Why was getting a HBS MBA important to you?
HBS, in particular, appealed to me for its general management focus, the
diversity and quality of its people, its close alumni network, and of course,
the case study method. I believed this unique learning vehicle would allow me
to hear diverse and conflicting viewpoints, challenge my existing preconceived
ideas, and help me make business decisions in the future in a more powerful
has your overall HBS experience shaped your goals & career path?
Before HBS I tended to follow the status quo
without really taking a step back to understand what my key strengths were and
what I enjoyed. I was afraid to take risks and explore opportunities outside of
finance. HBS made me realize that I should pick a career that focuses on my
personal strengths and that I shouldn't be afraid to take risks.
are you most looking forward to in your career?
I grew up in South Africa, was educated in the
U.S., and have also lived and worked in the U.K., France and India. After HBS I
was looking for a career that could provide similar international opportunities.
In September 2010, I started working at Colgate-Palmolive in New York in a
brand management role. I chose Colgate for its global focus (less than 20% of
its revenues come from the U.S.), its strong presence in emerging markets, its
fundamental brand management training, and its dedication to developing its
people through rotations in different functions and markets. I'm looking
forward to managing a P&L, working in cross-functional groups, developing
teams, and working in an emerging market, hopefully Asia and Africa.
How has HBS
prepared you for your current role and your long term career?
HBS taught me to focus on my
strengths, listen to other people's opinions, challenge the status quo, and
take risks. At HBS I learned that it's not all about me. It's about making a
difference and about sticking to my values and principles. In the years that
follow, I hope to never lose sight of the things that really matter to me:
South Africa, developing and mentoring people, and creating and managing strong,
global brands worldwide. HBS will serve as my conscience as I embark on the
next step in my career.