Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Maureen Pellicer, IMD Business School

Maureen Pellicer

IMD Business School

“I’m a hard-working, socially introverted nerd with a passion for story-listening, travelling and (real) tacos.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can juggle 3 balls or items, including a few tricks. I know, it seems to be one of those hidden talents that are quite useless, but I have found that it is great to relieve stress, increase coordination, and sharpen concentration. It also makes you look (somewhat) cool!

Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad Iberoamericana, BSc (with Honors) in Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Commercial Strategy Manager at Paramount (prev. ViacomCBS)

IMD classes have been dubbed the “Mighty 90” for their talent and versatility. What has been the best part of being in a small class with this group of classmates? I love the fact that I have been able to get to know each one of my classmates individually, something that I know is impossible with larger classes. We all know each other’s names and, by now, we have all shared different classes or experiences at some point or the other. All of this truly allows us to feel part of a unit, where we all bring out our different individual backgrounds and expertise while still feeling like we belong in this one group that will stay connected long after the MBA is over.

Aside from classmates, what part of IMD’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? For me, it was all about the leadership and personal growth focus that IMD offers. Many schools mention Leadership as part of their programs, but none other really comes close to the depths that IMD goes to make sure you have the tools to become the best leader you can possibly be. And that starts with your own personal growth. IMD offers a lot of introspection exercises throughout the Leadership stream, including the year-round Personal Development Elective in which we can voluntarily sign up to personal sessions with a psychoanalyst to get to know ourselves a little bit better. This was a turning point in my decision because I have always believed that to be the best business leader you can be, you really need to know yourself: what moves and drives you in-and-out of the workplace.

IMD is known for academic rigor. What is one strategy you used that would help a future IMD MBA better adapt to the workload early on? Yes, at some point, especially early in the year, all the different tasks and deadlines can feel very pressing. You feel like you have no time for all of it. For me, learning to prioritize the work in terms of urgency and effort required was a key learning, especially in the first months. The sooner you get comfortable with that, the better you will be at handling the workload while also working more efficiently with your team.

Also, since many of IMD’s tasks are team-based, do not be afraid to ask for help or bring up difficult conversations that will help the team work better together. Lastly, in my life I have found great comfort in understanding that absolutely everything is temporary – the good, the bad and the ugly – so you might as well give into the workload while enjoying the people and the process – even during the long nights – because in the blink of an eye, trust me, it will be over.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: A highlight for me was being promoted within the first 6 months of starting to work for Paramount (previously ViacomCBS), my latest employer. However, my biggest accomplishment was a little later when I was invited by the incoming Chief Commercial Officer of the Americas to work under him in a newly-created position for me. This position included taking over, as lead project manager, one of the most challenging live events that the company had recently acquired. I believe it is my greatest accomplishment because that position allowed me to work with cross-functional multinational teams across the Americas, expanding my pan regional experience while giving me the opportunity to work directly under and learn from C-level executives. This experience gave me a completely different view of how large corporations need to be managed and was a steppingstone for me to later decide to pursue an MBA.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: My biggest accomplishment so far at IMD is one that was a true team effort. I loved working on and delivering our Startup project.

Every year, during the first module we are split in teams and are tasked to work with one up-and-coming startup for 3 months to help them in any operational projects that will help them grow. My team worked with a very cool specialty coffee startup called Goodlife, based in the outskirts of Lausanne. We were tasked to help them conduct market research and provide some initial commercial ideas on how they can accelerate their growth in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. I absolutely loved working on that project because it gave us a lot more knowledge on both the startup life and the coffee making culture.

Not everything was easy though, part of the challenge is making sure you are delivering and satisfying the client while also balancing out every other task that the most intense module at IMD keeps throwing at you. But I feel very lucky that I had a great group of people in my team, we were all able to bring such unique traits to the experience while forming life-long friendships in the process. In the end, we presented to both the client and a group of Venture Capital specialists who gave us their feedback. There was just something so fulfilling in finishing the toughest module of the year with the delivery of this very special team project.

Where is your favorite hang-out in Lausanne? Why do you (and your classmates) gravitate there? There are a few options that the class gravitates towards, but my favorite is definitely “The Lacustre”. It is a lakeside bar & restaurant with a beautiful view of Lac Leman. That place has seen so many of our weekend gatherings and other social activities, including the end-of-exams celebrations that the social committee organize every time we finish a module. As of why we have gravitated towards that place, I think it is a combination of the closeness to campus with the amazing view, the food & drinks (the pizzas & brunch are highlights) and the music. These are all a perfect combination for a nice evening, where we are all trying to decompress from the program’s workload, while also serving as a great spot for us to get to know each other better on a more personal level.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I felt like I was at the perfect moment in my life, both personally and professionally, to pursue an MBA. Professionally speaking, I had had the opportunity to constantly grow and take on new challenges in my previous positions. But I felt that I was getting to a point where I needed to show more in terms of my leadership skills and general business knowledge to get to the next level of growth. Additionally, I was also longing for a more international experience, including a dream of moving to and working in Europe as the next step of my professional career.

An MBA, especially at IMD with its strong focus on leadership, seemed like a great path for me to strengthen those skills while gathering new perspectives of the business world through the eyes of my classmates and professors, and potentially pursue a post-MBA career outside of Latin America.

What has been your best memory at IMD thus far? Within the program, I loved a session we had with George Kohlrieser about high-performance leadership as part of the Leadership stream. The session touched some very difficult topics such as secure bases and grief. What made it so special for me was that it was a session with all 104 of us in one auditorium, which made us all see each other in a totally different and more humane light than the typical business school environment. I loved seeing the bravery behind the vulnerability shown by all my classmates, especially those that shared some very personal experiences with everyone.

Outside the program I have really enjoyed and appreciated all the travelling I have been able to do with my IMD friends. A highlight for me was paragliding down the breathtaking Lauterbrunnen Valley back during our 5-day spring break holiday. The MBA year is one of firsts for sure, but paragliding was something I was not expecting to cover, and I am so glad I did. Switzerland is a beautiful country and having the opportunity to explore a part of it in this way has been a true dream come true for someone like me that enjoys travelling so much.


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