Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Eduardo Cordova, Harvard Business School

Eduardo Cordova

Harvard Business School

“Resilient Peruvian soccer fan, looking forward to new challenges.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun Fact About Yourself: Huge fan of pro wrestling for the last 15 years.

Undergraduate School and Major: I majored in Economics at Universidad del Pacifico (Lima)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Central Reserve Bank of Peru, Investment Policy Specialist

What word best describes the Harvard Business School students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Super-friendly people, who are willing to help everyone and support every classmate in his career in any way he needs. I have been able to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures and they all share this characteristic.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager?
The most fascinating part about the case method is that you get to know the points of view for people who come from very different backgrounds. You realize that what you take for granted in a particular scenario is not necessarily true for someone who performs a different role in society, or who comes from a very different culture. Learning by discussion definitely puts in a real world problem, trying to find real world solutions.

Aside from your classmates and cases, what was the key part of Harvard Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The alumni size and reliability. For me, it was very important to have access to a strong network to rely on when recruiting and later in my professional career.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Harvard Business School?
I am very excited to join two clubs. First, I am looking forward to join the Latino Club, as I will be able to meet people who come from the same geographic region as me and share our culture with all the students. Secondly, I am very excited about the Soccer Club. I have been a soccer fan for most part of my life so would love to discuss the soccer world with other classmates.

When you think of Harvard Business School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why?
Compromise. First of all, compromise to your classmates. You want all your friends to succeed in life and achieve all the dreams they have, as they are very nice, talented people. You just want to help all of them in whichever ways are possible. Second, compromise to society, from whatever role you perform in society: a banker, consultant, working in a non-profit. You are always committed to getting the best results and hence the best possible outcome for society.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In July 2018, I was asked to join the four-person team that the Central Bank was assembling to tackle one of its highest priority projects: to bring into the bank, for the first time in its history, private asset managers. This was a seismic shift in the risk policy of the bank and its management of reserves. For the next months, I immersed myself in the process of building the requirements of the asset managers, evaluating the responses of over 40 institutions from around the world, finally, after many iterations, choosing the final three. I also spent significant time building support for our proposals among the various stakeholders in all levels of the Central Bank, from the legal and accounting teams to the back office and IT.

Now, because of this project, the Bank is starting to receive knowledge from more experienced and better-resourced institutions in several fields, such as investment and risk management and accounting. It is a program that requires the Central Bank to constantly challenge assumptions and adapt to the new mindsets of the external asset managers. The expectation is for this program to keep growing in the following years.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general?
From a career perspective, when COVID started, my team was in the middle of the most important project from a foreign reserves management perspective. So once we were all sent to our homes to work remotely, the project almost got cancelled. We had to adapt all the tasks we performed and at the same time convince the senior management that this was a step in the right direction, even when working from home. COVID made me realize that the most important part of every project is the people. As long as the members of the team believe in the project and are willing to do everything to make it happen, it will eventually happen.

From a personal standpoint, COVID has been very tough in my country. Around 170k Peruvian lives have been lost because of the pandemic. The lockdown was very strict and I had the chance to spend a lot of time with my family. That made me realize which things are important in life and to value the work-life balance.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?
I had been working for the Central Bank for around 5 years and I had learned so much about the institution and the asset management space in which we were involved. However, I wanted to face new challenges in a different area. I am particularly interested in learning more about corporate finance. The MBA courses and learning from my classmates will give me a better insight into this world.

After graduation I would love to work in a multilateral organization, such as the IFC, by applying corporate finance but at the same time, helping particular companies in developing countries to grow.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Chicago Booth and Wharton.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Harvard Business School’s MBA program? Just be yourself. During the application process, you come to realize that the decisions you have made so far in your life have happened for a reason. You notice that you have taken a particular role in your company or participated in a side project because you like a particular type of things. Once you discover that, it is easy to express what fascinates you and what the next steps you want to take are in your career. Once you know that, you realize you are going to achieve great things if you put all the effort on it.


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