Students side by side to our managers: an interview with Alice and Paolo
In November 2021, Growens joined the MyMentor project, organized by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore since 2015. The initiative offers students the opportunity to work alongside a professional who will play the role of mentor, sharing their knowledge and useful ideas for professional growth.
The professionals who covered the role of mentor, representing Growens within this project, were Matteo Monfredini, Chairman & Chief Financial Officer, and Michele Cappellini, Chief Information Officer of the Group.
Our managers supported respectively Paolo Arnanno and Alice Michetti, first year students of the Master’s Degree course in Innovation and Digital Entrepreneurship at the Cremona campus.
MyMentor was born in 2015, in the Piacenza branch of Università Cattolica, with the aim of building a bridge between the University and the job market , by creating a network of young professionals that can then be useful in the development of their career.
According to the project, a mentor – an established professional – is assigned to a mentee – a selected student – for a period of about six months, during which the mentees will work alongside their mentors, supporting them in their daily work activities.
During this collaboration, the mentors will have the task of providing advice to students on how to deal with various challenges, concerning both university and work, thus playing the role of guide and advisor.
This ongoing interaction between mentor and mentee allows for an interpersonal relationship of help, support and development that can continue even after the collaboration ends.
Growens certainly couldn’t back down from this project. The Company has always supported and sought out new talents and for this reason, it welcomed the possibility of supporting promising young people.
Let’s now hear it from Paolo and Alice themselves, to know more about their experience during this mentorship program in Growens.
Can you please introduce yourselves and share your impressions about the MyMentor project?
Paolo: “My name is Paolo Arnanno. I have a degree in Business Administration
and I am currently finishing the first year of the Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation, at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Cremona.
In my free time I love playing video games and sports. For many years I have played football and basketball, while at the moment I’m engaging in crossfit.
During this mentorship program I was lucky enough to work alongside Matteo Monfredini, with whom I immediately found myself at ease. The relationship was informal and from the first meeting we found ourselves talking about a variety of topics, without having in mind a precise path that was outlined along the way.
Initially, we analyzed Growens’ modus operandi in a general way and then we went into detail, focusing on certain processes that were taking place within the Company and on other aspects that interested me particularly, such as mergers and acquisitions. This was useful to gain a general overview and get into the practice of things”.
Alice: “My name is Alice Michetti and, like Paolo, I have a degree in Business Administration.I’m attending the Innovation and Digital Entrepreneurship course at the University of Cremona.
I am a curious girl, with a great desire to do and to prove myself. In my free time I love to practice physical activity, specifically I really like running and going for long walks in the area of Versilia, where I come from.
During the MyMentor project I shadowed Michele Cappellini, with whom I quickly found myself in tune. He has always been available and, although the experience ended around the month of May, we are continuing to pursue this collaboration.
After all the meetings we had, I asked him if I could spend a day in the company and he met my request: to live the company “.
Are you satisfied with the experience?
Alice: “For me, it was a really great opportunity that not all universities offer. It allowed us to see and put into practice what we have always studied, without stopping at the mere theory.
Certainly, the comparison with experienced people such as Michele’s team was an opportunity to shed light on this point.
In addition, in many meetings I attended with Michele I was able to observe how many concepts I had studied at the university were applied to actual projects”.
Paolo: “The experience was certainly interesting. In particular, I did not expect to live in such an informal way and to fit so easily into such a structured working context.
I had no difficulty in establishing a relationship with Matteo: even now that the project has come to an end, we often continue to hear from each other. Lately he has also helped me with a project I’m working on”.
What do you bring home from this experience?
Paolo: “I certainly take home the fact that often companies face less-than-linear situations, as opposed to what’s presented to us in textbooks.
Compared to what we can learn from books at university, reality is much more complex. For example, Matteo always seemed to me to be very busy in solving one problem after another.
I especially appreciated the chance to work alongside a manager of a listed company that must follow precise policies. I was also grateful for the opportunity to meet people with a great level of experience, from Cinzia Marini (Head of Data, Analytics & Integration) to Eugenio Colazzo (Cyber Security Manager).
All the people we talked to are professionals who show great competence, essential in such a context”.
Alice: “I certainly understood that practical experience is just as fundamental as theory, if not perhaps more.
Theory allows you to go up to a certain point, but only with experience is it possible to really understand how to manage particular situations and thus have an edge.
Furthermore, I understood how in a company everything does not always happen in a linear way, as we are told at the university. Companies are constantly evolving, and to make it work at its best you need to have a very broad vision”.
Was there any aspect of the work in Growens that impressed you particularly?
Alice: “The first time that Paolo and I went to the office, we found ourselves in a meeting room together with Michele and Matteo, who shared with us the company goals, Business Unit structure and ongoing projects, including the Contactlab acquisition.
It was at that moment that I realized how structured the company was. Until then I had only read about similar companies, but the fact of finding myself inside one was really a surprise.
In addition, Growens attaches great importance to networking and is highly digitized. Here everyone works remotely or in offices that are far away from one another, and despite everything I have noticed how functional the connection between employees is.
There is a basic structure that allows you to talk to any colleague as if they were in the next room, managing to cancel the physical distance. This aspect pleasantly surprised me”.
Paolo: “Personally, I was very impressed by the speech delivered by Matteo and Michele during the presentation. They immediately talked to us about the cultural differences found in teams and Business Units and how these differences could be a strength but at the same time – if not managed properly – they could create some difficulties.
They then showed us the Slack chat [tool used for internal communications, editor’s note] with its variety of open conversations. There I understood how the interaction within this company is constant and essential.
It is extremely important to communicate with everyone and to make sure that everyone can get in touch with you, especially if you hold a role of responsibility and are a person on whom many rely”.
Now let’s turn to Michele Cappellini, Growens Chief Information Officer, who held the role of mentor. What do you think of this project?
Michele: “As soon as Matteo and I were proposed to take part in a mentorship project, we understood how precious this opportunity could be. It was exactly what we were looking for: an opportunity to contribute to the training of future managers specialized in the management of digital companies.
It is not the first time I have supported students, but I was pleasantly surprised by how this project was structured. The experience proved very interesting.
All the students – in this specific case Paolo and Alice – turned out to be fully motivated, demonstrating that they are solidly prepared and know how to ask the right questions.
It is not a commitment to be taken lightly: it requires specific time to devote to students and to the university but it is an initiative that I would absolutely do again. Personally, it is an activity that I really like and moreover, I find it brings value to the company itself”.