This MBA Has Just Landed A Job At One Of Singapore’s Hottest Energy Startups

Donato Cantalupo says an MBA at Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano inspired him to pursue an international career in Singapore. He joined data-driven Teale Asia in May this year

Donato Cantalupo had been dreaming of a career in Asia from the early days of his MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano. Donato's curiosity was particularly piqued when his professor, Fabio Sdogati, showed the class graphs of Southeast Asia's predicted growth rate compared with that of Europe—the former exceeded the latter considerably.

With a background in mechanical engineering, Donato was drawn to MIP's excellence in energy management. After presenting a project on renewable energy, he was awarded a 25% scholarship for his degree. He graduated from MIP with a score in the top 10% of the class and well-equipped with a broader, global perspective.

After several years working in the UK, Donato decided to take a decisive step: to apply for jobs in his dream destination.

He'd been doing research on Singapore and felt the country offered great stability and a dynamic lifestyle, offering possibilities for personal and business growth. So, he decided to move to the country for three months, build a network in person, and find a job suited to his interests.

Once there, Donato met Adrian Bukmanis, the director of Teale—a startup leading data-driven energy efficiency in Asia. Before long, Donato was hired to help the company transition from a nimble startup to an established business.

Now, his objective is to exceed the sales results of the previous year, which saw 20% growth for the company, new resources, and improve operations.

Tell us about your career journey.

I would say that my career has been more like a roller-coaster than a linear journey. I have changed a number of companies and roles since my first full time job as a production manager in 2008. In general, my objective has always been to broaden my range of knowledge and skills, especially on the management side, because my goal is to become an executive-level professional.

I believe such roles require candidates who are strong in various disciplines, not just technical and scientific ones, but also in economics, history, and people management. They also generally have direct experience of different aspects of business from operations and R&D, to sales and finance.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

After my experiences as a production and project manager in industrial and energy companies in the south of Italy, I was looking to develop financial, organizational and managerial skills necessary for higher positions in multinational companies and develop an international career.

I also thought an MBA would perfectly complement my masters degree in mechanical engineering and give me the chance to be considered for management consulting roles.

Why MIP Politecnico di Milano?

MIP is part of the best engineering school in Italy and I felt that would make my professional profile more appealing to international energy and engineering companies.

How did the MBA at MIP prepare you for your latest role?

The MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano allowed me shift from a mainly technical mindset to a business one, and from a provincial mentality to an international one.

Having the chance to study in English gave me the fluency I needed to work anywhere in the world. In addition, I had the opportunity to challenge myself on different topics and interact with international professionals, building confidence in my capabilities.

The competencies I developed in building business plans, delivering presentations, and defining the structure of an organization are also critical for success in this role. The MBA provided the foundations on which I am confident I can build my future success in this role, and in the career steps yet to come.