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Alberto’s inherent determination led him to work in numerous prestigious roles and internships before he decided to dive into the data-driven side of business by completing the Masters in Analytics and Management (MAM). Here he reflects on how his time at London Business School equipped him to found his own company and find his feet in the start-up world.
I’ve always been really driven, and I was incredibly proactive about securing internships from a young age. My first internships were on the buy-side; I spent five consecutive summers at London funds, starting out with cold outreach, and culminating in a couple of internships in Goldman Sachs’ global investment research division.
After high school I went to University College London (UCL), where I formally studied philosophy, politics and economics but specialised in political science and economics with data science. While I was at UCL I divided each day roughly between around eight hours of revenue-generating work, eight hours of school work and eight hours of sleep. I got involved with quite a few student-run societies too, in particular as director of partnerships for London Strategic Consulting, the city’s largest pro bono student consultancy.
Everything that mattered to me during my undergraduate degree was driven by data, so I knew that I wanted to apply for a data-driven master’s. Since graduating, I’ve realised that the ultimate weapon is being able to craft words, write narratives and make things beautiful on paper, and actually have the analytics to back it all up. I think that’s what the MAM gave me: in-demand, tangible, differentiated hard skills.
When I was deciding which school to go to, I was attracted to London Business School because of its international reputation; I always pick my schools based on rankings, even though I know they’re not the only important thing. I also knew that the School was first and foremost a school of business, and thought there was a lot to be gained by learning data techniques from a business perspective. Combining elements of both analytics and management, the MAM teaches you to go beyond the hard data. When you’re actually on the ground in a business and using data, all the super-sophisticated techniques are often unnecessary, or worse, useless, because no one else can understand them. My time at London Business School prepared me not to just crunch numbers, but to translate what I find to an audience. That knowledge is invaluable.
One of the best things about the School is that it’s so well situated. I can guarantee you that if you spend time hanging out near the campus you’ll meet some incredible people. For me, the biggest draw of being in London is that you can access whatever you want, whenever you want it. A lot of this is to do with tenacity and boldness, but you can find anyone’s office address and simply knock on the door and say “hello”. Almost all of the opportunities that I benefited from during my time in London resulted from being proactive on the ground, in the heart of the action.
Decision Analytics and Modelling (DAM) was the best module in the MAM programme. The class professor, Dr. Ali Aouad, was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and constantly challenged us to think bigger and more profoundly. The module was highly applied and engaging, and required a great deal of abstract thinking, even though we were solving fundamental data problems. For my final project, I built an algorithm designed to assign study groups for the MAM programme itself, which served as the inspiration for the school’s new study group allocator. I was blown away by how quickly a great class like DAM can shift from theory to practice, working on tangible projects with real-world impact.
There were two other electives that were game changers for me. The first was Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, which was a world-class crash course in global business. The most extraordinary thing was that every single week we had a different speaker who was a founder in an emerging market. It was the most diverse class I’ve ever attended. I sat alongside founders and operators from Somalia, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria and Brazil, to name just a few. It was incredible to hear classmates and speakers alike discussing messy business in practice, rather than textbook case studies.
I’ve done a lot since graduating in summer 2021. I founded Cipity in April of this year, initially as a creative agency that developed from my friends in the art world wanting to be connected with strategy experts, copy editors and so on. It’s since evolved into a venture studio, which involves me co-founding a bunch of ventures, from software as a service (SaaS) to direct-to-consumer e-commerce products, and even a social impact fund, all incorporated under the Cipity umbrella.
London Business School taught me two key skills that were invaluable for founding Cipity. One was how to manage a huge amount of work, and quickly and effectively produce polished documentation with substance, as well as style. The other is how to work effectively within a team, since the MAM programme was almost fully based around teamwork. I really struggled with this in the beginning, but soon learnt how to manage team dynamics, and effectively delegate, motivate and incentivise others. Though this was a steep learning curve for me, it proved hugely advantageous when it came to founding my own company.
The Emerging Markets elective led me to seek out my current role with Alter Global, a venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley that invests in emerging markets. I’m one of 15 fellows from around the world and am working as a product manager for Series A Indonesian logistics-tech company, Kargo Technologies. I have no idea what I’ll do after that, but I know that I don’t want to be based in just one place.
Looking back, my time at London Business School was incredible. There are so many schools that get you tied up so tightly in theory that it makes the real world look so much more complicated than it needs to be. When I arrived at the School I was an academic, and everything looked like a thesis problem to me. Now I see that the best way to get what you want is just to get started and solve problems along the way. From that perspective, the MAM was the perfect toolbox: it allowed me to take every opportunity as it comes, and create value in so many different ways, all at once – be it via code and analytics, abstract strategy and frame-working, or product and process experimentation.