Home Region

Ioannina, Greece

Undergrad Education

University of Ioannina, Mathematics, 2012

Previous Experience

Delivery Hero, Petobel GmbH, Chez Alexandre

HBS Activities

HBS Show, Executive Producer, 2019-20

“My main reason for an MBA is to be a better version of myself.”

Aspa Lekka takes pride in her Greek roots, but her journey does not begin from Olympian heights. "I come from a small city called Ioannina in northwest Greece of ~170,000 people," she explains. "I studied math in one of the best public universities in Greece, and my undergraduate grades weren’t excellent."

But she had two powerful forces on her side. For starters, she is an outstanding athlete, a professional handball player, and member of the Greek National Team. "One of the reasons I stayed in Ioannina," Aspa says, "is that I was a reasonable commuting distance from my handball team in Arta, one of the best in Greece." The other force is more interior, and even more powerful. "I realized I had global ambitions and wanted to compete in the larger world."

Aspa ventured out to Berlin where she joined a startup as a business analyst. "I started knowing nothing," she says. But she went above and beyond the call of duty, completing extra work to advance her skills. "I managed to build a number of models for digital marketing – it gave me deep knowledge of the business." By the time the startup failed, "I was one of the top analysts in digital marketing in Germany, and I got a lot of offers."

Meanwhile, Aspa was still competing professionally, and completing a Ph.D. in education, for which her research focused on how to help children learn statistics using digital games. Subsequent work for a food delivery company, Delivery Hero, expanded both the geographic reach and skills depth of her career, taking her from Russia to Malaysia to Singapore then back to Germany again, but now with the experience of managing over 100 employees under her belt.

A chance to pull it all together

In the back of her mind, Aspa always saw HBS as the pinnacle of business education. With the completion of her Ph.D., she let go of her athletic career to seize a bigger opportunity: "To be a better leader and eventually become CEO of a global company. Now was the time to apply to HBS and go one step further."

"I touched a lot of departments while working," Aspa says of her previous career. "This gives me a chance to pull it all together." At HBS, Aspa has found "incredible people, very accomplished yet very friendly. Any problem I have, I know I can reach out to at least 10 people for immediate help."

Aspa, perhaps drawing upon her mathematics perspective, sees HBS as having a multiplier effect. "There’s so much opportunity for us. HBS opens your vision and view. If, before HBS, I had seen '100’ as the limit, now it’s '10,000.’ I can do 100-times what I originally had in mind."

In fact, much of her HBS experience can be described as an amplification. As a volunteer with InSITE Fellows, Aspa is sustaining her interest in startups by consulting with two in Boston. After completing her MBA, she sees herself joining a "fast-growing startup in a managerial position. Even if I return to the same position as I had before, I will be much better at it. My main reason for an MBA is to be a better version of myself. At some point, I’d like to go back to Greece to help people realize their global opportunities, to help people see that they can accomplish more than they have in mind."