A 360 degree life-changing experience both professionally and personally

Former GME participant Pierpaolo Maniglio talks about his year in New York

Since I was young, like many people, I always had a dream of living in NYC. When I grew up and started my career in the marketing and digital world, the desire to immerse myself in the culture of the Big Apple grew even stronger. It’s simply one of the most appealing places for any twenty-something who aspires to ‘raise the bar’ both personally and professionally. Having said this, we all know how hard it is for a non-US citizen to get a chance in this hyper-competitive space – and that’s where GME made all the difference for me. It wasn’t long after my first contact with Tim, the founder of GME, on LinkedIn (yes, social networks strike again!) before GME found me a position that perfectly aligned with my background and expectations for my career path. Even though I had an amazing job at Coca-Cola in Europe managing social media operations at the time, I didn’t have many doubts about jumping on the GME train. Yes, I acknowledge it might sound scary to leave a secure full time job for the uncertainty of a temporary working visa on the other side of the pond, but the opportunity to work at Reuters in NYC and transition to the digital publishing industry offered an even greater opportunity to develop my career. A year and a half after accepting the role, I can say with certainty that my initial feelings were confirmed: after a great 12 months in New York, Reuters offered me a leading permanent position based in London.

Working in the heart of midtown Manhattan, at the Times Square headquarters of the world’s largest multimedia news organization was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and something I’ll never forget. Being immersed in the global news scene at work enabled me to participate in prestigious events; something I wasn’t necessarily expecting. From hosting innovation and entrepreneurial panels to attending world class media events, the opportunities were astounding. Attending the White House Correspondents Dinner was by far the most exciting of these privileged experiences. Who would’ve guessed I’d get to join the Reuters team in Washington, D.C. and attend Sunday brunch right in front of the White House – with Michael Kelly from House of Cards seated at the same table!

To quote a line from a famous song, “New York is the place of opportunities. People come here to go after their dreams and achieve their goals, and I personally experienced this. I met extraordinary people, talented young professionals as well as senior leaders, and each and every one of them taught me something or offered insight that helped me grow professionally. Before the year was over I was listed among the Gramercy Institute’s 2016-2017 class of “20 Rising Stars” and awarded at a fancy ceremony at the world-famous Le Cirque New York – an unbelievable honor that wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable experience I gained and people I met.  

I truly believe everyone should have the chance to live in NYC at least once in their lifetime. From the vibrant entrepreneurial environment to the arts, new trends, world class music events, street culture and more, it’s easy to make the most of your time here, whatever your interests. Each and every borough has its own history and its own way of interpreting the New York mood. One of my favorite sayings is, “There is something In the New York air that makes sleep useless.” That’s exactly how you feel it in New York. It may sound tiring in theory, but trust me: it’s hard to feel tired with the city’s energy running through your veins. Waking up every morning with the feeling that you’re at the center of the universe, a place where so many have dreamed of living, always brought a smile to my face. Even the packed subway from Brooklyn to Midtown seemed didn’t seem that bad in the end!   

Future GME trainees: Don’t be afraid of “taking the risk” of betting on yourself and believing in what you can achieve. This is a unique opportunity to step-change your future. NYC isn’t an easy environment in which to live, but the energy of the place and the doors that are opened from living and working here are incomparable to any other place on earth.    

New York attracts by nature some of the most driven, ambitious and inspired individuals around. Being surrounded by such people offers an invaluable competitive advantage on your path to personal and professional growth. You’re immersed in an environment fuelled by creativity; by the desire to realize your dreams and a dedication to achieve them by pushing yourself beyond limits. I learned a lot at the office and in the work environment – but I learned even more on these magical streets, listening to the stories of so many interesting people, or from an inspiring conversation with a stranger at a bar (although to be honest, no one’s a stranger in NYC – in the end New Yorkers aren’t as rude as they’d have you believe). Attending a startup event where you meet other young professionals who have ideas to share, mingling with industry peers at a networking reception, or listen to stories on these streets – there are infinite things you can learn in NYC, and you often won’t realize the impact of these experiences until the year is over.

It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I look at it with a bit of melancholy already. But, armed with knowledge and wisdom I gained, I know that my time in NYC was just the start and the best is yet to come.