“Everything began with the Global Trade Certificate (GTC)”

In the latest of our ‘Trade Finance Careers’ interviews, we spoke to Federico Calvio in Italy. Federico is hoping to transition from his current position as a freight forwarder to a trade finance specialist very soon. You can read our first interview in this series with Abbas Haider, VP of Trade Finance at Deutsche Bank, here.

According to Federico Calvio, “Everything began with the GTC course”.  Federico, a freight forwarder from Italy and recent graduate of ICC Academy’s Global Trade Certificate (GTC) programme, is hoping to move into a specialist trade finance position over the next couple of years.

In the current market he doesn’t believe that is very easy, especially for someone new to the field. However, he says the wide-ranging GTC programme helped him clarify his focus.

“The GTC was the first step and the best choice. It helped me understand what I wanted to focus on which is letters of credit and standby letters of credit. It also helped me realise that topics like supply chain finance were not what I want to specialise in.”

He told us that anything to do with supply chain finance was the most challenging part of the course. “It was interesting, but I found it really hard to understand – I believe things like receivables discounting are easier to understand if you are already working in a bank”

However, far from discouraged, Federico is already plotting his next qualifications and has an upcoming CDCS exam in October. This will help with his aim of becoming a documentary credit specialist. After that he hopes to complete ICC Academy’s flagship trade finance qualification, the Certified Trade Finance Professional (CTFP). The CTFP is increasingly becoming an industry prerequisite for senior trade finance positions.

Federico believes that the GTC is a great launchpad for those looking to break into a trade finance career because it helps break down sometimes complex topics in a straightforward manner.

“Everything in the GTC is explained in a very simple way, even though the topics are not always simple – especially if approached for the first time. I was able to really understand lots of topics that I had found difficult before. Prior to  GTC I had only studied these topics in books, but this is not the same as a course”

He also believes that the value you get from passing the exam and obtaining the ICC Academy certificate should not be overlooked.

“The official certificate is really important if you want to be able to market and prove yourself on LinkedIn etc. There are many courses where getting a certificate is easy – but the ICC Academy exams are not easy. They definitely carry weight.”

“Publishing the certificate on LinkedIn helped me create more connections and raise my profile in the trade finance community”

At the beginning of 2020 Federico had an interview in Milan for a trade finance specialist job and he says that having the GTC Certificate was a real bonus for him. “The fact that I had these two certificates – the GTC and Incoterms® 2020 Certificate – helped me to have a really good interview”

When Federico left the interview, he was sure he had done very well. Unfortunately, the job was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and hiring was frozen. He is hopeful they will look to reopen the position soon and he feels confident he left a lasting impression with his interviewers.

“The GTC helped me a lot with that interview. Even though they were looking for a graduate in economics I demonstrated that I was more focused on trade finance than other candidates were. The certificates helped me make a good impression”

We wish Federico all the best with his job search and hope he achieves his ambition of securing a trade finance position soon – it sounds very much like he will!

Federico Calvio is a graduate of our Global Trade Certificate programme.