Meet The HEC Paris MBA Class Of 2020

Natalia Navarro     

HEC Paris

“Sarcastic, ambitious and curious. Learning to deal with uncertainty and conflict as part of life.”

Hometown: Guadajalara, Mexico

Fun Fact About Yourself: I don’t like seafood and hate avocados. Things I can cook: quesadillas, pasta and chicken. Friends and family are not amused.

Undergraduate School and Major: ITESM (Tec de Monterrey) – Industrial & Systems Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sales Excellence for Microsoft Mexico

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: This past year at Microsoft has been the most rewarding and challenging period during my professional path so far. I was part of a team of six people managing 140 top accounts in Mexico, so had to learn to work in a fast, flexible and adaptive way. I also was able to do a lot of things that were out of my comfort zone, from meeting with CXO’s to understanding how technology solutions could help them achieve their business goals, to attending forecast meetings with the sales leadership team to discuss our challenges as an account team. I am proud that we overachieved the objectives that were set for the group.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you have met so far and why? Energetic! They are all eager to start the program.

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? I did my research on several top-ranked MBA programs and I decided to apply to HEC Paris because this school does not have a “business as usual” approach. Activities such as the Saint-Cyr leadership seminar, the MBA Tournament, its close relationship with Station F (the biggest start-up campus in the world), and their specializations on innovative disruption and digital transformation are some of the things I did not find anywhere else. I think their program helps you grow and develop different areas of yourself as an individual, not only as a business student.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Definitely the Saint-Cyr Leadership Seminar, which is a two-day workshop on a military base in Brittany. There are many clubs to join at HEC, but I am most excited about the Net-Impact, Data Analytics and, yes, the Wine and Spirits Club.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I am 27 and a little bit below the average age for an MBA. For me, after six years of working experience, this was the time to decide between a traditional path within a blue chip company, or to take the road less traveled and live a unique 16 months. The people I admire the most have MBA degrees. I saw how transformative this experience was for them and I wanted to experience it myself.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I did check on the ROI of the schools in my shortlist. At the end of the day, this is an investment for myself. If you are doing the MBA for the right reasons and it aligns with your life path, there is no question that it is a risk worth taking.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I considered IESE as well but in the end, I just applied to HEC Paris.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The program content was my top priority. I read a lot of course catalogs from the different top MBA’s and prioritized the ones that motivated me the most. I also checked on the companies that recruited the most students after graduating and evaluated if I could see myself working in one of them. Ranking played some importance as well; the QS and The Economist rankings have a lot of valuable information.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?

I don’t think it a specific moment, but I think the fact that I’ve moved cities, schools, and houses so many times, provided me with the resilience, autonomy and assertiveness I use today to solve my problems. I am used to starting over, to be less frustrated when things don’t go according to plan and to adapt as life goes on.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I hope that my experience in the MBA can help me land a job in a global company in one of my targeted industries. I expect to gain some international working experience in Europe as well.

Where do you see yourself in five years? It all depends on how my year and a half at HEC develops; I think I will be exposed to opportunities and situations I have not thought about yet, so the specifics of my future are still open. I would love to be in a leadership position and I do have enough free time to travel.