Djurdja Milutinovic has a passion for the business of luxury. A graduate of MIP Politecnico Di Milano, the leading Italian business school with roots in Milan, a fashion capital, she has accelerated her career with a full-time MBA.
Djurdja spent time working in interior design, mostly at stores of Louis Vuitton, the upmarket fashion house owned by French luxury retailer LVMH. Her career and studies have spanned Mexico, Serbia and Italy.
She enrolled in MIP’s one-year MBA in 2014. In February this year, she was hired by Bulgari, the Italian luxury jewellery group, where she works as a project coordinator and interior design project specialist in the Rome area.
Djurdja is a big advocate of MIP’s unique design and luxury management MBA track, which allows students to specialize. MIP more recently launched the International Master in Luxury Management, in partnership with Gucci, the Italian luxury fashion brand.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA degree and was the transition from architecture difficult?
Working for several years in interior design, mostly for Louis Vuitton stores, was my slow immersion into the luxury industry. I became very passionate and extremely curious. I wanted to learn and understand what lies behind architecture and the high-end store itself, luxury behind the scenes. I have always strived to view the bigger picture, the whole panorama.
An MBA program is the only type of course that offers that complete picture. And knowing that Milan is the cradle of Luxury, there was no better place to be.
It [the transition] wasn’t easy. Not a single subject is similar or related to architecture. Our mind-sets are different. Everything I learned was brand newto me – that is exactly what makes this experience so valuable. It gave me a new pair of eyes, new perspective.
How would you sum up your experience at MIP Politecnico Di Milano?
It has been a strange and magical conjunction of the right place, the right moment and the right people.
Studying at MIP is the best way to challenge yourself; to better understand the world of business; to learn, to grow and find your own path.
It gives you a set of tools. It takes you out of comfort zone, challenges your paradigms, reaffirms your will, boosts your knowledge and finally opens the door to a new world of opportunities.
You’ve lived or worked in Mexico City, Serbia and also Italy. How has an international experience benefited your career?
Moving around the world teaches us many things. Packing up all your things into two bags and letting go of family, friendships, relationships and comfort is not easy. But it is undoubtedly worth it.
Work in different countries and on different continents, in different cultures and using different languages gives you an amazing competitive advantage.
And it is not just a matter of knowledge; it is more a matter of having the emotional and mental capability to adopt, to communicate, to enjoy, live and grow.
What value do you place on your MBA now?
Usually people reflect on life decisions by pondering: “If you could turn back time, would you do it again?” I would definitely say: yes, a thousand times yes.
I believe that none of us [from my cohort] are the same people as before [the MBA]. We all became bigger and better. We all became one – and that is the greatest value of this MBA.
Were you able to benefit from MIP’s optional focus on the luxury industry?
I believe that it is a must for those who would like to work in the luxury industry.
Professors from different backgrounds provided a 360-degree view of the luxury universe.
What advice would you give to MBA students who are about to graduate from business school?
There are two important things. Firstly, it is important to know what you want; what you want to dedicate your life to; where you want to work; what you are passionate about and what your goals are. It is important to have a vision.
Secondly, stay focused. Don’t get distracted with other people’s fears, thoughts, and suggestions. Have a clear vision of your aim and work towards it. Dedicate as much time as necessary to fulfilling your dream.
What are your future career plans?
I was lucky to land my dream job in a great company even before I finished my MBA. But I would prefer to say that my future plan is to build a great and valuable career that lasts for a long time.