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Deakin commerce alumnus launches global career

Specialising in finance and economics, José Ruggero’s commerce degree became the springboard for a highly-successful, corporate career.

Although it’s been more than 20 years since José Ruggero completed his Deakin commerce degree, he can still pinpoint the key learnings that have helped build an executive-level, international career. 

Based in the USA, José is a senior executive with global research and advisory company Gartner, where he leads research on mid-size enterprises (MSE) in the organisation’s IT and advisory business group.

Growing up in Perth, Western Australia, José first worked in the state’s public sector before moving to Melbourne and a role with one of Australia’s then-largest IT companies.

A career-enhancing degree

But with a gap in his higher education qualifications, he wanted to enhance his career with a solid business degree so decided to study a Bachelor of Commerce – majoring in economics and finance – at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus.

‘I always enjoyed economics, and the ability to combine this with finance was perfect for where I was at the stage of my life and career, which was raising a family, building an executive career, and leading a chunk of business for a large Australian company. Deakin had a great reputation, it was close to work, and it also enabled me to study part-time,’ he says.

Reflecting on his Deakin study years, José says some of the highlights included economic modelling, learning how ‘to think’, and building important links with international students.

‘The early introduction into “research” – through assignments and project work – provided me with a safe environment in which to experiment,’ he says.

‘This became extremely useful later in my career. Also, working with Deakin’s cohort of international students provided me with skills which helped me later in my career when I started new practices in Asia.’

Senior roles across Australia, Asia and the Americas

Not long after graduating from Deakin, José began his career with Gartner and following a three-year management role in Melbourne, he transferred to Sydney to lead the organisation’s Asia Pacific technology advisory practice.

In 2005, he moved to the USA to lead Gartner’s executive programs in the Americas and Japan before his appointment to senior executive and VP roles within the company’s research areas.

Now, as Vice-President and Practice Leader for Gartner’s Midsize Enterprise (MSE) Research team, José leads a global team that researches strategies and best practices to enable MSEs to thrive and survive in the digital world. 

‘The practice comprises 25 analysts and researchers across the globe. It’s a very rewarding field to work in because you are constantly learning new things and also have the opportunity to interact with associates and clients across the world,’ he says.

‘MSEs have some inherent agility in addressing the same core business capabilities that large enterprises have, but there are many other challenges and complexities that are not easily addressed.’

Experience-based advice

For those considering a similar career path, Jose’s advice is three-fold:  always keep an open mind, take calculated risks, and be prepared to change direction if needed.

‘The world is extremely dynamic, even more so than when I embarked on my career,’ he says.

‘It’s important to always think of impact – this means your ability to have an impact and to influence people to act. Being able to challenge both individuals and enterprises to reframe their thinking is an invaluable skill.’

Not surprisingly, he is also a strong advocate for building digital skill and savvy.

‘From the trends we’re seeing generally, the ability to be digitally dexterous is essential. Technology is changing every role in every company.’

Find out more about Deakin’s Bachelor of Commerce.