We caught up with Alejandro Vicente, class of 1991, to find out about his life path after St. John’s.
Please tell us about your life after St. John’s.
After St. John’s, I graduated from Universite of Louvain (LLN) where I did an exchange program at Georgetown during my senior year. Thereafter, I started my professional career at Procter & Gamble in the European Headquarters in Brussels where I worked for four years in finance, mainly in European projects. I then joined J.P.Morgan in London working in investment banking, where I ended up working for 17 years, becoming a Managing Director and being the Head of Consumer Goods sector Investment Banking for the EMEA region and then globally.
All was going very well, but I decided to have a career change and joined one of my clients, JAB (which is a family office run by senior successful FMCG executives investing in consumer goods companies, a bit a la Warren Buffet in US and 3G in Latam), as Global Head of M&A for Coty, a publicly quoted beauty company with global headquarters in London. Since then, I have also become Chairman of Younique, a US-based company where we bought a 60% stake last year.
On a personal basis, I got married, have three boys aged 15, 13 and 9, a dog and live in Wimbledon. I play football and tennis regularly and support (of course) Rafael Nadal and Real Madrid. My brother (Manuel, Class of ’90) also happens to live in London with his family and my sister (Paula) is living in Madrid, while my parents are back in Zaragoza.
How did St. John’s prepare you for adulthood?
St. John’s was key to prepare me for adulthood as I attended St. John’s during my teenage
years—as a Spaniard raised in France and living in Belgium, it allowed me to open my eyes to the whole world vs. Europe. The diversity of people I met from all continents, the intellectual challenge of pushing myself to do the best I could (and not compare myself vs. others) as well as the values that would drive my adult life were all critical aspects where St. John’s contributed greatly.
What makes St. John’s special?
For me, St. John’s was a very special place as it had the perfect mix of ingredients to raise and educate students to the best of their potential; the blend included the leadership at the school, the staff, the facilities, the values and the diversity of the students. The friends I made at St. John’s will always be special.
What advice do you have for current St. John’s students with big dreams?
Just go for it—whatever it is you want to do. You are young and have every right to reach out to anyone (no matter how senior you think they may be or that they will never
answer to you), anywhere (the world is yours to conquer) and ask for help or advice or a job or whatever it is you need. And, never ever stop learning …