Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ari Davidoff, HEC Paris

Ari Davidoff

HEC Paris

“Business strategist with an entrepreneurial DNA and a passion for food, travel and the outdoors.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun Fact About Yourself: I recently started a digital-native, direct-to-consumer, CBD-infused gelato company.

Undergraduate School and Major: Suffolk University, Double major: Entrepreneurship and Marketing

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Isobar, Senior Consultant

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? The key element in my decision to attend HEC Paris was its Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation specializations. Having worked in Strategy Consulting, Marketing and Tech has led me to believe that it is crucial for business leaders in today’s world to leverage the power of technology and have an entrepreneurial mindset. I was looking for an MBA program that fosters these skills and that would give me the necessary experience I need to drive digital innovation in my post-MBA role. HEC’s partnership with Station F made the program even more attractive for me. Given that I want to work my way into the Parisian tech ecosystem, it was a no-brainer seeing that it is the world’s largest startup campus with an ecosystem of big-tech companies, startups, investors and a highly diverse pool of talent.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am most excited to participate in the off-campus leadership seminar. I think it will be a great experience where I’ll be able to test my decision-making abilities through leadership exercises while learning to react efficiently to modern business challenges.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at HEC Paris? What makes you most nervous about starting business school?  Apart from the academic curriculum that distinguishes HEC Paris as one of the top business schools in world, I am most excited about getting to interact and learn from such a diverse group peers that is conformed of a student body with over 93% international students.

What makes me the most nervous about starting business school is not having enough time to make the best use of HEC’s resources and pursue all of the extra-curricular activities that the program offers – I like to view this as a happy problem.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Just two years after graduation, I was tasked with starting up operations in Mexico City for a fast-growing delivery app called Rappi. I had never hired anyone, never managed a team, and knew nothing about labor laws. I had never tried to track the kind of operational data that would tell us if our business model was working. Moreover, I was also tasked with ensuring high-quality delivery operations 24 hours a day. But I survived nine months of trial-by-fire, learning a lot about myself, and developing both confidence and skills that have helped me in my professional roles since then.

Looking back at this experience, I am confident that my success was fueled by a strong sense of conviction, ambition, drive, and an openness to face new experiences. I have become confident in my ability to learn by taking on new challenges as well as my ability to collaborate effectively with people from different backgrounds. Since leaving Rappi, I have grown by continuing to take on new challenges in the field of consulting and investing as well as starting my own business.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? It was my thirst to continue developing skills and abilities to further prepare me for a role in Big Tech or Entrepreneurship. I want to endeavor into an MBA program because I want to build on my marketing, operational, and team-building experience. This would enable me to broaden my foundational business skills, develop my managerial skills, and strengthen my capabilities as an analyst, problem-solver and strategist. I believe HEC’s 16-month teamwork-centric program is ideal to broaden my foundational business skills and pursue my ambitions in Tech.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Besides HEC Paris, I applied to IESE, ESADE, and HBS.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? To be completely honest, I don’t recall any questions that were particularly difficult to answer. I remember giving much thought to the topic I wanted to write about for the “What is your most significant life achievement” essay prompt. Besides that, everything went quite well. The two interviewers were very nice. They seemed genuinely interested in hearing my story and why I wanted to attend HEC Paris. I got some great feedback and tips that I’ll be using once I move on campus. Overall, it was an enriching process that enjoyed.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? It was facing the decision to undergo a life-changing surgery that involved a six-hour surgery, an excruciating limb elongation, and a long rehabilitation phase. Although the process involved a period of tremendous of pain and suffering, it also strengthened my character and helped me view pain as only momentary. At a young age, this test of my willpower gave me the courage and confidence to start taking on challenges beyond my comfort zone. For me, this life-changing event truly helped me grow as a person, while enriching my life both physically and emotionally.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I’ve mostly been reading a lot to prepare myself for business school. I keep up with world news on a daily basis by reading outlets like the NYT, BBC, and Le Figaro. For business- and culture-related news, I read The Economist and The New Yorker. I know that I won’t have time to read many novels during business school and so I used these past few months to indulge on classics I still hadn’t gotten to. Here’s a short list of what I’ve been reading: The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, Cien Años de Soledad by García Marquez, The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov and La Region Más Transparente by Fuentes.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? It’s hard to choose, but Arc’Teryx is definitely one of them. Arc’Teryx is a high-end clothing and sporting goods company that produces gear for the outdoors. Apart from its high-quality and durability, I love what they’ve achieved in terms of the company’s retail concept and design for high-end apparel. They’ve succeeded in creating a carefully designed shopping experience that integrates media, ecommerce, and experiences. Additionally, I admire it for its sustainability practices, thinking through the lens of product philosophy, responsible manufacturing, and community engagement.


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