Meet The HEC Paris MBA Class Of 2020

David Mozart

HEC Paris

“Hardworking. My family migrated to Sweden to work and the work ethic has stuck.”

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Fun Fact About Yourself: When I married, I took my wife on a nine-month trip around all of East and South East Asia. We topped the trip on the day of our 7th anniversary with a twelve-hour bus ride between Kupang and Dili on the island of Timor. This all due to my questionable planning. I have been to Africa a few times, but these roads were the worst. I had to take a cocktail of painkillers to relieve the pain in my neck and shoulders from the very, very bumpy ride!

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • Uppsala University, BSc in Business Administration and Economics 2014
  • Royal Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm, BSc, and MSc in Engineering Physics 2013

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Ericsson AB – Engagement Director

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My greatest accomplishment is still my first, even after several years of pretty aggressive career progression. It was when I started out in business as a Sales Trainee at IBM in Stockholm back in 2014. A few other trainees and I were assigned hundreds of companies to cold call. After weeks of hammering way through the list, I became the first trainee to make a sale. It was a small sale, but the feeling of winning was nothing short of amazing.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?

I met my first HEC alumni in 2013 when I did my master’s thesis at the research department of ABB in Sweden. Alessandro had just finished his degree and was moving on to McKinsey. He struck me as humble and hardworking, just like most HEC students and alumni I’ve met since. They are just as ambitious as students are from other business schools but strike me to be much more down-to-earth and candid about their reasons for doing the MBA and what they want to do afterward.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? HEC Paris is a fabulous institution and I have been dreaming about studying here since I first visited Paris almost ten years ago in 2009. I have some very good friends in France and love the food, culture, and language. I might have continued to apply and interview with other business schools had I not received the scholarship. Knowing that I could finance my education with my own means was a key factor. Later on, I was extremely fortunate to receive scholarships from a couple of foundations in Sweden, covering all the tuition, rent and living expenses. So now I can enjoy HEC and France even more.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? There’s a very high risk that I’ll “have to” run the Paris Marathon with some classmates in 2019. It’s a lifetime goal for many to finish the 42 kilometers. With five races under my belt, I feel obliged to chip in and share the pain. I have absolutely no idea why I continue to do these things, given how excruciating those 3 to 4 hours often are.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I started my career in sales because I thought it would be the best possible introduction to business, especially since my profile leaving university was very technical and analytical. I also knew that sales most likely wouldn’t be much more than an introduction. To be successful in business, one ideally must have a broad understanding of several disciplines, such as marketing and sales (of course) but also finance and management and all the other topics. Hence, my ambition to do an MBA was already set when I graduated from university.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I did not think that just any MBA would be worth the investment. After having done my homework on the top MBA programs in the US, Asia and in Europe, I came to focus on European programs specifically. In Europe, there’s generally a pretty good balance between post-MBA salaries and the net take-home pay. I found the programs in the US too expensive and the salaries in Asia a bit too low. HEC Paris stood out with the last salary reports on par with more expensive programs such as IESE and the HEC and yet the HEC tuition fees remain reasonable.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Apart from HEC, I only applied to IESE but withdrew my application after I got the scholarship results from HEC. I also considered LBS.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I visited them and met with students, alumni and staff. Obviously, there is a lot to learn from the materials available online, but it’s first when you meet students and alumni that you get a fair picture. In Europe, I visited LBS, IESE, HEC, and INSEAD, but realized I wanted a longer program, so INSEAD was no longer an option. Among the three longer programs, I found the HEC students to be the most approachable, while the entire staff was very enthusiastic about their program. HEC has made many changes in the last couple of years and the results are visible in rankings and career reports. I could feel the vibe when I visited the campus and am very happy to be part of it.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? One of the most sobering moments was when I was responsible for a small unit in Ericsson building and operating telecommunications networks in rural Africa in 2016. Coming from one of the world’s wealthiest countries, I got a complete shock when I realized how little resources my colleagues and customers in countries like Benin and Ghana had. All equipment had to be imported and we had to build our own roads to get the equipment to site. When the rains hit, we were set back months at a time. Today, I am extremely proud of having quadrupled the installed base, but I probably aged 10 years during these intense 10 months.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? My plan after graduation is to work with digitalization, either by joining a consultancy or a large corporation. I’ve spent countless hours in excel trying to prepare proposals and other sales deliverables when an automated process would be faster and more reliable. I do not think we properly understand the gains already possible by simplifying and automating all kinds of basic grunt work in most of our companies today.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I hope to be running a business, either a smaller company or a somewhat independent part of a large corporation. So far, in my career, I have most enjoyed working in nimbler teams where we have had the freedom and resources to deliver. It does not really have to be a particularly big unit either, as long as I do something I feel is important and do not drown in corporate administration I’ll be happy and successful.