Designing beautiful things comes naturally to Italian architect Attilio Giaquinto, but as he recently discovered, it's important to have the right skills and knowledge if you want to transform your talent into a successful business
It was over eleven years ago that Attilio left college, with his sights set high on a future career in the world of architecture. As a young man growing up in Italy he was surrounded by intricate works of art and grand historic structures and he wanted to use his own 'eye for beauty' to help shape the landscape of modern Italy.
During his early career Attilio got his teeth stuck into every new opportunity possible, to learn the ropes and develop his own individual signature mark. Slowly he started to create a name for himself and was lucky enough to get a project management job for a new range of Emporio Armani shops in London. After coming back home to Turin, Attilio was then able to harness this international experience to bolstered his reputation and set up his own company Giaquinto Architetti Associati.
Business was booming, and Attilio was running all manner of projects, designing new houses, restoring restaurants and even re-designing a university campus. But despite running a thriving company, Attilio had never stopped to reflect on how he had made it a success. At age 34, he started to realize that he needed a more strategic approach to help cultivate his business as well as better management skills to deal with his growing team.
He said: "At that stage in my career, I needed something that would have a practical relevance to help boost my knowledge. I'd already made the mistakes and learnt the lessons when I first set out on my own, so it was important to find a course that could take me out of my day-to-day tactical mindset and get me thinking more strategically and creatively.
"I'd heard about the Master in Business Administration (MBA) - a business qualification aimed at senior managers and after a bit of research it sounded like the perfect programme for me. I went along to ESCP Europe business school, which has a big presence in Turin, and discovered they run a part-time (executive) MBA, which could fit around my business."
Attilio opted for the Business School's London 'track' where students take 9 3-day modules spread over 18 months with the opportunity to select 12 electives to be studied at any of the other European campuses. He also to the chance to attend five seminars around the world (Shanghai, Austria, Paris, Brussels and Madrid). "I love travelling," he continues "and I thought it would give me an insight into doing business in different cultures and markets, which was ultimately how I wanted to expand my career."
Going back to study also gave Attilio the chance to learn from other people. He explains: "Their experiences and advice were just as important in shaping my learning as the MBA itself. And the fact that we were all from different professions and from 29 different countries meant we all had unique insights to bring to the table. So, even though I was thought of as the 'creative type' I could share what I've learnt running my own business over the last 10 years and hopefully inspire others."
This support network has been a source of ideas and even new business leads for Attilio. "I'm now going to Mumbai in India to work on a villa, thanks to a contact I met through my MBA," he continues. "I've opened a new office in Milan to continue working with the Giorgio Armani company and in-keeping with my passion for building I've also launched a sideline real estate business, buying and renovating property in Italy." Not one to shy away from a challenge he is also just about to start a project in Africa which aims to build 10,000 low-cost houses using locally sourced materials over the next two/three years.
Attilio Giaquinto has recently completed an executive MBA with ESCP Europe. He lives in Turin, Italy, where he has his own architectural business
Photo: Attilio's work of interior design of private apartments