The Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering in a new guise

After 9 months of renovations, the building in via Lambruschini in Milan is now ready to welcome again the community of the School of Management with completely renovated spaces.
The cutting of the ribbon, together with the Department Director prof. Alessandro Perego, was attended by Prof. Donatella Sciuto, Vice Rector and prof. Emilio Faroldi, Deputy Rector of Politecnico di Milano.

 

The new spaces of the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering located in the Bovisa Campus of the Politecnico di Milano were inaugurated a few days ago.

Designed on the basis of innovative usage concepts, the new environments are characterized by better lighting, energy saving systems and a biophilic approach. In particular, they have been designed to stimulate exchange and sharing thanks to a greater availability of common areas with different functions and a highly integrated technological service.

The project aimed at both individual well-being and at favoring the encounter allowing great flexibility of use.

The Department moved to the Bovisa Campus in 2009, when the university made available some new buildings following the renovation of the gasometers area. The historic campus of Piazza Leonardo da Vinci was in fact in need of new spaces due to the increase in the number of students, as well as teaching and administrative staff and the project allowed the relocation of some Departments from Città Studi to the North part of the city.

After more than 10 years in Bovisa, the Department decided to renovate not only due to the increase in the number of researchers, but also to adapt to new working habits that in recent years have become more digital, flexible and collaborative.

The Bovisa area was rebuilt following an international competition launched in 1998 by the Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with local authorities (Municipality of Milan and Regione Lombardia).
And now time has come to complete that project started out of a vision of 30 years ago, with the creation of a university citadel whose construction should start by the end of 2022: forty thousand square meters that will become green, the two gasometers transformed into an innovation center hosting companies and two hundred start-ups, and in a four-storey wellness and sports center open to the whole city.

 

Photo gallery of the inauguration event

Credit: Matteo Bergamini, © Lab Immagine Design POLIMI
Dipartimento di DESIGN, Politecnico di Milano
labimmagine-design@polimi.it

The new spaces

Venture capital in the time of Covid: half of the world’s investment funds have changed strategy – but only 38.5% in Italy

The Bureau of Entrepreneurial Finance (BEF), a permanent centre established at the initiative of the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management and the Politecnico di Torino, in order to connect the most recognised scholars and players in the field of venture capital in Europe.

 

More than 500 responses to the survey, received mainly from European and North American operators in the second half of 2021, suggest that the current trend is to invest at later stages in the lifecycle of start-ups in order to reduce the level of risk and to favour sectors like healthcare, energy and pharmaceuticals, driven by the pandemic.

Milan, 9 May 2022 – Venture capital in the time of Covid-19. As the pandemic significantly impacted many aspects of the global economy, forcing businesses to redesign their internal processes in order to stay in the market, it also drove venture capitalists to adapt their own investment practices to the changing scenario. Examples of this include investing at later stages in the lifecycle of start-ups or favouring sectors like healthcare, energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and financial services, while turning away from digital services and commercial distribution.

These are some of the findings highlighted in the Report on Venture Capital and Covid-19 which was presented this morning at the Politecnico di Milano during the launch of the Bureau of Entrepreneurial Finance (BEF), a permanence centre established at the initiative of the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management and the Politecnico di Torino – co-founded by professors Massimo Colombo, Annalisa Croce, Elisa Ughetto and Vincenzo Butticè – with the aim of providing networking and discussion opportunities for the most recognised scholars and players in the field of venture capital in Europe.

The survey was conducted in the second half of 2021, at the height of the post-Covid economic recovery but while price increases linked to raw materials and energy were already being seen, and responses were received from more than 500 funds, with excellent coverage of European funds (which increased their investments by 2%) and North American funds (which reduced their investments by 1%).

Globally, half of all funds (52%) stated that they had changed their investment strategy after Covid, even if only moderately. This percentage was much lower for European funds (57% of which did not change anything) and lower still (61.5%) for Italian funds, probably due to the fact that they tend to have higher rates of cross-border investment (90.2% of those making cross-border investments – 83.5% in Italy – did not reduce them in favour of domestic investment).

Another interesting aspect is the reduction in the number of seed stage investments, and more generally investments in the initial stages of the lifecycle of start-ups, favouring later stages of development (ranging from +1.2% for early- and late-stage investments to +4.4% in the mid-stage investments), with the trend being more evident among smaller funds.

“Uncertainty has increase everywhere and investors therefore prefer to shift the focus of their investment towards more mature businesses with more moderate risk profiles”, explains Elisa Ughetto from the Politecnico di Torino’s Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, one of the curators of the study and co-director of the BEF together with Annalisa Croce from the Politecnico di Milano’s Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering. “Moreover, also in response to the sudden changes occurring in recent years, investors are relying less on their instincts (gut feeling) than in the past, and are basing their decisions more on objective aspects such as favourable economic environments, business models and any public incentives”. “Investment strategies have also changed”, adds Annalisa Croce. “Business sectors that performed well during the pandemic, such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, are now being favoured, while sectors which traditionally receive high levels of investment from venture capital funds, such as ICT, are in decline”.

The sectors which have seen increased investment are healthcare (+2.4%), energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and financial services (all +1%), training and semiconductors (+0.6%), while digital services (-1.4%), including those linked to the internet and mobile devices (-1%), and commercial distribution (-1.6%) are in decline.

Funds have also lowered their expectations for expected returns (IRR) and have become stricter in their assessment of start-ups in terms of the required multiple. In essence, they are taking on a lower risk for lower expected returns (-1.3% on average): although the largest band fell by two percentage points, it retains a target IRR of between 20% and 29%, while some investors – the number of which has also risen very slightly – still expect earnings of between 40% and 50%. Even the valuation of start-ups already in portfolios has been subject to remodulation: in 40% of cases it has fallen (significantly in 9% of cases) since, in the changed scenario, a reduction in value is expected when the funds exit their position.

One last curious detail is the fact that post-investment interaction between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, aimed at supporting the start-up’s growth, has increased by almost one third (+28.4%). While in the past they mainly talked between once and three times a month, weekly or even daily contact is now on the rise.

2022 Financial Times Rankings – Masters in Management

The Master of Science in Management Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano has climbed to 77th place in the 2022 Financial Times Rankings of Masters in Management, an improvement of 8 places compared to 2021.

 

The Master of Science in Management Engineering, delivered by the School of Industrial and Information Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, has obtained a prestigious accolade from the Financial Times, confirming its presence in the “Masters in Management 2022” Rankings where it has improved by 8 places compared to 2021 and climbs to 77th place, despite the fact that the rankings saw the inclusion of 13 new schools that did not take part last year.

On a European level, the programme falls within the top 15 of those delivered by technical universities.
The criteria that have enabled this progress include Salary increase, Career progress – which considers the change in level of seniority and the size of the organisation in which the alumni worked – and International course experience – which considers the participation of students on exchanges and internships abroad.

This result comes a year after a change to the structure of the Master of Science, which today entails an introductory year and a second year split into fourteen different specialisms, called “Majors”. This comprehensive teaching offering aims to provide students of the Master of Science with the skills and tools necessary to play a leading role in handling the country’s economic, industrial and social challenges.

The Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of Science) programme, which is delivered in English, currently has more than 2,000 students, 23% of which are international, while each year sees approximately 900 new arrivals.  The employment rate within a year of graduation is 94% (source: Politecnico di Milano Career Service 2021 employment survey), a testament to the esteem in which companies hold a professional figure with a range of sought-after skills.

 

Data-powered management: a multifaceted challenge

Behind a company’s declared need to strengthen its data culture lies a profound need to consolidate, enhance, develop or modify their business model, or the way they manage their business, in an informed manner. This is a compelling and pervasive need, linked to the observation of certain trends that are changing the competitive scenario.

 

Giuliano Noci, Professor of Strategy and Marketing and Vice Rector of the Chinese Campus of Politecnico di Milano

 

People who interact with companies are commonly told, “we need to strengthen our data culture”.

The concept of “data culture” has various undertones: the presence of data analysis skills, the ability to read and interpret analyses, the tendency of individuals and work teams to base their decisions on findings and data rather than on feelings and instinct, and efforts to collect and share the right data to support our own decisions and those of others.

Evidently, “data culture” is a combination of all these dimensions. Behind a company’s declared need to strengthen its data culture lies a profound need to consolidate, enhance, develop or modify their business model, or the way they manage their business, in an informed manner. This is a compelling and pervasive need, linked to the observation of certain trends that are changing the competitive scenario.

First of all, competition pressures, on markets that are increasingly saturated and also more and more interconnected, force us to seek out business models and innovations that enable functionality that is as useful as it is sophisticated. This leads to a quest for enhancement of the range of products and services offered, through data work, but not only. For example, if I want to make an electrical appliance stand out radically on the Western market, I will, within reason, have to connect it to the Internet and use the data it collects to offer value-added services to the customer (for example, in a refrigerator, not only report anomalies to enable technical maintenance in real time, but be able to notice when a milk carton is almost empty, and perhaps, based on the rate at which it is used, estimate when the milk will run out or with what frequency to suggest repurchasing it). What is more, it is clear that this type of innovation may bring about developments in the business model. For example, in the above case, integration with eCommerce systems can offer timely subscription-based refills.

Secondly, diversity in the target markets is calling for increasingly differentiated solutions from market segments that are highly heterogenous in terms of taste, preferences, product/service usage habits, and physical and digital channel usage behaviours in interacting with the company. These aspects require a practically one-to-one response from the company. From marketing automation to service automation, companies are increasingly seeking out models and algorithms that can gauge the health of their relationship with a customer, and how inclined they are to accept a new offer or abandon the company.

Thirdly and in fact as a result of the previous two cases, the focus of managerial activity is more and more characterised by the quest for accuracy, precision and waste reduction – in production, just as it is in marketing, sales, customer service, etc. Also in this case, data and the ability to read it are key levers.

Therefore, apart from the communicative effectiveness of the phrase “data culture”, the issue that arises is the development of an ability to combine advanced analytical skills with business acumen. This is a new skill in companies, and often one that is difficult to attribute to a single professional profile. Instead, it is attributed to a team. In fact, companies often hire data scientists with great analytical and technical expertise, but they do not always have managers able to bridge the gap between business needs and technical and modelling applications. Conversely, their personnel are not always able to translate analytical outputs into action plans that can drive the business.

Our school recognised this need when interacting with companies. As a result of this we have profoundly enhanced our range of machine learning and applied statistics courses and analytics courses applied to management disciplines (e.g. performance measurement, marketing, and even the public sector), with a Major, or specialisation, of the Master of Science with a strong analytical focus.  A large number of students have decided to enrol in these courses, and this outstanding success demonstrates that our young people know how important it is to acquire the professional expertise to build a strong “data-powered” career.

The pedagogical challenge, in this context, consists in condensing strong analytical training and an equally solid knowledge of the business impacts of the decision-making systems subject to modelling analysis, with an approach focused on studying these models in the context of the areas where their use is beneficial and promoting rich and extensive discussion on the further implications for the operating models of organisations.

 

 

 

Food Waste Hubs among the Earthshot Prize finalists

The Milanese project against food waste is one of the 3 finalists of the prize promoting environmental protection measures, in the category “Build a Waste Free World”

 

On 17 September, Prince William announced that the City of Milan Food Waste Hubs have made it into the shortlist of 15 finalists of the inaugural year of the Earthshot Prize, the prestigious international award for the best environmental protection solutions.

In particular, Milan will be vying for the prize in the category “Build a Waste Free World” alongside another two projects: one for the conversion of waste into safe agricultural inputs (Kenya) and one involving a water treatment system that turns 98% of water waste into clean fresh water (Japan). Food Waste Hubs was selected from among 750 projects submitted worldwide.

Making it into the shortlist of Earthshot Prize finalists confirms the great teamwork demonstrated by the city of Milan. Through the work of the City Council and many local, private and third-sector companies, today Milan has 3 hubs in the districts of Isola (2019), Lambrate (2020) and Gallaratese (2021).

The project stems from a partnership, established in 2016, between the Milan City Council, the Politecnico di Milano, Assolombarda, Fondazione Cariplo and the QuBì Programme.

In particular, the Politecnico di Milano School of Management conducted a network feasibility study and monitored the hubs’ operation and the impact generated by the project, thus making it possible to build an extensible logistic model replicable in other areas of the city.

The project also involves major mass retailers, including Lidl Italia, Esselunga, Carrefour, NaturaSi, Erbert, Coop Lombardia, Il Gigante, Bennet and Penny Market. Moreover, in collaboration with Fondazione Cariplo and SogeMi, the Milan City Council has also launched the “Foody Zero Waste” initiative to replicate the hub model at Ortomercato, Milan’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market, and recover fresh food alongside Banco Alimenare della Lombardia, Recup, the Southern Milanese Red Cross, the University of Milan and many other supporting partners.

The winners will be announced in late October.

For more information:
Food Policy Press Release
Finalists announcement

Poste Italiane partners with the students of the School of Management for a challenge on innovation

Students of the Politecnico di Milano School of Management present innovative solutions in response to the challenges posed by Poste Italiane in three specific areas of interest: rethinking the workplace after the pandemic, devising innovative digital payment solutions, and strengthening brand reputation.
 

The challenge, organised by Poste Italiane and the Politecnico di Milano School of Management, involved about 220 students of the Leadership&Innovation course of the Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to a Master of Science) in Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering. Split into 30 teams, the aim of the project was to bridge the gap between academia and the business world.

Rethinking the workplace of the future

The students were asked to focus on a very complex issue far removed from their everyday life: imagining the post-pandemic workplace, the workspaces of the future, so as to respond to new work needs increasingly centred on the use of digital collaboration technologies and remote working.
Drawing inspiration from the world’s most innovative companies, the students conjured up work environments that promote collaboration through spaces encouraging informal relationships among employees, so as to foster social cohesion – something that the pandemic has penalised considerably.

Solutions to encourage digital payments

The students also tackled another important issue, that of digital payments, which represent one of the most important innovations in the process of digitisation, for the growth not just of Poste Italiane but of the country as a whole.
The digital payment solutions developed focus particularly on environmental and sustainability issues by rewarding, for example, merchants who choose to join green projects. Poste Italiane places particular importance on this topic, and indeed has adopted the new Postepay Green card to kick off the conversion of payment products to environmentally friendly materials.
Many projects have also highlighted the importance of involving not only consumers and merchants, but also local associations with a view to promoting and financing local and neighbourhood initiatives. Moreover, the purchase of a particular service or product expresses personal tastes and preferences and therefore one’s own identity projected towards the outside world.

All the projects reveal the importance of engagement as a lever for reaching both merchants and customers, with some students going so far as to suggest the use of gamification to maintain a high level of engagement.

Strengthening brand reputation

Finally, the students had to tackle the challenge of strengthening the reputation of Poste Italiane among the younger Generation Z, with whom the Politecnico students themselves could easily identify, many of them being born between 1995 and 2001. The goal of this challenge was to convey a new corporate image, making it attractive for young users, both for professional purposes and for training and guidance. Several solutions were submitted: platforms and applications aimed at prompting knowledge of Poste Italiane among those external to the company; new methods of engagement through, for example, on-site events; and even the possibility of using new social channels to reach the target audience more easily.

Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking 2021

The Politecnico di Milano School of Management ranks once again among the top 5 Technical Schools in Europe for the Master of Science in Management Engineering.

 

The School of Management has once again been rewarded by the Financial Times by confirming its presence in the Masters in Management 2021 Ranking, in which the Master of Science in Management Engineering has moved up by 4 places compared to 2020, despite the entry of 10 new schools that had not participated last year.

This advancement is due to criteria such as “Salary today” and “Salary percentage increase”, which confirm the appreciation by companies of the figure of the Management Engineer, an increasingly sought-after profile due to the ability to effectively manage complex contexts, as well as innovation and change.

The School’s excellent positioning comes at the start of an academic year that will see the inauguration of a new Master of Science structure. Fourteen new specialisations, known as “Majors”, have been set up to provide students with the tools and skills to play a leading role in the management of the economic, industrial and social challenges facing companies, and the country in general, today: Analytics for Business, Business Strategy and Transformation, Circular Economy, Complex Projects Business, Digital Business Innovation, Energy Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Industrial Management, Industry 4.0, Innovation Management, International Business, Supply Chain Management, Sustainability and Social Impact.

These new Majors will allow students to acquire cross-cutting skills in the fields of economics, finance, management and industrial engineering, alongside essential technical skills for understanding and governing the increasingly important digital transformation.

Each Major includes design laboratories developed in collaboration with a variety of companies and aimed at involving students in stimulating design challenges that simulate real-life work contexts.

For more information:
FT Masters in Management 2021 Ranking

 

Internal Audit: recognition for Professors Arena and Azzone

An article by Professors Arena and Azzone on the subject of “internal audit” is among the most cited in the world.

 

The Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal published the paper “Mapping of internal audit research: A post-Enron structured literature review”, which examines how research on auditing has developed since 2005 and which works have most influenced the debate in this field.

The article by Professors Marika Arena and Giovanni Azzone of the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, “Identifying organisational drivers of internal audit effectiveness”, published in 2009, was one of the most relevant: in fact, it is third in the world for total number of citations and second for average number of citations per year.
This study analyses data from 153 Italian companies, showing which factors influence the effectiveness of internal audit and providing empirical evidence of which organisational choices could help increase it.

The study by Professors Arena and Azzone

Arena, M. and Azzone, G. (2009),
Identifying Organizational Drivers of Internal Audit Effectiveness,
International Journal of Auditing, 13: 43-60.

The Study


Post-Enron internal audit sector analysis

Kotb, A., Elbardan, H. and Halabi, H. (2020),
Mapping of internal audit research: a post-Enron structured literature review,
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 1969-1996.

The Study

10 Students | 10 Stories: fundraising campaign kicks off for 10 deserving students

10 Students | 10 Stories – Working together for the students of Management Engineering” is the fundraising campaign that the School of Management at Politecnico di Milano is promoting to help 10 bright young people plan their future together with us.

The number of students enrolling in programmes in Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering is growing every year. This multidisciplinary training course, demanding but gratifying, is much appreciated in the working world. But not everyone can afford the costs involved, not least the cost of living in Milan. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the problem, putting a strain on the resilience of our economic system.

Management Engineering prepares students to be leaders in innovation and change, combining the scientific rigour of methods and theories with the continuous search for a positive impact for the whole community. By supporting deserving students we will all contribute together in the creation a generation of competent and responsible professionals.

All together, we can make a difference, especially at this time, for talented young people.
For more information, visit the campaign page and donate too!

The fundraiser is organised with the support of the Fundraising Office of the Politecnico di Milano.
Please also visit https://www.dona.polimi.it/en/.

New connections in the post-Covid era: now online the new issue of SOMeMagazine

SOMe Issue #3 has been released.
The title of this issue is “New connections in the post-Covid era”, in which we discuss the change of approach to collaborations, partnerships, international networks and events, in a world that is trying to cope with the economic global shock and the impossibility to travel.

First we present an interview with Giuliano Noci, Vice Rector of the Chinese Campus of Politecnico di Milano, who tells us how our University developed the first physical campus outside our Country, in Xi’An, China, and how this specific historical situation imposes new forms of interconnection around the world.

We then deal with the effects on large industrial networks, expos and supply chains: the present and future of the World Manufacturing Forum  – with Marco Taisch, Scientific Chairman of the World Manufacturing Foundation; the possible impacts of Expo Dubai 2020 – with Lucio Lamberti and Lucia Tajoli; the challenge of traceability on global supply chains  – with Veronica Leon Bravo.

Finally, we tell stories of education and research projects which are successfully crossing borders, dealing with capacity building and innovation management.

To read SOMe’s #3 click here.
To receive it directly in your inbox, please sign up here.

Previous issues of SOMe:

•       # 1 “Sustainability – Beyond good deeds, a good deal?”

•       Special Issue Covid-19 – “Global transformation, ubiquitous responses

•       #2 “Being entrepreneurial in a high-tech world”