Ana Elena Perez

Ana Elena Perez, Venezuela
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities

Led an alcoholic beverage Consumer Tracking System (CTS) reengineering, adjusting it to market changes and attaining representativeness in every city.

Designed and executed beer company leader, Cervecería Polar’s, two main events of 2018, “Oktoberfest Polar” and “Polar Beer Garden”, with a joint venue of 8,000 people.

Developed an innovative experiential marketing event, introducing a new product of leading premium beer brand, Solera IPA; a beer festival in a town centre with a venue of 3,000 people.

Created an event segmentation model, used for conceptualising 400 events within brand strategy. Elaborated an econometric model for estimating the beer market, defining a quarterly operational volume plan.

Coordinated a consumer study for leading beer brand, Polar Pilsen, essential for conceptualising its 2018 campaign with the highest effective visibility over three years (increase of six percentage points).

Implemented a promotional programme for Modern Trade top clients, increasing market share by more than three percentage points.

What is invisible but essential about YOU?

While living in Venezuela most of my life, I have seen how a country can experience a decay in almost every economic aspect. This experience has led me to reflect about society and our role as businessmen. During the last 5 to 6 years, the crisis has intensified in an exponential way, where the most affected are those in the lower socio-economic levels of society. As a consequence, deteriorating the general level of education, and corrupting our principles and values as a society.

Empresas Polar, the company that I used to work for, is an example of an organization that is aware of its role in society, therefore it has made a great effort to inculcate coexistence rules among its employees. These principles and values have been so well implemented that their impact has transcended to the company’s stakeholders, its employee’s families, and even to the general market, becoming a reference in the industry. Experiencing this up close, and evidencing its impact on the whole industry, has led me to acknowledge my responsibility as a businesswoman in the cultural transformation of a society, thus in the generation of welfare.

Likewise, apart from the corporate world, I have been dedicating some of my spare time to achieving personal goals related to different kinds of sports, like mountaineering and hiking. Nevertheless, the most challenging activity I have experienced is skydiving, where you have to train your mind to assimilate that you will be jumping from a plane at 13,000 ft.

The greatest thing about skydiving is that it takes you out of your comfort zone every time you jump. Once you get used to that feeling, you are no longer resistant to it in other aspects of your life, reaching a point where you even start enjoying it. Furthermore, you have to have discipline, mainly during the initial learning process, but also prior to every jump, where you have to review the possible complications and how to solve them without hesitation.

Finally, in skydiving you have to develop forward planning and flexibility. Once you open the parachute, you have to spend every second planning the next steps for a proper landing, and to be able to recalculate your plan with every deviation of the relevant variables. All things considered, I think skydiving, apart from being fun, it also trains your mind and it can help you develop competences that are useful for every aspect of your life.

Eduardo Soibelmann Sztrajtman

Eduardo Soibelmann Sztrajtman, Brazil
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

Student Athlete with academic merit-based and athletic scholarship at Purdue University, former professional tennis player, travelled more than 65 countries, volunteered helping people with disabilities to find joy on playing sports and worked in the construction of hospitals, hotels and malls.

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

Sometimes people are labeled by their job, their university name or the field they choose to study. In my opinion, people are a lot more than where they work, where they study or what they decide to do professionally in their lives. My life has been very different from all my friends around me. As a teenager, I decided to start playing competitive tennis and begun travelling by myself around the world playing tennis. Travelling by myself at such young age in the junior and professional tennis circuit made me grow up as a human being. I had the opportunity to go to different countries, learn new languages, and meet people from different cultures. After my professional athletic life, I decided to go study engineering in another country as a student-athlete. At that point I left my country, my family and my friends to live with people from other countries in a place that had a hard winter season.

Coming from a country that has no snow, I found that some situations during winter can be hard, such as having to stay in the house for three days because snow covered the door from the outside. Leaving my own country and the culture that is usual to me is very important for my personal growth. Sometimes people are stuck with what they learned from their parents, friends and society around them and forget that there are billions of people on other parts of the world that live and think in a different way.

During all those years of playing tennis and studying at university, I decided that every year I will travel to different countries to see how is life in other parts of the world. All these travels and going abroad to live, made me a more patient and respectful person that can handle life and work situations better, respecting everyone’s culture and opinion. My life and the experiences I lived have shaped me into a better person and is something that might be invisible if people just consider where I come from, where I used to work or the field I decided to study in college.

Nikita Bazko

Nikita Bazko, United Kingdom
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

ESADE MBA Scholarship, Undergraduate International Exchange Ambassador and Peer Group Leader, Mentor to the current student at Newcastle University and the regional start-ups, Co-captain of a Tennis team in doubles matches in Newcastle and a runner-up in 2013 and 2018 End of Season Championships.

What is invisible but essential about YOU?

I am an ordinary young man from a small ordinary Eastern European country, albeit some say I am very persistent when it gets to personal and professional aims.☺

Joking aside, there are qualities that make me who I am that I am really proud of:

1. Believe in true friendship and always come to help a friend in need.

As the old saying goes, it is much harder to build a true relationship than to break one. I left my home country many years ago, but still keep close ties with some of my best friends from school, tennis club and the neighborhood. Our relationship extends beyond occasional catch-ups to business projects, vacation trips, professional exam preparation, etc.

2. Remember and be proud of my country, its history and culture.

I really like visiting Latvia; the country where I grew up, and that gave me good education, provided a broad choice of sports, recreation and cultural activities. Reading a book at the sandy shores by the Baltic sea, listening to local folk music or exploring nature and wild life, brings back old memories, relaxes my mind and body and helps analyse performance and set up personal and professional plans.

3. Respect and learn from my parents and older people. I enjoy helping parents and grandparents with various jobs in the garden or around the house. I feel good solving technical problems related to computers or other devices. I also enjoy taking part in family holidays. These trips bring us closer and leave a lot of warm memories.

I learn a lot from parents. My Grandfather, among the other family members, remains instrumental in my development. He became a friend to me early on in life and taught me basics of swimming, painting, driving a car and other activities.

He had an exciting and very challenging career, managing large pools of people across 3 continents. Hence even now as an ESADE MBA, I could rely on him for advice on my career and personal life and be sure to obtain a top class viewpoint.

These three values that one can probably not see from the outset, bring a sense of fulfillment to me, since my efforts and knowledge are used in a good way to benefit my continued personal development and support the people around me.

Lauren Holmes

Lauren Holmes, United Kingdom
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

I have recently taken on a new academic role, having been awarded the Collaborative Spirit Ambassador Scholarship for ESADE’s MBA Class of 2021. I am excited to share my enthusiasm and ideas with the batch!

One thing that I am really proud of is completing my teacher training. The demand on teachers in the UK continues to increase, and my training year was certainly a challenge; I learnt a lot about communication, resilience, and personal well-being.

What do I like to do in my spare time? In my undergraduate degree, I became involved in two dance associations (samba and reggaeton) which brought so much joy to my life, and were a wonderful distraction from my studies! I then went on to become a Zumba instructor, which was a core part of my life in London for the past 2 and a half years. 

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

My invisible but essential fact is that I come from a teaching background. At first, for me, applying to the MBA seemed almost impossible and slightly ridiculous. I studied Spanish and Geography at undergraduate level, then qualified as a secondary school teacher in the UK, and ended up working as a Programme Manager at a small education charity in London. However, the more I spoke to people, and the further I pushed with my application to ESADE, I quickly realised that we would be a good match.

Not only would I receive support and advice from the faculty and my fellow students, but I also have a lot to offer! I am an extremely enthusiastic person, with plenty of experience in teaching, and also in presenting in front of groups of people. I am really excited to be able to share this with my incoming class and anyone else that I may come across during my MBA! Whilst my background may be lacking in business-knowledge or accounting skills, I have developed strong empathy skills and a deep understanding of working with different sorts of people. I love the diversity of the ESADE student community, and have been blown away by my first 2 weeks in Barcelona.

My other invisible but essential fact is that I speak Spanish. I have no Spanish heritage, but I took a real shine to the language at school, and pursued it through university and into the classroom as a teacher. I am looking forward to combining my language skills with my ESADE experience in Barcelona and making the most of my time here. I hope to continue the development of my Spanish skills so that I can have the option to work in Spanish-speaking environments after my MBA.

The energy of ESADE, whilst not invisible, cannot be truly understood until you arrive in Barcelona. From my application process, I already knew that the people I would meet would be enthusiastic, supportive, and interesting. However, since arriving in Barcelona to begin my ESADE journey, I have been completely overwhelmed by the welcome that I have received. The MBA class of 2021 had a welcome dinner in mid-August, for all of those who were already in the city. I stopped myself a few times throughout the meal to take in the atmosphere; a room full of people from all over the world, a range of professional and personal backgrounds, and none of whom knew each other! It was vibrant and exciting, and it felt very special.

I hope that my invisible but essential skills will match well with the fantastic community created by ESADE. I am sure this is the beginning of a fascinating and fulfilling adventure!

Sohyun Eom

Sohyun Eom, South Korea
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

As the only female leader and vocalist of my university band, I led its members who had varying personalities and values. This experience has enabled me to thrive as a brand manager in a food and beverage company composed of over 90% male employees, achieving outstanding performance levels based on not only my major knowledge in food and nutrition but also consensus gathering skills, judgment, and accountability. I hope to lead a new paradigm in the personalized food industry by developing myself into an ambitious and capable future leader at ESADE.

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

One day when I was 8 years old and had yet to have capable hands – I recall that was when I started cooking. I saw how making others happy when cooking food and meals pleased my mother, and it stimulated my interest. As I majored in nutritional science in college, the element of responsibility was added to my simple passion for cooking up food. The saying “You are what you eat”, which I learned during one of my lectures made me realize that it was important not only to enjoy making and eating food, but also to have a corresponding earnest attitude to studying its value.

In Korea and Japan, I have for the past 7 years strived to contribute to the development and evolvement of Korean food based on such passion and sense of responsibility. I have been involved in expanding the market to preventive medicine through such products as ion drinks that prevent the approach of cold viruses and nutrition bars that even diabetics can eat, and to improving health awareness of customers by providing detailed health, fitness, and nutrition information in addition to simply publicizing the product. I have also engaged in social responsibility activities in environmental protection and other areas by collaborative promotions with the public service sector. I like to think that these have been my first steps toward conveying to customers not just the what but the why, and that I played a small part in helping to upgrade the domestic food and beverage market by emphasizing brand quality and customizing products to suit consumer needs.

I would ultimately like everyone to lead happy and healthy lives. I have set this long-term personalized key point as my grand goal to achieve. I intend to work toward it through comprehensive analysis of individual physical constitution and living environment and application of differentiated technologies. Toward this end, I hope to work closely with government, social services, and various industrial sectors including IT.

ESADE will be an optimal partner in this journey. I hope to acquire leadership skills and generate various ideas to lead personalized healthcare, which is still in its infancy. In the innovative environment of ESADE within the world-leading city of digital technology and entrepreneurship that is Barcelona, I would be able to share my experiences and ideas with classmates of diverse background from countries worldwide, building a network which will be critical for my continued growth.

Lauren Fink

Lauren Fink, USA
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

Webby Awards Activism Finalist for the design of, a website that seeks to combat mental illness stigma and build empathy by educating visitors about mental illnesses and encouraging open conversation. Said by the New York Times to be the “internet’s highest honor,” the international Webby Awards honor digital excellence. The Activism category recognizes exemplary websites that facilitate political change, social movement, human rights, public education and reform. (Webby Awards, New York City USA, 2017)

Winner of the Webby for Good Award for the design of the Make It OK website. Produced in partnership with WP Engine, this award honors Webby-finalist projects that are changing the world through real social change. (Webby Awards, New York City USA, 2017)

Winner of the Web Marketing Association’s “Best Small Business Social Media Campaign” for the impactful marketing campaign that differentiated The Shed Fitness Studio in a saturated market, drove a 38% increase in memberships and achieved a 284% return on investment. (Web Marketing Association, Minneapolis USA, 2016)

Winner of the Interactive Media Awards, Outstanding Achievement award for the design of the, a wellness website designed promote healthy living and increase preventive medical treatment. The Internet Advertising Awards recognize websites displaying exemplary design, content, functionality, usability and standards compliance. (Interactive Media Awards, Minneapolis USA, 2016)

Finalist in the National Student Advertising Competition for “The Other Hangover,” an anti-binge drinking campaign highlighting the social consequences of overconsumption. Upon placing at Nationals, our team was awarded a grant to implement the campaign. After the campaign proved to be successful in its first year, additional funding was awarded to expand the campaign to an additional 10 universities and high schools across North America. (Century Council, Minneapolis USA, 2016)

Three-time nominee of the Clear Night Luminary Award, a quarterly peer-nominated award program recognizing excellence in the categories of Business, Work, Culture and Community. (Minneapolis USA, 2018-2019)

Two-time nominee of the Preston Kelly annual Ruddy Award, a leadership-nominated award recognizing the employee whose irrepressible spirit inspires colleagues, elevates company culture and positively impacts client work. (Minneapolis USA, 2016-2017)

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

Growing up, my family had an unusual motto. “You’re not having fun until someone gets hurt,” my mother would always say. As my siblings and I built a two-story toboggan slide, perfected double backflips and rigged up ziplines in the tall pine trees, my parents were always there cheering us on. We were encouraged from a young age to take risks, make mistakes and fall down. And thus, we became really good at picking ourselves up, brushing the dirt out of our wounds and trying again.

As a result, I will always seek to expand the bounds of my capabilities, taking on new challenges with abundant curiosity and contagious tenacity. This drive has granted me the opportunity to work in a variety of roles, companies, and countries, expand my business acumen and social empathy, and solve unique challenges for clients across industries. I’ve had the pleasure of supporting incredible organizations in their efforts to bring resources to refugees around the world, combat mental illness stigma, inspire young women to think positively about their bodies, reduce binge drinking among young adults, provide affordable housing for those in need, and more.

I look forward to continuing to build a career centered around the betterment of society, believing every day is a chance to live the values of my family’s motto to its fullest—to boldly take on the toughest of challenges and persevere over the inevitable obstacles with tenacity and innovative thinking. I seek to encourage those around me to do the same. To see their strengths as their biggest assets and their weakness as their biggest opportunities. To dream bigger and reach higher. To have the confidence to tackle the most trying challenges facing business and society today. With each accomplishment, proving to the world and ourselves, that we can take on just about anything we set our minds to. And with each failure, learning we have the resilience and courage to dust ourselves off, iterate and try again.

Guil Ezovi

Guil Ezovi, Israel
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

Class representative (2012), dean’s list (2012), worked for University’s visitors center to showcase Technion’s connection to Israel to worldwide delegations, volunteering at a Jewish summer camp in the US to represent Israel on behalf of the Jewish Agency.

What is invisible but essential about YOU?

Ever since I was young, science and healthcare have been present in my life. I was intrigued by science, and its ability to create value. My passion for science began with the first Lego set I received from my parents. At elementary school, I participated in extra-enrichment courses. During these courses, I developed my thinking and broadened my knowledge. As a result of my success in these courses, I became a teen counselor for them, helping others enjoy the beautiful world of science.

Nevertheless, at some point I felt that science as a hobby was not enough. I wanted to do something meaningful with it, but still did not know what specifically that was. In a strange way, my father was the one who influenced my decision to join the world of health care. My father was injured during his military service in the 1970’s and suffered from PTSD. Unfortunately, he also suffered from an occupational accident during his work in the Petrochemical industry. Since then, the healthcare system, medical equipment, drugs, and doctors have been a routine part of our life. I used to accompany him to his medical exams, prepare his inhalation machine when he could not breathe properly, and verify that his drugs were not expired. Over time, I realized the necessity of good medical care, available equipment and drugs, and the dependence patients have on these assets. Perhaps unknowingly, this incident and its effects played an important role in what led me to pursue a career in the medical device industry.

My decision to study at the Technion, specifically quality engineering, was related to the fact that I want to help better the world. I arranged to do this by helping businesses to plan, measure, and improve their products. During my studies, I realized that my interests correlate to the field of medical devices. This industry contains many start-ups and businesses that rely on quality engineers. Post-graduation, I entered the field and realized the magnitude of the healthcare industry, and its impact on billions of people. At first, I worked for a drug-delivery company that manufactured infusion pumps. I understood that this product could help millions get treatment for their illness once available at low cost. At the recent company I work for, BrainsGate, I acquired knowledge about the medical device start-up industry, its challenges, and its advantages. BrainsGate is developing an implantable device to treat stroke patients. I feel proud and excited to be part of an initiative that enhances stroke patients’ quality of living. By being part of this initiative, I feel that I am helping and contributing to society, specifically to people who are not receiving the standard of care that they should be for their conditions.

Eventually, all these steps assisted me in crafting my future dreams. I aspire to fulfill them by learning about the healthcare and entrepreneurial worlds at ESADE, and thereby become an ethical leader. I believe that in face of the global challenges ahead of humankind, ethics is one of the main pillars when working in healthcare, where each decision could have the possibility to affect millions of people worldwide.

Kristina Rachkova

Kristina Rachkova, Russia
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

Participated in an international project of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) concerning PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

After I graduated from the university I was very excited about my adult life, independence and my career path. I strongly believed that I do not need an extra education for a successful career. I had been working for approximate five years and a half. At the beginning it was not easy at all because I did not know where to start my career. Within that period of time I participated in an international project of the UNIDO regarding PCBs; nevertheless, I finally had set the goal to become successful in a chosen field and opted for the tax authority to achieve that goal. Three and a half years passed very quickly in an exciting atmosphere of daily communication with a large number of people, regular meetings, investigations and reports. Finally I achieved the goal set in the beginning and reached the position of Deputy Head of the control and analytical department with actual discharge of duties of the head of the department. I realised that I got enough knowledge and experience in this field and I needed to move forward. That was the point when I made a further decision to continue to develop myself, get more knowledge, and even acquire experience in some new areas. I thus pursued and got a degree in accounting; but that was still not enough. I got a feeling that I want something different and not only within my country. That is precisely how I arrived to the conclusion that I wanted to further my studies through a MBA program. This would undoubtedly be a great opportunity for a really fascinating change in my life.

My aspiration now is to gain more knowledge and experience in ESADE within a multicultural setting with people from diverse backgrounds. ESADE will provide me with this opportunity to meet, dialogue and understand people from other places and hopefully establish a good network of acquaintances worldwide.

Maximilian Mayr

Maximilian Mayr, Germany
Full-Time MBA Class of 2021

Academic Roles, Achievements and Activities

Besides surviving the GMAT I am extremely happy about my former decision to start an integrated study program in which I earned my Bachelor degree. During my undergraduate degree I developed from an undetermined person who spent too much time trying to fulfill social conventions into a self-paced, diligent person who is eager to work with people from diverse cultures.

The integrated-degree program provided me not only with the possibility to build a basic academic business knowledge, but also gave me valuable insights of what working in an intercultural environment feels like. After graduating I decided to join the sales team at POLI-TAPE because I was convinced that the manifold challenges in an international environment will most likely satisfy my beliefs of how I want to work.

One year after working as a Junior Sales Manager, I attained the fundamental knowledge necessary to begin external work activities. Promptly I overtook the responsibilities for all Spanish-speaking countries and so decided to learn Spanish. Besides my already demanding 50 hours job I took part in an evening Spanish course three times a week.

What helped me most to endure this challenging period is my high-level discipline paired with the gratification I experienced while having conversations with Spanish people at work or on vacation. A year later I was excited to see how clients started to perceive me in a different way. They appreciated my efforts. Hence it was much easier to build a personal relationship with my customers, especially because some of them are not business fluent in English.

In fact, most of our clients appreciate a contact person who is able to build a trustworthy relationship on an interpersonal level and not solely discusses business topics. The close relationships I have grown with my customers strengthened my social abilities in an intercultural environment. I learned that social skills are at least equally important compared to negotiation skills or product knowledge.

Another important aspect I grasped during my professional career is how important it is to have a strong group leader. Reading the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek, shaped my perception of Leadership. Leaders do not necessarily require exceptional business knowledge. Contemporary leaders understand how to inspire people and how to deploy them into positions that best suit their abilities.

My first personal experiences as a leader began, when our Sales Director hired a new employee and commissioned me to integrate him into our team. I tried to convey my personal mindset of how to approach customers by sharing my knowledge obtained during the time as project manager for claim management. The topic provides valuable information about the interaction with customers on negatively associated topics. Sharing my personal experiences and building up a personal relationship substantially influenced the development of our new employee. He is now an essential part of our sales team and recently started to conduct his first business trips independently.

What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?

Following conversations with Alumni I realized that ESADE selects its students in a remarkable thoughtful manner. All persons I spoke with are extremely open-minded, helpful, positive-thinking individuals with a strong dedication to their jobs. Hence, I look forward to sharing my personal experiences in the different clubs provided by ESADE.

When I was a child my father worked as a salesman for Siemens. He is a passionate technician with an apprenticeship in electrical engineering. Because of my father I developed a similar enthusiasm for technical applications in my early years. Today I consider myself an early adopter of new technologies, which makes me a perfect fit for the Tech & Media club. For example three years ago I started to invest time and money in cryptocurrencies based on the blockchain technology, I read several books about artificial intelligence (e.g. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark) and took part in the private study course Hands on Industry 4.0 offered by the online learning management system

Consequently I realized why innovation is important. Creating new values is crucial to positively shape the world of tomorrow. In the context of working as a salesman I recognized the crucial role the sales department has in channeling information to the R&D department. Today it is extremely important to stay close to the market, to value the information provided by customers and thereby maintain a successful business model. On the one hand becoming part of the Design & Innovation club will give me decisive insights about future business concepts, on the other hand I will provide valuable information for fellow students by sharing my personal knowledge about technology-driven start-ups.

Another noteworthy character trait is my passion for music, in particular electronic music. I am self-taught, having learned how to compose electronic music at the age of 15. Soon after, I started to DJ to be able to spread my own work through distinctive channels. After collecting my first club experiences I played on popular festivals such as the NATURE ONE. Retrospectively I would say that this chapter was one of the most enriching experiences in my life, not only because I have made meaningful friendships with various people coming from all over the world but also because I found a way to satisfy my obsession for personal fulfillment.

Nowadays I believe that starting a business of my own will most likely give me a feeling of long-lasting personal fulfillment. Genuinely thinking about starting a company I am most excited about joining the Entrepreneurship club to exchange innovative concepts with like-minded students. Looking at startups founded by ESADE alumni such as Fever, Verse or Paack shows me that ESADE provides an ideal habitat for highly ambitious people who want to harness their entrepreneurial spirit in order to extend their business acumen.