Published: 30 June 2023
In academia, there are extraordinary individuals with diverse experiences and unwavering passion. Meet Alessandro Ferrazza, an exceptional lecturer at the University of Sunderland in London whose journey spans multiple countries and industries. Born in Switzerland and raised in Rome until the age of 16, Alessandro later found his way to Paris before eventually settling in the United Kingdom. Despite his international endeavours, he remained deeply committed to his work, maintaining offices in both London and Zurich.
His first connection with the University of Sunderland in London was forged during his pursuit of a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a pivotal milestone that would intertwine his fate with this renowned institution. Drawing from his previous role as a Regional Account Director in a multinational corporation, overseeing accounts in the UK, Switzerland, and Northern Italy, Alessandro’s expertise proved invaluable to the university. As a result, he was frequently invited back as a guest lecturer, sharing insights and knowledge with students who were eager to learn.
The turning point for Dr Ferrazza arrived in 2019 when the programme manager of the postgraduate faculty offered him a permanent role. Initially unsure about academia consuming his identity, Alessandro saw himself as an educational companion, embracing an unconventional approach to teaching. Starting as an associate lecturer, he progressed to part-time and eventually to a full-time contract.
"Initially, I did not envision myself as a lecturer, and to this day, I still feel that I haven't fully immersed myself in academia. I consider myself more of an educational companion than a traditional lecturer." Alessandro Ferrazza, Programme Manager (Postgraduate Business)
After four remarkable years, Alessandro's impact is undeniable, crowned by his win as the most Digitally Innovative Teacher in 2022. With a background in the hospitality industry, he organised a conference featuring esteemed figures, providing valuable insights.
His vision for the MBA - Professional Management and Leadership Development module was to foster interactivity, prompting him to seek guidance from the ex-CEO of his former corporation. Together, they delivered lectures filled with authentic examples and challenges faced in the corporate world, requiring students to present their responses as part of their assignments. Embracing technology, he guided his students in refining their work, ensuring a dynamic and engaging learning experience. To enrich his Global Strategy and Foresight module in MSc in International Business Management, he introduced supplementary materials, carefully evaluating their effectiveness. Real-world case studies found their way into his strategic modules, enabling students to apply their skills using live data.
Beyond his professional endeavours, Alessandro's passion lies in understanding and improving human interactions, transcending cultural boundaries faiths, and embracing diversity. He firmly believes that these should never be used as criteria for judgment. Furthermore, he has an insatiable curiosity for exploration, finding solace in road trips that allow him to revel in breathtaking landscapes and diverse cultures. Indeed, it is the journey itself that brings him true joy.
When we asked Alessandro for his most fascinating life experience, he answered, he had the privilege of collaborating with many public figures. Working with Paul McCartney (English singer-songwriter) on one of his projects and participating in the launch of Madonna's movie "Evita" during his time in Rome for Princess Pallavicini in the palace are among his notable experiences. Additionally, he has crossed paths with influential figures like John Paul II (Former head of the Catholic Church), leaving an indelible mark on his personal and professional journey.
Reflecting on his childhood, Alessandro's dream of launching humans into Mars was redirected towards a more conventional path. As he said “I grew up in an era in which children were not considered capable of making sound decisions. When I told my parents about my ambitions, they refused and insisted that I find something more practical to pay the bills. Today, what I do has nothing to do with my childhood dream – but that's alright because I love my job and how I have evolved.”
The pursuit of his promotion as a Senior Lecturer- Programme Manager was marked by determination and resilience. Over the course of two years and working closely with Tawfiq Elahi, he gained invaluable insights into the intricacies of being a Programme Manager. “The opportunity arose, and I decided to apply for it. I applied for the role twice before, but I wasn't successful. However, I am not the kind of person that gives up and on the third attempt, I finally received the promotion.” - he said.
As a mentor, Alessandro advises his students to follow their passions rather than conform to others' expectations, as true happiness lies therein.
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