Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Carlos Hernández, HEC Paris

Carlos Hernández

HEC Paris

“Foodie, nerdy, stubborn world citizen, trying to add actions for a better world.”

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Fun Fact About Yourself: The only Latin person in the world who does not dance very well, even when I’ve tried so hard.

Undergraduate School and Major: Simón Bolívar University (Caracas, Venezuela), Production Engineering / Exchange program in École de Mines de Nantes (Nantes, France).

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EY, Manager Consultant for the Financial Sector, based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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? Having taken the exchange program in France back during my undergrad – and also having grown in my career as a business consultant in the Latin American Region – I expect to come back to France, and put myself in even bigger challenges in terms of my professional career. I knew that the best way to begin this journey – and ensure as many “open doors” as possible – was by having a degree in a prestigious institution (I know the French Labor Market really values these renowned Institutions). I knew HEC Paris was one of these prestigious Institutions, so my MBA research began and ended with HEC Paris.

One thing I truly appreciated, and led me to select the school, was the patience and good vibes from the whole support staff. In my case, it has been a long way to this starting point, mostly for personal and career decisions I´ve had to take. However, I also, because I wanted my MBA experience to be memorable; and it is thanks to the detailed attention of the HEC Paris staff, and their willingness to support students with their particular situation, that I was sure this MBA will fulfill my expectations.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? As I said before, I´m a proud nerd, so I really look forward to the whole academic curricula. Since I love cultures and languages, I also hope this time off work will give me the space to learn a new language (I haven’t decided whether I want to learn German or Japanese).

Concerning the clubs, I don´t want to establish any previous bias – I expect to get to the school, take my time to know every single club, and decide which one I´ll join.

And sports, well, I´m an old man, probably I´ll select the calm ones, without too much team pressure.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at HEC Paris? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? It has been a long journey to this point. Pausing my career path, even when it is necessary, is scary.  It is worrisome to spend that amount of time without any formal income, watching my bank account lower every month and my debts increasing.

Also, I am a foreigner. Venezuela is a difficult situation now and coming back might not be a plausible option. Sacrificing the stability I´ve accomplished in my current country of residence is a huge bet. I´m going to stop talking about scary things because my list could turn endless. Instead, let´s talk about what excites me about this experience.

I see this experience in the long term as an investment. This is not only true in the economical field, but also as emotional, spiritual, and intellectual matters. To this point, I have been very lucky to have a career with a wide range of experiences. I have a promising career path in my current company, but I want more (and there is my stubborn side). I want more challenging situations, that includes other aspects I don´t face today, such as the language and cultural barriers. I want the global perspective and complexities. I want to finish this MBA feeling and knowing that I can lead and succeed in any global challenge that might be presented to me. That’s why it is worth it to go through all those scary things.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Over nine years of working, I´ve been exposed to challenges that are complex and scale over time. Currently, and before starting my MBA program, I´m leading the implementation of a new CORE Banking system for one of the biggest banks in the Dominican Republic. For our company, that represents an income of almost 5MM USD in 3 years. They trusted me to lead this implementation. That´s a big milestone in my consulting career.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have been a business consultant for more than 8 years. I have been living the challenges that leaders are dealing with in these times due to the acceleration of technology and innovation. This made me wonder about the next step in my career journey. What do I need to learn? What skills do I need to develop? What type of leader do I want to be to affect real change? After some careful research, I found the place and the program that most aligned to my profile, interest, and goals – HEC Paris.

The program is a perfect combination between what I need to understand about business at this point in my career, and what I like the most about it. This is the opportunity to create, design, and implement, feasible and sustainable solutions for business and society’s biggest problems. It will provide a platform to face new challenges, to share my experiences, and learn from the experiences of other students and professors from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. It will push me even further in terms of creativity, innovation, and capacity to make these ideas a reality.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg and Harvard

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What is your GMAT score? (I took the GRE)

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? It is not about a moment, it is about the sum of every moment we live that take us to every point in our lives, the experiences we have, the wins and the failures, and the happiest and the saddest. It is how we ask ourselves after living all those moments, “What is next?”.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school?  Trying not to freak out because of the quarantine and eating as healthy as I can so I don´t gain too much weight in this passive “New Normal.” And I am trying to adapt to a walking life style (which is normal in European countries, but contrary to Caribbean countries where we do everything in a car with air conditioner). I´m also watching a French Netflix series to dust off my language skills.

In addition, I´m participating in a series of webinars where current HEC students and alumni give us tips and advice to succeed in the MBA period and not die trying.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? The family is the best company humankind has invented. If we focus on having good families, then we will have better societies, and better societies will make a better world.


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