Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Louise Hannecart, Stanford GSB

Louise Hannecart

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Enthusiastic & curious individual, passionate about discovering the world and trying to make it a better place for the current and future communities.”

Hometown: Gent, Belgium

Fun Fact About Yourself: When working for a non-profit in Bali, we reopened waste bags and sorted more than 100kgs of household mixed waste into their respective material category (more than 20). I never purposely reopened a bag of waste, but it was insightful – only 10% of our waste is actually not recyclable.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor and Master in Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven University in Belgium

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Belgium’s Federal Government as part of the COVID-19 team. Prior to that, I was working for a non-profit rolling out recycling program in emerging markets.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Every conversation I’ve had with students and alumni showed me that impact is in the DNA of the GSB. It is reflected in its motto “Change lives. Change Organizations. Change the World.” It is made possible through the many programs and courses that embody this motto. And most importantly, there is flexibility in the curriculum to make it our number one priority. The GSB will support us in our (entrepreneurial) endeavors in social impact and will show you how ambition and impact can be combined.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? Every Monday evening, more than 300 students convene to listen to the life-story of one of our classmates, called “Talk”. Talk has been a tradition for many years and perfectly represents GSB’ spirit: a culture of sharing, an inexhaustible support network, and a strong dedication towards each other. I was initially dubious of Talk’s value; with time, I have gotten to appreciate the value of reflecting on your life story and sharing it with all your classmates – to those who you know and don’t know yet. It brings you closer to the ones you know and makes you discover people you knew less.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Humbleness, talented, and dedicated! Getting to know my MBA classmates is like an endless discovery of new qualities. Everyone is very talented and is dedicated to putting their talents to good use. But humbleness will prevent us from discovering it all at once. Every interaction leads to a new discovery and every discovery enables another great interaction.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When working for Belgium’s Federal Government as part of the COVID team, we built a performance management tool to track the vaccination speed across the country. Initially, Belgium had a slow start and ranked lowest in Europe in terms of vaccination performance. A rigorous performance management system consisting of concrete and innovative actions helped to turn around our vaccination strategy. Three months later, Belgium ranked as one of the fastest countries in the world to achieve +70% vaccination coverage. This accomplishment was a great example of cross-regional team collaboration with a great positive outcome for our country.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Stanford Climate Ventures is an entrepreneurial course taught by experts in the field. As part of the course, you explore the business potential of a science-based technology contributing to the fight against climate change. I collaborated with a European research team on the commercialization of their patented technology for sustainable ammonia production, which helped this research team take the first steps toward creating their own business. Being part of the team and taking a leading role in the course was very satisfying and an enriching experience.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? The power when reaching unity in diversity. The GSB successfully unites 400 students, diverse in background, experience, beliefs, and passions. Embracing our uniqueness creates the richness in our conversations, group projects and activities. This experience will serve as a life-long example of the power behind bringing people together and the importance of seeking diversity.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024? The GSB is a world of endless opportunities. I always describe it as a place where you can fill your days with just one type of activity. My biggest advice is to have the “internal” conversation and agree on what you find important: where do you want to be pushed out of your comfort zone, and how do you want to help others to flourish?


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