From domestic appliance to Fashion going through Formula 1: an ex ISTAO student shares her experience
Interview from Sara Paoletti to Giorgia Riganelli, Financial Controller in Trussardi Group.

Let’s continue with the set of interviews from ex-ITAO students for which ISTAO has revealed important in defining their professional career. A challenging path that is full of brave choices, effort and entrepreneurial spirit, which is transfer to young students from the first days.

Giorgia tell us about your professional career starting from the internships at the end of ISTAO.

In my professional path I had the possibility to explore different sectors, from domestic appliance to fashion going through the automotive. Working as a financial controller what changes is the sector, each one with its particularities that require specific planning and control management.

ISTAO’s internship led me to INDESIT COMPANY where I found an interesting and familiar environment, even if in a multinational company. At the time I was covering the role of an IT Controller and I was in charge of the costing area.  Informative systems, as costs and people, can be considered a company inside the company.  After three years, I felt the need to have a more global vision of the business, therefore after a long selection process, I decided to challenge myself as a Business Controller in F1 Racing Team. An experience that stimulates curiosity. I found in FERRARI a dynamic, motivating and competitive environment not only in the raceway.  I had the chance to work with people that made the history of F1 as Jean Todt, a very precise man with an incredible memory on numbers, with everything under control, Ross Brown, Stefano Domenicali and others of high professional level.  Working in FERRARI has led to professional achievements, I have developed my competences as a controller but also as a person dealing with tight schedules, under stress, ready to provide immediate and precise answers, facing different scenario in relation to the outcomes of the race. Team work was the rule for winning. At a certain point, I felt the need to challenge myself in a more congenial sector such as that of fashion, a working environment where creativity and inspiration, glamour can be transmitted in every business area, in a such different way from the automotive. Nowadays, I am a Financial Controller at Trussardi, an historical brand of Italian Fashion always able to update with the current context. Here I had the opportunity to understand all the phases of a product design from the idea to its sale even if always with an approach based on numbers!

A wonderful and exciting story –  let’s keep in the fashion world where you are currently working. A field very interesting especially for women. What does it mean working in such an environment? Which skills are required?

Yes, fashion is a fascinating sector, for this reason I decided to challenge myself in such environment. The social part is the most evident one, that big “dream” fashion communicates outside, but working inside I understood how difficult it can be.  This sector with its weight in the economy represents a field of excellence in Italy. Fashion is a mix of creativity, inspiration, intuition, but also of organization and management. Components that seem so distant and that have to match to reach a successful common objective. A unique sector, leading to complexities in the management of the relationships between different organizational actors. As a controller it becomes necessary to support all creative function without losing the managerial rigor, supporting the “creative” spirit that needs at the same time to understand the most quantitative implications. As a controller I have interface continuously with all different business areas, for this reason interpersonal skills are essential, with precision of the data provided to take strategic decisions.

Giorgia why would you recommend a university graduate participating to ISTAO’s master? which values can be transferred to someone willing to enter the business environment?

ISTAO master has been for me a wonderful experience that has enriched me not only from a professional point of view, but especially from a human aspect. A big family that has supported me in entering the working environment. The master has helped me switch from the university to the company, providing me a complete framework of all the business areas and addressing me towards the most suitable ones. I suggest all university graduates, and even those who want to deepen their knowledge to enhance their professionality with an ISTAO course. The high quality of professors and topics but also the staff working with passion and professionality helps you designing your future in best way possible.

From when you started working, can you tell us which are the main changes that have occurred and provide some suggestions to new ISTAO students?

Even If I don’t have such a long career, I have noticed great changes in the last 10 years, more competitive markets, shortening of the product life cycle, changing competences with growing need for innovation. These are all factors that put at risk the traditional logics of management requiring the capacity to develop new managerial practices able to continuously adapt to a changing market, becoming more and more flexible. The quick technological changes are leaders. We are always more social in a unique global market. This dynamism in the environment has forced companies to organizational and strategic changes and towards a great planning to anticipate changes and act with corrective actions. New roles have development such as the “Business Analyst”.

To approach the new working environment determination, curiosity without being afraid of mistakes are essential together with learning from wrong decisions. Flexibility “managed” and not passive allows to develop a complete professionality with can be used with success in the working context. All this requires a positive attitude and the adoption of a medium- term approach to see accomplished the career aspirations.