2019 MBAs To Watch: Barbara Chavier Mandarino, ESADE

Barbara Chavier Mandarino

ESADE Business School

Passionate about empowering people to be their true self in the workplace.”

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fun fact about yourself: I took music classes to play a percussion instrument in the Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro.

Undergraduate School and Degree: ESPM – Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, Business Administration.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was working at Omni Taxi Aereo, a transportation company for the Oil & Gas industry in Rio de Janeiro, as an associate manager for financial planning.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? During the summer, I interned as a deputy to the CEO at Global Research Professionals, an executive search company in Spain. And during my exchange in the USA in the spring term, I interned as a diversity and inclusion consultant at IBIS Consulting Group, a diversity and inclusion consulting company in Massachusetts.

Where will you be working after graduation? To be determined. My main goal after my graduation is to work as a diversity & inclusion consultant/program manager and help companies implement diversity, inclusion, and belonging policies.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am the founder of the LGBT+ Business Club at ESADE, the first LGBT student association at a business school in Barcelona. I also acted as president during 2017-2018, where I was responsible, together with the elected board members, for reinforcing the diversity of ESADE (where differences are respected), promoting positive visibility for the LGBT+ community on campus, and promoting recruiting opportunities in inclusive companies.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the event ‘Managing Diversity in the Workplace’, which I organized together with my colleagues from the LGBT+ Business Club. It was the first event on campus to talk about diversity in the broader meaning of the word, where we had representatives from Sodexo, Boston Consulting Group, and PepsiCo at ESADE. We had a discussion panel addressing the main challenges companies and leaders face when implementing diversity and inclusion practices and policies within businesses. We were able to put together students from different programs and faculties, and this enriched our discussion because we had different points of view and opinions.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I believe that my main achievement in my professional career has been reaching a leadership position before the age of 30. I was able to build a solid relationship based on trust and open communication with my team, my peers, and my direct managers, and I believe this contributed to my achievement.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? There are many great professors at ESADE, but if I had to mention one, I would choose Ana Valenzuela. Her classes were very energetic. She was able to clearly make the link between the sessions and how the previous topic would be connected to the next.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Leader as a Coach. It was a great course on soft skills and leadership, where I had the opportunity to learn the main techniques on coaching teams and peers. The course provided interesting insights on how to communicate, set goals for ourselves and others, and help people reflect about their values and drivers –  and how this can influence the way we behave in the workplace.

Why did you choose this business school? My main driver when choosing a business school was identifying the values of the school. I could clearly see how ESADE embraces collaboration and diversity in its daily activities. I had the opportunity to study with people from more than 60 nationalities, which is the most important learning experience that I can mention from my MBA. Moreover, ESADE has a great program focused on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My best advice would be to talk to current students because this is a great way to learn about the school. Ask about the courses, the culture of the school, the lecturers, and the teaching method. Current students can share valuable information about the school and the program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The big myth about ESADE is the collaborative spirit – and this is completely true. Having the opportunity to pursue my exchange studies in a different school helped me to value and see the difference between the cultures at different schools. Faculty fosters collaboration between the students, and this becomes normal for us. Teamwork and knowledge sharing is a great way to meet people and make friends, and an important factor that helps us develop our knowledge and enrich our MBA experience.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Everyone says that the MBA experience is a journey where you develop as a professional, and as a person. I was not so clear about this idea when I first heard it two years ago. But now I completely agree. The MBA helped me in shaping and understanding the person I want to be and what drives and motivates me. It was a really valuable self-awareness journey for me.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? My main transformation at ESADE was regarding which career path to choose according to my beliefs. I decided to take the MBA to make a career change, from finance to diversity & inclusion. ESADE opened the doors for me by enabling me to found the LGBT+ Business Club and start to experience working in this field. ESADE helped me become more self-aware about what motivates me and how I could combine my passion and values with my professional career.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Priyanka Agarwal. Priyanka is a very smart, passionate, and goal-driven person. I had the opportunity to work with her in the first term and I believe that she will be a great example of female leadership in the future.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The person who most influenced me when deciding to pursue my MBA was my brother. Even though he is younger than me, he always made me reflect about the “What’s next” aspect of my career. After almost ten years of work experience, I believed that it was the perfect moment to pursue my business studies abroad.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happiness. I believe that this is a good movie that shows how our determination can help us in achieving our goals.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…having a hard time planning my next professional steps. My experience at ESADE helped me find my purpose and develop my long-term career plan.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? It was completely worth it. Not only in terms of knowledge, but mainly in terms of the life experience that the MBA represented for me. I met people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet if it weren’t for the MBA.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • See the Aurora Borealis
  • Road trip USA West Coast

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered by my peers as the person who helped them in understanding the importance of valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity.

Hobbies? Travel, listening to music, and finding the perfect cozy spot for a nice meal.

What made Barbara such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Barbara Mandarino is an exceptional student, who nicely represents the values that we aim to build at The ESADE MBA.

Barbara is destined to contribute to a positive change in the world. Not even a few weeks into the programme, she founded the LGBT+ Club, aiming to create an open space for the entire campus community, where it was possible to discuss diversity and really question the way our businesses are today.

Her engagement did not stop here as she led the launch of the first Diversity & Inclusion event on campus. The initiative was not only a great demonstration of the values and great diversity of the school, but enabled a unique panel where professionals from different sectors and backgrounds shared their inspirational stories with the business school community.

From a Careers perspective, Barbara has always been proactive and extremely professional. Throughout the programme, she has been persistent to find a career within the diversity area. It was not a surprise to learn a few days ago that she had landed an offer as Diversity & Inclusion Consultant in Boston.

Barbara has all the qualities to succeed and we expect only great things from her!”

Professor Luis Vives

Associate Dean of The ESADE MBA

Associate Professor of Strategy and General Management at ESADE Business School

Are you a friend of Barbara? Leave a comment to congratulate her.


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