2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Francisco Lobato, INSEAD

Francisco Lobato


A successful ex-professional sailing athlete who is passionate about investments.”

Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal

Fun fact about yourself: I got my appendix removed even if I didn´t need to. Why? I was about to race alone across the Atlantic Ocean in a Sailing boat and wanted to eliminate as many unknowns and variables that could prevent me to win. I won!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Lisbon, Portugal. Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Master of Science in Engineering, Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I founded/invested in a company: AMENGTS, Atlantic Marine Engineering Technical Solutions, Ltd. The company was about Industrial Electronics repairs and maintenance services. Initially, we were serving only ships and ship owners, but we rapidly expanded to gain customers with industrial plants (auto makers) and the Lisbon Airport. I was Managing Director. The advantages of working in a small company are that you learn a lot because you are exposed to everything. In the beginning, I was CEO, CFO, COO, and head of HR. As the team grows, you gain the possibility to delegate.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Not applicable – I was still at work. Will eventually intern in the summer of 2019.

Where will you be working after graduation? Not defined yet as we have just started. After graduation, I will work in Investment Management, probably in a PE or a hedge fund as an Investment Analyst.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: We just started, but I will be on the presidency of the Sailing Club and Investment Management Club.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Not applicable.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My transition from a professional athlete (and managing my own sports company) to the world of Finance/Investment Banking. An expert sailor, aged 28, with a Master in Engineering….all the odds of getting a job in IB in London were against me. Passion, hard work, and determination are worth a lot. Since then I took multiple courses in Finance, Quantitative Finance, CFA…etc.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Anil Gaba is teaching Uncertainty and Data Judgement (Statistics). Professor Anil is hugely experienced and was able to explain abstract topics in an objective way, always showing real examples and data to support it. Although a great mathematician, he focuses on the simple facts and on what adds value. He doesn´t lose time deriving complex math equations to a public that is not interested in it. I felt inspired.

Many people tend to understate the usefulness of statistics for business decisions and investment decisions. It is fascinating to observe how a normal distribution can describe most of our daily occurrences. If well understood, there are gains to be made because history tends to repeat itself….Ray Dalio is an excellent example of someone that likes to study historical trends and past behaviors.

What was your favorite MBA Course Not applicable yet.

Why did you choose this business school? Business is about people, and our generation will be exposed to a globalized economy. I believe INSEAD could help me in three main ways. First, I wanted to study in one of the leading business schools and have exposure to Asia (Singapore Campus), where growth will come from in the next 30 years. Second, I wanted to be exposed and connected to a really diverse environment – it has been incredible to be in a classroom with 70+ Nationalities and great smart people with fascinating experiences. Finally, since I am quite experienced, the one-year intensive MBA came as the ideal solution.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Gain experience in different countries and cultures to contribute to the diverse richness of the program.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

Myth: That people party all the time in Singapore and you don´t need to study.

Truth: The course pace is fast and accelerated, particularly if you haven´t been through the topics before. You see many people in the Library putting in the hours.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? How important it is to spend time with your classmates to create strong links.

MBA Alumni often describe the business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? It is not a myth! For me, the transformation came in the form of confidence, people and soft skills. For the first time, I was not competing against someone and playing in a risk-free environment. The open and genuine feedback from the career/personal development coach and colleagues after our group assignments increased my awareness.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are many smart and interesting people, so it is difficult to pick just one. I have one classmate, in his mid-twenties, who speaks fluently four languages. He was born in Italy, raised in Switzerland, and studied in the US. He worked at McKinsey (typical INSEAD profile), but refused their offer to get back. Although young, he is exceptionally enlightened, lettered on history and cultures and has experience in the health sector. He is planning to explore a niche opportunity in the sector, and if I could I would buy a call option on him!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? After studying engineering, I wanted to learn more about business and investments. The inspiration came from an older friend (also an MBA INSEADer). After a few years working as a consultant, he dared to start his hedge fund. I admired his confidence in business which inspired to learn more and ultimately do an MBA.

What is your favorite movie about business? I liked the movie 12 Angry Men. As I said before, business is about people and there is a lot to learn about human behavior and how to influence other people. In this movie around a murder trial, the main character starts by having a different opinion to 11 other jurors. He slowly manages to convince them one-by-one using multiple persuasion techniques.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…missing a life-changing experience. Something you don´t realize until you start it. It is about the experience, the people that make it worth it.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? The €130K is undoubtedly a significant number. From day one, I was convinced it was worth so much more. I am happy I knew most of the materials before joining the MBA (particularly Finance and Quant- related) because we shouldn´t come to the MBA to learn what is WACC. If you know all these concepts already, you can take much more out of it from the cases, the classes…etc. What adds value is strategic thinking, data judgment, and decision making.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? The first after the MBA is to work for an Investment company that is meaningful to me and where I won´t mind to be working long days because that is the job that excites me – genuine passion.

Second, as planned with my wife, we want to grow the family. It is time to have kids and live this extraordinary and rewarding experience.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Francisco is an approachable, nice guy who likes to get things done and is willing to go the extra mile when necessary to achieve outstanding results.

Hobbies? I am still a sports addict – mainly sailing, which I have done at a professional level. I like to go out there and enjoy nature – Mountain biking, treks, scuba diving, surf, kitesurf….

What made Francisco such an invaluable member of the Class of 2019?

“The Admissions Committee was impressed by the fact that Francisco has always been heavily involved in sailing while at the same time studying Mechanical Engineering and working. Francisco is multilingual, highly entrepreneurial, world-class award-winning sailor, who crossed the Atlantic three times solo. After graduating from university, he became a professional offshore racing sailor and owned a company to manage sailing ventures. The committee was convinced that Francisco would have incredible stories to tell about all his sailing experiences.”



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