25 February 2019 Share

International Master in Project Management project work

Peeking inside Zambon with Irina

Project works are an important step in the path towards a Master Degree. Indeed, they help students to build their career network and to put into practice the lessons learnt in class.
Thus, finding the perfect match for the project work is fundamental.
Just as happened to Irina, iMPM student, who found in Zambon an exciting working environment and in Paola Albani a dedicated mentor.


Why did you choose Zambon for your internship?

It was a good chance to work in an environment offering what matters most to me at work: a company that cares for its employees, challenging tasks, and a great team to work with.
Speaking in detail, Zambon is an Italian family-owned pharmaceutical company that – thanks to its high-quality products and services –  has earned a strong reputation over the years.
I believe that the reason for this success lies in its corporate person-oriented philosophy, which strongly reflects my values.
You can also see the company as a place for both personal and professional growth: initiative is always welcome and people are involved into different business processes accordingly to their interests.

In addition, the campus offers a wide range of services such as a gym, piano lessons during the lunch-time, open spaces to play table games with your peers and much more… This contributes in making every working day enjoyable.

Secondly, joining the SAP Digital Transformation project gave me the opportunity to add new tools to my toolbox. I see this project as an opportunity, not only to sharpen what I was learning during the Master programme, but also to face the challenges of an unknown industry and project type.
I am confident that such complex IT project will make me more marketable after the internship and also show me as a “fast-learner” who is looking to add value fast.

The last reason was easy access to mentors I could learn from. The Project is implemented by three organizations (Zambon, SAP Italy, and Techedge), giving me the chance to work with professionals with different backgrounds. This increased my exposure within the company and introduced me to a valuable resource of expertise brought to the Project by each of these people.

Moreover, I’m very excited to work closely with my current manager Paola Albani, who has more than 30 years of experience in managing that kind of projects. She inspired me to accept this internship and set a goal of making the greatest impact on the Project I can.


As you mentioned her, we would like to ask Paola how Zambon benefits from the presence of an iMPM student.

I’m particularly proud to have had this idea! Of course, it’s an opportunity to have these students, as they can contribute by adding value through their school knowledge, desire to do, faster capability of learning. They make a difference in our daily project activities. Often we make them busy, but they are responding very well. In short, it’s a great experience!


Paola suggested that interns take part in the daily project activities at Zambon. Could you share your experience?

I came to Zambon in September 2018 during the “Explore” phase, thus I could catch the very beginning of the Project implementation process. Since the first day, I could feel like an equal team member despite the fact I was the only international young professional in the group.

As a Project Manager intern, a large part of my work involves tracking the progress of the project, the stakeholders’ management and the facilitation of their communication with the Project team to ensure that both parties are aligned.
During this internship, I have improved presentation skills, got used to multitasking work, and even enforced creative skills such as movie making. A nice bonus was the attendance of the SAP annual event held in Milan, where I met colleagues involved in similar projects around the world and got the training across the vast SAP knowledge base.


Well, it seems you are learning a lot. Are you applying any of the teachings of the Master, too?

This internship is definitely a good way to test what I have learned in class. Moreover, my Master dissertation analyses our Project implementation methodology and PM tools, and compares them with the academic theory and previous business cases.

Thus, I have the chance to apply most of the tools given to us at school on daily basis. Also, I am grateful to our leadership class that developed a great approach to learning how to produce videos. I could successfully use this skill to create learning videos for our key users and support the innovative approach to Project implementation.


Today, there is a lot of talk about reverse mentorship. So, we have a last question for Paola.  What did you learn from Irina?

Irina has a so kind way to approach things that she has been able to create a special and positive atmosphere in any situation. She is a good motivator, and she has always good words to say to anybody any time she sees difficulties.

As a student, she has also shared her school knowledge to learn and teach methodology related to the project. We often discuss differences between school theory and work practice, which is an interesting and useful conversation. She is a good listener but also a good advisory as she is not bored by business dynamics.


Many thanks to both Irina and Paola for giving us a great insight of what the project work experience looks like both for interns and mentors.





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