"Bruno is always looking for things to do"

Meet our alumni: Bruno Marafini

He likes to connect technology with his hobbies and making a business out of it. He is also curious and ambitious. That is how he became a DJ, ended up in the National Mountainbike team of Italy and entered the consultancy firm Accenture as a security consulting analyst. Bruno Marafini is also the new technology officer of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation, where he sees a lot to do for him. Let’s meet the Italian Marafini.

The EIT Digital Alumni Foundation established a new board this summer. That is a reason to talk to the new board members about their motivation, work, and their education. Marafini studied Cyber Security at the EIT Digital Master School at the University of Trento in Italy and EURECOM in France.

Please, introduce yourself. Who is Bruno?

“Bruno is a very active guy of 25 years old. He likes to study a lot of different subjects. I always try to get to know new things. And I like to connect technology and business with my hobbies. I am conceiving every object that I use physically as a technical opportunity. I am always thinking about the future. That is how I got into the security business, and into music. And another example is my interest in sports. I have a passion for mountain biking and now I am part of the official national mountain bike team in Italy. So, Bruno is always looking for things to do. That is a brief summary of my life.”

How did you connect tech and business with your passion for music?

“I started to develop software that was automatically producing sounds. I put some machine-learning artificial intelligence algorithms into it. I played as DJ at some venues. At some point, I started to get paid and got invited to play at bigger events. It became a real job. I was playing in clubs in Germany, Spain, France, and all around Italy. I had the nickname Brain-Dj. My friends addressed me this way for I could tell which was the correct music at the correct moment in time. I used to sleep only two or three hours a day. It was a nice experience. I could travel a lot. I was producing my music and I had the pleasure to be working with known Italian artists like Luca Nalli and Marco Verona.”

And how did you connect tech and business into sports?

"I was conceiving technology as a mechanism that allows wireless communicating with the bike. I use technology on my helmet, which I developed with some colleagues in Trento and won a prize for at a hackathon. If I fall, my parents get a text message with my GPS coordinates and other data, like the speed I was going, so they can know whether I need help or not. I get results out of what I do just because I am very competitive. I won also prizes with my hobbies. One month ago I got first in a biking competition. When I started mountain biking I wanted to reach a level that I would feel confident with going up to a hill. Now, my specialitiy is climbing hills. I always like to achieve the best way possible the objective. It is quite hard. I wake up at 4.30 am, bike and be back at 9 to go to work. To achieve the best requires a constant in what you do. That goes for everything that I do.”

What prizes did you win?

“I won several hackathons. With my colleagues, I won a hackathon in Bolzano three years ago (Vertical Innovation Hackathon in 2018, ed.). We presented algorithms that could recognise gesturing to move slides in a Powerpoint presentation. At another hackathon, we presented a smart mirror to connect elderly people who could not get out of their homes, with caregivers and doctors who could help them remotely. We developed this within the University of Trento for a business innovation development course. Then there was Project Mario that I worked on for my bachelor thesis at the University of Bologna. This was a healthcare-related project from the Centre of National Research in Italy (CNR). We developed algorithms that are sentiment analysis text to speech or speech to text. A robot for elderly people suffering from early stages, could, based on algorithms that I developed, understand human language translate it into machine learning and understand what was happening and then give up their care response.”

Marafini won the Vertical Innovation Hackathon 2018 together with Mirko Schicchi, an EIT Digital Master School Cyber Security student who is now a security developer at Ericsson, and Filippo Tessaro, a data science student from ICT University of Trento, now Machine Learning Engineer at @PerVoice.

Are you also that ambitious in your work at Accenture where you work as a Security Consulting Analyst?

“Yes, I was chasing the position at Accenture, because I thought about Accenture as a very big company and the best consultancy and system integration provider European wide, as Gartner schemed out. I wanted to find out a lot of possibilities. Due to my cybersecurity expertise, Accenture gave me the possibility to explore security 360 degrees. This means that I'm working on hardware security, mobile security, analytics security and doing integration testing. So I'm doing many things that help me to understand better my path. I started here on the first of May this year. This is a new experience and I am putting all of my efforts into it. I really think this is great. The team is great. The people who are with me are great. And I have to admit, actually, that all of the challenges I was given are achieved. I'm getting already results and the managers are giving good feedback. So I'm very happy about it.”

How did you get this job?

“I applied for a vacancy for a position that I found interesting on LinkedIn. Two days later someone contacted me to say Accenture is interested in me. In total, I had five interviews. Mentioning EIT Digital made a big impact. At first, they did not know the programme, but when I explained about the different perspectives that you gain among others during the Summer School, and how you grow on the technical and the business part is why they found my profile interesting. They found it useful that I had been already in so many different projects.  Also, the fact that I had been travelling a lot and my PhD experience helped. Because of my background, they hired me at level eleven. That they do not do normally, they just got people out of interns. They gave me two levels more than they do usually do with people of my age.”

What can you tell about your PhD experience?

“After my graduation in 2020, I decided to go with a PhD in communication systems and security. This was for me a once in a lifetime opportunity: either I do it now, or I will never do it at all. Then I discovered a PhD was not my thing. I had an internship in a consultancy firm and I found some opportunities in consultancy and found Accenture the most valuable one.”

How do you see your career future?

“I see my future most in the field of sales. Technology consultancy is a good start to move to  something more on the business side. If you stay on the technical side, you limit yourself to be just a developer. My idea now is to stay here and grow. I want to reach at least the level of a service manager, which is level 7 or 6. I am now at level 11. I need to work on many projects and many clients and to get better.”

How and when did you learn about the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation?

“In May 2019. I was already contributing to some social gatherings of the alumni community as DJ. These meetups are always interesting and useful. Even though people now are struggling to participate in online meetings, you get to know topics you did not know about. I went to Porto for the annual meeting. I spoke with Francesco Bonadimen the former president of the board and he asked me to join the community and help to organise events.”

Why did you apply for the position of technical officer in the EIT Digital Alumni board Foundation?

“The position was about the technical part of the alumni community. I thought the role can be good for me. I like meeting new people, learning about the technology the community is using, and I like building on the website. I never miss an opportunity that I like and I did not want to miss this opportunity.”

How will you fullfil this role?

“There are a lot of technical issues like website-related and security issues. I will also work on website development. Normally, the board members and alumni students signal things on the website. I will communicate with them and with the external website developer. My first objective is to get trust. Trust from the board members and the members of the community. They know my duties; they do not know yet what I am capable of. If I say that I fix something within a week, they need to know that they can trust me that I have fixed that in a week. I want to build an issue tracker, and I will implement technology and innovation on the website. I may think out of the box to make the website appealing to anyone. I want to redesign the user experience of the website. I plan to have a redesigned website with new tools that users will be willing to use every time they enter the website.”

Where will you be in ten to fifteen years from now?

“I want to have a house in the mountains. The northern part of Italy is a dream place for me. For that matter, it was great to study my first year of my EIT Digital Master Cyber Security in Trento. I can see myself as a senior manager at Accenture. But there could also come something else.”

How do you look back at the EIT Digital Master School?

“I look back just saying that I made the perfect choice. That is due to a bit of luck. I did not know EIT Digital when I was studying in Bologna. A professor from Trento said: ‘for the ones interested, there is an opportunity of being an EIT Digital Master School student’.  I started to explore that straight away because I was curious. I found everything matching: I saw the programme Cyber Security, I saw I could do a year in the mountains in Trento, I saw EIT Digital as an opportunity to grow and get to know enterprises, experts, technology experts, business experts, business analysts, and so on, and I saw an opportunity to meet new people. So when I received the news that I got accepted, I was really happy.”

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