BBS Sailing Experience Talks: Andrea Mura

30 May 2022

The talk by Andrea Mura, a multi-talented ocean sailor, opened a series of events that Bologna Business School dedicates to sailing and its values. Cohesion and cooperation within the team, passion for challenges, the ability to react to unexpected events quickly, decisively and professionally. All this is BBS Sailing Experience Talks, and Andrea Mura is the first in a series of prominent personalities from the sailing world ready to engage with Bologna Business School faculty by recounting their own experiences and comparing them with those faced daily by our students and managers.

Born in Cagliari 58 years ago, Andrea Mura has been on the FIV national team for eight years, has won two European titles in 420, a silver medal for national athletic valor, and 11 Italian titles between Olympic and Offshore Sailing classes.

Moderating the event and giving voice to the dialogue with the great sailor of Vento di Sardegna was Andrea Lipparini, Full Professor of Innovation Management at the University of Bologna and Associate Dean for Bologna Business School’s Executive MBAs programs.


Lipparini introduced Mura by emphasizing the value of commitment and perseverance in building a successful career, highlighting how too often so-called Soft Skills are ndervalued. The professor also highlighted the link between the path of BBS and its Community, which in its 20-year history has been able to grow and become more and more united, and that of those who have been able to build a career starting from authentic values and gifts cultivated over time, like Andrea Mura. And it is this bond, this passion for challenges, this ability to team up and overcome difficulties with discipline and responsiveness that unites the two worlds and is the foundation on which to build a valuable future. 

Along with Andrea Mura is his partner in life and work, Daniela Faranna, who profiled the sailor, a child of art and with a passion for the sea that has always run through his veins. So Mura does not introduce himself, but leaves the floor to the person who know him better than anyone, and we can say that in his wife’s words emerges not only the excitement of living next to a unique and talented character, but also the portrait of a sportsman, entrepreneur, communicator and innovator who has been able to combine his passion for the sea with that for technology and the design of competitive and high-performance sails

Engaging, exciting and authentically inspiring. These are the adjectives that best describe Andrea Mura’s speech in this first BBS Sailing Experience Talk. 

Ups and downs, ability to put oneself on the line to take risks, to dare. And it doesn’t always go well. Andrea Mura makes it clear: one can choose not to take risks and follow a safe and often very pleasant charted path. And one can take risks and one can fall. But sometimes you need challenges. Thus was born the pursuit of ocean sailing by Mura, at that time already an accomplished sailor, who chose to take the 4 Moors representing his land around the world. No commercial brand, but this strong connection to his roots, an identity brand, strongly linked to his Sardinia. You can fail, but the strength lies in always putting yourself back in the game, because it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, only how many times you are able to start again, getting back up with dignity and the desire to sail again. How do you get back up? With the strength of passion, but also with the trust and support of the team and sincere affections. And in the end, results and satisfaction come. Not only on a professional level, but also on a human level. Because fighting and working together is an experience that goes beyond the result, even economically: it is building relationships of trust that you can always count on, even in the darkest moments. 

Mura recounts each regatta as a life experience. Every event, every success, every feat, is communicated through his emotions, even before the numbers and results. Numbers, data and results that are nonetheless important, indeed fundamental. A champion like Mura knows this and explains it clearly: getting organized, knowing the data, preparing for each venture by carefully studying every aspect of it is essential. Indeed, it is the most important and challenging part of the journey, which, as is often the case, begins well before departure. 

Inevitable is the parallel with business strategy, which sees a good strategy and a sound business plan as a key starting point. It is somewhat surprising and at the same time almost enlightening to discover that even a man who lives by his passions is fascinated and driven as much by data as by the talent and inspiration of the moment. Mura’s data-driven approach means that he can indulge in hours of rest thanks to the presence of the autopilot. Although, Mura jokes, but not too much, always with feet facing forward, to get less hurt in case of a collision. 

Data study, planning, discipline. Mura reveals that this is not exactly the case; on the contrary: fatigue, stress and even fear are concentrated in the preparation period, so much so that the start is already a party. In the preparation there is the construction of a world. That of the race, of the boat, but above all of oneself, because every voyage is first and foremost self-discovery and the challenge of one’s own limits. That is why sailing, like life, is an endless school. One is always learning, always growing. And knowledge of performance, boats, technologies and tools becomes a very strong competitive advantage. It takes months, sometimes years, but every regatta is a lesson, a school to be started again each time. Like after the pandemic. 10 months and thousands of hours of preparation allow for the confidence without which it becomes difficult to achieve success. In fact, often to get an edge you have to jump into the storm, and in the storm you sail only when you can rely all the way on your team and equipment

There is never a shortage of obstacles, even in the face of the best preparation one must be able to improvise and problem-solve. And it is precisely in the problem-solving approach that another centered and fascinating parallel to business life emerges: strategy, focus, professionalism and competence are the foundations on which you build the confidence to cope with all kinds of unforeseen events. Because when something goes wrong, the skills of a true sailor come out, along with technical and mental preparedness. Mura’s experience and stories also teach us how to take care of ourselves as human beings, even before we do as managers and entrepreneurs: we need to cultivate our humanity, to get involved and passionate not only about the challenges and the idea of reaching our goals, but also about the possibility of sharing with more and more people the values in which we believe. In Andrea Mura’s videos there is the sea, there is challenge, there are really strong emotions. But there are also many people who believe in him. His Sardinia, the people in his company, his partner and family, the kids in the sailing school with their difficulties and differences. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons of this speech by Andrea Mura is precisely this: a lesson in deep humanity, without which genuine success seems out of reach, almost emptied of its deepest meaning. 

Because Andrea Mura is a man of sports, of enterprise, of unquestionable victories achieved by always taking risks on his own, but he is above all a courageous man, capable of living life to the fullest, guided by strong values that in his speech emerge as the only ones capable of keeping you on your feet, straight on the bow, even when at sea, as in life, the storm rages. 


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