A Tale of Two Cities: Alumna Aurora De Donno
Alumna Aurora De Donno graduated from JCU in 2021 with a double B.A. in Marketing and Communications. She is currently completing an M.Sc. in Marketing and Creativity at ESCP Business School in London. Aurora recently started an internship as Assistante Chef de Produit Développement (Assistant to the Product Development Manager) PAP Homme at Christian Dior Couture, in Paris.
What brought you to JCU?
I was born near Naples, and soon after my family moved to Rome. About a year later we moved to Chile, for almost two years, and after that, we returned to Rome, where I lived until last year. I then moved to London, and later Paris, where I’m currently living. I attended a bilingual American elementary and middle school, so I have been exposed to an international environment since I was little. After graduating from an Italian high school, I knew that I wanted to be a part of JCU the moment I stepped inside for the first time.
How is life after graduation? What have you been up to?
Life during the pandemic and the various lockdowns and restrictions was not easy. Thanks to remote working I was able to try many different jobs and internships that have enabled me to learn and enrich my skill set. Had it not been for Covid-19, I would have probably done a master’s in fashion in London. My dream came true anyway, as I ended up working for a Parisian fashion house. Plus, I never thought I would learn French at this point in my life! Therefore, I must say, so far “j’adore” what I do.
Tell us about your M.Sc. in Marketing and Creativity at ESCP Business School.
After graduation, I was having a hard time understanding what to do with my life since my London plans had been canceled. One night, motivated by my desire to live in London, I looked up marketing master’s programs there, and one of the first links that popped up was the M.Sc. in Marketing and Creativity at ESCP. It has been an amazing journey, very tough and challenging at the beginning but still an extremely formative experience, which allowed me to grow as a person. I lived in two cities, London and Paris, deepened my knowledge of marketing, and met people from all over the world, with different backgrounds and experiences.
Congratulations on starting an internship as Assistante Chef de Produit Développement PAP Homme at Christian Dior Couture, in Paris! Tell us a bit about it. What does your job entail?
This internship has been a surprise to me. Having always studied marketing, working with the product development team has enabled me to see the stage before the marketing promotion phase I was used to, giving me a holistic view of the process.
Product development in a fashion company entails working with the clothes at their earliest stages, from the design to the prototype, and to eventually the Fashion Week runways. Being able to share the office with designers and stylists as much as other marketers and developers, is the best setting possible. In addition, the creative director of the men’s line is British and most suppliers are Italian, therefore French is not the only language spoken in the office.
What did you like most about being a student at JCU? What is a class/professor that impacted you and why?
From an academic perspective, I would say I loved the fact that I could choose which courses to take and at what times, allowing me to tailor my schedule according to my preferences. Another positive aspect was the fact that classes offered me the chance to interact with different students, often coming from different majors. As classes are small, each course allowed for discussions and the sharing of opinions. To me, this is extremely valuable and enriching.
In terms of teaching, Professor Alessandro Signorini undoubtedly shaped my understanding of marketing since the first class I took with him. His teaching style made me understand and appreciate marketing and made the study of the subject fun, interesting, and easy to understand. I ended up taking all the courses offered by Prof. Signorini. The individual projects were the opportunity to be creative with the concepts studied, and group projects were the perfect chance to apply them to real life.
What made you decide to combine Marketing and Communications at JCU?
When I applied to JCU, I wasn’t sure what major to pursue. Fortunately, JCU allows you to take your time to decide, and in the meantime take general elective courses common to many majors. Marketing and Communications both seemed extremely interesting majors because of the variety of courses you could take, and the fact that you could personalize the major according to your interests and preferences was very appealing to me. I could also see a strong affinity between the two subjects, which made the decision harder. During the first days, I met another student, now one of my closest friends, who was also undecided between the two majors. We gathered more information on how a double major worked and decided to embark on this adventure together, doing our best to make our schedules match all the way through.
What would you say to a prospective student who might be interested in studying at an American university?
Live the experience to the fullest. Never take anything for granted and enjoy every single moment because time passes quickly. Take every opportunity to travel, hang out with friends, go to the events organized on campus, participate in student clubs, meet new people, and of course, learn from the professors. The skills developed in these years are the basis for your future and will allow you to enter the work environment more smoothly. There will be challenging moments, but they’ll pass, and you’ll miss this time looking back.
What are your plans for the future?
For the short term, my plan is to complete my thesis and graduate while continuing to work full-time, which is more challenging than I expected. After that, I would like to possibly keep working for a fashion house in Paris, as I love the city and would like to stay here.
I would definitely consider remaining in the product development department to keep learning about it, as I have discovered a whole new and fascinating world, which I am beyond thrilled to be a part of.