Skip to Content
Alumni profile

Luis Lagos ’74

Serial entrepreneur began with Mexican pharmacy chain.
October 21, 2014

Luis Lagos did well in his first job after graduation, joining a bank in his native Mexico and rising to CEO. But he left that post in 1987 for something a little different: working in a friend’s drugstore, stocking shelves, running the cash register, and sweeping up.

“After six months of that, I understood enough to open my own drugstore,” he says. In 1988, Lagos opened the first drugstore of what is now Mexico’s Farmatodo chain, which he built to more than 150 stores before selling it in 2006.

In the same period, he led the creation of a national association of pharmacy owners, which developed an industry-standard inventory management system, and he also made successful entrepreneurial forays into vehicle leasing, construction, hospitality services, and many other sectors. “I’ve always had at least two jobs; I have boxes and boxes of business cards,” he jokes.

Lagos sold his most recent venture, a light manufacturing facility near the U.S. border, in 2013. Now, though retired, he provides financial consulting to a company that specializes in process management ­systems.

He credits much of his adaptability to MIT, where he learned that “you don’t have to be afraid, because you can learn about whatever is in front of you. It gives you confidence—that no matter what, you can study something and make it work. It’s a fearless approach to life.”

Yet reaching the Institute was not straightforward for Lagos, who was 17 when he lost his father to cancer. “He told me he wanted me to take care of his mother and my mother, and to go to MIT,” he recalls.

After applying unsuccessfully several times, Lagos spent a year at Northeastern University and then took MIT summer classes in calculus and economics. With favorable reviews from his professors, he was admitted to the class of 1974, joining his brother Adolfo ’71 at the Institute.

Lagos has a daughter and two sons; he and his wife, Tere, live near Mexico City. His primary leisure pursuit for more than 50 years has been competing in rally races, driving cars (including a beloved VW Golf) in events ranging in length from one to three days. “It’s magnificent, a lot of fun,” says Lagos. “I’ve won many races, lost many races, and crashed a lot of cars.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.