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COVID Test Centers To The Federal Reserve: How A Master's Degree Can Help You Transform Society

A master’s degree doesn’t just lead to top jobs at private companies. We spoke to two graduates from Bocconi University, now working in the public sector using their master’s to impact society


Thu Aug 20 2020


A master’s degree from a top business school will almost certainly pay off in terms of salary. MSc in Management graduates from Bocconi University in Italy earn $85k on average three years after graduation. But another way to measure success is through your social impact.

Elena Falcettoni and Maria Vittoria Gronchi are two women for whom social impact is part of their everyday life. Elena is an economist at the US Federal Reserve, researching how policy can improve access to healthcare, while Maria Vittoria is the director of the COVID testing centers at New York City Health & Hospitals, reporting to Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Both have an advanced skill set and practical experience from their master’s degrees at Bocconi University, programs which they credit to getting them to where they are today. 

Maria Vittoria Gronchi | Director of COVID Testing Centers, New York City Health & Hospitals


Five years ago, when Maria Vittoria had just graduated from her bachelor’s, she couldn’t have predicted what lay ahead. Global pandemics aside, she couldn't decide which direction she wanted her career to go in. 

“I’ve always been ambitious but value-driven, and want to make a difference in people’s lives,” she insists.

She’d majored in economics, and had an analytical background, but realized she desired more of a managerial competency in order to lead effectively. She was also aware of not limiting her opportunities. 

“I was looking for something that could open as many doors as possible in a field that I knew I was interested in,” Maria Vittoria explains. 

The MSc in Economics and Management of Government and International Organizations at Bocconi stood out for this reason. It allowed her to delve into different aspects of public sector roles and decide where she wanted to carve out her career. It also offered the opportunity of a double degree, enrolling in a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany, New York. 

It also helped show her the opportunities that were out there. In many of her classes, she met and listened to alumni from dozens of backgrounds across the public sector. “It really helped people like myself who didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.”


Finding the right path to make a difference

From the get-go, Maria Vittoria’s professors were indispensable in helping her identify her ambitions and achieve her goals. 

“In the first month, the director and career service would sit with every one of us and ask us about our goals, and advise us about all the opportunities that would be best for us,” she explains. 

This quelled a concern that many students like Maria Vittoria had: that your opportunities in the public sector are far more limited than in the private sector.

Healthcare emerged as a key interest for Maria Vittoria. “On the one hand, healthcare is a human right, and we take it for granted, but we shouldn't. On the other hand, I come from a country where there are universal healthcare services, but we know that these systems have significant problems.”

Following her dual degree master’s, including a year spent in New York doing her MPA, Maria Vittoria set about finding the right role in public health. This included stints at the New York State Assembly, at the mayor’s office, before moving to New York Health & Hospital. 

All these roles had one thing in common—”critical thinking”—a skill she credits to her master’s. “Bocconi really taught me how to solve problems, with limited resources and time.”

No truer has this been than in her current role as director of COVID Test Centers in New York, which in April 2020 emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. It’s a rapid, ever changing environment which has forced Maria Vittoria to be agile. “News emerges everyday that could change your entire plan.”

But her master’s and her experience has taught her not to be paralyzed or overwhelmed by the problem, but to do something about it, something she hopes to bring back to Italy one day. “Many young folks complain about politics, but not many people want to build the competencies you need to get there and make a difference. I felt like I didn't want to complain, I wanted to do things to make a difference.” 

Next Page: Elena Falcettoni, Economist at the US Federal Reserve

Student Reviews

Bocconi University





Everything was great ( apart from the covid part)

I really enjoyed this experience because I built a really strong relationship with other students and professors. This fact has permitted me to grow as a person and also to improve my academic background by confronting myself with other people. I would encourage Bocconi to create a new method of exams for online courses (I have experienced it during the covid-19 period) because they could not manage to control and to avoid shameless situations such as software breakdowns just before the exams.




On Campus

Amazing course

The workload is really heavy, but that’s the only way to prepare students for the job market. Bocconi offers also many services to help students kick off their careers. Overall, Bocconi University Masters Degree is the best option for ambitious students and the best choice among Italian and maybe European universities.




A great experience

A fundamental experience to understand what I want to do in life. In the three years I attended Bocconi University, I laid the foundations for my business education. I will always be grateful to it. I absolutely recommend it.




Bocconi: Italian Quality

The great thing about this University is that it is one of the few Italian universities offering such international programs. My course is unique and doesn't exist anywhere else, so if you like arts and economics, Bocconi is the best place. The course provides both subjects concerning arts/philosophy, and ones more related to economics. Personally, I have decided to follow a different path because I am not so interested in working in this specific field, but this course is totally worth it if you want to work in a creative industry. Indeed, it gives people with a passion for luxury, arts and so on with a complete knowledge concerning management. The best part has been the great support offered by the University in every aspect, going from on-campus facilities to monthly job fairs to better understand the kind of career we want to pursue. This is often taken for granted in Italian universities.




Professional and amazing

Very well organized university. I have studied Financial management and I graduated with 108/110. The teachers are really good and professional. The university has all the facilities and the services are professional. I really enjoyed studying in a professional and international environment. Bocconi has played an important role in finding my actual job!




Great university which gives wonderful placement opportunities.

I really like Bocconi. What I appreciated the most was the high level of teaching and the opportunities given in terms of placement and networking connections. I strongly recommend this university if you want to pursue a great working career.




Beautiful environment

Beautiful community of students with lots of opportunities for in-campus activities. The university offers 8 residences near the campus, perfect for freshmen at the first year in Milan. Professors are very prepared and always ready to help students




An outstanding university

The great efficiency and organization, the high quality of teaching, and the possibility to take part in many interesting and useful experiences make Bocconi University stand out. It distinguishes itself from the Italian academic background. Many people say Bocconi is too stressful, but to me, it’s worth it.





Bocconi is outstanding university. Among the best in Italy. The international franework helps students to get involved in projects/associations that enrich the campus. I study law and i’ m happy about my 4 years and experiences that i had the opportunity to

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