Vanessa Garay, HEC Paris MBA, Class of 2016
What is it like to be a student at HEC Paris MBA? Student Voices is a student contributed section where current students share their first-hand experiences of life on campus and beyond.
Having the opportunity to share our cultures with our fellow MBAs through Cultural weeks is trulyamazing. I believe it is really important to show our peers that Latin America is not necessarily what is presented in the news show or what tourists have said about it. From my point of view, it is our duty to tell our fellow MBAs about the many positives of Latin America and to share with them what makes our countries beautiful. Personally, I feel like an ambassador for Peru, so I really enjoy sharing the wonders my country has to offer.
One of the main reasons why I chose to do my MBA at HEC Paris was the diversity. Because of the diversity of my class, I feel like I am obtaining a global outlook by learning from people who possess different ways of thinking and doing things. It has also allowed me to learn from different cultures first-hand, whilst developing a professional network from which, I am sure, I will benefit in the future. Within the Latin American community, I have benefited from the understanding of our similarities and the relations among the countries. In addition, I got to know the working cultures of these countries, which I found important since there are many Latin American companies that have operations in Peru.
The events kicked off on February 4th with a fair in which all the Latin-American countries were represented. This fair allowed us to display a little of our cultures through snacks, drinks, and images of our countries. It was satisfying to see so many people from all over the world discovering and enjoying our colors and flavors. During the fair, we also enjoyed some Salsa and Argentinian Tango displays so the crowd could experience and enjoy some Latin American rhythms.
The next day we organized a Mexican dinner that was a huge success: we sold the 110 tickets available in just one day. During dinner, a Mariachi band performed special song requests and delighted people with both happy and emotional songs, while students drank margaritas made by part of the Mexican gang. After this, we had an all‐night party at the Piano Bar that included beating and breaking a candy-filled Piñata. People enjoyed modern songs from all over Latin America, including the well-known rhythms of Reggaeton, Salsa and Bachata, among others.
I found organizing the Latin week as a rewarding and educational opportunity. Leading and organizing these events for around 200 people, while I managed my time in order to fulfill my academic responsibilities, was a great experience. However, I have to say that for me the highlight of all this was to see how much all of us enjoyed the activities we organized, and the satisfaction we, the Latin American community, shared at the end of the Latin week. I personally believe that discovering new cultures and experiencing other customs has allowed me to understand different ways of thinking and to obtain knowledge I cannot obtain from just books. Therefore, I am really looking forward to all the cultural weeks that will take place in the next weeks, especially because I haven’t been in any of the countries that will be presented in the cultural weeks to come.