You have the chance to meet so many different cultures

Ivan Ivicic believes managing several markets enables you to see how ideas, technologies, processes and behaviour move from one place to another.


Originally from Zagreb, Croatia, Ivan Ivicic works in the head office of Intesa Sanpaolo, International Subsidiary Banks Division, managing retail business in 10 countries – mainly across Eastern Europe. Having worked in a subsidiary bank in Croatia in positions including head of network and head of products, he became Chief Business Officer of Intesa Sanpaolo in Russia before he took up his post in Milan.

How has international experience helped you to grow professionally and personally?

It has helped me in several areas. One is growth of managerial skills – you are learning to manage all the resources in different environments.

After spending a long time on a single market, you won’t be challenged with as many different ideas, approaches and changes as when you are on the international market. The managerial growth is certainly wider.

It has also enabled me to enhance my technical competencies, because the more you are spending time in different markets, the more you are picking up skills and knowledge.

Personally, I get to travel and see the places and meet the people that I wouldn’t do otherwise. For example, when I was in Russia I had the opportunity to travel from St Petersburg to Vladivostok, right across the country. This was obviously a beautiful experience.

Having the experience of developing retail business in 10 countries and being able to travel to those countries is priceless. You have the chance to meet so many different business cultures. It is always a pleasure.

Where would you like to be in your career
in five years?

I would still like to be in the International Subsidiary Banks area, but it is too early to say where exactly. There are so many interesting opportunities in the international sphere.

What are the characteristics
of Intesa Sanpaolo and its people?

Intesa Sanpaolo is a wonderful company to work for that offers numerous opportunities to develop one’s career.

We are working towards having the same approach in all the countries in which we operate.

This is exactly why having international experience is extremely important for all the managers. Regardless of where you are, you need to spend time in all elements of the business.

How does it feel to be an Intesa Sanpaolo ambassador?

I feel very proud of being part of Intesa Sanpaolo and especially of the International Subsidiary Banks Division. We have grown significantly over the years, in spite of the crisis and few setbacks that we had.

The company changing from a group of independent banks to a single financial group is something that I feel very proud of.

I’m happy that I was able to contribute to this.

What have you learnt
from your international experience?

I have learnt Russian and Italian, for starters!  I have also learnt to understand and appreciate different approaches to doing business. I believe gaining this inter-cultural competence helps anyone working in international business.

Working across a number of countries, I also get to see how things develop on a broader level. For example, the adoption of new technologies across different markets. Managing several markets enables you to see how ideas, technologies, processes and behaviour are moving from one place to another.

Also, seeing macroeconomics on an international level is invaluable.

What have you learned from this international experience in Intesa Sanpaolo you might have missed otherwise?

I had the opportunity to learn about different countries and cities, about their history and culture (beside their economies and banking systems). I had the opportunity to meet many smart colleagues and develop some great friendships.

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