Can An MBA Change Lives? This Stanford AND Harvard Grad Thinks So

Can An MBA Change Lives? This Stanford AND Harvard Grad Thinks So Investing in a business education is a major undertaking, and applicants focus a lot of attention on the immediate return that a place in a top business school will achieve. Whether in the data provided by schools on the latest graduating class, or in media rankings such as Forbes and the FT, emphasis is on the financial return on investment – post-MBA salary, securing a position at McKinsey, Google or Goldman, etc.

But an MBA can provide a lifelong return that goes far beyond the initial career success you might enjoy. You have a business skill set that helps you perform to the highest level, a network of talented high-achievers to support your future ambitions, and friendships that can last a lifetime.

Studying at Harvard Business School or Stanford GSB is the dream of many young professionals, but there are a small handful of individuals that study at Harvard and Stanford. That is the case for Heriberto Diarte, who graduated with a Stanford MBA in 1998, and then completed the Harvard Kennedy Masters in Public Administration (MPA) a year later. He sat in on a number of classes at HBS during his time in Boston, providing him with the rare opportunity to compare the students, teaching styles and personalities of the schools.

In this interview, Heriberto talks about how his Stanford and Harvard experiences have accompanied his international career path, and continue to provide a return on his investment fifteen years later, as his latest venture hereO brings a GPS Watch tracking device for young children to market.

Matt Symonds: Did your business education prove to be a good investment?

Heriberto Diarte: The irony is that I did not maximize my post-MBA compensation nor position. I graduated from Stanford in ’98 and Harvard in ’99 when the job market was super-hot and I had fantastic job offers from established but rapidly growing companies offering senior positions and very attractive compensation packages. I had attended Stanford and Harvard with a scholarship from Cemex, a global leader in the building material industry, and the job they offered me upon graduation was their standard post-MBA position doing financial and strategic analysis. The job paid significantly less than the other offers I had, and I confess I seriously thought about not joining Cemex. But they had invested in me at a time of need, and I felt morally obliged to join them and pay my dues. One good point was that Cemex accepted my request to be based in Singapore to focus on Asia, a region I had never lived in and wanted to learn about.

The decision turned out well, as Cemex is a great company where if they think you are capable they throw you responsibility, I was promoted 4 times in the 6 years I was with them and I learned a lot about M&A, lean management and transforming & changing the trajectory of companies...

Read full story: Forbes

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