2018 MBAs To Watch: Carlos González Meyer, University of Western Ontario (Ivey)

Carlos González Meyer

Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario

“Incurable idealist. I will be just once, and I am what I share with others.”

Age: 28.

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico.

Fun fact about yourself: I have always wanted to become a filmmaker. That is why a couple years ago I wrote, produced and directed my first short film. But this was no easy feat for an undergrad student working 12-hour shifts as a waiter.

With the help of a dozen friends and family – that joined just for the love of it – we financed expenses by playing in bars and organizing raffles, borrowed all sorts of equipment, and even sneaked into forbidden places to film! In perhaps the most exciting month of my life, I filmed in mountaintops, evergreen forests, and abandoned beaches. In the end, I presented my film at a local venue, The Film Club Café, to an audience of a hundred people!

Undergraduate School and Degree: I studied my undergrad in Mexico City, at Universidad Anahuac Mexico Norte. There I obtained my Bachelor of Marketing and Diploma in Entrepreneurship.

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I worked at The Nielsen Company Mexico, first as Homescan Expert and then as Account Coordinator. I was responsible for analyzing retail and consumer data to provide business recommendations to companies like Unilever, Coca-Cola and Grupo Bimbo.

Working at Nielsen gave me a great sense of pride and responsibility. I believed that my job would not only impact organizations but also everyday consumers, like ourselves and our families. And that is something you can easily forget when you stare at databases all day long. I strived to end everyday with the certainty that I had accomplished something significant for both stakeholders.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Ivey is a full-time program. Thus, I did not intern during the summer of 2017.

Where will you be working after graduation? General Mills Canada as Associate Marketing Manager.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership roles in Business School

  • Co-president for the Sales & Marketing Club, providing fellow classmates with platforms to share their experiences and connect with the industry.
  • Ivey Brand Ambassador, serving as counselor for potential program applicants.
  • Member of the Graduate Student Innovation Scholars, helping local researchers and inventors commercialize their discoveries.
  • Case writer for Ivey, currently awaiting the publication of a case study based on my consulting experiences in Mexico City.

Community Initiatives

  • Mediator on strategy discussions for the Board of the non-profit Growing Chefs! Ontario, which generates food sustainability projects for children.
  • Member of the Ivey New Venture Project for Leave A Trace, a non-profit that generates traffic for travel booking websites and donates 100% of its revenue to charity.
  • Volunteer (builder & photographer) at Habitat for Humanity Canada, a non-profit that provides people in need with affordable homeownership.

School Awards

  • Richard Ivey Excellence Award for academic achievement and leadership potential.
  • Great West Life MBA Scholarship based on academic excellence and demonstrated leadership ability.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest achievement is actually being able to finance my education!

My fiancée and I dreamed about studying at Ivey together. However, that required more money than what we had earned in our entire lives put together. Against all odds, what initially felt like mission impossible slowly turned into a sharp three-year plan. We pursued scholarships. We sought help from friends and family. We negotiated with financial institutions. We entered every contest we could find (we actually won a video contest!). Even now, fifty days before graduation, the plan is still in progress. We are still reaching out to financial institutions, working in part-time assignments and writing cases.

Looking back, I can hardly believe all we achieved in order to get here. I feel so differently about being said ‘no’ and about what my true capabilities are. Knowing I can push myself to the point I surprise myself has been worth every penny.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My analysis on the Tax Reform in Mexico has been my most satisfying achievement.

In 2014, the government raised prices of selected food and beverage products to combat obesity. The controversial measure destabilized consumer industries in a way that had not been seen since the 2008 financial crisis. As a junior executive servicing Coca-Cola, I was responsible for outlining my client’s situation and recommending a course of action. At first, I was terrified. I had no idea where to begin! But I decided to keep calm and take it one step at a time.

The insights I worked on for over a year scaled up to senior management, causing a snowball effect that led to price/size adjustments and product innovation. Furthermore, global management distributed my analysis to other countries to be used as benchmark. Knowing that your work has actually helped someone on the other side of the world is a surreal and gratifying feeling.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Gerard Seijts, who taught us Leading People and Organizations.

Leadership implies inspiring others. And I think Gerard personifies this expression. The main reason is because he cares. So. Much. Gerard would constantly prevent discussions from becoming abstract and superficial. He would cleverly play devil’s advocate and scrap your best arguments with a single sentence. He would make you question – and defend – your most basic assumptions.

One of the most intense moments in the program was a discussion of a case of sexual harassment that had gone viral. Gerard did not hold back on this delicate subject, but bluntly challenged students and touched on all the controversial aspects. The session was so good, that some students even organized a follow-up session!

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Ivey because I immediately connected with the case-method learning.

When I was researching MBAs, I attended several class visits to get a better understanding of the different programs. The week before my Ivey visit, I unexpectedly received a case to prepare and discuss in class. It was about an IPO, something I knew nothing about. I quickly realized I needed to stretch myself if I wanted to reach a recommendation.

During the mock class I had to respond to ‘cold calls’, communicate my point in a matter of seconds, and even refine my ideas mid-discussion when people presented different and better ideas. My heart was racing by the end of the session. I loved the challenge. After that experience, the decision was clear to me.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? In my experience, applicants have been generally concerned about not having a perfect application. They are usually worried about having a lower GMAT score, few years of experience, or a non-business background.

If you are thinking about applying to Ivey and could relate to this, my advice to you would be to rather focus your efforts on building your personal story. The case method is all about sharing and learning from your peers. That implies that students do not need to be perfect, but rather willing to become better. You will become a far stronger candidate if you can better demonstrate the talents you bring to the table and the impact you can leave on your colleagues.

One great way to start is reaching out to Ivey for resume assessments!

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I came across was that the pace of the program does not allow for work-life balance.

This is not true, but there definitely is a learning curve that you must surpass in order to earn that balance. The program is designed to throw more things at you than you can actually manage, which forces you to collaborate with others, compromise, simplify and feel comfortable with uncertainty. While at first it might be difficult to cope under these circumstances, you eventually come out with additional tools and with a better understanding of yourself.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I will always wonder what would have happened if I had delayed my application one more year to save more money and afford the international study trip.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Yannick Pichler.

I met Yannick in my first learning team. He was a fantastic person to work with: eloquent, cheerful, and analytical. I later learned that he was the co-founder of the non-profit website LeaveATrace.co, which generates online traffic for travel booking companies and donates all of its revenues back to charity.

Yannick’s determination, compassion, and selflessness for the cause motivated the entire team to rejoin six months later to develop Leave A Trace under the Ivey New Venture Project. The objective: to frame its business model and to scale the company. This was not always straightforward, as we were sometimes criticized for ‘pursuing a non-profit on a business school’. When asked by the panel of judges if we were really planning to donate our revenues to charity, Yannick audaciously responded: “Yes sir. We are like Robin Hood”.

I think we need more Yannicks out there.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I originally wanted to become a filmmaker! Thus, the path to business was an uphill one. What is really worth mentioning is who influenced me not to enter, but to stay in business school.

Her name is Ana Malfavón. We sat together in a couple of classes. We became friends. I remember complaining one day to her about a lecture I had recently attended. I had just learned how many businesses utilized marketing to abuse consumers, living beings and natural resources in order to increase profits. I remember feeling uneasy, like an accomplice. “I hate that marketing is this way”, I told her. And her response struck me like lightning. “Why don’t you change what you don’t like?”.

Ever since, I have used that sentence as a relentless force behind my career and my actions. I can make things differently. I can make things better.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…I would definitely be a film director. There is an indescribable, overwhelming energy around storytelling. Almost like magic. I would be doing my best to try and follow in the steps of some of the directors and films that have captivated me: Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant, 21 Grams), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos) and Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Fountain).”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would launch “My Case Conferences,” a day in which students exchange their most remarkable professional experiences and the lessons they derived from them.

We review over 300 cases during our one year at Ivey. And I am always amazed at how every session there is always a classmate who is a subject matter expert or who went through the situation being discussed. Together, we have over 700 combined years of work experience!

The My Case Conferences would provide a dynamic, open space to explore that incredible inventory of knowledge. Sessions would be arranged by topic – Leadership, Resilience, Innovation. Discussions would be hosted by our very own classmates, the individuals who had those experiences. And the exemplary cases would be formally published and added to the Ivey case library.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Write (at least) one fantasy novel
  2. Direct another short film

It does not matter to me if my novel is just read by a handful of people, or if my film is performed in my backyard and filmed with a smartphone. I just feel a strong impulse to leave these as my final legacy when I am gone.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? “He would always greet me with a smile and would always be there for me.”

What is your favorite movie about business? Moneyball. I love its portrayal of resistance to change and how it can trample the best of plans.

Billy Beane, the General Manager, unveils a revolutionary tool to select undervalued players. But he fails on implementing the tool because he chooses to force rather than inspire the people around him. In his obsession to prove that he alone is capable of getting results, he disregards potential supporters and enrages his opposition.

I could easily relate this to my career, where clients would occasionally reject fact-based recommendations for personal assumptions. The film opened my eyes to the underlying motives behind these confrontations. A change implies breaking the routine, disposing of resources or starting all over again. And that is not always easy. I learned that empathizing, communicating and compromising are great ways to facilitate change and to bring people together.

What would your theme song be? “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen.

For a theater aficionado who used to play in a rock band, it cannot get any better than that.

Favorite vacation spot:

Mexico. There is no place like home.

Hobbies? I love team sports! I used to play football in my undergrad and currently play soccer and flag football. Additionally, I am a huge fan of board games and enjoy playing the guitar.

I also enjoy staying indoors. To me, there is nothing like watching films, having weird, deep conversations or spending time with my cat.

What made Carlos Gonzalez Meyer such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“At Ivey, we spend a great deal of time getting to know every applicant. We want to understand their leadership potential, their intellectual capacity, their passions, their aspirations, how they learn, and how they can enhance the program experience for other students. Carlos met all our expectations and has contributed to the Ivey experience at every opportunity.

Carlos has provided valuable insights from his marketing experience and his passion for business. He has been a fantastic ambassador for his home country of Mexico and generously given his time to local not for profit agencies and entrepreneurs. Carlos is admired for his ability to take chances and learn. He values the insights from his classmates and contributes generously to his learning teams.”

It has been our pleasure to have Carlos as a member of the Ivey MBA class of 2018.”

David Wood
Ivey MBA Faculty Director 

 

DON’T MISS THE FULL LIST:

100 MBAS TO WATCH IN THE CLASS OF 2018