2020 MBAs To Watch: Luis Raul Martinez, HEC Paris

Luis Raul Martinez

HEC Paris

“I’m passionate about everything I do, enjoy dreaming, thinking big, connecting with people and adding value to those around me.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: I was awarded ‘Biggest Party Animal’ at the 2019 MBA Talent Show. Just please don’t tell my parents!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, B. S. in Economics.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was working at Syngenta as Direct Procurement Leader for LATAM North.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? I didn’t intern during the summer of 2019. I chose to do the Social Business & Inclusion Certificate, which ran until mid-June. I, therefore, had to push some electives to January 2020. I’m now finishing my electives and interning at Vestiaire Collective, as part of the Category Manager team.

Where will you be working after graduation? I would like to stay in Paris, but the company and role are still undefined.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I served as VP Events & Sports for MBAT 2019. I was also Co-president of the LGBT+ Club (now LGBT & Allies Club), Director of the Marketing Club, and School Ambassador. I represented HEC at two regattas in Italy as part of the Sailing Club.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Envisioning, creating, and co-leading the First Annual Diversity Conference at the HEC Paris MBA makes me very proud. One of the key strengths of the HEC Paris MBA is the diversity of profiles and geographies within the student base. Differences fuel creativity and trigger rich discussions. I understood this as soon as I joined the program. After attending the EurOUT Conference in London in 2018, I began thinking about ways in which HEC could become a reference in terms of LGBTIQ inclusion. That’s how DELTA was born. I envisioned HEC having its own diversity forum where students, faculty, alumni, and professionals, could exchange opinions. It could be a conference where we could track, year after year, the improvement of D&I within the French business sphere. That’s how, in June 2019, DELTA became the first annual conference at the HEC Paris MBA dedicated to educating attendees about the topic and discussing why diversity matters.

It’s important to say that I hosted this event in collaboration with the Women in Leadership Club, which provided invaluable support to include gender equality into the scope of the conference. The outcome was a jointly-led and organized annual conference between the two clubs. We strived to build a comprehensive agenda in which nine speakers from a variety of industries, gave an overview of D&I in France and discussed the different corporate strategies that aimed to ensure diversity within their workforce. At the end of the conference, we had a workshop in which the audience could participate. They were asked to act on different situations that touched topics like violence against women and coming out as LGBTIQ. I hope for a day in which we don’t have to talk about diversity and equality of opportunities. While we get there, DELTA will make sure students are aware that there are things that need to be discussed and that will serve as a bridge between companies and MBAs.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Legacy is important to assess success. I’m very proud to say I left a mark in Syngenta, after leading the Savings initiative for Latin America.

When I joined the company in 2015, I was chosen by the Regional Head of Procurement to develop a new way in which we thought about savings, one of the main KPIs used to measure the team’s performance. After deep diving on the team’s needs and the particularities of the Syngenta operation, I created a tool which would be presented to the group every month in which I would provide buyers with the market information they needed to make their negotiations more effective, discuss the complexities of their categories, and share the evolution of their numbers and the overall savings compared to our targets.

After the first year of implementing the new tool, we reached a 57% increase in savings delivered versus budget. Moreover, besides giving the team tools to generate more savings on the procurement of materials, this forum enabled us to legitimize the contribution of our function to the P&L and increase the level of engagement within buyers in the region. Beyond procurement, the new way of showing how the market and economy impacted our numbers helped us paint a picture to both other functions and global teams who now better understood the complexity of Latin America. This was especially helpful to improve how we worked at cross-functional activities such as budgeting, inventory planning, and cost optimizing.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? One of the courses that struck me the most for teaching me something completely new was Business, Government & Society, taught by Alberto Alemmano as part of the Strategy Specialization.

Alberto has some traits that I truly admire: He is passionate about what he’s teaching, something easy to identify by the tone of his class and by how proud he feels about some of his achievements like lobbying against the marketing of cigarettes in France, for example. He is knowledgeable, boasts an impressive curriculum, and understands business, governments, societies, and politics He can also present solutions that reconcile their different objectives. However, he is also humble and open to listening to other opinions from the class. I really enjoyed how he empowered students to drive discussions and debates. He is a reference when it comes to lobbying in Europe and he ended his class by taking us to Brussels to learn from a variety of organizations about what lobbying is, how it’s done, and most importantly, why it matters: It gives a voice to those who might not have one.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Without a doubt, it is MBAT… although I know I’m biased since I was part of the core team. Yes, it gave me headaches. Yes, it stressed me out. And yes, it forced me to become (somewhat) organized. However, being in charge of sports and events at MBAT also allowed me to host an event for 1,500 people next to an incredible team and be part of their MBA journey. HEC should feel proud of promoting competition, networking, and fun, among the crème de la crème of business schools in Europe.

For HEC, MBAT reflects how empowered MBA students can be. It’s a student-run event, so if you’re core team or volunteer, you have all the freedom to be creative and to go as far as time and budget constraints allow you to do. I, for example, included paintball to the list of sports and added a touch of flamboyance by having Coachella and a masquerade ball as themes for two of the nights. However, this comes with tremendous responsibility: You must deliver because you owe it to your peers who voted for you and to the guest schools that have been looking forward to this event for months. MBAT requires leadership skills put into action and mastering how to work with different profiles and nationalities.

Why did you choose this business school? I first learned about HEC when I was working at Danone, and felt intrigued about, who back then, was the recently appointed CEO, Emmanuel Faber. An HEC alumnus, he began to quickly make changes in the company in regards to diversity and developing new lines of business. To me, he seemed ambitious, had a social-impact drive, and was always thinking outside-the-box.

I included HEC into my list of MBAs for research and was amazed by some of the characteristics of the program which make it unique, like MBAT and St Cyr. It also appealed to me the focus it had on attracting different profiles and its proximity to Paris. Lastly, it had the advantage of two intakes. In fact, I was originally going to start in January 2018 but decided to learn French before coming to Paris and defer my entry to September. I was always told by my mom and dad that I should aim for the best and HEC sounded like that to me.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? At HEC, you have the chance to do countless things. The sky is the limit. Find what will help you more personally or professionally and build your application around that. For example, if you have little experience managing big teams, build your application around how much you want to become an MBAT core team member, and which skills will help you succeed in this role. This shows you’ve done your research and will allow you to test your leadership skills and have a proven record when going back to business. The same logic applies to career switchers. Then you might want to mention how leading a club, for example, will help you get there.

Lastly, find your differentiator. You might be the star at your current job, but then you come here and realize you’re surrounded by incredible people with some of the same skills. Find what makes you unique, what will stand out besides your GMAT score or work experience. This will ultimately be the contribution to your peers and to your class.

What is the biggest myth about your school? You don’t get used to how people in France react when they hear you’re studying at HEC. I first saw this back in Mexico when my French professor asked me about my MBA. When I told him I was going to HEC, he congratulated me and told me that only the best of the best went to this school. You get some ‘oh là là’s when you tell people that you go to this school. The reputation it holds is really outstanding.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? This is a tough one because, on one hand, if I could go back, I would probably choose to do fewer things, have more time to myself, reflect about the changes that were going on in my head and about my post-MBA project. On the other hand, my MBA was so intense, rich, and fast, precisely because I was doing so many things at the same time, which also allowed me to connect with people from different intakes, from other schools, and from the administration.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I met Asaf Goldberg since he was part of the MBAT core team, first as Marketing Director and later as VP Communications. Besides being my friend, Asaf is someone who I really enjoyed working with. You will never see him losing composure, not even during stressful situations, like the many we had together. He looks at the bigger picture, is committed, respectful, empathetic, and compassionate. He did an impeccable job with the MBAT communication strategy and his creativity is just something out of this world. Basically, if I came up with an idea, he would paint a 3D picture.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I’ve always admired Sir Richard Branson’s way of doing business. He takes risks, is unconventional, and is always on the go, trying new things. He created an airline that changed the market dynamics in the UK, for example. Back then, I wanted to have more understanding of how to run a profitable business and the market dynamics that a company requires to succeed. Today, I would like nothing more than to be like Branson and to have a strong business acumen combined with an appetite for the challenge of the status quo.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Work in airline revenue management and do PR. The first one because I find it fascinating to manage prices within an industry that is so financially complex, one in which you need to consider capacity, demand, yield, competition, bilateral agreements/politics, airport restrictions, and scheduling – among many other elements before setting a price. PR I would like to do at one point in my life just because I find it very appealing and every single career test I did before and throughout the MBA showed this as one of the best career matches to my profile.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone influential, courteous, trustworthy, who combines a strong intuition with a touch of flamboyance, and who many different profiles can feel connected to.

Hobbies? I LOVE AIRPLANES. I read everything there is to read about the commercial aviation industry, and I know all the planes, all the airlines, even most of the airport codes. I can spend hours reading about business and non-business aspects of aviation, and I feel very passionate about finding its connection to politics and societies. There wouldn’t be a Concorde without the Cold War, for example, and the MAX crisis is a display of changing business values and a new balance of powers. I can talk for hours about this topic. You can definitely say that I’m an avgeek.

What made Luis such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Simply put, Luis is a fantastic ambassador for the MBA program. No matter what the project is, he is always quick to volunteer and easily motivates others to participate. We’ve worked together on everything from photoshoots to the impressive Delta Diversity Conference he co-founded and co-organized, and his ability to strategize, work in diverse teams and make it fun despite the stress never ceases to amaze me. He’s the one person that you always want on your team, because you know the work will be done, and done well.”

Laura Fortin
Digital Content Specialist


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