IMD Impact Stories · Leadership

Searching for the perfect job involves self-reflection and instinct 

Staying curious, vulnerable, and following his gut were vital to finding fulfillment in his professional life, says Alarico Allegri (MBA 2014).
September 2022

Alarico Allegri does not believe in following a conventional career path. His career journey so far has spanned continents working in both advisory and executive roles, all of which have shaped his ambitions and interests.

“I was not the same 10 years ago, and I won’t be the same 10 years from now; I expect people around me will help me develop further,” said Allegri.

Having graduated from IMD (MBA 2014) after an external consulting career at Protiviti, Italy, Allegri joined Siemens Management Consulting, Germany and pivoted from external to internal consulting. Once there, he soon developed a desire for more responsibility, for making end-to-end decisions, and even for managing a standalone company.

As a result, Allegri increasingly shifted his approach from leading projects to advising CEOs. Allegri recalled that he would continuously ask himself what he would do as the CEO of the business he was advising and would be direct about offering clients his point of view.

“I would face challenging conversations whenever opinions diverged and would act as a long-term member of the executive team instead of a time-bound consultant,” he said.

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation

Two years later, Allegri got a call from a Siemens executive and former client, who had bought a company and needed somebody to take the helm, grow it, and shape it to be integrated into Siemens later.

The company, MRX Technologies, was a standalone global business, headquartered in Australia, and a leader in engineering and digital solutions for the Rail industry. For 33-year-old Allegri the post represented a huge jump from consulting. However, he had been appointed by someone who had seen him in action and was prepared to bet on his potential.

“It was a case of opportunity meeting preparation,” he said. “I had insights from having closely observed senior executives succeed and fail, and the wealth of leadership learning gained at IMD,” he said. As such, Allegri embraced the opportunity and he and his wife relocated from Germany to Australia.

The next three years presented an accelerated learning curve. He kickstarted his life on a new continent and expanded a 100-strong team to 200, creating a growing business to add to the Siemens portfolio.

“Beyond the strong financial results we achieved, what brought me the greatest joy was the impact my evolving leadership style had on people. I realized, the halo effect one’s job happiness could have on teams, peers, and families. The power of a person being happy in their job is multiplied across their lives,” he said.

After completing his growth mandate, Allegri’s role in stewarding the company to its next phase was achieved. With his young family having expanded by two little ones, he decided to take a step back and reflect on what he wanted next.

“I had people telling me that as a successful CEO at 36, the only rewarding path was to continue being a CEO; instead, I felt that with 25 years of career still ahead of me, maybe there were other paths to explore. This opened up a range of options, and of course they entailed uncertainties and risks,” he said.

The gut instinct

On instinct he chose what he wanted to learn first – the cloud – and worked hard to get it. Allegri reached out to AWS (Amazon Web Services), Switzerland who offered him a role in their business advisory team.

As Principal, Business Innovation and Transformation Advisory, Allegri was happy, acting as an entrepreneur, learning from world-class colleagues, and rewarded with a larger role within three months of his arrival. Then, everything changed. Having contacted leading consultancy firm Egon Zehnder at an earlier point, Allegri was invited in for a series of meetings.

“I was still asking questions about my career, and I was still seeking answers. I found that at Egon Zehnder, I could table deep career conversations, and feel understood. They welcomed my doubts, and recognized I was seeking a role where people were central. When they asked me if I was interested in a role as Consultant in Egon Zehnder itself, I felt it was a door opening into a path I had not known existed,” he said.

Allegri fell in love with the role, the team, and the strong firm values. The family decided to relocate once more, this time to Italy where Allegri now works with global leaders, supporting executive recruitment strategies, and guiding them through the challenges of leadership using his real-life experience as a CEO to anchor his counsel.

Allegri credits his blend of consulting and executive experience as being an asset for his current role. In particular, the years as CEO of MRX Technologies were critical: “Having managed a standalone business related to Siemens, I felt the pressure of delivering numbers myself, and lived through the many successes and failures. I can relate to executives, and I can feel what they feel” he said.

Reflecting on his past, Allegri believes that authenticity has been central to his own journey. “As I have matured, I realized that I cannot demand access without offering authenticity: connection is a two-way relationship both with one’s inner self – your gut – and your outer relationships. If I could put a message out there, I’d love to invite others to value one’s inner self as much as they do third-party advice.”

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