2023 MBA To Watch: Tamar Forman-Gejrot, HEC Paris

Tamar Forman-Gejrot

HEC Paris

“Creative energy and commitment to any project, from motherhood to product management to pole dancing.”

Hometown: Berlin, Germany

Fun fact about yourself: Between my undergrad and looking for my first job, I spent three months in culinary school in the south of France.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brandeis University (BA – majors in Computer Science and Linguistics, minor in French)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Cengage Learning, Technical Product Manager; Fly Together Fitness, Co-Owner & Instructor

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? NA

Where will you be working after graduation? Starting my own business (The Peach)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: MBA Leadership Award, Talent Show Coordinator Fall 2021, Women in Leadership Club Ambassador Fall 2021, MBA Ambassador

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Coming into the MBA, I really wasn’t sure what direction I would go in. While talking to other students early on in the program, I had the idea for a new type of pole dance-inspired group fitness studio. I ended up dedicating multiple class projects as well as my capstone toward developing the business plan. I also set aside a week early on and instead of going on vacation made a long to-do list and vetted the idea with a variety of experts in marketing, finance, and business. I’m now on the cusp of opening the first studio in Paris.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2019, I decided to follow one of my passions and open a cooperative pole dance studio in Somerville, MA (outside of Boston) together with ten others. Despite being hit by COVID three months after opening, we managed to stay true to our community and consensus-driven business model. Today, the studio is thriving and has become a second home for many of our students.

Why did you choose this business school? I love how different the backgrounds of students at HEC are. Not only was my class composed of 49 nationalities, but I also got to meet and learn from people who had worked in construction, fishing, real estate, gastronomy, and so much more! This made the program fun. At the same time, it was also a big asset as I’m starting a business and was able to talk to different students who had experience in certain areas such as finding commercial real estate.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Denis Gromb. Corporate Finance was on the list of classes I was most worried about coming into the MBA. However, Prof. Gromb built a very well-structured course and gave compelling examples and explanations, all with an engaging and light-hearted attitude, and I ended up learning lots that I would never have thought I’d understand! Unfortunately, Prof. Gromb passed away during my final term, and I know he will be missed both personally and professionally.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite class at HEC was Statistics & Business Analytics because the class was taught using a fully flipped classroom model. Having worked in education technology, I knew that this has become a very popular academic model and will continue to grow, but I had never experienced it first-hand. I really enjoyed how much work Professor Ebbes put into setting up the course, which made it easy to self-pace and spend time where I needed it most while working quickly through concepts I already knew.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I was a huge fan of the MBA talent show. It was so much fun to see and work with students and staff in a completely different context. It was also great to see people throw serious commitment and practice into their performances despite there not being grades, awards, or any other benefit attached and that passion is inspiring.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I’d be more targeted and proactive about reaching out to other students (both within the MBA program and in other programs), professors, and staff to get help with specific aspects of my business plan. Starting a business means I’m constantly trying to answer random small questions (Which branding looks better – this or that? What questions do I ask real estate agents at showings? How should I evaluate banks for opening a business account?). It takes time to dig into that level of detail and to find the right people on campus who can help out, but I think it would have been worth more of my effort to navigate this network.

What is the biggest myth about your school? What I heard from alumni during my application process was that HEC MBA students tend to be very collaborative and that there isn’t aggressive competition. I figured this would suit me well, so I hoped it was true! Once on campus, I discovered that most students were indeed very supportive and willing to help one another prepare for exams, recap lessons, and talk through career decisions. The most competitive that the program got was during club board elections.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? First off, HEC is not actually in Paris; it’s in Jouy-en-Josas, which is a 30-minute drive from Paris (or quite a bit more by public transportation). My favorite thing to do in Jouy was to go for walks or runs on the bike path just outside of campus, which was often a great way to relax and unwind during busy projects and exam periods. And Paris? 100% here for the pastries!

What surprised you the most about business school? When I decided to get an MBA (which wasn’t something that I ever thought I would do), I pictured it to be similar to my undergrad: college was all of my life for those four years. When I graduated in 2016, every variable changed; where I lived, the people I spent time with, and the things I worked on. The MBA experience was very different and felt much more integrated into my life rather than being my life and I was able to focus on the academic work that truly contributed to my learning goals. During the program, I also took many steps toward starting my post-MBA business. I took a greater interest in other people’s career goals. I also got married, and two weeks after my last class, I gave birth to my first child. Simply put, though it was a full-time program, my MBA experience was much more nuanced and I wasn’t “just” an MBA student.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I had fun with the process and presented who I really am, not what I thought a committee would want to hear. For the peer interview portion of my application, I talked about my experience setting up a cooperative business and financial model for the pole dance studio I co-founded. I wasn’t sure how people would react to a presentation that wasn’t about profit or changing the world and, moreover, about pole dancing. However, I received very positive feedback and immediately felt understood because I hadn’t tried to present a more polished “business school version” of myself.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Yash Kaushal. Yash was such a warm and empathetic presence during the MBA. He is very humble, but always puts in a huge amount of effort and it pays off. More importantly, however, I admire Yash for his seemingly endless patience, generosity, and willingness to help. When we were getting ready for the talent show, Yash was always the first to take on a gnarly conversation or laborious task (like arranging for large instruments to be moved with pushback from skeptical French administrators). We also spent many hours bouncing career questions and ideas off one another and Yash always asked me thoughtful questions that both made me more confident and helped me progress.

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

  1. I’m in the process of opening my first solo business – The Peach, a pole dance-inspired boutique fitness studio. A huge professional milestone will be when I am able to run 5+ successful The Peach studios in Europe.
  2. A second professional goal is to support and coach aspiring business owners in launching or growing sustainable small businesses.

What made Tamar such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I had the chance and the pleasure to have Tamar in my TEC group September 2021. TEC (The Executive Committee), is a mentorship and business-leadership program designed to help students define their long-term personal and professional goals.

From the beginning, Tamar explained to me that she would like to become an entrepreneur and we had very interesting discussions on the subject (I am also an entrepreneur). She really engaged the TEC community, asking important questions, and even met with my daughter, who is also an entrepreneur. She expressed her wish to start her company and start to build her family. She had a son during her time in the program and I was so happy to receive a photo of him just after he was born.

Our program at TEC is based on life balance – In order to think and create one must be happy and both their personal and professional lives. She was inspired by this and is living this example now. I knew she would build both a good business and a good family. I confirm my recommendation.”

Bernard Bismuth
Honoris Causa Affiliate Professor
HEC Paris



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