Inspirational Woman: Elisabetta Ceragioli | Deputy CEO, The University of Law

Elisabetta CeragioliMy name is Elisabetta Ceragioli. I was born in Italy and I’m 48 years old.  I have been the Deputy CEO of The University of Law for five years.

I was a business school student in the 90s. I was lucky enough to live in Italy and start my higher education in an innovative way whereby I was studying a Business Degree whilst spending time travelling to many different countries. I studied in Italy, the UK and the USA and had three Internships. One of those was on a Caribbean Island at the Ministry of Tourism, another one at an Italian national television news station and another at a European Film festival in Italy. These were incredible opportunities that I am very grateful for.

My studies were expensive and coming from a regular income family, I worked at the same time to be able to pay for my studies and all my travelling. With no student loans available at that time paying for higher education fell to students and their families.  I was young and, being extremely motivated, I found a way to manage work whilst being always on the move.

This experience has undoubtedly shaped me into who I am today.  I was able to be curious, to see the world and try to understand it, whilst getting to know myself better, learning from different cultures and from different people. I know that I will never stop travelling or learning.

My life after my studies took me to other parts of the globe where my career continued, always with an international flavour – London, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Italy, Germany. For the last few years, I have been based in London.

I am a senior business professional specialising in higher education and I have continued to develop this career path throughout the years. My time as a student shaped my life and who I am today, and developed my passion for the sector.  I believe that education is what shapes new generations and therefore the future of our collective nations.

My current role is about ensuring that The University of Law can prosper, expand, diversify, grow and internationalise. It is important that we look to the future, stay agile and adapt, with our students always at the centre of every strategic decision we take.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t really sit down and plan my career. My key driver has always been the will to learn about myself through the understanding of others in different settings, allowing me to look at life through a different lens. The other key driver is my passion for education.

I have always been ambitious, accepted challenges and taken the opportunity when doors opened.  Importantly, I also have always looked to make opportunities for myself.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes,  there are always challenges. I believe that challenges are there to allow growth and understanding and there is always a solution that can be found.

My biggest challenge, but at the same time my biggest interest, has always been to move from one system and culture into another. When I moved to Asia, the difference was immense, as were the challenges:  the mindset was different; the expectations and the rules were different; and the approach to life. It was challenging but it is also extremely interesting.  It taught me take time to listen, understand, adapt and learn. I’ve always found steep learning curves to always be worthwhile and rewarding.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I believe my biggest achievements have been setting up a business school in Singapore that is still flourishing and in my current role at The University of Law. The University has seen incredible growth, doubling in size in five years whilst keeping our quality metrics intact.  This is something I am incredibly proud of. We have also diversified by creating a business school and moved into the international education space with a campus in Hong Kong and business school courses in Germany.  It has been exciting to be part of this growth and success.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Without a doubt, the formula for me has always been to bet on good people and allow talent to flourish around me and along with me. The key to success is the people within an organisation and I have always been lucky to find many talented colleagues in my ventures.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I’m not currently mentoring anyone, but I would love to. I believe it is a key responsibility for business leaders to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of business professionals.  Whilst I have not been formally mentored myself, I have benefitted immensely throughout my career from the advice and support from other leaders whom I have admired.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I think we should continue to campaign to ensure women and men get the same remuneration for equal roles as sadly that is not the case in all sectors. We should continue to ensure that a good ratio of men and women are employed at all organisations levels. Flexible working also allows families to thrive, with women often being the sole caretakers of children. The University of Law promotes a flexible working culture allowing our staff to have a better work/life balance and enjoy time with their family.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I would advise my younger self to be less insecure and to keep a better work/life balance.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next challenge is to ensure that we as a University dedicate more time to understanding what the jobs of the future will look like as that will shape us as an institution. This will allow us to prepare students in the most relevant way according to the world and culture around us. During the pandemic especially, the job landscape has changed dramatically, so we as educators need to be ready and ahead of the curve.

I firmly believe that the right education is pivotal for the future of the world.

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