2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Francisco Milán, London Business School

Francisco Milán

London Business School

Positive European who has lived in eight countries and has a passion for the luxury industry and social impact.”

Hometown: Valencia, Spain & Brussels, Belgium

Fun fact about yourself: Almost everyone I meet thinks that I am Italian. It might be my first name; it might be my last name. However, my favourite dish is a paella and not a pizza.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Journalism

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I had my own public relations & communications firm in Brussels. I built, organised and implemented media and partnership campaigns with an economic return of up to €2M across different industries: Media, Technology, NGOs, and Public Sector.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? I interned at LVMH Group in London. More specifically, in PINK Shirtmaker. I was in charge of putting together the wholesale strategy of their business for the next five years. It was a unique experience to understand the different distribution channels available in the industry and evaluate potential performance by county and regions.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am launching my own footwear brand in Spring 2020, John Spencer Shoes. I’ve been working on this project since I started the MBA programme. We will have an incredible offer to satisfy the needs of today’s men. Here are some pictures.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Founder of the European Network of Retail & Luxury Goods Clubs in Business Schools, involving INSEAD, HEC Paris, Bocconi, IESE, ESADE and LBS
  • President, Retail & Luxury Goods Club (one of the most active clubs in the school)
  • Executive Member of Out in Business (LBS’ LGBTQ+ group and organiser of EUROUT, the biggest LGBT business conference in Europe)
  • London Business School Student Ambassador, talking to future applicants and sharing my time during the programme.
  • Winner of the LBS Master Chef Competition together with my friend Brian Selvarajah.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I focused my extracurricular time on improving the image of LBS and MBA students in the Retail & Luxury industry. When I arrived at the business school, I realised that the industry doesn’t value our profiles as much as other industries do. I have been working very hard over the last 12 months to improve the situation through events, workshops, career opportunities, and mentoring programmes at the school. Together with an incredible team, we are creating the most influential network of future leaders in the Retail & Luxury industry in Europe. I am sure that a lot of applicants in a couple of years will see the result of the work that we are doing in the school nowadays.

My plan for educating the industry is bigger than just LBS or the London environment. That’s the reason why I created a network with the Retail & Luxury Goods Presidents of the other top five European business schools. I contacted everyone and set up a coordination structure with weekly catchups that are meeting any expectations we had. We help each other with contacts in the industry, company visits, case competitions, etc. The idea is that we don’t need to compete with each other. At this point, we need to help each other in showing to the industry what we can do and the value we can bring.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? A couple of years ago, I worked as a Media and Campaign officer for Restarting the Future, a pan-European civil campaign promoting transparency in Europe. With a team of six young professionals based in Brussels, we managed to obtain 150,000+ citizen signatures and the support of 69 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different political parties. We asked for changes in the European law to better protect whistle-blowers in the 28 Members States of the European Union.

After several months meeting the MEPs and getting the project on the front page of media such as El País, Politico, Courrier International and Les Echos, the European Parliament implemented the changes that we were asking for. What it means is that Europe is today a more transparent and committed region against corruption.

I will never forget the day that Parliament voted for the changes in the law. It was one of those days that you realise that you can get to an objective when you have a good motive and a reliable team behind you to fight for it.

What was your favourite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Tattoo has become a traditional event in the LBS calendar that brings clubs together to showcase our diversity with food, drinks, music, and dancing. It has become so famous that a couple of friends from NYU Stern that I met during my exchange programme will travel to London just for it.

Why did you choose this business school? I always knew that London Business School was my school. I want to be based in Europe after my MBA and be part of a very international alumni network. LBS offered me precisely those two things. I visited the campus a couple of times and spoke with some former students. I understood that the LBS culture was a perfect match for me.

Rankings are important, but they will always change after a couple of years. We need to listen to ourselves and go to the school that we think it’s the best match for us.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? If you are reading these lines, it means that you are taking your application to LBS very seriously. Be yourself and be proud and humble about your previous work and achievements at the same time. We love the diversity in London Business School, and we couldn’t embrace it more. I applied to the school as a LGBTQ+ community member, talking about my family business and my plan of switching career to the Retail & Luxury Industry. The admission team did an amazing job and understood the value of my profile in the MBA2020 class.

What is the biggest myth about your school?
That it is a place only for consultants and bankers. We love them, but not all of us choose that professional career. I was a bit worried at the beginning of the programme. You have a small fear that you won’t find your place in the MBA class. However, very quickly, you realise that there is a big group of students who are interested in other sectors and industries such as tech, retail, social impact, and consumer goods.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
Planning a little bit more of my financial budget for the two years of the programme. You have so many opportunities to travel internationally, go out with friends, and discover new hobbies that it was challenging to plan

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My god … I have a very long list of names but, if I really have to choose one, I would go for Francesca Ricci. She is the Co-President of the Retail & Luxury Goods Club at the school. I couldn’t have done half of what I have achieved in the school without her. She is an incredible woman who represents every single value of the school. She is always willing to help everyone; she has an incredible background and will be successful in everything she will do.

I still remember the calls during the summer, helping each other with our internship projects. I am very proud to consider her my classmate and friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? It’s funny that we have this question because in my case, there wasn’t such a role. I am the first generation of my family to have a university degree, and the majority of my friends didn’t know what an MBA was.

I can imagine that there are, out there, future MBA applicants that have the same situation. During the time that I was deciding to pursue an MBA, I contacted many MBA graduates from different schools and understood how useful it could be for me to do it.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Have a business that has zero negative impact on the planet and a positive one on the people who worked on it.
  • A little bit more mundane – open my own my café and hotel in 10 years.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who will be there to help personally and professionally.

Hobbies? Traveling with my partner Thomas and friends, biking everywhere I go in the city (literally everywhere!) and drinking a lot of (good) coffee!

What made Francisco such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“A brilliant strategic marketer with a strong affinity for fashion and sustainability, Francisco brings together the tactful and diplomatic communication skills of seasoned PR professionals and the restless vigor typical of the best entrepreneurs. Since taking the reins of the LBS Retail & Luxury Goods Club (RLGC), he has greatly expanded the network of affiliated organisations in London, New York, Milan and beyond. He has also been instrumental in organising events with prominent brands, including Aesop, Burberry and Thomas Pink (part of LVMH). Francisco has been an inspiring role model for fellow MBA students, RLGC members, and the LGBTQ+ community at large.”

Stefano Turconi
Teaching Fellow
Department of Strategy & Entrepreneurship

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