The EU experience doesn’t end at graduation. We like to maintain a close relationship with our alumni wherever they may be in the world and we love hearing all about their achievements. Through our alumni of the month series, we showcase some of EU’s most successful graduates who have gone on to make their mark on the business world. This month, we present Lorenzo Livi, European marketing category development director & export development director at Lactalis Nestlé, a joint venture between French dairy giant Lactalis and Nestlé. The joint venture is best known for renowned brands such as Ski, Munch Bunch and Aero Mousse, to name just a few.
Lorenzo speaks to us about his time at EU, what it’s like to work in international brand development, the importance of work-life balance and plenty more.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My father is Italian, my mother is Czech and I was born in Brussels. Growing up, I went to a European school so I was exposed to an international environment from a very early age. I studied a BBA at EU from 1989-1992. After graduating from EU, I had planned on traveling around the Outback with a group of friends, but I was flicking through the newspaper one day and a job advert for a marketing position at the global confectionery company Ferrero caught my eye. I didn’t think I had a chance but I thought I might as well apply. I ended up getting the job, so I moved to Luxembourg where I worked for eight years. After this, I worked as marketing director for Galbani at Danone. During my career, I have been lucky enough to work all over the world including France, Italy, the UK, Czech Republic, Hungary and Brazil.
What does your current role at Lactalis Nestlé involve?
Lactalis Nestlé specializes in fresh products such as yogurts, café lattes, desserts, mousses and such. We have around 41 brands with a turnover of €1 billion and my role is to develop these brands across Europe. I love my job because I get to travel a lot and meet so many different people from all around the world. I truly enjoy working with people who have different attitudes and cultures.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Catching a plane, working, eating, sleeping and repeat! Because we work with fresh products and the shelf life isn’t very long, no one day is the same and I’m always on the go.
Why did you choose to study at EU?
I chose EU Business School because of its international appeal. I was very keen to continue my studies in a global environment so EU was the perfect choice for me.
Were there any particular skills you learned that have helped you in your career?
During my time at EU, I learned how to communicate with people of different cultures, religions and backgrounds. The ability to communicate effectively in business is vital and my experience at EU helped me a lot in this regard.
What do you like to do in your spare time to unwind?
I love spending time with my family and friends. I think it’s really important to have a good work-life balance, especially when you have kids. I also love playing sport – I’m an avid skier, I play tennis, I box and I also enjoy mountain biking.
You’ve lived and worked in numerous countries. Which has been your favorite?
I’d have to say Brazil and the Czech Republic. I know they’re both very different but I just felt a connection with both these countries. Czech Republic may seem like an unusual choice but I love nature and it’s a very green country. On the weekends, you can spend the morning skiing in the mountains and be playing tennis by the afternoon. I also enjoyed my time there because I had the chance to explore the surrounding countries.
How many languages do you speak and how important do you think its important to learn different languages?
I speak French, Italian, English, Portuguese and a little bit of Spanish. I think it is very important to have at least some knowledge of different languages, particularly when it comes to business and negotiations. Translation isn’t always helpful and can often lead to misunderstandings. When I was working in Brazil, I had no option but to learn Portuguese because only 5 percent of the population speak English. If I hadn’t have done this, I would have really struggled.
How would you advise current EU students to approach their future careers?
Don’t be afraid of the unknown. The world is there to be discovered! Take every opportunity you can to travel and gain new experiences. The more you explore, the more you learn. Visiting another country gives you new sources of inspiration and helps you come up with new and exciting ideas.
Is there an inspirational saying or quote that you live by?
My favorite quote is “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”