Two Weeks in Latin America

HEC Paris representatives Aidan O’Connor and Sara Vanos meet with potential students during a Bogota MBA fair.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aidan O’Connor, I am relatively new to HEC Paris and relatively new to France in general. Like 90% of the HEC Paris MBA candidates, I am outside of my native borders (Canada, in my case) and adjusting to life in a new country. Fortunately, discovering other parts of the world is a passion of mine as I’ve been lucky to travel to almost 50 countries, so having the opportunity to represent the HEC Paris MBA Program as a Marketing and Recruitment Manager in Latin America and the Middle East is a perfect fit for me. And in February I did just that, by visiting five countries and six cities in two weeks.

Here’s what I learned.

Heeding the advice from current MBA candidates, like Jean Pierre and Claudia from Peru, Domingo from Chile, and Raphael, Rodolfo, and Anderson from Brazil, I was prepared to take on each country for the first time. What I wasn’t prepared for, but happily surprised by, was the overwhelming amount of interest from prospective candidates in each location. Just as we had hoped, the HEC Paris brand is becoming more and more recognized worldwide. My days and nights were jam-packed with 1-to-1 meetings, MBA fairs and our own hosted events. With every interaction, I encountered fantastic profiles, genuine kindness and undeniable passion; all of which will surely contribute to the steady growth of HEC Paris MBA candidates from Latin America.

It was great meeting alumni currently living in Mexico City, including Ruben Yahir Ahumade (MBA ’13), Guillermo Ferrari (MBA ’13), Cesar Vergara Sanroman (MBA ’16) and Daniel Elizondo (MBA ’16).

I also learned, unsurprisingly, that most prospective candidates are interested in changing their geography, industry or function, and I’m very thankful to the alumni on-hand who shared their unique perspectives on changing at least one of the three. For instance, Thiago Castello (Brazilian, MBA ’16) and Luiz Sollero (Brazilian, MBA ’16), who joined me in Rio de Janeiro, changed all three. Both just started working for Amazon; Thiago in Luxembourg and Luiz in Paris.

From the endless sand of Copacabana Beach, to the colorful, unique houses of Bogota, I found a different kind of beauty around every corner. It was frankly very inspiring to meet so many motivated individuals. As a result, I gained an acute understanding into the candidate-and-application process that I didn’t have before.

I cannot wait to do it all over again in September.

Latin America notables from a first-timer:

  •  Peruvian food is incredible, especially Aji de Gallina.
  •  When it’s 30+ degrees Celsius, nothing beats a pisco sour.
  •  Flying over the Andean Mountains (Andes) is absolutely amazing.

Interested in the HEC Paris MBA Program? Fill out a Candidate Profile today to receive a preliminary evaluation of your candidacy or contact me directly at

Written by Aidan O’Connor, Marketing and Recruitment Manager for Latin America and the Middle East