Geraldine Becchi, Partnership Development Specialist, UNV


Alumni Service

28 January 2019

In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Geraldine Becchi, Partnership Development Specialist for United Nations Volunteers a Bonn (Germany). USI Degree: EMBA 2016.

Tell us a little about yourself? (Academic/Professional background)

I am currently Partnership Development Specialist for United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Bonn (Germany). In 2018 I was a consultant for UNISDR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) and for Particip GmbH, before joining again United Nations Volunteers. From 2015 to 2018 I worked for United Nations Volunteers (UNV) as Portfolio Manager based in Bonn (Germany) where I managed the agency's operations in Colombia, Sudan, South Sudan.

Prior to joining UNV, from 2012-2015 I was UNDP’s Regional Disaster Reduction Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean based in the Panama Regional Hub. I supported, among others, country offices to position disaster risk reduction in national agendas, developed and implemented national and regional capacity development and recovery programmes, and developed the regional disaster risk reduction and recovery strategic plan. Before this, I worked from 2005 to 2012 as Capacity Development Specialist for the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), an interagency joint program based in Geneva (Switzerland). In my functions I supported strengthening capacities at the global, regional and national level for disaster risk reduction through the design of capacity development strategies, the development and application of tools (such as capacity assessments methodologies, surveys and guiding notes), and the promotion of knowledge sharing and networking. I also designed training strategies and facilitated trainings.

I was a UNV volunteer when I worked from 2001 to 2005 for UNDP as a programme officer in the good governance unit spending more than one year in Cape Verde and two years in Ecuador. Between 1999 and 2001 internships and volunteering brought me to work in Belgium (with a regional Italian chamber of commerce), Italy (two NGOs), Northern Ireland (INCORE), and Bosnia Herzegovina (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). I have an Executive MBA (USI Università della Svizzera italiana), a MA in Political Science (University of Bologna), a MA in Humanitarian Assistance (University of Rome – Uppsala), and a MA in Intercultural Communication (USI Università della Svizzera italiana). I am fluent in English, French, Spanish, Portuñol in addition to my mother tongue, Italian.

In which companies have you worked, in which countries and in which roles?

  • As a Portfolio Manager and a Partnership Development Specialist for United Nations Volunteers, Germany;
  • As Post Crisis Recovery Planning & Coordination Specialist for Particip GmbH;
  • As Regional Disaster Risk Advisor (Latin America and the Caribbean) for United Nations Development Programme, Panama;
  • As Programme Specialist Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) – Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, United Nations Development Programme, Switzerland;
  • As Programme Officier Good Governance Unit, United Nations Development Programme, Ecuador;
  • As Programme Officer Good Governance Unit, United Nations Development Programme, Cape Verde.

Why have you decided to attend the USI EMBA programme (what set USI apart from other programs that you considered)?

At the time I decided to continue to study, I found very engaging the personal approach that USI staff had. The CV of the MBA was also very interesting and the professors of very high quality. I also found the time schedule of the modules convenient as they could match my working schedule.

How has the EMBA changed your perspective at work? How has it changed your career?

The EMBA has expanded my knowledge and understanding in several subjects. I have become a better professional and my acquired knowledge was useful to carry out my working tasks. I know my new business perspective was also appreciated in my last position (UNV).

What is the most important skill you feel you have learned/developed during the EMBA?

In virtue of the new tools I have to conduct business analysis’, I now have a broader understanding of how business works and how to improve it.

Would you recommend the programme to others and why?

Yes, Yes, with no doubt. The academic quality of the EMBA modules is very high. Professors are very knowledgeable. Last but not least I met some very impressive professionals in my class.