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Lucrezia Pirani

MSc Strategic Management 2019

Head of enterprise sales, Marketforce 360, Kenya

Business education in Italy is theoretical. You read about the subject in books, and you’re not working in teams on real assignments. I wanted to study abroad to gain a more practical approach to management and I certainly got that at RSM.

We took on an internationalisation project for a solar energy start-up and I also worked with Coca-Cola on a data-science project. It was a challenge to start with, but the hands-on experience is really helping me now.

I loved the informal Dutch culture. You would finish your lectures at six then you could have a beer with your fellow students at the pub. I made so many friends and have now got a worldwide network of valuable contacts.

In my spare time, I got involved with a business incubator that helps refugees. Many of them came from Syria, they had been successful professionals in their own country but needed to gain the skills and the knowledge to do well in the Netherlands. We introduced them to how to draw up a business plan, test their ideas, get their first customers and so on. I’m pleased to say one of the women I supported went on to become a project manager for a recruiting company focused on empowering women.

I’m now head of sales and marketing for a tech start-up in Kenya. We work with small businesses in the consumer goods industry and with financial services providers to help them optimise the way they run their sales and distribution processes. In Africa, retail is dominated by very small corner shops. Owners find that systems like accounting and distribution are difficult. Our mobile app does the work for them.

Most people don’t think of Africa as a place for career opportunities and professional growth. Graduates tend to travel to Latin America or Southeast Asia if they want to work in an emerging country but that’s what attracted me to come here. In truth, there are many fast-growing countries in Africa with great job opportunities, and I wanted to be here before the rest of the world catches up.

Lucrezia Pirani on LinkedIn