The above title was my answer when I was asked earlier this fall to sum up my experience in Milan in three words, working as an MBA intern within the office of the CEO of the YOOX Net-A-Porter (YNAP) Group. In a world where technology and digital are imperative in every business agenda, YNAP has managed to integrate the two in an industry characterized by heritage and craftsmanship, luxury goods. 

Since their inception, YOOX and Net-A-Porter revolutionized this space selling luxury and fashion products online, a business that was considered impossible just 15 years ago. Yet from my experience, YNAP still feels like a start-up today in many ways. YNAP has seen projects and initiatives move at a fast pace throughout the company, experienced double-digit growth, introduced new technologies, expanded into new buildings, and launched new labels, among many others. Working for the office of the CEO allowed me to experience this growth first-hand, overseeing how rapidly the group is changing and the two originating companies are being integrated. 

My internship was also a great opportunity to experience how two distinct cultures merged. It’s certainly a journey full of challenges, but YNAP is placing a lot of care in combining the best of each company, YOOX's logistics expertise and Net-A-Porter's skills at curation and editorial. By being at the heart and foundation of high-luxury fashion in Milan, I also got to know how this industry is structured, operates and is being revolutionized by e-commerce.

At HBS we learned how disruptors change an industry through the Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise (BSSE) course, and I have certainly observed many of the elements of a disruptor at YNAP. Both companies started from scratch, leveraging technologies to serve customers who did not have time to go to a physical luxury store or simply did not have one near them. 

I came to the MBA program to explore my passion for fashion and luxury goods as business, a passion that is in my blood as my grandmother’s family used to own a luxury boutique in Colombia, where I am from. Prior to school, I dreamed of being more involved in this area while working as a consultant for BCG in Colombia. In the past two years, I have built more knowledge through another internship at Cole Haan in New York and an Independent Project at HBS with Louis Vuitton. Now, I start a journey back at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in New York, focusing on luxury and fashion projects. The YNAP experience has solidified my foundations to understand the underpinnings of luxury and digital.