Roberto D'Auria, Executive Director Private Banking, Bank J. Safra Sarasin


Servizio alumni

14 Ottobre 2022

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 Roberto D’Auria, Executive Director Private Banking for Bank J. Safra Sarasin in Lugano (CH). USI Degree: EMBA - Executive Master in Business Administration, 2021.


Roberto, could you explain why you decided to take an Executive MBA program and what motivated you to study at the EMBA of Università della Svizzera italiana?

I have always been a great believer in training, most of all in continuous training. Training, determination and passion I believe are fundamental elements in any field.

I am an Executive Director, Private Banker, at Bank J. Safra Sarasin in Lugano and I have been active for over 25 years in the Swiss Banking sector; specifically in Private Banking. I have a degree as an Economist; a title obtained at the Applied Sciences University Lugano (SUPSI). Banking and Finance are sectors where demand is increasingly complex and sophisticated. I strongly believe that the only way to always ensure a high level of quality content is to constantly question oneself and never remain in that comfort zone in which we are used to living.

Why an EMBA at USI? I make no secret of the fact that I have also considered other solutions at two prestigious universities; one of which is in Milan and the other based in Zurich. Regardless of the costs and distances compared to Lugano, I felt that the quality content that USI in Lugano would give me was incomparable in terms of network due to the very high status of the international professors with whom I could interact.

Between 2020 and 2021, Università della Svizzera italiana undertook the independent procedure led by the Swiss Quality Assurance Agency (AAQ), which examines the quality system of Swiss higher education institutions, on a regular basis.  Your contribution helped the University to overcome the institutional accreditation. Could you share your experience?

I was asked to participate as an EMBA student representative in an interview by the Supervising Commission for Accreditation at USI.

It was undoubtedly a very interesting experience. I won't hide the fact that initially I had no idea what a university institutional accreditation process meant. I had the opportunity to meet other representatives of the various faculties.

It was then necessary for me to read up on the self-evaluation reports, the professional accreditation guide and to familiarize myself with the complexity of the processes and the respective terminology used. My takeaway from this experience was highly positive. I got confirmation that USI is an important international hub with enormous potential to attract the entirety of Canton Ticino tremendously.

To what extent would you say the EMBA has made you grow personally?

It has contributed to my personal growth on three main levels. Firstly, I had to get used to navigating outside of my comfort zone. After this step, I was able to develop an out of the box approach in the sense of having to find solutions and to think quickly from a problem-solving perspective. Thirdly, the network: I had the privilege of getting to know a diverse range of colleagues and professors with very interesting profiles.

With what tools did the USI Executive MBA provide you?

The raw materials of an EMBA are the depth of the teaching staff, the program itself, the infrastructure and the course participants.

Most of the lecturers have a high international profile. They come from important professional backgrounds, prestigious universities and academic institutions. The curriculum was largely an excellent level with innovative content and methods. The infrastructure and organisation have, in my view, confirmed my expectations.

How has the EMBA helped advance your banking career?

Refining managerial skills and through the in-depth study of notions of a more technical nature. Some subjects have already been addressed in the past in a more didactic form, but this time were adapted and tailored to the concreteness of professional needs.

On the management front, my career has benefitted thanks to the techniques learnt during the EMBA. By way of example I am thinking of those in-depth modules such as organization behavior, change management, leadership or negotiation. On other more technical contents, the modules on Finance, Innovation & Creativity, Accounting, Economics, HR or Quantitative Methods proved to be the most advantageous for me in my career.

How will your employer benefit from your participation in the Executive MBA?

Both in terms of managerial skills and in terms of added value to the service required. In general, having qualified and up-to-date personnel gives the company a competitive advantage, and that is before we regard the positive reputational aspects.

What is your advice to those interested in the EMBA?

Think out of the Box. If you are considering an EMBA then you have probably decided that you want to change something in your life. Don't wait. You will always find a thousand reasons to put it off; don’t. Take the steps towards a change in your life.