If you could bottle the essence of a Graduate of Global Distinction, the bottle would be labelled with NBS Alumna Carola Valente and underneath it would read: Milan, London, Hong Kong. Carola is number 11 in our series of “Graduates of Global Distinction” who joined us from Milan in Italy having completed an International Baccalaureate Diploma to enrol on the BSc in Business and Management led by our Course Director Dr. Josie Kinge. Carola was a conscientious and approachable student at UEA/NBS and took part in many of our extra-curricular activities and competitions. Having taken the optional module of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, her team were shortlisted finalists in the 2016 Natwest Employability Prize. Carola is pictured below receiving her certificate from the sponsors with her team in the finals having pitched their business idea of “Chaya Herbal Tea”.
Having graduated from NBS with a 1st class degree in 2016, she subsequently completed an MSc in the London School of Economics and is currently studying for a further degree in the prestigious University of Hong Kong where her profile appears on the MSc in Business Analytics web pages. Carola is going from strength to strength and has recently been appearing on a globally syndicated business news TV programme as an expert analyst. She still has fond memories of NBS and also gave some top tips to our students. We caught up with Carola to find out about her journey since graduating from NBS.
The University of East Anglia (UEA) has been the first real experience that has challenged my younger self and saw me get a step closer to the woman and citizen that I aim to be. For the first time I had to deal with other leadership styles, exchange opinions with different cultural styles and I had to give great value to knowledge sharing. The knowledge and experience of my professors at Norwich Business School (NBS) has been essential in such achievement. I will be forever grateful to UEA and NBS.
I remember the exam period at UEA as one of the toughest times for me so far. My first exam was on the 9th May 2016 and the last was on the 26th May – and I had six exams. I was determined that I was going to perform at my best in all of them given my overall goal of meeting the conditions of the Master’s offer held with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I challenged myself, and motivation, determination and positive thinking have been key elements for making me reach my goal, whilst remaining an enjoyable person to be around with during the last months as an undergraduate! Thanks to the exhaustive programme of BSc Business Management that I was proudly part of at UEA and the critical thinking and writing skills mastered throughout my studies, I moved to London and continued my studies further.
Thereafter, I completed a Master’s in Management, Organisations and Governance at LSE, where I had a chance to learn from highly influential professors and confront myself with top-notch students. The teaching of Dr Liebenau and his research regarding the pharmaceutical industry inspired me to expand my knowledge regarding this topic area. Thus, I conducted a quantitatively driven Master’s thesis in which I examined the effects of the applications of big data analytics on firm performance in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to prove the model that I had created regarding the role of big data analytics on firm performance, I collaborated with a leading Italian firm for measurement systems – Loccioni – and used their avant-garde robotics data system to collect the big data for my research.
While I was cleaning and analysing the voluminous and complex data collected by the robotic data system, I truly understood the potential offered by big data to firms operate in a wide-variety of industries and I started to envision how the firms were going to look like in the near future. I saw data as the distinguishing element that would make companies achieve and sustain competitive advantage in the industry. Such advantage can only be achieved by those firms that start investing in high-tech assets that collect and store data (such as automated systems and data warehousing) and trained human capital that know how to extract value from this unstructured data. I decided to move to one of the world’s fastest growing high-tech hubs to take in the essence of twenty-first century technology. Asia was my destination – in particular, Hong Kong. I enrolled in a second Master’s that would help me develop the necessary quantitative skills for me to become invaluable for firms in the automated reality I depicted earlier.
In December I received an offer from the Italian CNBC to appear in a weekly television slot with the role of providing financial economic analysis and interpretation in respect to the applications of artificial intelligence techniques and technologies developed by China. This has been an opportunity for me to provide technical explanations on the latest technological advancements by Chinese firms and start-ups given the expertise that I have been acquiring both my Business Analytics Master’s and collaborations with firms provided by the University of Hong Kong. One of the greatest challenges is to deliver mathematically complex topics in a way that CNBC viewers will be able to comprehend easily and find stimulating, while still delivering highly valuable content.
Take a look at 2 of Carola’s recent CNBC appearances (In Italian)
Looking back at the times when I was at UEA, I only remember a truly exquisite time characterised by intense, serene and memorable days. My first word of advice that I always repeat to myself and I want to share with you, is to find what you truly are passionate about, make it your goal and while getting there, focus on building a unique profile for yourself. Joining societies and volunteering experiences at university will make you try new activities though which you can express your creativity while networking and meeting people from diverse backgrounds. Also, spend enough time to de-stress by traveling and joining sport clubs. Never stop reaching for advice – professors and careers services are there to help you and to guide you, just like they did with me!