Tudor Carstoiu is a Romanian student attending the first year of Emit Bocconi, the faculty of Economics and Management of Innovation and Technology, and he is the new Vice President On Campus of Bocconi Alumni Association.
In the interview below he explains the importance of the “social” factor in the university environment as well as in the business one, recalling some fundamental steps of his personal experience.
1. What is exactly the BAA’s purpose and how does it operate within Bocconi University?
The Bocconi Alumni Association’s main objective is, quoting the Statute, “to disseminate the value of a shared experience and a shared culture and to make the bond and the exchange among the Alumni stronger. Besides, BAA aims to keep a relationship between Alumni and Bocconi students to increase the prestige of the University in the national and international sphere and to support projects of cooperation with the environment.”
In particular, On Campus tries to create a connection between Alumni and its students in order to establish and preserve the sense of belonging to a community that has expanded itself throughout the years. The successful growth of this community mainly derives from initiatives and events oriented toward the formation of synergies to stimulate involvement and collaboration in the university environment.
In Bocconi a great number of associations with various scopes of applications have recently grown; from the environment to culture, from social matters to fashion. These organizations, however, kept on operating separately from each other and it was unlikely for them to find common ground for cooperation. Over the years each group has begun following more activities and, as a consequence, the opportunities for an exchange and for reciprocal help have increased. For example, the associations can work together to find a public speaker for a lecture/meeting, or they can even collaborate in the planning of a single event.
The role of BBA VP on campus is therefore to increase communication and to spread the concept that alone you can go fast, but together, in the wide community of students, you will go far.
2. Let’s focus on the topics of the community and of the importance to form stronger synergies, but maybe not simply for what is concerning the academic environment, what is your opinion regarding social enterprises, especially in your homeland, Romania?
I know they are developing, but I can’t say I know that reality very well. My dream is to return to Romania, after having gathered more experience and found my independence, and become a social entrepreneur, particularly in the rural world where capital is missing but there are great potential and much workforce.
I think of the importance of building a social enterprise in my country because of the hard conditions, such as the cost of living, of services and of the land, and also because people don’t need much to live. A little change can have a great impact, and the Romanian countryside can be a good starting point for a business; I’m thinking about sustainable agriculture, renewable energy or rural turism.
Micheal Porter, professor of Economic Strategy at Harvard Business School, has often underlined that the social and economic performance are not incompatible, an opinion that on the other hand is widely shared in the business world, but that instead it is profit itself, the principal source in generating resources/assets, that gains from the solution of social problems. By quoting Porter’s own words, it is a “shared value”: facing social issues increases the sustainability of a firm.
Following his line of thought, I believe that many firms that so far have only considered social activities as elements secondary to their core business, i.e. profit, should start setting their mind in a more long term oriented way by considering these topics as parts of their core interests.
This is the reason for the countryside; we start by bringing together a group of people, even few, we gain their trust and we build from there. We must think in a global way, but do things at a social level.
3. You yourself have breathed the rural air by carrying out voluntary work in Val Borbera. In your opinion an experience of that kind can be considered an added value for a future career as an entrepreneur, like the one you wish to undertake?
Absolutely yes. I have been in a boarding school in Piemonte, where I have seen badly damaged houses and abandoned villages, because all resource were invested in the cities, as nowadays it happens almost in every part of the world. I used to help children in primary school, by taking care of them after their classes and all this enriched me a lot.
The world is getting more and more interconnected, technology allows people to stay in touch and continue exchanging ideas, opinions and point of views. Voluntary work represents a competitive advantage; it lets you learn patience, the value of communication and of understanding. I am convinced that if you can manage children, you can manage a business as well.
Firms greatly appreciate young people who are socially active because they see them as individuals that don’t work for themselves, just focused on earning, but as people that have a different sensibility and who know that by helping others you help yourself.
4. In your opinion what is, or better what should be the role of diversity in the modern society?
Diversity is fundamental, it gives a much broader view of the world that surrounds us, but necessarily there must be shared competencies and a common base; it is fundamental, to make an example, to speak the same language.
In my experience I learnt that diversity is what pulls a group, a mechanism that encourages individuals to have new ideas and goals, and it also teaches them to confront with one another.
Moving from Romania to Italy has been for me a unique opportunity of growth and development, and a way to learn to trust as well. Especially I have had the chance to relate with an environment very different from the one I had lived before and I was able to integrate by taking advantage, at the same time, of my cultural background and of what Italy was offering me.
Interview by Paglino Vittoria and Zanello Sofia