Ricardo De Armas
Ricardo De Armas
Home Region

Caracas, Venezuela

Undergrad Education

Universidad Metropolitana, 2005

Previous Experience

Procter & Gamble, Caracas

HBS Activities

Club Latinoamericano, Soccer Club, Outdoors Club, Finance Club

“The beauty of the case method is that the professor doesn't provide the answers.”

Ricardo De Armas leapt into business at an early age, cofounding a computer-hardware retail operation in his second year of college. After graduation, he sold his stake in the business and worked full-time for Procter & Gamble in Caracas, Venezuela.

"In school, I concentrated on banking," Ricardo says, "but in my first internship, I found it very bureaucratic. P&G gave me a chance to pursue finance in a more dynamic environment." Over a four- and a-half-year tenure, his responsibilities were both deep and broad. "At first, I oversaw all production costs for feminine-care products in Latin America," says Ricardo. "Then, in a senior position, I managed material and productions costs for our baby-care business. Finally, I was involved at the intersection of marketing and marketing research as financial analyst for Ace detergent [the South American equivalent of Tide]."

Value of shared experiences

To make his next career move, Ricardo wanted an MBA. Choosing HBS came easily. "The alumni network here is the best," says Ricardo. "Not just in size, but in quality. Alumni are always receptive to students. And when I talked to my former supervisors and friends about my MBA options, they all said, 'HBS.' "

"The case study is not something I ever had in college," Ricardo explains, "so at first, I was a little reticent. HBS challenges me to communicate more effectively — and to share ideas that are often contrary to many other opinions. But the beauty of the case method is that the professor doesn't provide the answers. You learn, not just through theory, but through the experiences of the other 89 people in your section."

"By studying all year with the same 89 people, you become very close," Ricardo adds. "Many of them have hardcore finance experience I don't have. But everyone has something to contribute. For me, it's the experience of managing products in a market where 50-percent of the base is lower income — that's a source of insight I'm able to bring to the group."

Streets of New York

Last December, Ricardo joined about 40 HBS colleagues for a one-day, whirlwind tour of five Wall Street banks: UBS, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. "Usually, we were welcomed by a few associates," says Ricardo. "The highlight of the day was when Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, came down to speak with us, taking questions for twenty or thirty minutes."

Dimon's may be the kind of career path Ricardo would like to pursue. This summer, he'll assume an internship with Citigroup in New York.