Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Aleksandra Socevic, HEC Paris

Aleksandra Socevic

HEC Paris

“I believe that education is the key to female empowerment.”

Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am absolutely petrified of sharks and deep waters since I was a child! At one point, four years ago, I decided to do something about it: I started attending scuba diving classes. I believed that if I were to witness the marine life as a scuba diver, I would overcome my fear of sharks.

Soon after obtaining my scuba license, I organized a diving trip with my friends to one of the most shark infested waters there is – Fernando de Noronha, a remote island off the coast of North Brazil. During one of the dives, my friends were way ahead of me and I could barely see them underwater due to poor weather conditions and visibility that day. And there it was – a shark just swam underneath me and I immediately had a scenario of “Jaws” playing in my head. It turned out that the shark was more afraid of me and it quickly swam away. As much as I would like to say that this experience helped me overcome my fear of sharks, it did not…but I will not get discouraged from continuing to scuba dive just because of this fear.

Undergraduate School and Major: B.A. in Economics at Webster University Geneva

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Business Development Manager at Belina d.o.o.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? What I find great about the HEC Paris MBA is that it gives its students the possibility to specialize in a wide range of fields – from sustainability to finance. Also, I like the fact that the first part of the program starts with a fixed curriculum that teaches the students all the core elements needed when running a business.

As I am working for my family confectionery business, I am truly looking forward to starting off with the core curriculum that would help me approach my business from an even more educated perspective. Finally, I believe that the HEC Paris MBA program gives a possibility (and an edge) to anyone who seeks to advance in their careers no matter the professional background.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? As an aspiring female business leader, I mostly look forward to participating in the Women in Leadership Club. I am also very keen on taking part in the Net Impact club as I want to learn more about ways on how to direct my family business to more socially responsible practices.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at HEC Paris? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I truly look forward to each and every part of this educational path – learning, making new friends, and enjoying the French culture. Also, I am really excited about meeting and exchanging ideas with fellow students, all of whom I imagine have had significant professional and international exposure.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Two years ago, I joined my family confectionary business Belina, a regional leader in the production of private label products for international supermarkets. This year I led a negotiation team that won over a new client, resulting in projected revenue increase of 30%.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My current role at Belina comes with the understanding that I will assume leadership of the company in the near future.

As I am determined to fulfil this role in a way that would benefit both the company and the community, I wish to further educate myself about optimal ways in which I could meet these targets.

By pursuing an MBA at HEC Paris, I hope to attain skills that will help me make educated decisions on further potential investments, employee management, operation strategies and other crucial factors of leading a successful business.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Dartmouth Tuck and LBS

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I honestly don’t recall any difficult questions. The interviewers showed a lot of interest in the presentation I had prepared for the interview and their questions were very straightforward and reasonable.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? There was no such thing as a single defining moment for myself, but rather a chain of educational and professional events that have helped me prepare for business school.

For instance, living abroad for many years and learning six foreign languages has helped me develop an international perspective. At HEC, this quality would be reflected through my membership in diverse student clubs, where I envision myself organizing activities while developing friendships with people from all over the world.

In addition, working for a family business can have its ups and downs but the main advantage is that one gets to have a much higher exposure to all the different components of what it takes to run a business. I look forward to sharing what I have learned so far with my peers and learning from them, too!

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? From the moment I decided to pursue an MBA degree at HEC Paris to actually getting accepted by the school was a long journey. The most time consuming aspect of preparing for an MBA for me was the GMAT. Balancing between work and studies was challenging but was definitely worth it.

Furthermore, overcoming additional challenges at work in the previous year has enriched me with experiences that I am sure will be beneficial in my upcoming educational path at HEC.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I wouldn’t separate a particular company, but rather an idea that I believe stands behind successful businesses. I believe that any company that wants to succeed needs to encourage and welcome its employees’ trials and failures. It is only through such a work environment that the employees get a feeling of integrity and enjoy working in these companies. Such an ideology can be applied to any business regardless of its size and number of employees.

Another important aspect for me is a company’s involvement in social impact practices. Regardless of the size of the reach of the social impact program, a company should always strive to direct some of its time and resources to a cause it believes in.


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