The connections you make at business school can not only make your experience on a program; they can alter the course of your whole career.
If your cohort is one that challenges and inspires you, this will undoubtedly be for the better.
Tommaso Loreto and Carl Olsson were both students on the Master’s in Finance at ESADE Business School in 2016, and the story of their mutual success since graduating is closely tied to the bond they forged over the course of the program.
“I met Carl during the first week of classes and we immediately connected,” recalls Tommaso (pictured right).
From the beginning, the two friends were able to share their knowledge and experience and were eager to help each other in their careers.
“At that time, I had a solid academic background, but I did not have any relevant work experience in my CV,” Tommaso explains. “Carl gave me many insights into how to prep for interviews, as he’d already received a full-time offer from Nomura, the company where he completed his summer internship just before starting at ESADE.
“I definitely owe part of my achievements up to today to Carl—he’s a great source of motivation, and an even greater friend.”
This exchange of knowledge was a two-way street. Tommaso would ultimately graduate in the top 5% of their class at ESADE, and Carl (pictured right) says that his friend’s academic rigor helped to push him to excel in his own studies.
“We aced every class together”
Tommaso hails from Italy originally, and Carl from Sweden, and for both of them, the school’s strong international academic recognition and the internationality of the course at ESADE Business School were key factors in deciding to enrol.
The Master’s in Finance course alone hosts students from 31 different nationalities at the school’s campus in Barcelona, a famously international city. In combination with the international study trips on offer, this creates plentiful opportunities for students to network and share knowledge.
Both Tommaso and Carl highlight the three-week-long study tour to Sao Paolo in Brazil as a “turning point” in their friendship. It was also abroad, during Tommaso’s semester in Paris as part of ESADE’s double degree program, which allows second year students to study the prestigious CEMS Master in International Management, that he met Alessandro Maffey, a fellow Italian student who was to become an important figure to both himself and Carl.
“[Tommaso and I] worked on basically everything together during our time in Paris,” Alessandro (pictured right) recalls. “We realized how similar we are and what a great team we were—not only in professional terms but life in general. We aced every class together and helped each other with job applications.”
These applications sent Tommaso to London to work for financial services company UBS after graduation, while Alessandro went to New York to work for a small real estate fund.
After a year in the States, Alessandro moved back to London, and now the three grads live together, all putting their skills to use in London’s bustling financial sector. Both Alessandro and Tommaso work at Blackstone as analysts, while Carl works at Aleph Capital Partners as a private equity professional.
“Today we are like a family”
These friendships are just a part of ESADE’s legacy for the three grads, and they continue to have a positive impact on their careers every day.
“[Tommaso] is definitely the one person who helped my professional career the most, supporting me through the entire process,” confirms Alessandro. “To date he’s one of my greatest sources of motivation—just seeing his grit, tenacity, perseverance, and ability to plan his future makes me a better person.”
Carl, too, has had a big impact: “He’s one of the people I’m most grateful for in life as he challenges me daily. He’s always keen on sharing his professional experience with people and to help you when you’re in need.”
The trio now describe themselves as a kind of family, discussing their career goals and supporting each other through big changes.
When Carl was shifting his career from investment banking to private equity last year, Tommaso and Alessandro offered an essential point of reflection and support.
This is all with the added benefit of the shared knowledge that they gained from the program at ESADE Business School, from the practical approach of the classes, to the acquisition of skills such as open-mindedness and teamwork.
“Looking back, I would say that the people I was surrounded by was probably one of the best points,” says Tommaso. “I am happy to share part of my life with some of them here in London today.”