Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Luca Marini, HEC Paris

Luca Marini

HEC Paris

“Enthusiast and multi-faced character who doesn’t know yet what to do when I will grow up.”

Hometown: Salerno, Italy

Fun Fact About Yourself: When I started my career abroad, my level of English was so bad that people could not fully understand me. Among the other stories, I remember I was confusing the verb “to print” with the Italian “false friend” and “to stamp” (“to print” in Italian is translated “stampare”). Nobody in the office could understand why that intern always wanted to stamp all the documents, even the least meaningful!

Irony of fate: now, I do stamp and sign some of the most important documents of my company.

Undergraduate School and Major: I got my Grammar School Diploma with a mark of 100/100 cum laude focusing on humanistic studies at the Liceo Ginnasio Torquato Tasso, Salerno, Italy.

I got both my Bachelor of Civil Engineering Degree with a mark 110/110 and my Master of Science in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering with a mark 110/110 cum laude at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Applied Technology & Management – Dubai Branch

Project Manager | Head of Marine Structural and Geotechnical Department

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of HEC Paris’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? HEC Paris captured my attention and fed my dreams since I started thinking about an MBA. The prestige of the school and the reputation of its MBA program were definitely key factors that led to my decision. It also appealed to me the idea of being exposed to wide variety of opportunities starting from the different courses included in the program to all the electives and the option of an international exchange. The idea of having the possibility of customizing half of the program based on your own interest and ambitions is a plus.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at HEC Paris? It is hard to point out a specific course or activity that I am excited about, with such a wide range of subjects. I would say I am excited for the program as a whole, with all the different courses offered including Strategic Business and Finance and Marketing. For someone like me who has a pure technical background, these are all very interesting subjects and I cannot wait to see what will be the most appealing. The opportunity of choosing among seven different specializations is great, giving a chance to customize the preparation based on your inclination and interests.

HEC Paris is just 17 kilometers from Paris. What do you see as the best part of earning your MBA so close to Paris? Paris is in the heart of Europe and has always played a strategic role of importance in the history of the continent and the world. France and Paris play a major role for the economy and the politics of the European Union and, as such, for a European citizen is a great chance to strengthen ties with a neighbor country and culture; this is a step toward creating a stronger European feeling and sense of belonging.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have always aimed to achieve the best results and preparation within the most constrained timeframe. I was the first student of my class to graduate for the Bachelor’s Degree with full marks. Within 3 years, I got my Master’s Degree cum laude and three years in advance compared to the Italian average age of the students getting a Master in Engineering.

I decided to start working abroad. It has not been easy to cope with the stress of moving abroad and having the first working experience at once, both challenges that I did not fear to face and that I have accomplished with success. Constantly aiming to prove myself, I decided to leave my first job, a safe and comfortable position, and accepted the role and the responsibility of leading a department and becoming a Manager of Projects despite my young age. This role requires me to know how to effectively organize the work of other people and ultimately be responsible for their deliverables in front of the Client and the Authorities.

Lately during the COVID-19 lockdown, I have managed the project of a 300m bridge. Despite the difficult situation of the pandemic, thanks to the continuous hard work of designing and coordinating both the Office Team and the Site Team, the bridge was successfully built in only 30 days!

I have always been very curious to explore other fields and that is the reason why, during my last year of Master’s Degree, I wanted to try developing my own business idea. This project has required enormous effort to develop new skills from both business and technical standpoint. This challenge was quite successful considering the prizes received and made me understand that passion and creativity can boost innovative ideas and solutions out of the standard paths.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? The main lesson I learned is that once again the world is extremely interconnected and unpredictable things can happen and spread around while you are working on your own plans. This is a lesson we had already learned in a different occasion, but with similar outcomes during the world financial crisis; the globalization and the high level of interconnection between countries is the tool that enable the world economy to develop, but it also exposed its weakness to fall like a cards castle. What happens in just one country — what is done by a small group of people — can have consequences on the largest world scale. This means that now more than ever we should develop skills to navigate through uncertain times and be ready to react and adapt to every occasion. The lives of people can change from one day to another, but capabilities will always be needed.

As such, time of crises can always be opportunity to reconsider the world, develop yourself, create new solutions, and adapt. Also, on the base of this consideration I believe this could be a great time to take a break to study and develop new skills.

From a personal point of view, having lived abroad for more than five years now, I have realized what it actually means being far from home. Before COVID, physical distance had lost meaning as everybody could reach every corner of the globe in less than a day. Nowadaysm, this perspective has completely changed and I believe people will start appreciating and valuing more what means working and living abroad. It is indeed one year-and-a-half that I don’t meet my family. I’ve spent my last Christmas without them for the first time in my life… this is something I would have never believed possible before. What I learned is that besides focusing on work and career, we should not deprive ourselves of the good moments of break and rest to be spent with our beloved ones.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I believe I reached a point of my career and my life where I want to set up goals at higher level, based on the experiences gained so far and on the ambition that I have. I am sure that this program will definitely open my mind and provide me with all the necessary tools to achieve my personal and professional goals. Professionally, I grew up with a technical background, but soon I have realized that my vocation is more oriented towards interpersonal relations and managerial tasks (which I am now pursuing). Unfortunately, Engineering university courses often lack in providing the students with an adequate preparation for management; this is the lack I feel the need to compensate at this stage.

I would like to further develop managerial skills and business-oriented capabilities. As a short-term goal, I would like to hold a higher managerial role and eventually set up the basis to start my own business.

I would like to dedicate my time and effort to achieve something meaningful and helpful for the community, or more specifically for my country. I envision different ways to achieve it, which could be either from the private sector or being involved in the public sector. Starting a business focused on products and services helpful for the community and also by creating job opportunities for people would be a great way to achieve it. On the other hand, public involvement or work supporting the public planning and action would be an alternative way to achieve such a goal.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? SDA Bocconi and ESADE

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into HEC Paris’s\ MBA program? Present your story at the best! Everybody who have their own passions, ambitions and experiences is unique and interesting. Marks and titles cannot capture the full picture of a person. It is your capability to jump out of this scheme!


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