Mike Morroni (MBA 06), Vice President of Global Sales at TMF Group
Mike Morroni is the Sub Regional Director of Business Development in the Americas at TMF Group. His more than 15 years of experience include leadership roles in New York, London, Miami, and Hong Kong in some of the world’s largest financial services companies. He explains his main challenges.
– You have fifteen years of experience in business development, global operations, marketing and product management. What do you like most about your career?
For me, the mix of experience in different areas of business and countries have granted me new experiences and enabled me to keep learning. Many of the skills I have learned have been vital in allowing me to understand different facets of a client’s business and the challenges they are facing. Doing the same job in the same location and working 9-5 has never been my goal. I like being challenged and my career reflects that.
– You have worked in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. What has contributed to the development of your career working on different continents?
I have a passion for International Business. I love learning about the differences of operating in various markets and cultures across the globe and sharing this knowledge with my clients. Also ESADE was actually key. Travel was always important to me on a personal level, but prior to ESADE I was very US-focused in terms of work. I was working in NY when I went to ESADE and one of my goals was to build my career outside the US. After ESADE, I remained outside the US by landing a job in London.
– For work and personal reasons, you have visited more than 110 countries. In your opinion, which of those countries have a favourable context for business development?
A lot goes into a favourable environment for business development and this can change due to environmental and political conditions. In general, countries are all different and as a business development professional, you need to adapt to your clients. Cultural differences can make doing business development interesting, for example in some countries in Latin America, you have longer decision-making processes and relationships are key, whereas in other countries like the US, decisions are focused more on the business need. When it comes to business development in my industry, US companies are, of course, always driving expansion around the world, but in Asia you can certainly see international expansion growing, with decision-makers across China, Singapore and Hong Kong. In Europe, the UK, Germany and Switzerland are countries where you have key decision-makers who are focused on growth.
– Despite having worked in different companies, your professional field has always been marketing. What would you say has been the most outstanding adventure of your career?
I’ve actually worked in Sales, Marketing and Operations. I’ve had a lot of adventures, the most recent was that I was asked to move to Hong Kong to manage my company’s APAC sales team. I had worked and travelled in Asia many times but had never lived there or managed a team based in that region. It was a great experience to learn more about the culture, both from a management and client engagement perspective. I even got the chance to join Mary Granger (Lic&MBA 90) from ESADE for an MBA fair while I was there, which of course was a highlight.
– With a network of offices in over 80 countries, TMF Group has the in-country expertise and knowledge to help businesses expand and operate both within and beyond their home market. What skills are needed to engage in business development?
While an understanding of global Payroll, accounting, and Compliance is of course useful, the key skills I look for in my team are a consultative approach, adaptability, and a passion for international business. Someone who has the ability to have a consultative relationship with their clients in terms of understanding their client’s business and helping them find solutions is key. Via our local knowledge and operations, we have the resources to help client’s navigate international markets where they operate or are expanding into. Being able to understand their needs and where we can assist is the key first step in a successful client/partner relationship.
– In your current position, you are Sub Regional Director of Business Development. What difficulties and challenges do you face?
There are lots of opportunities in the market and one of the biggest challenges is making sure my team are focusing their time on the clients and deals that are the best fit for the solutions we provide. Getting the full picture of a client is key to this, including who the decision-makers are, how they currently operate, where they are looking to go and whether their plans for international operations are a fit for TMF Group. Sometimes the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself and walk away from an opportunity that isn’t a good fit so you can invest your energy and time in better places.
– What would you highlight about ESADE?
ESADE’s curriculum focusing on collaboration and the mix of students from different countries helped prepare me to operate and adapt to working with people across the globe. Learning how to negotiate and interact with professionals across the world helped prepare me for the world I currently operate in.
– What are the benefits of having the ESADE Alumni International Network?
The ESADE alumni network has been great for me in terms of both business and personal connections. The fact that in almost any city I travel to there is an ESADE Alumni Chapter is impressive. I’ve been to alumni events in Hong Kong, Miami and London and found the mix of networking and informative sessions a great combination. I went to a large University in the US which has hundreds of thousands more of alumni than ESADE, but when it comes to the international presence, they don’t compete with what the ESADE International Network provides.