Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Cattolica International

Aldo's Journey: From Engineering Roots to Legal Heights

by Zeynep Erten


 Raised in a family of engineers, Aldo Gao made the bold decision to embark on a different path – a path that would lead him far from the comforts of his home and into the unknown.

Having studied Italian Language and Business Management at Xi’an International Studies University with a semester abroad in Rome, which helped him adapt to this new culture he was going to call home for the next two years of his life.

“I never want to give up because I am that kind of a guy. Every time I choose a way, I will continue to follow it and never give up.”  Being someone who never chooses to take the effortless way out, Aldo knew that studying a course in a language different from his mother tongue would be tough. He also understood that sometimes the hardest decisions lead to life-changing opportunities. In Aldo’s case, discovering Università Cattolica and its community proved to be a stroke of luck, making him feel welcomed and fortunate.

Stepping onto the campus on the first day of his master's degree, he felt a mix of emotions. It was entirely new and somewhat daunting, yet he remained determined to seize every opportunity. Before setting foot on Università Cattolica’s Piacenza campus, Aldo ventured into the entrepreneurial world, opening a bubble tea shop in Florence. This business endeavour, while seemingly distant from legal studies, honed his understanding of the gap in the market for Chinese representation in the field of tax law. Recognising an opportunity to bridge this gap, Aldo made the bold decision to pursue further education in Tax Law at Università Cattolica, to contribute his expertise to the legal landscape.

As days turned into weeks and then into months at Cattolica, he found himself embraced by the amazing support of his peers and professors. He discovered new interests and grew to be more confident in this process. But most importantly, he found a sense of purpose. It was not just about studying Tax Law anymore – it was about being a part of a community where he could learn, grow, and make a difference at the same time.

The experience of owning and managing a business provided Aldo with invaluable insights into entrepreneurship, leadership, and customer relations. He learned to navigate the complexities of business ownership, from monetary management to marketing strategies, honing his skills as a strategic thinker and problem solver. All these skills helped him in the classroom as well while experiencing important personal growth. He navigated cultural differences, forming connections with classmates and professors from diverse backgrounds. Through mutual experiences and shared support, Aldo developed lifelong friendships, recalling the importance of occasionally stepping out of one's comfort zone to grow and achieve goals.



A turning point in his professional career happened during his thesis research. While drafting his thesis, he decided to email Lorenzo Riccardi, an author and recently elected President of the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce, to request to buy some of his books. Within five minutes, what began as a simple inquiry about purchasing books unexpectedly transformed into an offer for an internship at a firm specialising in Italian and Chinese Tax Law. The internship allowed him to apply his academic knowledge into practice. His experience had been nothing short of life. Throughout his internship, Aldo was exposed to a variety of complex legal cases and intricate tax structures.

Despite the challenges inherent in the work, Aldo remained steadfast in his determination, driven by his passion for the subject and the chance to apply his academic knowledge in a real-world setting.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Aldo actively engaged in community initiatives and extra-curricular activities such as taking part in the International Tax Law Organisation in Milan.

Aldo's dedication and passion for what he did were clear to all, demonstrating resilience, determination, and compassion. As a mentor, friend, and co-worker, Aldo continually provided support and encouragement, inspiring people to pursue their dreams and realise their full potential. His acts of compassion, limitless generosity, and unwavering faith in community have left an unforgettable mark on everyone who has crossed paths with him.

The turning points he embraced throughout his journey at Università Cattolica, though they seemed different at first, came together to shape Aldo’s path in the best way. Each moment served as a stepping stone. Reflecting on his journey, he felt thankful for all the experiences that had shaped him, realising that each challenge he faced only made him stronger and more determined as we look back on Aldo’s story.

And now, as he is pursuing his career as a consultant in and engineering firm in China, he cannot help but notice all the things he learned from all these experiences. Through the ups and downs, Aldo’s story serves as a reminder that staying faithful to your beliefs, even in the face of scepticism or doubt from others, can lead to achieving remarkable accomplishments. Now, with hope filling his heart, he stands prepared to face whatever challenges lie ahead in the future.