Newsletter 8th issue
Welcome to the 8th issue of the MIEX Alumni Association Newsletter.
Check out what's new in the MIEX Community!
Here we are once again! There's soo much to share in this latest issue (and final issue for the 2016 year) of the MIEX Newsletter: MAD 2017 is set to take place in March and we look forward to the MIEX Community getting involved; new MIEX alumni story and new ways for MIEX Alumni to advertise for free in the MIEX Newsletter. Check it out!
#MIEX Alumni Day 2017
It's back by popuar demand, MIEX Alumni Day - MAD 2017 - the event dedicated to the MIEX Community: alumni, students, partners, professors and business professionals. MIEX Alumni Day 2017 will be held on Saturday March 25, 2017 at the Department of Economics, Piazza Scaravilli in Bologna Italy.
Follow us for updates on the event and more program information here or on facebook.
#MIEX Alumni Story
In every issue we bring you successful and inspirational stories from past Alumni. Stories are chosen by Regional and Edition Representatives and written by Alumni.
If you would like to recommend the stories of yourself or some of your classmates, just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We met up with MIEX Alumni, Chiara Cecchini, to discuss jetsetting, hackathons and her entrepreneurial debut, FEAT!
Name: Chiara Cecchini
Age: 26 years old
MIEX Edition and year: 2013-15
2nd Year Destination: Moscow
Current Job Title: Founder of FEAT
Tell us a little bit about your background (academic, personal, professional).
I am a dreamer. I believe that we have to always dream big. I love international business, food innovation and social entrepreneurship. I received my BBA from the University of Florence, then completed my MSc in International Management MSc at MIEX. After MIEX I decided to continue my studies and completed another master in food innovation. I am currently a fellow at the Future Food Institute as well as involved in the Barilla Foundation. I am also proud to be one of the first Italian Social Innovation Citizens and one of the Global Young Voices.
I specialize in Design Thinking, working in open innovation with different food companies. I love hackathons: I have already been part of more than ten of them in different parts of the world, and I have won twice.
In January 2015, I started my first business, FEAT: its vision is to create a virtual currency for good, allowing people to earn coins of monetary value that can then be spent on purchasing positive and impactful experiences. It is a web and mobile platform that connects brands to users, offering discounts in exchange for healthy actions (i.e. physical activity, social interactions and cultural activities). FEAT already has its first corporate clients in Italy and in California (the Bay Area) and is launching educational programs in schools across Italy and has become one of the first Italian BCorps.
How did you land your first job after MIEX?
I actually created my own job! After MIEX I continued my studies in food innovation and while consulting at Barilla on a project in healthy food options for kids inside the R&D Department, I was prototyping FEAT. I am now working full-time on this project.
What do you do? Describe one day in your work life.
My daily focus is the business development of my company. I usually spend my day meeting potential clients and business partners. I am also really focused on fundraising, meeting investors and traveling for conferences and workshops. I am now managing a team of 6 people, which as you can imagine takes up a huge portion of my daily work schedule.
My daily work schedule is really flexible, which is great because I tend to work from several locations and I travel a lot! It is amazing how much work can get done on a plane!
Why did you choose MIEX and how has MIEX helped you get to where you are now?
When I was choosing which master program to apply to, one of the key factors was a reputable international program that would allow me to invest in my personal and professional growth at the same time. I wanted to travel, spend time abroad and attend universities that were top notch for education but also where in cities that were rich in cultural diversity and history. Out of soo many possibilities, MIEX stood out the most, and it was the right decision for me.
MIEX gave me the opportunity to learn how to be flexible, which is something that I have continued to be throughout my professional growth. It has also helped in increasing my international network and my teamwork skills. The program also provided me a new business view point, pushing me to rely less on theory and more on real business cases.
Future goals: What are your future plans?
I aim to make my business grow and bring it to different countries. In fact, this interview is coming to you live from San Francisco where my team and I are setting up a base for some exciting FEAT activities here.
Also, I am aiming to maximize this current experience here in San Francisco to offer more R&D and innovation consultancy to companies in the area. In the meanwhile, I;m keeping my eyes and ears sharp for new exciting businesses that I can team up with.
What advice would you give to current students and recent alumni?
Always be in motion and never stop asking questions, meeting people and sharing ideas; this has been the main take away for me during these last couple of years. MIEX is a great launch pad for personal and professional growth and developing a strong network that could be useful during your future path.
I would also like to add that it is important to research and find the internship opportunity that best suits you and your interests, while keeping in mind the direction which you would like to follow. It will be crucial in making the right choices.
What are some challenges you have faced and how did you face them?
Starting your own business is a challenge. Nobody is able to tell you what is right or wrong and no one is able to give you the perfect indicators or directions. What I can say is that every single person you encounter during your journey as an entrepreneur is able to give you feedback, what you do with that feedback is up to you; feedback is crucial to help you go to the next level. So I always try to listen as much as possible and share plans and ideas – valuable feedback can help to improve your project and help steer you in a good direction.
Topics that interest you:
International business, food innovation, social entrepreneurship, technology for wellbeing, lifestyle education, wearable technology, food industry.
What was the most exciting moment of your professional life?
This moment right now! We are meeting with our first client in the US, I am in San Francisco and for the first time, the project is running smoothly in Italy without me having to be in Italy, thanks to my awesome team.
Contact MIEX AA if you'd like to et in contact with Chiara. Want to learn more about FEAT? Check out www.featapp.com.