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Real Humans of HEC Paris’s MBA Class of 2021

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Andy Victor, HEC Paris MBA Class of 2021

Andy Victor, HEC Paris MBA Class of 2021

Age: 31
Hometown: Dallas, TX, USA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Santa Clara University, BA in Religious Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
8 years of work in various industries, but mostly in tech start-ups. 1 year in nonprofit and healthcare, 1 year in consumer goods, 4 years in automotive, 1 year in SaaS, 1 year in telecom.

Why business school? Why now?
To be totally honest, b-school wasn’t on my radar until my wife began to research earning her MBA. Many of my colleagues and managers in the San Francisco Bay Area start-up scene advised me that experience was more important than an MBA. It wasn’t until my last role, where my decisions were impacting the direction of the company, that I truly began considering an MBA.

I eventually decided to apply along with my wife for two reasons:

  1. So that we could be in the same situation at the same time
  2. So that I could really build the skills needed to take the step from General Manger to Director/VP/COO without waiting to find the perfect situation in a start-up (of which there is none) to learn those skills on the job.

Why HEC Paris? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
HEC Paris was the only school outside of the Bay Area that I applied to. Either I wanted to be near my job so I could continue working or I was going to have a new experience altogether. HEC Paris fit the bill for that new experience, and so much more.

The connection with Station F was also a big driver, but the most important aspect that sold the school for me was the alumni. None of the alumni from other schools had as much passion and excitement for their schools as the alumni from HEC, and that made the biggest difference for me.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I have seen companies grow rapidly and have learned a lot from being in those situations. This is always an intense period for a company, and it comes with a lot of sleepless nights and decisions that could make or break the future of the company. From this, I have learned to move quickly, pivot often, and stay calm in the face of difficult decisions.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love to cook Texas BBQ and often spend nights tending to the smoker or prepping rubs and sauces for the BBQ meats.

Post-MBA career interests?
I hope to re-join the start-up world and would love to help companies in the rapid growth phase. This is usually a very exciting and challenging time, but one from which I find the most reward and enjoyment.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Go and meet alumni. Take advantage of any scheduled events and witness the excitement and pride that HEC Paris alumni have.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Not much of anything – for an application process, it was a pretty good experience.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Taking the GMAT/GRE. I got through it because I had to, but I did it successfully because my wife pushed me to do a little bit every day and we tried to do it with a little wine as well.

What is your initial impression of HEC Paris’s students/culture/community?
Amazing. The people are just unbelievable, and I wonder how I got in when I hear the things that other people are doing/have done in their careers and lives. I’m so lucky to be able to spend the next 16 months getting to know so many wonderful people. And it helps being a little removed from the outside world because it allows us to stay focused on school and creating true friendships.

One thing you have learned about HEC Paris that has surprised you?
The campus is more beautiful than expected and is surrounded by lots of forest and farms. It’s very unique to have this natural beauty around us and still be a short train ride into Paris.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
FOMO. I don’t want to miss out on anything, but I know part of the MBA process is making decisions on what you can and cannot do. This will be a tough thing to handle because it seems that there are always great things going on.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Learning more about things I don’t know, especially the different industries and cultures of my classmates.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.