2022 MBA To Watch: Kevin Peer, IESE Business School

Kevin Peer

IESE Business School

“Perpetual learner that pushes his limits and tries to always leave a positive mark.”

Hometown: East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve been in Acroyoga conventions all around the world.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Florida State University, Industrial Engineering.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Jabil – M&A IT Project Manager.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? No Such Ventures – Amsterdam; Neventa Capital – Geneva.

Where will you be working after graduation? Still looking!

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of the Responsible Business Club
    (leading DGDW, Europe’s largest sustainability conference)
  • Vice President of Fundraising for the Impact Investment Fund
    (leading our first annual fundraising event)
  • VC Mentor in the VC/PE Club
  • First-year team facilitator
  • Campus Ambassador for incoming first years
  • Section Vice President

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of winning the VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition) at IESE because of how fierce our competition was and how much we grew as a team throughout the process. We were unofficially ranked one of the lower teams in the beginning. However, we worked hard and performed well under pressure to ultimately win the event and earn a seat in the Northern European Finals. This win means more to me because it also somewhat validates my pursuit of a career in Venture Capital.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Most definitely, it is the acquisition of 14 medical manufacturing sites from J&J. Jabil, the company I was working for, added an additional $2B revenue through this acquisition, its largest acquisition to date. I was responsible for ensuring the manufacturing systems were up and running on the first day of the acquisition for seven sites at once, and then also a lead for everything IT-related at the site with the most people. I was very far out of my depth, but we made it successfully.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose IESE because of the people. IESE has a large focus on collaboration vs. competition. They work very hard, but they know how to enjoy life as well. There is definitely an element of work hard, play hard done with a warm smile. Barcelona doesn’t hurt either!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Heinrich Liechtenstein is by far one of the best professors I have ever had. His ability to take a difficult concept and make it easy to learn is simply remarkable. It is obvious that he genuinely cares about his students, how much they are learning, and the positive impact he is making. He has decades worth of students in debt to him, which is shown by how many amazing speakers he brings in to speak in his classes.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? MultiCulti (IESE’s culture fair) reflects the incredible diversity at IESE. At this event, the students spend 6 hours celebrating the more than 50 countries represented at IESE. Performances, food, drink, and culture overall is on full display for two MBA classes of more than 350 people. It is an evening in which everybody goes home with sore cheeks from smiling so much.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would try to compare myself to my classmates less during the first year. It’s very easy to do so when you are surrounded by people excelling in every aspect of life, but it’s not always healthy. Feeling comfortable and confident in the path you are taking is key. It will work out – trust the process.

What is the biggest myth about your school? All we do is party and have fun at IESE. Actually, IESE has one of the hardest MBA curriculums! I may be biased, but I think this is true, and I’ve heard similar comments from students here on exchange. The intensives are no joke. We have an ExSim intensive that simulates the week of an executive team, for which there were many nights of little sleep.

What surprised you the most about business school? How mentally challenging the first year truly is – they aren’t lying! There are so many things to do and want to do, but there is never enough time. You really learn how to prioritize, and decide which elements are the ones you must give less attention to. With the amount of stuff you are involved in, it’s challenging to give everything your best effort.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose?  I took the initiative to show that I truly wanted to be admitted. Talking to the admissions team beforehand and afterwards – and showing the effort and genuine interest – can go a long way and help you stand out.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Takafumi Ishido is someone I truly admire. He always has a smile and a laugh on his face. He is one of the most patient and friendly people I know. He is a somebody who cannot be rattled; in the first year, he tore his ACL in the first soccer game of the season, and he never lost his spirit. It must be challenging for him to do an already difficult MBA in his non-native language. On top of that, he has three kids and a wife! Personally, I cannot imagine being capable of doing that.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Bhaskar Ramachandran, my first boss, refused to give me a letter of recommendation to a part-time MBA program in the city I was living in. He told me that I needed to go back full-time and to a top 15 MBA if I wanted his reference. I knew I had wanted to do an MBA, but he gave me the exact push I needed to pursue an MBA that would be a life-changing one.

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

  • Become a partner in a VC
  • Switch to impact investing

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic has simply opened the possibility for more remote work. Perhaps I can become more of a world citizen by working in the office for a period of the year, and remotely in another country for the other period.

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

“Kevin was a student in the elective course Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), where I am the lead professor. The students are organized into eight teams and, at the end of the course, compete to become the team to represent IESE at the VCIC Regional and Global Championships. The judges for this are professional venture investors.

Kevin’s team won and I credit Kevin to a great extent with this, not only due to the quality of his work but also his ability to build a high-performing team from diverse backgrounds and personalities. Unfortunately in business, talented, driven and competitive people can often be a bit arrogant, whereas Kevin managed to bring his team along with him using a good dose of patience and collaboration.”

David Frodsham
Lecturer, Entrepreneurship


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