“This experience was a game-changer. I received a top-notch, innovative, globally oriented and multidisciplinary legal education, created a terrific network of colleagues, friends and stakeholders, and dived deep into my passions.”
Raffaele Piemonte, Italy
- Program studied
Tell us about yourself.
I would describe myself with three words: passionate, flexible and determined. I am a versatile legal professional who adopts a customer-centric and goal-oriented approach and strives to combine a strong legal skill set with a deep understanding of business dynamics.
I cannot say that I am an absolute expert on any particular subject matter. However, I acquired specific knowledge regarding crucial topics such as corporate and business law, competition law, intellectual property, private equity and venture capital transactions. I have been constantly exposed to topics such as international business contracts, privacy and data protection, consumer rights and e-commerce legislation.
On top of that, I have developed strong communication skills as vice president and alumni advisor of the IE Public Speaking Club. Since October 2017, I have co-hosted more than 45 weekly workshops aimed at providing specific insights regarding public speaking and effective communication to more than 1,450 members from over 80 different countries. Most recently, I offered my expertise as Public Speaking Coach to the organizing committees of TEDx IE Madrid 2018 and to the 3MT Competition organizing committee.
Finally, I regard myself as a passionate reader and an innovation-seeker, who values feedback as a crucial tool. I am always open to disrupt my beliefs and my assumptions.
Describe your career trajectory to date.
I started off my career in Italy as a trainee in a boutique law firm specialized in international business law. Later on, I joined another firm where I soon became an associate in the corporate law department. I moved to Madrid in October 2017 and, right after the LL.M., I received an offer from a leading multinational provider of information technology products and services.
Almost a year later, I joined my dream company: Amazon. I was part of the legal team at Amazon Spain from October 2019 to June 2020, when I moved to one of the European hubs of Amazon Europe and joined the retail account management team. This was a truly life-changing experience, which remarkably strengthened my managerial skills and forced me outside of my comfort zone. I eventually left the company in February 2021.
Currently, I am part of the legal team of the ENEA Tech Foundation, a newly incorporated entity that manages the most important investment fund dedicated to tech transfer in Italy. The Foundation is a private entity under the vigilance of the Ministry of Economic Development, and the fund currently has a net worth of €500 million. I offer legal advice regarding two macro-areas: corporate law issues, and private equity and venture capital transactions.
How would you summarize your year at IE Law School and what are your main takeaways?
Looking at my personal development from a holistic perspective, my IE University experience has been a game-changer for a number of reasons. First of all, I have been able to receive a top-notch, innovative, globally oriented and multidisciplinary legal education that allowed me to take a step further in my career. Secondly, I created a terrific network of colleagues, friends, and stakeholders: amazing professionals from all around the globe, with a diverse background and who share my attitude toward success. Lastly, I dived deep into my passions, engaged in tons of extra-curricular activities, hosted or co-hosted events, took part in workshops, masterclasses and conferences, and gave back to the community as much as I could.
I took tons of lessons from this experience and my feeling is that one can spot many of them by reading this interview. I learned that diversity matters a lot. I learned that one must strive for excellence by seeking innovation, by having a global vision, an entrepreneurial mindset and a unique focus on the humanities.
How did you find your passion for public speaking?
My passion for public speaking is a sort of revenge against my past. As a child, I had a severe form of stutter, which led me to undertake eight years of speech therapy. Being able to speak—let alone to speak in public—is one of the most rewarding feelings for me. It is a sort of “Yes, Rafa, you can do whatever you want now. Just believe in yourself.”
How did the IE Talent & Careers Department support your career development?
To be completely honest, when I joined IE University and moved to Madrid, I did not have a specific career path in mind. This used to scare me a lot: I feared that I would be left behind and that I would be less successful than other colleagues of mine who already had a clear vision of their future and were taking all the necessary steps to achieve that.
I guess that the supreme value of my IE University experience might be found exactly in that: not only exploring new horizons, taking advantage of a priceless network of MBA graduates and students from other schools, but also giving purpose, connecting the dots, finding a path (my own path) and building up a professional profile that is now stronger than ever.
Sometimes, it has been incredibly hard. I am not sure if I could have done it without the constant support of the IE Law School Talent & Careers Department. That’s why I am so grateful to Beatriz and Liova.
What lessons did you learn from your experience at Amazon?
Countless. First and foremost, I learned that having core leadership principles to guide you in any decision is priceless. Secondly, I learned the importance of a customer-centered and goal-oriented approach. Finally, I understood the concept of efficiency. I learned that it is crucial to measure each action, figuring out key performance indicators and objectively analyzing them in order to dive deep into each aspect of an issue and deliver terrific results.
Tell us about a typical day at ENEA Tech Foundation?
Describing a typical working day at ENEA Tech Foundation is almost impossible. We are currently in a sort of startup phase. The Foundation has been established right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the remarkable effort of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. Our mission is to empower innovative startups and small and medium enterprises to drive change and to achieve the highest degree of technological development possible, by unlocking hidden potential and funding projects with huge potential impact. We are building everything from scratch: our corporate model, the investment teams and the relationships with external stakeholders. That’s why every day is different and, in my opinion, this is extremely motivating.
What are your hobbies and passions and how do they help you develop the skills needed in your professional life?
Listing my hobbies and my passions is a hard challenge, as I always feel like I leave something out. Movies and music are a big part of my spare time at the moment as they can be incredibly enriching. It is no mystery that I am obsessed with volleyball—my friends and former teammates of the IE Volleyball Club will surely back me up here. I love soccer, too, but on this one I have no backups. Finally, I love reading and writing. Let me please plead the fifth on that; new projects and ideas are on the horizon.
Where do you see yourself in the future? What are the next steps in your career?
Honestly, I do not know what my exact job description will be in five years. What I do know is that, at the moment, I feel 100% committed to my current job and I would like to give energy to the ENEA Tech Foundation’s project. Why? This project is not just about a specific company or a specific client: it is about unlocking the huge potential that our country has in terms of technological development and sustainable growth. That said, I do not exclude the idea that further steps in my career will involve personal projects, which are currently very promising works-in-progress.
What advice would you give to future students seeking to specialize in corporate law and M&A?
Usually, the very first piece of advice that is given to young students approaching this world is to be ready to endure long hours of studying and huge pressures at work. This advice is super important and most definitely true.
To conclude, I also would like to mention something else: find your purpose and the reason why you want to do it. Start from the “why.” Have a clear vision of your future and be ready to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. Ask questions, explore your options. Seek feedback and embrace the answers. Remember that no one did it alone. Be open. Be flexible. Lastly, aim for the stars: being just “good” is not going to be enough.