2022 MBA To Watch: Maddie Forman, London Business School

Maddie Forman

London Business School

“An MBA and fashion tech entrepreneur who unexpectedly jumped from blue-chip to start-up co-foundership.”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun fact about yourself: I have a qualification in spirits tasting…!                                                  

Undergraduate School and Degree: Oxford University, Philosophy and Theology

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Diageo – Commercial Sales Team Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Vestico – the fashion tech company I co-founded. It takes us between London and Barcelona.

Where will you be working after graduation? Vestico, the tech company I co-founded, enables fashion eCommerce retailers to represent each shopper’s fit in clothes by displaying user-generated content from people who share the shopper’s body type. All to build inclusivity in fashion and help shoppers buy clothes that fit the way they want them to. I’m the Chief Commercial Officer at Vestico.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Co-President – Retail & Luxury Goods Club

Walpole Luxury Leaders of Tomorrow programme member

Scholarship recipient

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Co-founding a business alongside the MBA is what I’ll look back on with most pride. Struggling, failing, and getting the work/MBA-balance wrong have all been themes in my entrepreneurial MBA experience. With the help of co-founders and the MBA community, I’ll be taking away resilience, growth and a deep sense of fulfilment.

We’ve built technology that’s placing representation at the center of fashion, that brings us into the conversation on fashion’s future and, when I stop to think about that, I’m proud. To build this company has required sacrifice and vulnerability. I’ve had to cut the French classes I had dreamed of taking, the post-class drinks on a Friday eve, and the football training I’d been enjoying to create Vestico. I’ve had to admit to myself that a career in sales account management doesn’t mean I’m an expert at selling fashion software, so I need to ask for help, make mistakes, and learn fast. The fact that I’ll be graduating with a business that I’m proud of makes the entrepreneurial MBA worth it (and I did find some time to have fun along the way…).

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of supporting my Diageo sales team (the first team I’d ever managed) through a crisis as earth-shattering as COVID-19. We ran Diageo GB’s relationships with key bars and restaurants. COVID-19 shut down our customers and our industry. For the first time ever, the sales professionals in my team were spending their days behind a desk, rather than out on the road talking to their customers. And it hit them hard. I’m proud that we got through the crisis with new skills and strong customer relationships, but I’m probably even more proud that the team continued to catch up on Zoom every morning, support each other on dark days, and continued to build their own careers in uncertain times. I went into the role pre-pandemic determined to win huge market share. I came out of the role grateful and proud that the team stuck with each other and stuck through the most uncertain time in their careers.

Why did you choose this business school? The internationalism of London Business School made it my top choice. The number of nationalities represented, and the impact that has on an MBA experience, is remarkable. I’ve learned from and laughed with people from all over the world and that’s made my experience so much richer.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Stefano Turconi, Teaching Fellow of Strategy & Entrepreneurship. Stefano is committed to strengthening the LBS community in the luxury sector. He’s gone above and beyond to support us co-presidents of the Retail & Luxury Goods Club. Stefano collaborates with us to bring world-class speakers to campus, to create a ‘Luxury Strategy’ course that equips LBS students to lead the industry, to develop the school’s network in the industry community, and we appreciate and admire him for it. We all personally feel the positive impact on our own careers. Thank you, Stefano.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Celebrating Diwali for the first time was a major (and very colourful) highlight! From the food to the music to the MBA class dance competition, it was one of the most fun and immersive experiences on the MBA. It was a vibrant, loud, energetic celebration of our classmates’ culture that perfectly exemplified why going to an international business school was the right move.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have found a time to learn French. It was one of the first things I dropped when building our start-up demanded all my focus that the MBA could spare. I had a dream of learning French at business school – as much for pleasure as practicality. If I had my time again, I’d put French back on the list of priorities. An MBA is a great time to learn a language and, when you’re only a Eurostar away from Paris, it would have been great to throw myself into that.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Everyone lives in Marylebone and on Baker Street in London. While most students do, there are bunch of us that live in different London boroughs. London is a HUGE and diverse place. Marylebone is wonderful, but there’s a whole city for students to explore – and us locals love having people come visit our own distinctive areas.

What surprised you the most about business school? The career directions it can take you. I joined LBS planning on becoming a consultant. I met my now co-founder and fellow MBA2022, Maia Sasania in the first semester, avidly listened to her start-up idea, couldn’t forget about it, messaged her to see if I could help, and now I’m the co-founder of a fashion tech company. I didn’t expect to be an entrepreneur when I entered business school. It hadn’t crossed my mind. But the opportunity arose so organically and the MBA gave me the scope to explore it.

The people around you at business school are amazing, with ideas and experiences that can change the way you think. The MBA community is full of people who can open a different, unexpected path and the MBA gives you the freedom to follow it and explore.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Maia Sasania – my Vestico co-founder. Maia is an inspiration. As if building a business alongside the MBA isn’t enough, she’s focused on ensuring that all the other entrepreneurs in the school have the best chance of success in their own ventures. Whether it’s giving up her time to support early-stage founders, creating a series of events for classmates to explore their entrepreneurial potential, or launching a full school survey to find entrepreneurs she can help, Maia ensures she’s always giving back to the community. Having her own start-up hasn’t changed her generosity towards others and it’s hugely admirable.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father – he’s always been a business role model. His breadth of understanding of the business world was admirable to me. He could always talk adeptly about finance, supply chain, marketing and many other topics and it seemed to propel his career. While his grounding came from starting out in consulting, I decided my path to breadth would be an MBA – and it’s proven to be just that.

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

  • Build the start-up I co-founded into a unicorn
  • Become a mainstay in fashion business world

What made Maddie Forman such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Maddie’s journey on the LBS MBA has been fascinating to observe. While she began the MBA with fairly set ideas on both her MBA and her post-MBA plans, her experience in pivoting completely and co-founding her own company is testament to her tenacity, her passion and her ability to succeed. Maddie taking this step epitomizes the courage and commitment we value so dearly in our students.

Maddie’s courage is just part of what makes her stand out from the crowd. When she first applied for the LBS & Walpole Luxury Leaders of Tomorrow programme, she quickly made herself known as someone to watch. Through our work with Maddie on this programme, she has shown herself to be passionate, curious and warm, and most importantly, you can always count on her to ask great questions! She is an invaluable addition to the Walpole programme, the Luxury & Retail Goods Club, as well as the whole MBA2022 class.”

Helen Foley
MBA Programme Director
London Business School


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