2018 MBAs To Watch: Ximena Monroy, HEC Paris

Ximena Monroy

HEC Paris

Curious, Fast-Learner, determined, joyful, disciplined, empathic, open-minded, adventurous, energetic, clever, easy-going, creative, stubborn, trustworthy, hard-working.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia

Fun fact about yourself: I played basketball with my high school team for 7 years in the power forward position, me being 162 cm.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Dual Bachelor Degree in Science in Economics and in Business Administration – Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

Coca-Cola Femsa – Bogotá, Colombia

National Trade Marketing Coordinator

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017?

Kantar Consulting (previously Kantar Vermeer) – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Where will you be working after graduation?

Kantar Consulting (previously Kantar Vermeer) – Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Role: Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President of the MBA Marketing Club (Jan – Aug 2017). I had the chance to lead an incredible multicultural team with whom I work hand-by-hand to redefine the marketing club activities. We went beyond the well-known speaker events and organized “Marketing Coffees” for knowledge sharing, company visits, and a case competition with PepsiCo Russia which enabled us to work with real business cases and build strong relations with marketing professionals from the company.
  • Marketing Leader HEC Seed: I led the initial communication strategy and volunteered for the logistics of HEC Seed, a two-day entrepreneurship international conference hosted by HEC Master and MBA students.
  • Active member of the team leading the Latin American week: I assumed the role of the Colombian ambassador to share our culture with the HEC Community.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Since 2015 I decided to run one full marathon per year. When I first shared this resolution with my MBA colleagues, friends and family, everyone told me that I should reconsider my running goal in 2017 as I would not have time to train properly with the amount of work and events I was going to have while pursuing my MBA. Nevertheless, I managed to run 42KM in Paris after training on my own, during the winter, in the fields of Jouy-en-Josas. Certainly not my personal best, but a proof of my determination and discipline which gave me pretty much the same gratification.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Succeeding at reinventing my professional career even before enrolling in the MBA program at HEC. When I first started working, I thought finance was my passion, but then I realized something was missing. Moving from the business finance area in the B2B industry to a marketing position in FMCG was not an easy move, but I succeeded at it. Not only did I assume the leading position of the Trade Marketing area, but I also had the chance to work closely and develop a team of amazing professionals who continued to grow rapidly within the organization. After almost two years, we are still in touch and I keep hearing about how our work as a team enabled the opportunities they are now seizing at Coca-Cola Femsa.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Anne-Laure Sellier, associate professor – Marketing, HEC Paris. She is one of the greatest speakers I have seen, always creating controversy among students. The key learnings she intended us to remember stuck in the minds of even the most marketing-skeptical students who ended up using and applying concepts such as segmentation without even realizing it.

What was your favorite MBA Course Advanced Marketing by Frédéric Dalsace. This course demystified the marketing roles within the B2B Industry, opening a whole new world of opportunities to explore after the MBA. I would also highlight the methodology used to keep people motivated. It was a mix of cases, field work, lectures, speakers, and even movie analysis!

Why did you choose this business school? There were three key elements that guided my decision towards HEC Paris. First of all, the 16-month program was the best option in terms of time for me. Second, the truly multicultural profile of the class, as well as the collaborative environment, created the perfect setting for the learning journey I was aiming to pursue in order to become a real international professional. Third but not least, the HEC Paris MBA customized program allows for interaction and brings to life the knowledge we have obtained while working with entrepreneurs and engineers from Paris Saclay, one of the most important startup hubs in Europe.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be open minded and curious. Embrace the French culture and system with its pros and cons. Apply only if you are willing to move out of your comfort zone and start a personal transformation journey that could eventually hurt, but I swear is totally worth it.

What is the biggest myth about your school? It is the business school with the ‘greatest number of alumni in CEO roles in Europe.’ I need to say that before coming to HEC Paris, I was a little reluctant to believe this. It is indeed impressive to see how HEC Alumni are leading many of the most important French companies in the world and even the multinationals with big operations in France. The network and coaching I had access to was amazing.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not pursuing an additional certificate in Luxury Management.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I would say Silvana Ramos. She is the living proof that hard work, intelligence, and strong values lead to success in both a personal and professional life. She and her husband managed to grow as a couple during the MBA. Even when she was not only committed to her studies and friends, she was also coaching people interested in consulting on a day-to-day basis. As if this was not enough, she got her dream job in strategy consulting before finishing the program, making it clear that women are anything but weak.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents, who always pushed me to take different paths to stand out from the crowd. Since I was a teenager, they motivated me to dream big and to look at my future beyond Colombia and the traditional standard living. They always supported me to learn languages, explore cultures, and travel. They were always convinced that success in the future was about being able to have good interpersonal relations and lead teams with people from all over the world. For them, the MBA was the best way to enrich my knowledge, grow as a person and reach my goals.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working in Marketing at Coca-Cola Femsa Colombia, attempting to launch my own venture in parallel.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I can’t really think about a thing I would change from my experience at HEC Paris. I enjoyed the ups-and-downs and I am convinced that it has all contributed to what I learned and who I am right now.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Running an Iron Man
  • Long Euro trip with both of my parents and my sister

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Inspiring and smart team member, who is always getting things done.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happiness. Not exactly about business, but this movie emphasizes endurance and determination as the cornerstones of success. It inspires us to dream big and work hard for that, showing us that even when the path is tough, the reward when you do things right will come along.

What would your theme song be? “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones.

Favorite vacation spot: Impossible to choose only one! But for sure, somewhere where the temperature is not below 20 degrees Celsius.

Hobbies? I love running and run almost on a daily basis. I enjoy exploring cities while running – that’s why I pursue Marathons around the world. I also like doing yoga and discovering new types of music and artists.

What made Ximena such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Ximena displayed strong leadership skills from day one and was elected MBA Marketing Club President. During her term, she initiated many events, with a goal of connecting her fellow MBAs with marketing experts and learning from others.

Diversity was the main reason Ximena chose HEC Paris. As such, she started planning early for the Latin America Cultural Week. Proud of her heritage, Ximena ensured that classmates learned and experienced Colombian traditions first-hand.

The main thing that stands out about Ximena is the spark in her eyes when she meets a challenge. She greets new projects with enthusiasm and drive. She always keeps a smile in place and her warm personality makes everyone around her feel comfortable and inspired.

Ximena is an avid runner and when’s she not inspiring her classmates in the Marketing Specialization…you can find in her the on-campus forest trails, training for her next race. Ximena has run over 10 half and 3 marathons and is now looking forward to making her personal best in the upcoming Amsterdam Full Marathon.

Ximena joined the HEC Paris MBA from Coca-Cola in Colombia, where she had unique marketing experience focusing on increasing demand from wholesalers across the country. She joined HEC Paris, with a goal of getting international work experience in Europe post MBA and enrich her profile as a marketer. Ximena was offered a dynamic position in a marketing consulting firm in Amsterdam, where she looks forward to meeting a new challenge in a new industry in a new country.”

Nidia Reati

Career and Corporate Development Manager – Career Center

HEC Paris





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