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MiM To CEO | Bocconi University Grad Launches First Climate Neutral Sneakers Brand

After completing Bocconi University’s MSc in International Management, Carl Warkentin became CEO of his own sustainable sneakers startup Monaco Ducks—the world’s first climate neutral sneakers brand


Fri Jan 14 2022

Carl Warkentin started his sustainable sneakers business as a hobby during his master’s degree at Bocconi University. Now, he’s CEO of Monaco Ducks, the first climate neutral sneakers brand.

Carl worked in his native Germany, the United States, and travelled in South America after his undergraduate degree in business. He undertook internships in consulting, product management, and business development roles at multinationals like L’Oréal and Voith.

Despite his dynamic early career, Carl wanted to hone his management skills and embark on a new adventure.

He enrolled in Bocconi University’s MSc in International Management, excited to see where his business school journey would take him.

Bocconi MiM | Learning from multicultural perspectives

The two-year Bocconi University Master in Management is ranked first in Italy and 16th globally by the Financial Times. 98% of Bocconi MiM students land exciting new jobs within a year of graduation and 78% by graduation day.

Carl recalls the benefits of studying in Milan during his first year, where he was joined by a cohort of multicultural students. Bocconi University students come from over 100 countries worldwide and Carl was able to learn from a range of different experiences, cultures, and ideas.

“I chose to study at Bocconi for two reasons,” he explains. “First, I knew the university had a great program which was well-recognized. And secondly, I wanted to study in a city I felt comfortable in and felt excited about.

“Travelling abroad before my master’s program really encouraged me to want to be outside my comfort zone, so that I could learn to bridge different cultures,” he says.

Even today, Carl uses his Bocconi experience to drive Monaco Ducks forward, communicating with different companies across Europe to create his sustainable shoe wear. 

Most of his sneakers are handmade in Italy, in a traditional, family-run factory. Monaco Ducks also partners with a factory in North Portugal, which uses vegan materials to make the sneakers.

Monaco Ducks produces net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing process and with each sale the company makes a contribution to environmental protection—making the entire company 100% carbon neutral and climate neutral, the Monaco Ducks website claims.


Bocconi CEMS MiM | Stepping outside your comfort zone

After studying the fundamentals of management in his first year in Italy, Carl decided to join the one-year CEMS MiM degree program in his second year.

Bocconi University is one of the founding members of the CEMS MiM, a global program with 33 partner universities and around 70 corporate partners. Bocconi MiM students who complete the CEMS track in their second year are awarded both the CEMS MiM degree and the MiM from Bocconi.

The CEMS MIM program is offered Bocconi MiM students who can speak at least three languages. Once enrolled, you’re given extra courses, you travel abroad, and you get the chance to be trained by companies during real-life consulting projects.

Carl chose to study in Hungary, at the Corvinus University of Budapest. “Studying in a different city really helped to shape my mindset,” he explains. “I was able to tackle a project as a consultant in a team full of international minds, which really helped to motivate me and helped to gain my self-esteem.” 

Being given a lot of responsibility at a very young age, Carl’s ability to take on new projects and step outside his comfort zone was crucial for the success of his sustainable sneakers company, he says.

After graduating, Carl returned to work at German manufacturer Voith. Put in charge as an organizer of a new corporate division with 1,600 employees, he worked to digitize the company’s manufacturing processes.

But Carl grew disenchanted following his quick climb up the corporate ladder. He wondered whether to bite the bullet and start his new sustainable sneakers venture.   

“Monaco Ducks started as a hobby during my time at Bocconi,” he recalls. “Back then, everyone was laughing at the co-founder and myself, because nobody really wanted to have a sustainable product. 

“But I wanted to innovate the industry and make it more sustainable. Once our project gained enough momentum, I took the opportunity and quit my job.”

Watch: From a Bocconi Master in Management to IBM

MiM to CEO | Building Monaco Ducks

When choosing between business schools for his MiM, Bocconi University also stood out to Carl for its teaching of corporate strategy.

When Carl undertook Bocconi’s compulsory course in Corporate Strategy, he was able to work on business strategies for real, international companies. 

“In one of our projects, I worked on a growth strategy for an Italian car-sharing company,” he recalls. “My team chose to grow the company through a wider product offer and grow the company internationally.” 

Now, Carl uses these the same strategy skills and knowledge he learned at Bocconi when building his own business venture. Monaco Ducks currently runs on a small scale in Germany, but Carl is planning to scale his business to become a global brand.

With his sustainable, environmentally-friendly sneakers startup, he hopes to challenge established brands and change the fashion industry for the better. 

Student Reviews

Bocconi University





Everything was great ( apart from the covid part)

I really enjoyed this experience because I built a really strong relationship with other students and professors. This fact has permitted me to grow as a person and also to improve my academic background by confronting myself with other people. I would encourage Bocconi to create a new method of exams for online courses (I have experienced it during the covid-19 period) because they could not manage to control and to avoid shameless situations such as software breakdowns just before the exams.




On Campus

Amazing course

The workload is really heavy, but that’s the only way to prepare students for the job market. Bocconi offers also many services to help students kick off their careers. Overall, Bocconi University Masters Degree is the best option for ambitious students and the best choice among Italian and maybe European universities.




A great experience

A fundamental experience to understand what I want to do in life. In the three years I attended Bocconi University, I laid the foundations for my business education. I will always be grateful to it. I absolutely recommend it.




Bocconi: Italian Quality

The great thing about this University is that it is one of the few Italian universities offering such international programs. My course is unique and doesn't exist anywhere else, so if you like arts and economics, Bocconi is the best place. The course provides both subjects concerning arts/philosophy, and ones more related to economics. Personally, I have decided to follow a different path because I am not so interested in working in this specific field, but this course is totally worth it if you want to work in a creative industry. Indeed, it gives people with a passion for luxury, arts and so on with a complete knowledge concerning management. The best part has been the great support offered by the University in every aspect, going from on-campus facilities to monthly job fairs to better understand the kind of career we want to pursue. This is often taken for granted in Italian universities.




Professional and amazing

Very well organized university. I have studied Financial management and I graduated with 108/110. The teachers are really good and professional. The university has all the facilities and the services are professional. I really enjoyed studying in a professional and international environment. Bocconi has played an important role in finding my actual job!




Great university which gives wonderful placement opportunities.

I really like Bocconi. What I appreciated the most was the high level of teaching and the opportunities given in terms of placement and networking connections. I strongly recommend this university if you want to pursue a great working career.




Beautiful environment

Beautiful community of students with lots of opportunities for in-campus activities. The university offers 8 residences near the campus, perfect for freshmen at the first year in Milan. Professors are very prepared and always ready to help students




An outstanding university

The great efficiency and organization, the high quality of teaching, and the possibility to take part in many interesting and useful experiences make Bocconi University stand out. It distinguishes itself from the Italian academic background. Many people say Bocconi is too stressful, but to me, it’s worth it.





Bocconi is outstanding university. Among the best in Italy. The international franework helps students to get involved in projects/associations that enrich the campus. I study law and i’ m happy about my 4 years and experiences that i had the opportunity to

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