Sara Lucia Eraso Lasso, HEC Paris MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Los Andes University, B. Eng. in Chemical Engineering.
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3 years of work experience in category and product innovation and project management in the beauty and personal care industry.
Why business school? Why now?
As a chemical engineer, I wanted to gain business knowledge in order to advance my career into a role with more strategic content—a position where I would be able to participate in the decision-making of issues that concern the whole company.
I also wanted an international experience. What better than building a diverse network with the perks of experiencing life abroad ?
I had always planned to go to business school, but first I wanted to gain some experience to make the most out of the program and be able to share knowledge with my classmates.
Why HEC Paris? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
- International classroom: The opportunity to learn from such a diverse group is truly invaluable. Just in the first class of my section (there are three sections for intake S19) there were 42 nationalities and I was the only Colombian student.
- Location: HEC Paris is located in the center of the French Silicon Valley and close to Station F. It offered me the possibility to build a network in one of the world’s leading innovation clusters. Also, it is just 1 hour away by train from beautiful Paris.
- Length of the program: 16 months is not too long nor too short. For me it was just the right length I was looking for. I wanted enough time to do an internship, a specialization, and not be away from the job market for too long.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
Product and category innovation open up the mind to challenges related to teamwork dynamics, market trends, and fast-changing consumers. With a background in innovation, design thinking and agile methodologies, I look forward to applying what I know so far in the extensive teamwork that business school will offer.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
The science of how people think, feel, and behave has always piqued my interest. I would love to understand more about social behavior sometime. I would like to do a Master’s in Sociology later on.
Post-MBA career interests?
Switch to pharmaceutical industry or continue in the Luxury Industry, specifically the Beauty and Personal Care branch.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Start with essays in advance. Reflecting on my motivations, goals, and what I want to do in life is definitely one of the best outcomes of the application process. I can truly say that after writing 5 essays for the application, I know much more about myself.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Attend the presentations of my target schools in my city and get to know the recruitment team.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The standardized tests. Explaining to my family and friends that I was focused on studying helped me reduce distractions while I was preparing for the exam.
What is your initial impression of HEC Paris’s students/culture/community?
The staff is really nice and they are willing to help you any time with a smile.
One thing you have learned about HEC Paris that has surprised you?
The first month is really all about settling down. I am thankful for all the activities that help us feel like we belong here even though it’s been just a few days. From integration weekend at a castle to campus tours to banks visiting campus just for us, everything has been really helpful.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Being able to keep up with everything (social life, study, internship search, clubs, sports…) and being assertive when prioritizing.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
MBAT! Being the host campus for the MBA Olympics that brings together students all across Europe for a sports competition sounds like a great opportunity to meet new people in a fun way. I want to join the organizing team!