|No matter what, Hubert Evariste Vieyra has always been able to bank on a deep passion for finance.
“My love for finance came from my father,” he remembers. “He did his best to develop my financial skills. He showed me how to manage personal budgets, and other kinds of small things. He was the main reason for me to pursue this career.”
Hubert has followed through on that interest in remarkable fashion. As Principal Portfolio Manager of the French Development Agency (l’Agence Française du Développement, or AFD in French), he manages a €5 billion portfolio made up of loans, grants, and equities, and he oversees this immensely consequential operation from the AFD’s office in the Côte d’Ivoire, driving impactful development in Western Africa.
Even before this – and even before having made the Executive MBA commitment — Hubert could rest assured he was doing his father proud. He had swiftly climbed the ranks at the United Bank for Africa Group, Groupe BGFIBank and BIIC (formerly knows as BAIC) in his native Benin, culminating in a three-year stint as Credit Risk Manager, and Chief Risk Officer at the latter institution.
No small feat, but Hubert wasn’t going to rest on his hard-earned laurels.
“Making an impact is important”
“In a country like the Republic of Benin and it’s true everywhere, if you’re not well-educated in finance you can easily fall through the cracks,” Hubert says. This, paired with his father’s guidance, has given Hubert a machine-like will to move forward. The obvious next step for his career, then, was an Executive MBA.
“In terms of reputation, and in terms of ranking, HEC Paris is the best in my view, and in the view of many people where I come from.”
Initially, however, he’d planned on staying in the private sector.
“My plan at the beginning wasn’t to switch sectors,” he says. Further reflection and self-study, along with helpful input from his colleagues and professors at HEC, helped him realign his professional goals.
“Based on different business cases we studied in the program, I started to review my plan in terms of what is really important to me? What I discovered is that making an impact is important. If I want to make an impact, I have to do something I’m really good at,” he muses. “What I’m really good at is investing.”
This epiphany – that his future would be in a Development Finance Institution (DFI), and not in a commercial bank – was part of a litany of benefits he reaped from the Executive MBA.
“We want to improve lives”
His foray into the public sector has not been without its own little challenges. Happily for Hubert, though, it would seem that many of those challenges lie in scaling back the “always on” mentality favored at private banks.
“People here are much more willing to collaborate. Also, I’m covering West Africa. I’m covering my home country. That matters to me. You can see it in the way we operate; like any organization, profitability is important, but we want to make an impact to improve lives, so our business model is to just break even.”
Much of his ease with working across disciplines and backgrounds is attributable to the confidence imbued in him at HEC.
“I learned a lot about myself. The program helped me develop self-confidence. Even in this strange time, I’m confident about the future. I know I can always leverage my EMBA experience and the HEC network to help me make an impact.”
More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe, and nearly 4,000 graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. According to the Financial Times, the HEC Paris Executive MBA is ranked #1 in Europe and #3 in the world; click here to learn more about this world-class program.