“What was your first thought when you were told to be chosen as LUISS Alumnus of the year?” – “That you have very low standards!”

Simplicity. Courage. Target. Humility.

Luca Maestri, awarded last Friday LUISS Alumnus 2016, delivered a message in a perfect Cupertino-style: simple and effective, but dense with significance.

As a young Roman guy who left his hometown to work abroad, to CFO of the Apple in California, Luca always challenged himself, and this led Tim Cook to choose him as the top financial manager for the whole Apple Group.

Many and intense moments characterised his visit to the University he studied in, and of whom he witnessed a significant transformation: from the meeting with the students in the morning, to the afternoon visit to the premises of LUISS Enlabs, to the award in the evening within an event organised by the Association of LUISS Graduates (ALL). In each of these occasions, the importance of simplicity was remarked, and so did the idea of “international meshing”.

Many of the questions he had received, either from students or from others, were about the so called “brain drain”. This is an inadequate definition to him, because drain presupposes someone who has fear, and that is why he/she escapes, in an inevitable drain. Those are, instead, “moving brains”. They do not escape from reality, they just leave to seize new, different and exciting opportunities.

This is what young Italians really are. They are often defined as too lazy, or too idle, or too unable to cope with change. On the contrary, growing up in a “crisis-speaking” environment took them to a greater level of flexibility than the previous generation. Their world is now border-less, they do not see distance as a hurdle, instead they are used to consider the whole world as their home.

You cannot escape such a wide world. They can freely move in it, for shorter or longer periods. There you see stories intertwining, new families, one can change job and life even repeatedly.

We just have to teach them how to grab those opportunities, wherever they might lie. With simplicity, humility and courage.