2017 Best EMBAs: Denni Manzatto, INSEAD-Tsinghua

Denni Manzatto


“A fun-loving truth seeker balancing reason, heart and spirit.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Milan, Italy 

Family Members: Just me – for now

Fun fact about yourself: I used to be very proud of my “super-sayan” hair style. Now people think I look like Jeff Bezos

Undergraduate School and Degree: B.Sc. in Business Administration, Bocconi University (Italy); Exchange programme at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania (USA); M.Sc. in International Management, Bocconi University (Italy) and Fudan University (China)

Where are you currently working? Fashion house Prada as Head of Digital and E-commerce

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Awarded ‘outstanding student’ full scholarship twice at Bocconi University. Captain of a soccer team for 10+ years

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Academically, I am proud of winning business case Techmark. Extra: very proud of winning a cooking competition during a business school event in Singapore – people think that I can cook because I am Italian, but I am really bad at cooking!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Having successfully set up the retail operational marketing team at Prada.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Charles Galunic, organizational behavior professor, who is simply very fun and engaging

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Marketing strategy with Phil Parker, who taught us different ways to create value-enhancing propositions with customers

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Ranked #1 from The Financial Times + strong Asia/China exposure

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It’s really all about the people you meet and beautiful friendships you make

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? In my case I have been running at 100% capacity for very long – so I definitely need a long vacation when this is all over.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s executive MBA program? Make sure you have a good reason to get such a strong exposure to Asia.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? It is hard to open a book and study it after a day of work – but eventually everybody manages it.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not having spent enough time with my classmates.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Arina Divo, she is a mother of 4 kids with a wonderful career and yet she has found the time to attend the program – nothing is impossible!

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized you never stop learning.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…on a more boring career path.”

What is your favorite company and what are they doing that makes them so special? I think Apple has been able to change the way people behave, interact, and use technology many times over the past decades.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the executive MBA experience? I would spend less time with academic frameworks and increase the number of conversations with company experts. I would also make classmates consult one another for their business problems.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To become CEO of a large company and potentially a serial entrepreneur.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents and best friends.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a passionate and curious thinker who would always try to look at things from different perspectives/

Favorite book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Favorite movie or television show: Game of Thrones

Favorite musical performer: Robin Schulz

Favorite vacation spot: Ibiza, Spain

Hobbies? Kite surfing, Skiing, Fitness, Yoga

What made Denni such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Denni’s courage to embrace challenge and ability to think from different perspectives are great assets to his class. At work in Prada, he was asked to lead in different roles for more than 3 times in the past 4 years. Each time he embraced the challenge and brought resounding success. Most recently, he was asked to head the digital and E-commerce operation. He again demonstrated great passion, eagerness to learn and innovate. He does not have a strong background in Asia, but is so eager and quick to learn, from language, culture, to various aspects of business.  In class, his humor and ability to relate to different perspectives have greatly enhanced collective learning.”

Dr. Xiaowei Rose Luo

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise

Academic Director Tsinghua-INSEAD Exectuive MBA Programme Director