Our 2018 Scholarship of Excellence Recipients

What Receiving the Scholarship for Excellence means to HEC Paris MBA students

Every year, the HEC Foundation awards more than $1 million in scholarships to help attract the world’s top students to the HEC Paris MBA. Through the HEC Paris Scholarship of Excellence, recipients are empowered to transform their careers and excel in a rapidly changing business world.

Three current students tell us what being awarded the school’s merit-based scholarship has meant to them.


Ana Cristina Figueroa

Ana Cristina Figueroa

Ana Cristina Figueroa, MBA ’22

Home City and Country: Guatemala City, Guatemala

Previous Education: Bachelor of Arts, Science Technology and Society (STS), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA

Pre-MBA job: I worked in CMI (Corporación Multi Inversiones), a trans-Latin American food and financial conglomerate where I was a Strategic Management of Investments Coordinator. I assisted in the creation of strategic plans and initiatives for recently acquired businesses in South and Central America to ensure their long- and short-term profitability.

What do you think will be your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your intake?  

I am the only person from Guatemala, I come from the food industry and I am a woman. That unique blend of attributes and experiences allows me to bring a different perspective to my intake and our classroom discussions. What’s more, you will rarely see me without a smile, except when I have to walk to class in the rain. 🙂

Why was receiving the Scholarship for Excellence important to you?  

It made coming to HEC Paris feasible. I was originally admitted to the September 2020 intake, but because of COVID, all the airports in Guatemala were closed. I had no choice but to defer to January 2021, but I had already quit my job. That meant I was unemployed for almost 6 months. Being able to count on the funds from the scholarship meant that the HEC Paris MBA remained a possibility even in the face of unemployment.

Having the Excellence Scholarship is one of the reasons I am able to be here today. Now I’m living half-way around the world, meeting people from all over and having amazing experiences like going to the in-person discussion with Daniel Kahneman. That’s something that I didn’t think would ever be possible.


Irakli Cheishvili

Irakli Cheishvili

Irakli Cheishvili, MBA ’22

Home City and Country: Kutaisi, Georgia

Previous Education: BBA at Free University Tbilisi, Georgia (IT Management specialization)

Pre-MBA job: I was a digital product owner at the Bank of Georgia. My team was responsible for developing sales and promo products and revamping the bank’s web eco-system.

What do you think will be your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your intake?

I have a good understanding of the Tech Industry. Right now, as the Tech Director for the MBA Council, I am in the process of developing a website for the Council. Hence, my most valuable contribution to the intake will be delivering a final product aligned with the initial concept.

Why was receiving the Scholarship for Excellence important to you?

There are two reasons:

One, it was a huge confidence boost. Receiving the Scholarship for Excellence was a validation stamp on my pre-MBA career choices and actions.

In addition, financial considerations played an important role in my university choice. As salaries in Georgia are quite low, without scholarship support it would have been impossible for me to pay for my tuition fees and living expenses.


Juan-Guillermo Villaveces

Juan Villaveces, MBA '21

Juan Villaveces, MBA ’21

Home City and Country: Bogota, Colombia

Previous Education: BA in Economics, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Pre-MBA job: I was working as Brand Manager of the Cream Portfolio at Alqueria, a major dairy-product manufacturer in Colombia.

What do you think will be your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your intake? One of the highlights of the HEC Paris MBA has been the opportunity to meet, engage with and make what I know will be lifelong friends from very different cultural and professional backgrounds. That being said, I find it impossible to talk about my individual contribution. I firmly believe it is every student in the cohort and the differences that exist between us that contribute to making this experience so unique.

Why was receiving the Scholarship for Excellence important to you?  

To be honest, it was financial support I wasn’t expecting to receive — that in itself made the scholarship extremely significant and special. Not only was it a validation of many years of hard work, but more importantly it was also a source of reassurance and encouragement to keep dreaming, thinking big, and aiming high.


All donations made to the HEC Foundation by MBA Alumni during #MBAGivingMonth  (October 1-31) will be exclusively used to finance scholarships to MBA students.