“Business is not black and white – it requires open discussions among people with multiple perspectives.”

By the time Luis Cervantes was in his third year of college, he was pursuing his business ambitions through a kind of education sandwich: “I took classes in the morning and the evening, with work in between,” he says. “Doing both gave me a wider perspective and a foot-up in my career.”

Through an internship and employment at UBS, Luis gained exposure first to wealth management, then investment banking. “It was military-type training within the financial sector,” he says. “I worked with the most capable professionals in the industry.” After UBS, Luis spent three years with Advent International in Mexico City and Sao Paulo, the largest private equity firm in Latin America and one of the largest in the world.

Although the positions gave Luis “a broad operational view” and hands-on experience with IPOs and acquisitions, he remained “a true believer in the value of the MBA,” particularly one that could engage him with students “from all over the world with different experiences and interests.”

A true sense of community

“When I thought of the MBA,” says Luis, “I thought of HBS. Everything here – faculty, classes, networks – is among the best. HBS assembles the most diverse set of students in one place, which is the right way to study business. Business is not black and white – it requires open discussions among people with multiple perspectives.”

Yet for Luis, the most “fantastic thing about HBS has been the sense of community here. I anticipated finding smart and accomplished people, but I’ve found that they’re friendly – people who build strong bonds, people who share big social goals and interests.”

Luis’ wife, Priscilla, an architect with a firm in Mexico that she manages from Boston, has found community at HBS as well. “There are not many better places to start a married life,” Luis observes. “We’ve found a great community of people with similar interests. While Priscilla is managing her business, she’s taking classes in cooking, Portuguese, and design.”

“When you come here,” Luis says, “you expect an excellent academic program. But your true education is the sum of everything that happens here every day.”