Juan Ignacio Bazet
MIT, Sloan School of Management
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Cheerful, easy-going person who loves exploring new countries and cultures. Enjoy outdoors. Golf fanatic.
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am originally from Argentina, but lived in South Africa for over five years while working in the water industry. Best trips: gorilla tracking in Uganda and road-trip through Namibia and Botswana with my wife.
Undergraduate School and Major: Catholic University of Argentina
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
SKF Argentina – Distributor Development Analyst for the Industrial Channel
JOAT Group – Project Engineer
Michael Page – Engineering & Manufacturing Consultant
S.C. Johnson & Son – Key Buyer Packaging Materials for Southern Cluster
JOAT Group – Project Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment of my career would be successfully leading the start-up of a new office and achieving record non-revenue water reduction on our client’s distribution system. The tender was awarded late and we only begun the start-up of the office, which included a fully functional team and four sub-contractors, two months into the financial year. After hiring young engineers, technicians, and students to do the site work, we organized them into teams. On top of that, we had to arrange for the lease of a fully equipped new office and the contractual agreements with three civil contractors to execute the civil works.
As the project kicked off, stage one was to prioritize the interventions that had been proposed in the work plan and to get to know the clients’ large bureaucracy. After the first month of site investigations the team encountered a lot of resistance to change from the client. Moreover, a huge drought in Kwazulu-Natal quickly put the team under a lot of pressure from both the client and communities.
Communication was the key to convince all parties to get on board. The water drought pushed us to fast track the program in order to save an outstanding 8% Non-Revenue Water within the first year. To give you some sort of framework, typical annual savings achieved in turn key projects average around 2%. In order to cope with the extra work, I worked closely with my team leaders and delegated as much as possible. Each of the three team engineers became responsible for a particular area and I would monitor the implementation, budget, and timeframe. The contractors also had to be brought up to speed. More labor and equipment was organized to cope with the new demand. Consumer awareness campaigns were the key to minimize political pressure and the stress on the community.
The results were more than rewarding. Not only did we manage to save over 364 Ml/month of a precious resource such as water, but also had the satisfaction of mentoring a 19 people team and watching two of my engineers grow, get promoted, and given their own projects to manage once this one was finished.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? The first piece of advice that I would give a future applicants is to start the process early! The GMAT is only one step into the application process and more frequently than not the exam takes us by surprise with a score lower than expected. The second piece of advice, especially for married people, is to let your family and friends know what you will all be getting into. Applying to a top business school will require your full attention and this means making sacrifices and giving up your free time for a while. It definitely requires teamwork in which your family has to be fully on board.
Once the GMAT is over, take a couple of weeks to conduct a thorough investigation on your target schools. Although there is a lot of information online, what was most useful for me was to approach current students and alumni. Talk to them as if you were talking to a future friend trying to understand the values of the school and to see yourself immersed in that community. This will definitely pay back when you realize only some of the initially targeted schools have a true “fit” with your career goals and personality.
Finally, be yourself when writing your essays. Take some time to conduct a deep introspection in order to know not only your strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments, but more importantly your goals, ambitions, and what makes you deserve a seat in that class. For me, this was not only important for the MBA application process, but for my personal life. Also, choose recommenders who can speak to both your qualitative and quantitative characteristics. Ideally, recommendation letters should highlight what you can bring into the class and what makes you a great value to any team. This process will definitely help you stand out and make your true personality shine when attending the interviews.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? When deciding among the options I had, I started by analyzing many variables such as the class size, school location, curriculum, teaching methodology, class diversity, etc. In the end, a Sloan alumni told me what I needed to hear to be convinced of my decision: “the world is moving towards technology and innovation, and Sloan excels in both areas”. MIT Sloan has a great focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. With initiatives such as the Sloan Innovation Period (SIP), the MIT $100K Competition, and resources such as the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship or the Media Lab, students have many options to take risks in a really supportive environment. I love the fact that MIT and Sloan are so well connected and involved with each other, pushing frontiers on science and technology. Tackling the most difficult problems out there is not an easy task. Solutions come to life when you can convert science and technology into a feasible business, and MIT Sloan enhances a culture driven by this passion.
Moreover, the experiential learning methodology, with its great balance among case discussions, collaborative projects, and learning labs, really promotes collaboration among classmates and the class size is ideal for making true friends throughout the two years. This was also a key factor in my decision process. In order for an MBA to be a transformative experience for you and your peers, the whole community has to work together, putting individual interests aside and focusing on the common good. I could intensely feel this when talking long hours with students and alumni.
Last but not least, with its vibrant lifestyle Boston is a great city. Remember you and your family will be spending the next two years in the place you choose, which makes it very worthwhile to visit each option!
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? At this point in life, I would really like to dig into the high impact start-up community. I would love to join a young team passionate to make things happen and change lives. Ideally, I would pursue a start-up within the water industry. I could leverage technical knowledge I have gained in this field while doing engineering consulting for municipalities in South Africa and explore innovative solutions for saving more of this precious resource. I have no doubts MIT Sloan will provide plenty of options to pursue this path.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? It would be very nice to hear that I have made as much impact on them as they have made on me. A very important part of the MBA experience is the other students, with their personal and professional background. I go into my MBA very excited for the two years to come and the tons of new long lasting friends I will meet along the way. I would also like to be remembered for having shared my knowledge on the issues affecting developing countries. The more we share and discuss about what troubles each region, the more we can find innovative solutions to those problems.
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