We had the pleasure to talk with Roberto and Elena, President, and International Manager of the Junior Enterprise of Politecnico in Milan.
Roberto, give me a brief presentation about this Junior Enterprise to better understand what we are talking about.
It is a non-profit enterprise composed of design and engineering students. Big companies ask us projects about product design, packaging design, brand identity, graphic design, website to do and we strongly work on them. We are divided into four functional areas: audit, human resources commercial and communication.
How did it start?
It was founded in 2014 but it was only in 2015, that we became a Junior Enterprise. This kind of “movement” was born about 30 years ago but in the last years, it is becoming more and more popular among students. “We are now 50 people”, continues Elena, “we have recruitments every 6 months and it’s a pity because every time we must choose among many interviewed. We can’t be more than 50/60 people because then it gets difficult to organise the work and affects the productivity”.
What is the difference between this kind of enterprise and a “real” one?
First of all, we are all students. Nobody receives a salary and all the amount that we receive for the projects goes into the enterprise. Then, continues Elena: “we all have different backgrounds due to our experiences and studies, but nobody wants to overpower the other. We are all at the same level”.
Motivation: what pushes you to do this so far? I mean, you are students, you are also attending university.
“Great question”, laughs Roberto. We are super excited. Motivation is the key to everything. As a team, it also stimulates our creativity and gives us the chance to interact with students with different abilities and then that makes you want to push your limits. Everyone has a reason to be there. Adds Elena: “I agree with Robi. We all want to be involved. I also think that what inspires us is to work and directly interface with real firms that believe in you”.
How many projects do you usually have in one year?
We usually have 12 projects a year. Every project lasts from 2 up to 4 months and 6 people work on that. More people are not necessary because then work wouldn’t be well managed.
The question arises: who are your clients?
Multinationals, startup, small enterprise. We collaborate with a huge range of customers. We also have done projects for P&G and Burger King.
How did you find the right communication with such different specialization between engineers and designers?
We have different mindsets. We all know that. The secret we think is not working compartmentalized. Create a team. Elena states: “I study service design, I didn’t know anything about market analysis because I don’t study this field at university, but thanks to my colleagues studying management I learnt how to do it. This is what we call “learning by doing” and “learning by creating training”. Concludes Roberto: “I’d say that communication is at the base of everything”.
I have seen on your page that you often meet each other and organize various fun experiences.
Yes, we usually meet for events, weekends far from Milan and so on. Now it is not possible as last year. Last year we participated to the “Mi Scusi” event: such a beautiful experience. We made pasta and then ate it all together.
How can you link all the different field you manage; I know that you do graphic, branding, user experience and user interface, how do you usually divide the work to do?
The key is communication and not working compartmentalized. Every area talks to the other and we review everything together. We don’t have a standard procedure; every project is different.
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