After graduating from the University of Bologna in Italy with a degree in Information Technology, Daniele interned in the IT department of a manufacturing company in India. After that, he joined AIP as Marketing Manager and later became the Head of Marketing and eventually the Managing Director and Co-Founder of AIP.
What is your favorite travel memory?
Probably my favorite travel memory and also the one that has made me end up working in Asia has been the first time I went to China. It was right after I finished my university. I remember that at the time, while I was reading the lonely planet guides on China and various websites, I was wondering about this “cultural shock” that was present everywhere in the stories of travelers. When I finally got there, it really struck me.
I don’t mean it in a negative way, but it was totally a blast – something completely unexpected and never felt before. I remember wandering the towns and the places during my trip realizing I didn't know anything about this part of the world (even after reading blogs and guides to prepare myself for the trip). The temples, the food, the people, the nature, the architecture… Everything was completely different than what I was used to back in Italy! That's when I decided that a vacation was not enough, and I actually wanted to live in Asia and explore this region and its culture.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company
When I started working in AIP, I was a solo player. I used to work on my own and count only myself instead of working in a group to avoid possible problems; I had the arrogance of thinking that things would be better that way.
When I arrived in AIP, everything changed dramatically. AIP is a family-like company where people are pushed towards working in a group instead of on their own. At the beginning, it was hard for me but I then learned to count on my colleagues. Now, I can't even imagine going back to my previous way of working!
Also, working with many different people gave me the chance to develop my skills and to learn new ones which gives me a 360 view of all the different aspects of the business.
Lastly, this business has a big component of social interaction. I’ve always been a very sociable person back in my town but the thing is different when, on a daily basis, you deal with new people from different parts of the world with different backgrounds and different cultures. An aspect of me that definitely grew in the last few years is my perception of the world and the way I look at it.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
There was this girl from the Netherlands who was our client on the second year I was working here. In the interview, she told us that she had never traveled outside her country and that she was going for an internship in Asia because her university was giving her extra credit. She said that she didn't really want to go and that she was scared of leaving her comfort zone.
When she arrived in Vietnam, she was very timid and frightened by this new place. However, days passed and she started to hang out with her colleagues and other interns. Within the first two months, we saw a big transformation in her – from a timid girl who was almost unable to talk with strangers at networking events to an energetic and enthusiastic lady. She was also actually quite a good networker, so much that during one of the events, she met someone from a company who offered her a job after her graduation. In fact, after her internship, and after getting her Bachelor’s, she decided to come back here to work for that company.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
When I was still in Italy, a plan that I always had in mind was to go work and live in Japan. I love Japanese culture and food and would really like to spend some time there. I've been to Japan a couple of times for work but I've never managed to really live and work there for more than a week or two. I’d definitely do our program in Japan!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
The one thing that makes our company unique is the team. We are a team composed of 9 different nationalities coming from all over the world. We run our business as a family and not as a corporation, and we value the opinion of any member of our team. We are not only colleagues but we are a family and a group of friends.
You read online of people hating to wake up to go to work. For us however, coming to work is like meeting your friends. When I travel for work or I go back to Italy to visit my family, I really miss my teammates, and I usually can't wait to go back to work.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The biggest factor is, for sure, the team and a company culture that suits the team. Without a good team of people that you respect and trust, it’s impossible to grow a successful business. If you have the team but you apply a wrong company culture that doesn't fit your people, it is also impossible to grow a small company into a successful business. The good people in your team will eventually leave to go somewhere else where the company culture better suits them.