By PATRICK REAR
BOLOGNA—The time of year is upon students at SAIS — both first- and second-year — when they go through countless interviews for jobs and internships spanning from “the one” to “it’s something.” All too often the question is asked: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Davide Scigliuzzo, a ‘10 alumnus of the Bologna Center and a ‘11 graduate of SAIS D.C. has the ability to look back and reflect on how that five-year plan played out.
Scigliuzzo first came to SAIS after studying economics at Bocconi University in Milan in order to get a more complete picture of the world than that contained within economic models. While at SAIS, he developed an interest in financial journalism that guided him to his current job as an emerging markets reporter with Reuters in New York.
“My first journalism job was a summer internship at the Milan bureau of the Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal,” Scigliuzzo wrote in an email, “I spent my summer between Bologna and D.C. there covering blue-chip Italian companies, the stock market, and any other major event taking place in the city — including the arrest of hundreds of mobsters.”
In his second year, he applied to more internships before eventually landing one with Thomson Reuters in New York where he had the good fortune to be working with an editor who gave him considerable freedom and responsibility after having just lost two reporters. “He ended up giving me a lot more responsibility than he would (and should) have, but that was a great opportunity for me and it definitely paid off.” From there, he moved on to work at a research company called BMI as an emerging markets analyst, but returned again to Reuters less than a year later when a full-time position opened up in London covering emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
After two years in London, Scigliuzzo moved back to New York where he now covers emerging markets in Latin America, specifically the credit markets and how governments and companies issue bonds to finance themselves. “The work entails spending a lot of time talking to contacts to get a sense of what is going on in the markets on a particular day and get their views on how political or economic developments in a particular country are impacting the market.” Scigliuzzo wrote. His work allows him to write articles ranging from market reports which take stock of what is happening in the market on a given day to following ongoing stories as they grow and develop such as when he covered the recent Petrobras scandal in Brazil or Argentina’s newest default after a decade-long battle with a group of New York hedge funds.
Back to that persistent question that all SAIS students are asked in interviews — where do you see yourself in five years? Scigliuzzo wrote “I guess this is perhaps one of the many scenarios I thought might play out, but it is always hard to know.” In the end, he thinks that while it is good to have goals in order to set oneself on a path to be able to achieve them, “there is so much you learn as you go along that I am not surprised to see people transition from one field to another after a few years. In my case, I started with journalism, moved to an analyst role and then went back to journalism.”
To current students just beginning their path to find out where they will end up five years after graduation, Scigliuzzo recommends that they be patient and persistent. “The job market is tough, especially when you are right out of school. Try to make the most of the opportunities you have at SAIS.” In his experience, one of the most valuable things was reaching out to people who work in the field he was interested in no matter how senior they may seem. (Because in truth, sometimes that means they will have more time to talk with you than someone lower on down the food chain.) “Looking back, I am quite surprised by how many perfect strangers replied to my emails and agreed to meet me for coffee.”
The obvious caveat to his advice is that it pays to do your homework before reaching out to someone. Doing so allows questions to be more carefully tailored to a given person’s expertise so that the maximum return on investment of everyone’s time can be achieved. It is also important to remember the ways in which contacts, mentors, and others open doors and provide opportunities so that in the future, that assistance can be passed along to the next generation.