I am pursuing a major in International Business, and one of the course requirements is International Business Law, taught by Professor Chiara Magrini. I am currently taking this class, and since day one, I have been loving it. The class itself is not an easy A: you actually have to read, work hard, pay attention, and use common sense to apply all the theories to actual cases. However, Professor Magrini makes the class interactive and fun; she shares with the class personal experiences and interesting cases to help make it easier (and more fun!) to understand the material she is teaching. Professor Magrini is a very knowledgeable person with an interesting background. I urge you to take her class if you can!
Q: Tell us something about yourself: where are you from? How long have you been working at John Cabot University? What is your specialty?
A: I am Italian, from Rome, and I teach law, which is my specialty. I graduated in 1990 and after that I pursued a double career as a lawyer and an academic instructor. As a lawyer, I did training in law and a public exam; as an academic, I did a Master’s degree and then a PhD. Since then I have always pursued my double career by working as a lawyer and teaching.
I have been teaching at John Cabot since 2004 or 2005, so it has been around 12 years. I have also taught in other private and public Italian universities, but always subjects related to law.
Q: Where did you earn your degree?
A: I did my law degree at the University of Rome La Sapienza, then a Master’s degree at Oxford, and then a PhD partly in Italy and partly in the United States. I also took the national law exam in Italy, and additional law exams in the UK. After that, I was accepted as a solicitor in the UK and Wales. So, I was both a lawyer in Italy and a solicitor in the UK and Wales!
Q: Did you always wanted to be a professor?
A: I always wanted to work in the law field; I really love law. I also really love teaching! I think working as a lawyer and as a professor is hard, because it is time- and energy-consuming. But for me, it improves the quality of my teaching and the quality of my job as a lawyer because I see two different perspectives:the business perspective, and the student perspective. This forces me to teach law in the clearest way possible, so that everyone can understand.
Q: How did you end up at John Cabot?
A: I ended up at John Cabot because I met a wonderful former JCU professor at a dinner. At the time, she was teaching law at John Cabot. We started to chat, hit it off, and she suggested that I teach at JCU. So when I started at John Cabot back in 2004, I started teaching the class Italian Business Law. When this professor left John Cabot for the United States, she suggested I take her position. And that’s how I ended up here!
Q: What is special about John Cabot?
A: I really love John Cabot! I can make a comparison between John Cabot University and Italian universities, since I have been teaching in both. The environment, the students, the colleagues, the way responsibilities are assigned, and the way the work is organized… I think it does help a professor offer higher-quality teaching.
Q: What have you learned from being a professor here? Have you learned anything from your students?
A: A lot! Maybe the best thing I have learned is that all student questions are intelligent questions. It is always a good thing for us professors to sit in the chair of students and be in their position, and see the issue from his or her point of view, which can be very different from the point of view of someone who has been studying and teaching a topic for many years. Also, I have learned how important it is to push students to believe in themselves and to give the best they can, because if they do not believe in themselves no one else will. It is very important for the professors to help students believe in their potential.
Q: What do you want your students to get from your classes, besides of course the knowledge about the topic?
A: I think is very important to learn the methodology, connect the issues, and understand the logic. Information can be forgotten as soon as you learn it, but if the student is able to understand the method, logic, and connections between the issues, that’s something that will always help them in the future in any kind of job or mission they pursue. This I do in my daily classes, midterms, and final exam. I combine a bit of theory because studying is a part of education, but also a lot of practice which means applying the theory to the text, which can be more challenging.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: Well, with three little kids I don’t have much spare time for hobbies. But I used to love sailing, scuba diving, running, and of course reading! These are things which I love, but for now I have kind of put them on hold due to lack of time, between being a mother and a professional.
Thanks for reading!
Read this post in Spanish here.
Victoria Barreda de Alba
Class of 2017
Hometown: Reynosa, Mexico