Charting a Course in Luxury: Juan Ignacio Gonzáles Pena’s Journey at BBS

3 April 2024

In business education, the intersection of luxury management and innovative thinking presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Juan Ignacio Gonzáles Pena, now at the end of his academic journey at BBS, stands right at the center of this dynamic and ever-evolving scenario. On the verge of completing his Professional Master in Business Management with a specialization in Italian Premium Brands and already serving as a Financial Systems Analyst at TUI Musement, in this interview, Juan offers an in-depth look at his academic and professional journey. Through his words, motivations, acquired skills, and future goals in the luxury sector come to light, along with reflections on his experience at BBS, which has shaped his work perspective and personal development.

What motivated you to choose this specific course of study at BBS, and which aspect of the program were you most passionate about?

My decision was influenced by a mix of internal and external factors. Internally, my bachelor’s degree in Management and business administration provided a broad foundation. Yet, I yearned for more profound knowledge in an area I was truly passionate about. The luxury sectors, notably automotive, jewellery, and tourism, have always captivated me. Hence, the Italian Premium Brands specialization within the Master’s program in Business Management at BBS seemed tailor-made for me, offering a pathway to delve into my interests and shift my career from consultancy. Externally, BBS’s international reputation played a pivotal role, consistently ranking among Italy’s top 3 business schools. The expertise of professors, particularly in the Italian Premium Brands track, was another compelling factor, with figures like Professor Lelio Gavazza, Alessandro Bonfiglioli, and Eugenio Morselli standing out. Additionally, testimonials from BBS Alumni about their enriching experiences significantly influenced my choice. I was particularly drawn to the program’s focus on luxury and Made in Italy subjects and the opportunity to engage in company projects. Learning from professors with vast experience in the luxury sector and applying theoretical knowledge to real-life business cases, including collaborations with renowned companies like Max Mara, Gianvito Rossi, and Pineider, was inspiring and transformative.

During your journey into the Master’s in Business Management, what lessons or skills prepared you the most to make a difference in the Italian luxury brands sector?

Luxury management, Made in Italy management, and Industrial design laid a critical knowledge foundation. They also indirectly prepared me for the sector’s challenges by deepening my understanding of exclusivity and the Made in Italy ethos. Developing an intergenerational and international perspective on luxury, informed by the diverse techniques taught by our professors, was invaluable. Moreover, adopting a hardworking and perfectionist mindset, aligned with the Made in Italy philosophy’s pursuit of excellence, has been crucial for success in this sector. This ethos encourages creativity and discipline, which are critical attributes for making a daily impact.

Can you tell us about a project or activity you undertook during the Master’s that significantly impacted your professional and personal growth and why?

A standout project was in the Luxury Management course, guided by Professor Lelio Gavazza, former CEO of BVLGARI and now CEO of Tom Ford Fashion. Tasked with introducing BVLGARI to the Chinese market, our class was divided into teams to tackle this challenge from scratch. The project demanded extensive research and strategic planning, culminating in a rich discussion and invaluable feedback from Professor Gavazza. This project was a highlight of my program for two months due to its complexity, realism, and the professor’s mentorship. The “Digital Souls” seminars also deserve mention for introducing me to cybersecurity and machine learning basics, which have since played a significant role in my career.

As one of the top students in your course, what advice would you give to those considering the Master in Business Management in Italian Premium Brands at BBS?

I suggest embracing proactivity in your studies. Engage with professors, ask questions, and stimulate discussions. Discipline is equally essential; balance your time between studies, networking, and immersing yourself in the culture. This balanced approach will maximize your BBS experience.

How did you find living in Bologna?

Given my Spanish background, living in Bologna was akin to feeling at home. The city’s welcoming nature, vibrant student community, and rich cultural offerings, from cuisine to architecture, enriched my stay. The cultural compatibility enhanced my educational experience, allowing me to fully engage with my studies and the local community.


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