2022 MBA To Watch: Carla Venter, IMD Business School

Carla Venter

IMD Business School

“Outgoing South African with a love for people, numbers, barbeques, adventure, red wine, and chess.”

Hometown: Bloemfontein, South Africa

Fun fact about yourself: I appeared in a few episodes of a reality TV dating show in South Africa to help out a friend who was a Production Manager on the show.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

B.Accounting (Cum Laude)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? RE Capital, Finance Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? I had my wedding in Sardinia during the summer, so no internship.

Where will you be working after graduation? Aperture.co, Head of Investments

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Graduated with honours.

Participated in the luxury and fintech clusters.

Volunteered as mentor on Mentor.Match.Africa

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Graduating with honours was a massive achievement for me! It’s very difficult to get selected for the honours list and it’s something I worked towards since the start of the program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am very proud of the career change I made post-MBA. As a Chartered Account with Big 4 experience, I felt my background limited me to back-office finance jobs. At the start of the MBA, I told everyone I wanted to work in VC in a front-office role – and I made that happen!

Why did you choose this business school? IMD was extremely responsive to the COVID situation and made sure they gave their students the best face-to-face experience possible. There was no other school that I considered that could offer that at the time. I felt it was important for bonding with fellow MBA’s.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It’s difficult to choose, but it has to be Arturo Bris. He is the most entertaining professor and can bring life to even the most boring financial topic. He is also really clued up about finance developments and knows all about crypto, blockchain and DeFi. He even showed us his Crypto Kitties that he apparently gives more attention than his own (human) children – his words, not mine.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The mountain expedition in the Swiss Alps. It’s a few days filled with fun activities, interesting lectures, and bonding with fellow MBA’s. It reflects IMD’s people-first approach. Despite the very difficult dynamic Covid-situation they could make this amazing tradition happen (within restrictions of course).

What is the biggest myth about your school? There are a lot of myths about our leadership stream and what it entails. Without revealing too much, I can confirm it’s all true! What an unbelievable experience!

What surprised you the most about business school? Two things: The amount of personal development that will have a lifelong impact and the strength of our alumni network – they are just so responsive and always willing to help!

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I spoke to a few alumni from the school, to really understand what makes the school special and if it was a good fit for me. It’s so important to understand MBA’s experience in comparison to how the school positions itself. It showed a good understanding and strong interest in the school which helped me stand out during applications.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Anou Sewonu – what an impressive guy! He holds a Ph.D. in biophysics, is a loving family man, and has had a successful entrepreneurial venture before the MBA. It’s like he has already had 3 lives with all he has achieved!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Growing up in a small town in South Africa, I was never exposed to any businesswomen. When I took my first flight later in my life, I sat next to a lady that was dressed smartly and she worked on her laptop the whole flight. I was so impressed by her and thought: I want to be that one day!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

To be a partner in a VC fund that invests in fintech in emerging markets, where I feel fintech has so much potential to drive financial inclusion.

To be a mentor for African women hoping to have international careers, eventually having a program where I sponsor them from high school and give them an opportunity to study abroad.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic made remote work possible for almost everyone, but also made me realize what a big role being surrounded by team members play in my happiness at work. The pandemic made me realize I definitely don’t enjoy working from home full-time and highlighted the need to be surrounded by teammates that enable collaboration, impromptu catchups, and just classic office banter which makes work fun.

What made Carla such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Carla Venter was invaluable to the class because of her infectious enthusiasm for ideas and exploration of the unknown. From a position of intellectual strength, she commanded the respect of her classmates because she was approachable and a source of a welcome but different perspective. Incredible energy and drive – hugely positive impact.”

Professor Seán Meehan
MBA Dean 2021


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