We spoke with EADA International Master in Accounting & Financial Management alumna Sara Gandolfo. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and graduated Magna Cum Laude from John Cabot University in Rome. Sara explains her career progress since she left EADA, and she shares a bit about her current position as an Accountant at Bayer in Barcelona.
How did your work in EADA’s International Master in Accounting & Financial Management prepare you for your current job?
Without a doubt, what I apply most is the team working skills that learned in the International Master in Accounting & Financial Management – it has had a direct impact on my current job. Indeed, beyond doing my daily tasks as a member of the Accounts Payable team at Bayer, I am also involved into two team projects, consisting mainly of creating a more effective internal antifraud process. The constant team work with diverse classmates at EADA made me feel comfortable being part of this project.
The ability to work effectively in teams is very important for my current job. I strongly believe that these team projects with colleagues other Bayer offices (in my case, Costa Rica and Germany) can potentially provide me with more visibility inside the company, leading to networking opportunities for my future career at Bayer.
What was the most important hard skill you learned in the International Master in Accounting & Financial Management?
The most important hard skill that I learned was not a single piece of knowledge, but rather a problem-solving approach – I now look at the big picture situation and put it into a business context as a first step. I learned this approach from the case studies in class, in which we analysed issues in real companies, putting into direct practice what we were studying. Now that I am working, I really understand the importance of these exercises: when facing a business problem today, I consider the overall business context, identifying solutions that not only solve the immediate problem, but also take into account the direct and indirect impact the solution may have on other parts of the business.
What was the most crucial of the classes in the International Master in Accounting & Financial Management for your current position?
For me, all of the classes were important, as they gave me a broader view of the business world and how a business works. This helps a lot when working within a company in an active way.
I would say that the “Financial Accounting” was particularly relevant to my current position. Working in the Accounting Department mainly involved in accounts payable activities, the knowledge that I gained related to financial accounting provides the base for my daily tasks, for working in operations-related projects, and for eventually advancing within the company. Without this class, I would not have been able to take over my colleague’s position as Accounting after just three months.
What was the highlight of the International Master in Accounting & Financial Management?
The highlight of my master’s was the time in EADA’s Residential Training Campus. During the leadership modules, we learned how to be a good team member, how to be an effective leader, and in general how to develop and master the soft skills of business. In my experience, sooner or later, everyone learns the hard skills, but in my current position, I can definitely say that soft skills are what makes the difference. For example, after the leadership modules, I feel comfortable presenting in front of a group.
What was your biggest growth area during the International Master in Accounting & Financial Management?
Being an international program, my biggest growth area was English as a business language. Indeed, when I started the programme I had a good level of English, but colloquial English; now I can speak perfect English in a business environment using the appropriate technical terminology. For me, it was very important to make this leap, and I am taking advantage of this achievement in my current position.