A hands-on experience in change management: my project work with Boehringer Ingelheim Italia S.p.A

After the completion of courses and bootcamps, putting the MBA experience into practice through the project work is the longest-awaited moment for every candidate. For three months, students have the opportunity to develop a project with a company working on some of the most relevant topics learned during the year. In my case, I worked on a change management project at the Italian branch of Boehringer Ingelheim, an independent and family-owned, world-leading and research-driven pharmaceutical company.

Change management is a discipline and approach aimed at preparing, supporting and helping organizations to transform themselves in line with the evolutions in the technological, economic and social ecosystem and in the market. It is a form of organizational restructuring which requires an overall consideration of external and internal forces impacting the business, and therefore proposes strategic solutions.

The project at Boehringer Ingelheim Italia has the objective of designing and building the to-be model for the growth of the company. The work stream I contributed to with the project, from June to August 2020, gave me the opportunity to acquire a close-up understanding of the overall process and workflow, getting a real hands-on experience where I assisted and advised on the internal analysis and on the methodological framework.

What I enjoyed the most about a structural and strategic project in a multinational firm such as this, was that I was able to have a holistic overview of the whole business in its multi-faceted realities. Having to structure a plan that could work both at an organizational level and at the level of the various business areas, my main challenge was to strike a balance between finding common ground and sustaining a tailored approach towards the single functions. In order to express both points of view, I particularly worked on the company values and corporate guidelines and on the strategic priorities and pillars of the various business and functional areas involved to keep their specificities and understand their unmet needs.

The opportunity indeed proved particularly relevant for applying and sharpening the technical skills acquired during the academic year, and for combining disciplines such as Organization Design with others like Design Thinking and Strategy. The extension of the transformation project to all levels and business areas of the company also required a certain set of soft skills, that I found to be of great importance for mastering the challenge proposed. I had to understand complexity by collecting and connecting the mass of information in a dense organizational context; negotiate and communicate with empathy, exerting leadership and active listening when interacting with the many voices, actors and stakeholders revolving around the project; deliver with clarity, managing all the activities, from the onboarding to the execution, in a working-from-home digital environment, due to the limitations of Covid-19; balance with flexibility my background in academia with the business experience gained through the MBA and adapt research methodologies and practices to the company’s needs.

Now that the collaboration is over, I have had to write about my work in a report that I will present to an academic commission to complete my MBA journey. I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end, but stay tuned, as I will soon wrap up this journey in one last post!


About the author
Marianna Trimarchi
I am a candidate of the International Full Time MBA at MIP. I have a background in academia as a PhD in Communication and Strategic Analysis and a career as content producer in the Media Industry. I have worked for the Italian Television as author and assistant producer for cultural programs as well as for other media outlets as journalist. I am passionate about understanding complex phenomena particularly related to internationalization and global development from a multidisciplinary perspective.




The Project Work experience, an opportunity to bring your ideas to life

An International Part-time MBA at the MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management always ends with the discussion of a group Project Work. During this final step, students have the possibility to put into practice what they have learnt during the two years in a consultancy project in their area of interest.

For this occasion, we had the possibility to join up with three colleagues and implement a project in our own company or develop a new business idea with the support of the MIP faculty.

I joined forces with Luca Randazzo, Alessandro Artuso and Alessandro Brunitti in a heterogeneous team in terms of knowledge and competences in the fields of law, engineering, marketing and information technology. We decided to develop our own business idea, willing to venture into a sector different from the one in which we work daily and, for the first time, to be responsible for an owned business, feeling like ambitious entrepreneurs and no longer just employees.

I met my Project Work colleagues for the first time during the MBA. We got to know each other during the courses and became good friends very soon. During the two full weeks abroad at leading European business schools offered by the Part-Time MBA program, we strengthened our friendship and we discovered that we had one common passion: traveling.

We first decided to extend the second of the two weeks abroad by taking the opportunity to explore the city of Munich and then we also organized another trip together to celebrate our graduation.

On these two occasions and in the context of the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 emergency, the idea for ​​our project was born: an app that simplifies travel planning and also brings tourists and tour guides closer thanks to remote tours, live or on demand. An app that allows guides to work remotely and that offers tourists multiple content solutions according to their individual needs. In defining this idea, talking about our past travel experiences and sharing personal stories, we also got closer to each other. Furthermore, we were able to put into practice all the main lessons of the course from Financial Accounting to Strategy and Marketing (to name a few) by applying them to the various project phases and defining an accurate business plan.

In addition to the opportunity to access the PoliHub – Politecnico di Milano’s in-house start-up incubator – MIP has assigned Filippo Renga to us as our tutor, expert in Management Economics, counting multiple personal experiences in different start-ups, also in the tourism sector. Filippo has been able to give us not only technical advice on how to set up a start-up but also food for thought. He often made our sense of security falter by testing our motivation to go beyond the idea of a project, with the simple goal of graduation, but rather, to take the path that would actually bring it into being. He also made us face up to the reality of the entrepreneur’s lifestyle, when you are often alone, fighting against numerous failures by pursuing your own ideas, very distant from that of an employee, both from a practical and an emotional point of view.

And now that we have just graduated, ambitious to carry on with our project, the real test and the most complex part will come: the implementation. But we are ready to get involved, to take our responsibilities and face the risks focused on the next goal, the first public release.



About the author
Andrea De Donatis

I am Andrea De Donatis, a student of the international part-time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano. I Graduated in energy engineering and I am currently working in technical sales for a leading multinational electronics company based in Milan.
I am very passionate about technology, IT and digital marketing. I strongly believe that disruptive innovation is vital to create new value.


An enlightening project work experience at TECNO


After finishing the MBA courses, the time arrived to put into practice all the newly acquired skills learnt during the lessons, by developing a real project for a company. Before enrolling in the International MBA at MIP, I specialized in the production of audiovisual online content for advertising. My strong passion for leadership and organization inspired me to expand my career path towards the business areas, so as to become a strong team leader. My aim was to find a project work experience where I could lead the development of a project where I would be accountable for the design, execution and results.

I chose to pursue the 3-month social media marketing consultancy project offered by TECNO, an Italian organization that promotes the development of electronic companies and is currently undergoing a digital transformation program. The challenge was to design and develop the social media marketing plan for the LUMI project, a fair and editorial project focusing on building automation, innovation and green energy resources https://lumiexpo.com/.

The advantage of working for a small organization is that you have the possibility of creating a project from scratch, in a small amount of time. I had already had some background working with social media content in my previous jobs. Nevertheless, the lessons from the marketing, strategy and project management courses at MIP gave me solid foundations for leading the project in a methodical manner, to complement my ability for content development and production.
Social media marketing has become a key element in digital communication for a business. The advantage of social media platforms is that they give a company presence within large networks and the opportunity of being found easily by customers around the world. It is also the fastest way of establishing direct contact with a potential customer quickly, effectively and seamlessly.

During my experience I was able to interact with the management, the journalists in charge of the editorial project, an SEO analyst, a copywriter and a team of consultants in charge of the digital transformation process. By holding continuous discussions with them, I envisaged a plan for increasing the number of acquired users of the LUMI4INNOVATION blog https://www.lumi4innovation.it/ while raising LUMI’s brand awareness in line with the brand’s values, revolving around the concepts of exploration and wisdom.

Three months is a very short time to develop LUMI brand awareness thoroughly from scratch on social media. Nevertheless, it’s enough for increasing website traffic and the number of followers on each social media platform, while identifying the main topics of interest for the audiences on each channel and for suggesting a workflow for digital communication in preparation for the LUMI EXPO in November 2019.  Achieving the goals of this project gave me the confidence and reassurance to pursue an opportunity in digital marketing for an international company after my graduation.

Stay tuned for my next and final chapter, when I will tell you how my life has changed during this past year…


About the author
Roberto Niño Betancourt

Roberto is a student of the International full time MBA. He is a Colombian filmmaker and new media artist based in Milan.
He has collaborated as a post producer for MTV Latin America, as well as many European production companies. He is very passionate about international cross-cultural collaborations, craftsmanship and the sustainable conservation of natural resources.



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.