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As part of Endeavor’s annual eMBA program, MBA students from around the country are selected to work on-site with our entrepreneurs for 10 weeks. Kellogg School of Management student Luiz Marin worked in Italy with Artemest. Here, he reflects on his experience.
During this summer, I had the opportunity to join Artemest as an eMBA Fellow to support the team to evaluate their possible growth avenues, both in the past and in the future. Artemest is an Italy-based company engaged in building a highly customer-oriented online destination for luxury handcrafts, connecting local artisans to global customers. Having worked previously consulting for large corporations, the idea of pressure testing my professional skillset in a nascent business enticed me; but, in the end, it was the chance to experience first-hand the environment of a business fueled by passion what motivated my decision to fly out from Chicago to Milan for three months. It could not be a better decision, Artemest’s welcoming culture, purpose-oriented people, and obsession for bringing customers the most exquisite experience and products were reinvigorating.
My work at Artemest involved mainly two fronts: first, I analyzed the company’s internal data to identify growth drivers that could inform its future strategy, secondly I have evaluated key opportunities in the light of the learnings from the first phase and insights from customers and competition. Throughout the entire project, we have chosen to adopt a highly data-driven approach, of which the insights were continuously validated with qualitative interactions with internal and external stakeholders. As the project encompassed multiple disciplines, I had the chance to collaborate with nearly all the departments within the company as well as with customers. I could leverage my previous consulting experience, although the startup environment gave me a new perspective on it. Comparing to my past engagements, I was amazed by the fact that every person in the organization knew the operating model from end-to-end, but the moving parts of a strategy under consolidation created new and exciting challenges.
What amazed me most about my experience at Artemest was the fantastic team formation I have found there. While the importance of team building is often (sometimes ‘over-’) talked in the corporate world or business schools, in Milan, I could finally grasp how each person individual talent plays a decisive role in setting a company to success. A quality that is even more crucial in a nascent business when you need to find creative ways of punching above your weight every morning. Artemest’s team members come from a myriad of different backgrounds and have interests that span from music to literature – of course, passing through logistics and digital marketing. This immense complementarity of talents, allied with a deep sense and passion for beauty was, I firmly believe, pivotal in building the unmatched experience their customers reported me.
I return to Chicago for my second year of MBA at Kellogg refreshed. It was an enriching journey, both professionally and personally. I am glad I could sharpen my consulting skills in an environment so different from what I was used. It was a blast getting to know such fantastic individuals, with whom I am sure I have built more than business connections but long-lasting friendships. Lastly, I could immerse myself in the world-renowned Italian ‘good taste’ and have a glimpse of why this nation has presented the world with so many superb creations and products. It is all about passion.
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