New Challenges: Meet Alumna Valentina Gozzi

Originally from Modena, a small town in northern Italy, Valentina Gozzi graduated from JCU in 2023 with a B.A. in Business Administration and a minor in Mathematics. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Corporate Finance at Luiss Business School in Rome and is captain of the JCU Women’s Soccer Team. 

Valentina Gozzi

Why did you major in Business Administration and minor in Mathematics?  
Partly because my parents are entrepreneurs and partly because I have always been drawn to the concept of business. It is something I have always enjoyed, and I wanted to delve deeper into it. I decided to minor in mathematics because I love physics and scientific subjects. I wanted to keep that passion but veer more towards the business field.  

Tell us more about the path that led you to study Corporate Finance at Luiss Business School. 
After I graduated from JCU, I felt like I was missing something. I knew that if I ever wanted to become an entrepreneur and have my own company, I needed to handle the financial aspects. I was ready for a new challenge, and that was to study finance to make me well-rounded and enrich me professionally. After the master’s program at Luiss, I will know some finance, which, in addition to my degree in business and math, will help me enter the job market as an entrepreneur. 

What made you passionate about math? 
When I was in grade five, I had a teacher who would give us a math problem to solve every morning. It taught me how to get satisfaction from finding the answer to a problem. Since then, I have had a scientific and inquiring mind, which was helped by the International Baccalaureate (IB) program I did in high school. It teaches you to be principled, inquiring, and curious. Various biology and physics labs taught me how to work with theory and discover something new, then support it with evidence. I have always used this approach to work through problems.

Do you think it’s more important for people to study what they’re passionate about or what will be more likely to secure them a job?  
The most important thing now is to be well-rounded. It might seem important to be particularly good at one thing, but if you only focus on that area, you are losing out. For example, at Luiss, I am the only one who has not studied finance as an undergraduate. From a strictly theoretical standpoint, I am behind my classmates, but I have plenty of other skills that make up for that. I am fluent in English and I am a strong public speaker thanks to my experience at John Cabot. It is important to be knowledgeable, but it is also important to focus on qualities that will make you well-prepared.  

What professors stood out to you at JCU? 
One of the most insightful classes I took was the capstone course with Professor Silvia Pulino. She took everything we learned during our studies and put it into practice. It was very independent – we would have a case study to read and research at home, and then discuss in class.  We learned by doing. The class was mainly group work, which was helpful and led to long-lasting friendships.  

You are the captain of the JCU soccer team. What have sports meant to you in the past and what do they mean to you now?  
It has been great to play at JCU because I have always loved sports. I played professional volleyball and soccer before coming to Rome and I am used to being part of a team. At first, I was very individualistic and not much of a team player, but one of the most important parts of being on a team is thinking as one. Being captain has made me less egotistical and instead, consider what is good for the team. I have been able to use training as a time to unleash my anxiety and stress, but also as a chance to be out on the field with my friends. It is a great experience.  

Women’s soccer does not typically have many followers. Is that something you can see changing in the future? 
I do not agree with the idea that women’s soccer is less skilled and not as fun to watch as men’s soccer. It’s up to women to create a larger fan base and thus gain traction from sponsors. It is improving now, but I see it as a collective effort.

What advice would you give to students considering JCU? 
What I miss the most about JCU is the camaraderie and the friendships I made, because JCU has a great community. For anyone nervous about finding friends, know that JCU is the perfect environment because everyone is very welcoming. Join a club or one of the JCU Gladiators sports teams and get involved in the community.

What advice would you give to Italian students considering JCU? 
I have friends who did the English Language for University Studies (ENLUS) program, and it helped them by teaching them how to write essays. For me, that was natural because I came from an international school, but it is one of the biggest challenges for a student coming from the Italian system. If you are unsure about your English, I would recommend the ENLUS program because it puts you in the American mindset. Do not only hang out with Italians, because while it is more comfortable to be with people who speak your native language, it is important to make the extra effort to make friends from all over the world. You gain a lot from them, and you can team up with them in a presentation. They will show you how they are used to doing things and you can learn from them. You do not learn only from professors, but also from your friends and classmates.  

What do you want to do in the future? 
My goal is to have my own company and be an entrepreneur, but before that, I want to try a corporate job or internship and see how corporate life is. I do not think I am well suited for that because I do not want to sit in front of a computer for several hours a day, but I want to take that challenge as I took the challenge of studying finance. If this opportunity doesn’t materialize for me, I already have my own company where I import-export beauty products. I founded it when I was 18 and it is still active, but it is not very profitable at the moment. I want to continue that, but it is not the only thing I am interested in. I want to create something big, and I am not limiting myself to a certain field.