Zana Nanic

MBA 2019
  • Hometown: Milan, Italy
  • Pre-MBA: Strategy @McKinsey / Scaling @Uber

Zana Nanic

Post Graduation Goals:

Start and scale a direct to consumer fashion company that empowers working women

Highlight of my Week:

Pitching to Eric Schmidt and Bob Kagle!


GSB Transformation:

Stanford GSB gave me the confidence to embark on the entrepreneurial path and be true to myself rather than looking for external validations.

My first class is Entrepreneurship and VC. It is an extraordinary class co-taught by Peter Wendell (founder of Sierra Ventures) and Eric Schmidt (ex-CEO of Google). Today our guest speaker was Reid Hoffman (co-founder of Linkedin). Reid and Eric had a chat about the future of technology and Reid shared snippets from his new book Blitzscaling. I feel so blessed to be in the same room with these legends.
Time for Social Committee. Growing up in Italy as a refugee from former Yugoslavia, I have often felt disconnected and a bit of an outsider. For this reason, I am intentional about creating inclusive communities. Being a part of the Social Committee is a great way to bring the GSB together through fun social events such as Small Group Dinners, Galas, Bowling and so on.
My next class is Create a New Venture: From Idea to Launch. When I was working in tech, I found myself often being the only woman in the room and felt self-conscious about it. The tech uniform - jeans and T-shirts – didn’t help me. This feeling of being uncomfortable in my own skin bugged me so much that I embarked on a journey to redesign business casual. Today, I am presenting my trials and errors in re-engineering the tech female wardrobe to a panel of VCs, including Bob Kagle from Benchmark. I am thrilled to be meeting Bob in person because I have been following his work for years.
Meetings with the Fashion Fellows! After talking with some friends from other programs at Stanford I was so inspired by their passion for apparel and retail. They wished there were more opportunities in fashion on campus so I created the Fashion Fellows program - ten Stanford undergrads join us weekly to discuss ideas on our brand and product.
It’s the end of the quarter and I have papers due for classes. For my Entrepreneurship and VC class, I am writing a business model about the direct to consumer fashion brand I’ve been working on. My friend Divy is also working on a paper so even though it is a late night in the library at least we are together.
Time to sleep! Big day tomorrow hosting a pop-up event in San Francisco.
There are no classes on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean it is not a productive day. Today, I am hosting a clothing pop-up at the co-working space, Industrious, to get direct feedback from customers on product prototypes. Our entrepreneurial classes encourage us to use design thinking in developing our ideas so we are constantly sketching, testing, and trying things out.
The pop-up gave me some interesting insights, but it is time to get back to campus. While at GSB, I started curating a newsletter on brand, commerce, and retail. As part of this work I get to interview GSB alumni I admire. Today, I am having a call with Coral Chung, founder of handbag company Senreve, and Molly Kang, founder of wedding dress company Floravere. I am so impressed by the competence of the GSB alumni network and their willingness to be supportive in sharing their knowledge and resources.
In my Journey Into Purpose class this quarter, I am learning about meaning projects: the intersection of something you are good at, something you love doing and something that has benefits beyond yourself. Having grown up in Italy, my meaning project is hosting weekly dinners for the GSB community because it combines my ability to cook with my love for spending time with friends - while also creating opportunities to connect for others.
What a filled day! Now time for bed!
Today I am pitching in front of Eric Schmidt and other 60 classmates and I am a bit nervous about it so I woke up early to meditate and relax with some yoga.
On Monday and Friday I start class at 8:30am - Global Operations. We learn about the processes by which products are manufactured and eventually distributed globally.
The presentation went great and Eric even approached me after class to discuss a possible angel investment. Wow. I am super excited and grateful. This is a highlight of my GSB experience.
We have lunch break (aka no classes) everyday from 12:00 - 1:30pm. We typically grab lunch at Arbuckle Dining Pavilion, right on GSB campus and then eat outside in the beautiful California weather. Fridays lunch is a slot I save to connect with my brother back in Italy. Together, we run the Amazon merchant account and e-commerce store of our family retail business. Today we are brainstorming promotions for the upcoming Mother’s day. I also run into my friend Chris who is working on his Interpersonal Dynamics Journal.
My last class of the week! Advanced managerial accounting: Performance Measurement, Compensation, and Governance taught by two professors who serve on boards of large public companies and share their insights on the duties of board governance.
It’s time for the annual Charity Winter Gala - an excuse for GSBers to dress up and celebrate months of fundraising efforts. I organized a ladies dinner to spend more quality time with these super inspiring #GSBabes before heading to dance the night away.
I am very tired - off to bed!