IESE Business School
Hometown: Horseshoe Valley, Ontario, Canada
Undergraduate School and Degree: Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada – Bachelor of Civil Engineering, Co-op Program
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Working with SNC-Lavalin, I was the Deputy Design Manager on the 407E Phase I Extension, a 35-kilometer new-build tolled highway facility outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? UNICEF Zimbabwe
Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
President of the Responsible Business Club (IESE’s Net Impact Chapter)
Chairman of Doing Good Doing Well (IESE’s annual two-day conference on responsible business issues), more than 40 contributors, 500-plus attendees
IESE International Development Fellowship Awardee
Volunteer with Social Action Club (community work and resident IESE auctioneer)
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As chairman of Doing Good Doing Well 2016, I led a team of dedicated MBAs to organize the largest student-run conference focusing on responsible business in Europe. Managing a team of 20-plus organizers and more than 40 contributors, we hosted over 500 attendees during the two-day event. Our theme of “Innovative Business Models that Create Meaningful Impact” aimed to inspire the diverse audience of undergrads, MBAs, and professionals to harness their business skills and actively participate toward the betterment of society and the improvement of our collective impact on the planet.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of being an integral part of a $1.4 billion infrastructure project, actively participating from the bid stage through to the completion of detailed design. In my role as deputy design manager, I not only helped manage multiple sub-consultants in Canada and the United States, I also interfaced with project executives, government representatives, and best of all, public citizens. It was great exposure for a young professional!
Who is your favorite professor? Javier Estrada, professor of Financial Management. If you look up “concise” in the dictionary, well, Professor Estrada is the first example. Each class is perfectly organized and each word (written and spoken) is scrutinized to achieve optimal communicative efficiency. Plus he is intense and demanding, two attributes that are essential to command a classroom of young, easily distracted MBAs.
Favorite MBA Courses? IESE’s Doing Business in Africa Module, Competitive Strategy, Corporate Communication, The Innovation Architect, Negotiation, Advanced Finance, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Why did you choose this business school? I initially discovered IESE through a recommendation from my former colleague. After a bit of research on the program and hours dreaming about two years in Barcelona, it was a no-brainer.
What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed being immersed in what will undoubtedly be the most multicultural experience of my life. The Class of 2016 consists of 280 students representing 56 nationalities! It is amazing to experience the range of solutions to solve a simple business problem that will emerge from a truly international classroom.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? That each and every person brings unique value to the table, be it skills, ideas, or energy. Considering the diversity in which individuals approach situations, encouraging value to flow forth can be very difficult. I find that managing people starts with managing yourself; self-awareness of your biases and blind spots is incredibly important. It is an ongoing, evolving project.
What was the most surprising thing about business school? During my Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship course, a half-credit class, I had the opportunity to visit the Kingdom of Jordan for four days. A colleague and I were simply lucky enough to have our names aligned with a certain NGO for our final project. Before we knew it, we were conducting field research interviewing Jordanian farmers underneath citrus trees in the Jordan River Valley. It was an unexpected and truly unbelievable experience.
What was the hardest part of business school? For me, the hardest part of business school was finding a healthy balance between school workload, Spanish classes, extracurricular commitments via clubs, and (of course) the social life. Training for a half Ironman during my first year helped me create time to explore the local countryside on my bike, to swim in the Mediterranean, to go for a run and, of course, to avoid a few woozy Saturday mornings!
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Be honest and express your accomplishments, talents, and hobbies with enthusiasm and passion. And don’t be afraid to say that you’re not sure what you want to do after the MBA. You’ll never have a better opportunity to get to know yourself or the world.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I realized that it would be a great chance for me to better myself personally and professionally, while providing opportunities to explore development and the sustainability sector.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… working away as a civil engineer, saving up money and vacation days for a trek to an undiscovered mountain range (for me), and hopefully playing a fair bit of ice hockey!”
Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? If I had to pick a business leader to emulate, I would pick Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. Besides the fact that I love the outdoors and respect Patagonia’s leadership in environmental and social initiatives and awareness, I also truly respect Yvon’s willingness to act. Through the years, Yvon et al. slowly came to realize that their business model and supply chain created tremendous pressure on the environment. While many compatriots stated that negative externalities are a necessary evil of doing business, Yvon simply had to act. And he made every effort possible to improve Patagonia’s products and operations to reduce their impact. To end with a great Yvon quote: “To do good, you actually have to do something.”
What are your long-term professional goals? I want to help influence business to act as a catalyst in solving the world’s biggest environmental challenges: climate change, access to fresh water, and loss of biodiversity. I would like to craft my own personality in this space, attending conferences and creating awareness through media. I see myself having an entrepreneurial future and I would love to start my own business where I can call my own shots.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my friends and family for shaping me into the person I am. And thank goodness you all have a sense of humour, because putting up with me must be unbearable.
Fun fact about yourself: I love giraffes (a lot).
Favorite book: Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins
Favorite movie: Hook
Favorite musical performer: Tom Waits
Favorite television show: “True Detective,” Season 1
Favorite vacation spot: Any mountain range (currently the Pyrenees!)
Hobbies? Exploring the outdoors, travelling, reading, learning Spanish, writing, playing and recording music.
What made William such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?
“William is another fantastic student on campus who came from Canada to IESE to change careers and society. He comes from an engineering background and was working in engineering before joining the MBA. This past summer, he was able to intern with UNICEF in a super interesting project in Zimbabwe. He was the chairman of our Doing Good, Doing Well Conference, which this year focused on some of the topical innovations that are changing the face of society and business — particularly on how they can engender a more responsible business culture. He was instrumental in making this amazing initiative happen.”
Dean of Students
IESE Business School
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