the district COVID-19 Safety Volunteers helping the local community stay safe in these challenging pandemic times.

Overall, I highly recommend Raffaele for the P&Q honor. I believe it is highly deserved.”

Erkens, David Hendrik
Professor of Accounting
Finance and Accounting Department Chair
China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)



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