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Daniela Serena Stefani - Italy

Course: Master of Business Administration (Information Systems)
Institute: La Trobe University
Melbourne, Victoria

Daniela Stefani is a born traveller. When presented with the opportunity to go to Australia as part of an exchange program between the Università Carlo Cattaneo in Milan and La Trobe University in Melbourne, she didn’t think twice.

“I just thought I would never have the chance again,” she says. “Australia is so fascinating and so far from Europe. I liked the idea of arriving in a country where I didn’t know anyone or anything.”

Having previously studied at Maastricht University in The Netherlands and worked in Canada, she is no stranger to the challenges of being away from home. She admits she has a “very independent” streak, something she thinks is a little unusual for an Italian.

“I love my family but I love to travel,” she says.

Stefani completed the final three subjects of her MBA (Information Systems) at La Trobe University, achieving such good results that she was asked to undertake a PhD there. “I didn’t take it lightly,” she says, but she ultimately decided that she wanted to work and returned to Italy where she took up a job offer with Rothschild Bank.

“Had I decided to do a PhD I would have certainly done it in Australia."

Stefani is now working at UBI Banca Private Banking as a Wealth Advisor, a role that sees her dealing with entrepreneurs, fund managers and private and corporate bankers as she works to build portfolios for clients.

That she is quick to adapt to diverse environments and personalities is a trait she insists she learned from living abroad in several places.

“I need to be flexible,” she explains. “I’m with different clients, financial customers and fund managers everyday and there are different ways to interact with each of them. Australia taught me to be tolerant, to learn how people see things differently.

“I wouldn’t say that studying in Australia alone got me my job but it contributed,” she says.

Stefani admits had no idea what to expect in Australia and that was a large part of its appeal.

“Australia gave me a unique perspective; it was a profound experience that totally changed my way of living, thinking and approaching life.”

By the end of her studies she had even mastered the Australian accent. “My best friend Hannah heard me talking on the phone, she didn’t know it was me and she said she thought I was Australian,” Daniela says. “That was one of the best things I ever heard.”

She honed her language skills travelling the country: Alice Springs, Cairns, the Great Ocean Road, Perth and Sydney, spending time in both the desert and the rainforest. In the end, though, it was Melbourne that she loved the most because “there's just so many things always going on”.

Stefani left Australia armed with new insights and new friends, including the family she first met on the long flight from Italy to Australia who picked her up for dinner every Wednesday night and dropped her back to the campus afterwards.

“Australians are the nicest people I ever met,” she says.

Last updated: Wednesday, 13 May 2015 3:49:07 PM

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