Not only has the MBA helped Carlos Sadovnik, MBA ’17, land a place in the coveted Corporate Development Programme at a top-ranking firm, Liberty Mutual, it also gave him the chance to make lifelong friends and explore Europe during his time at HEC Paris. We recently caught up with him to find out a little more about his HEC experience.
What made you decide to pursue an MBA at HEC Paris?
I was working at Nestlé and they gave me the opportunity to work in the financial side of marketing in one of their businesses. It was very eye opening as all the people in marketing only thought about marketing and all the people in finance only thought about finance. I realized that I needed something that could help me understand the company as a whole. That was when I started thinking about an MBA. With its emphasis in marketing, my first choice was always HEC Paris.
Looking back at your time here, what did you like the best?
For the first half of the program, I stayed on campus in Expansiel. It was incredible. The sense of community that I experienced living on campus was amazing. You bond with so many different people. I made a really good group of friends and we really feel that we are friends for life.
During the second half, I had a lot of free time. I moved to Paris with my best friend from the MBA so I had the chance to really get to know the city – it was so beautiful in the spring! And, of course, the food is incredible.
I loved my time, not only in France but also in Europe. It’s so easy to travel to different places. Every long weekend that I had, I was travelling outside of France. I got to know a lot of places that you wouldn’t normally see on a classic European trip, such as Lithuania.
What happened after you finished the MBA?
I’m Colombian. I love my country and I love living in my country. After I finished the MBA, I first visited my mom who lives in Miami, and when I arrived back in Bogotá in January I had my first job offer. In April, I got an offer from Liberty Mutual to participate in their two-year, rotational Corporate Development Programme.
How has the MBA prepared you for your role at Liberty Mutual?
Thanks to the MBA, I’m now more aware of how a company works in a holistic way. I’m not just the finance guy; I now understand how my decisions impact other areas, and how they all link together. The MBA also helped me learn how to build relationships within the company and how to ask for feedback. Sometimes I just stop thinking and I take a step back and say, “OK, let’s think about how we do this as a team.” It has been a very valuable skill for me.
I’m currently in Boston, working at Liberty Mutual headquarters, learning about what it takes it work in a high-ranking position. My time at HEC gave me lots of skills that I use in my position. For example, I was a member of the MBA’s Marketing Club, which allowed me to speak to a lot of people that are interested in the field. After finishing the programme and its 6-month rotations in Bogota and Boston, I hope to be in a managerial role in Colombia.
What advice would you give to a current MBA student?
The MBA is not only about studying, it’s also about getting to know a lot of different people whom you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to meet. You get to bond with people from very different cultures. So my advice is go networking, go and learn about other cultures, work with people from other cultures, and give 120% in your classes. Do that and you’ll get the most out of your experience.