Three years, 28 multi-disciplinary modules, nearly 39 days of training in Italian plus 7 more in English, and 140 employee participants. These are some of the stats on Generali Real Estate Advanced Training (GREAT), the program co-designed by Generali Real Estate and SDA Bocconi School of Management.
Tailored to the needs of participants, since 2019 professionals from various company functions have been involved in GREAT. The aim is to provide a comprehensive, strategic vision of the real estate industry, to improve soft skills for the company’s entire population, and to consolidate and update technical and managerial competencies. This program, conceived with the intent to facilitate internal dialogue and accelerate managerial activities, even saw Generali Real Estate managers stepping into the role of instructors.
In the words of Aldo Mazzocco, Generali Real Estate CEO and alumnus of the SDA Bocconi MBA: “We felt the necessity to adapt to the changes that were underway in our industry, aligning processes, products, and human capital to the needs of a more and more demanding market. SDA Bocconi accompanied us in this process, paying special attention to our values and focusing on developing participants’ technical competencies and soft skills, two key components for doing business in real estate. GREAT represents a decisive investment in Generali Real Estate’s human capital. A challenge that’s been taken on by both sides with enthusiasm and commitment, along with a sense of fun.”
The numbers behind the story
Partner: Generali Real Estate
Industry: Real Estate
Founded in: 1831
Employees: over 400 in 9 European countries
Number of Real Estate Assets: 2149
Value of Real Estate Assets: over 33 billion euro
Encapsulating the complexity of a company with 190 years of history and solid roots in the Italian and European real estate market. Indeed, the task facing SDA Bocconi was not a simple one: to support Generali Real Estate in tackling the new challenges in the real estate market by revamping technical tools and economic-financial competencies of company employees.
The first step, essential to designing a program that matched the needs of the company, was to organize a series of focus groups with future participants. By collecting, analyzing and interpreting their responses, the learning needs of the corporate population could be identified and quantified. What emerged from this initial observation was the need for greater integration among roles, widespread difficulty in working in groups, and a partial misalignment between objectives, timelines, priorities and corporate resources.
Based on these findings, GREAT was born, a learning journey divided into 28 modules that were custom-built to meet the needs of all the professional families in Generali Real Estate. The introductory module, a description of the characteristics of the real estate market and the various market players, was followed by a more specific module on the unique features of real estate companies and funds. This is vital to attain accounting expertise and to understand accounting approaches and rules.
More technical modules, such as those dealing with real estate contracts or the fundamentals of mathematical finance, alternate with soft skill sessions, dedicated for example to group leadership or teamworking. Identifying organizational processes and providing methodological tools for effective teamwork are steps that build the ability to read and manage internal dynamics. Beyond that, such competencies are in ever greater demand for people working in the real estate market. What’s more, special attention is focused on the themes of conducting negotiations and enhancing integration with other corporate functions.
From customer centricity to digitalization, from analyzing and managing big data to project management, covering investment tools and international real estate deals along the way, the GREAT learning experience encompassed multiple training levels via face-to-face lessons. And the final leg of learning journey consisted of Field Projects: by analyzing international best practices, studying national and international competitors, breaking down the new trends in both real estate and environmental sustainability, participants (in groups of 5-7) were asked to draw up a report on a specific aspect of the real estate industry. These reports were then presented in the plenary session, giving all participants the chance to discuss the topic they chose.
GREAT counted 140 participants, and each one had the chance to select the modules they were personally most interested, which would be the focus on several days of training per year. The program adopted a mixed didactic method, based on discussions of business cases, simulations and role plays, work in small groups and in plenary sessions.