Bachelor’s in Business Administration, College of William and Mary
Senior Relationship Manager, Corporate Banking at Banco de America Central, Guatemala City
Senior Product Specialist, EMEA at nCino, Inc
Sebastien chose to study an MBA because he wanted to continue developing his professional career and enhance his business skills. After 6 years in Corporate Banking he was keen to change jobs and industries, and realised an MBA degree would help him make this transition. He was also aware that in order to continue to grow professionally he would need to expand the breadth of his overall business and management skills to grow his professional resume.
Your time at Imperial College Business School
Why did you choose to study your programme at Imperial College Business School?
Imperial was a clear choice for me given the fact that it is located in one of the most important business hubs of the world, and is part of one of the best known university brands worldwide. Plus it has a small but diverse MBA cohort. The programme’s blended focus on innovation and entrepreneurship and the more traditional business management classes were of great appeal to me during my application process and something that pushed me outside my comfort zone throughout the programme.
What was the most important learning point you took with you from the Business School? And the most surprising thing about the programme?
I can safely say the biggest learning point from the MBA programme is the way I now think about and approach the business problems. From interacting with classmates and professors whilst solving case studies in class to working in different groups for our assigned class projects, I got an understanding of others points of view and shaped my approach to each decision and project I am faced with.
I wouldn’t say I was surprised by this, given I was stepping in to one of the world’s top MBA programmes, but I was taken away by the quality, level of dedication and knowledge of many of our professors. From our Corporate Finance classes, to our Innovation and Entrepreneurship class and the Imperial Innovation Challenge – each one of our professors made the class engaging and helped advance my knowledge in each topic.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
- Know why you want to pursue an MBA and what you plan to get out of it. Although I didn’t know exactly what job role or company I’d like to join after the MBA, I did have an idea of what my interests were and what were some of the key business areas I wanted to strengthen. Imperial’s wide range of elective courses allow you to both specialise in a specific topic and take classes that are out of your comfort zone – I highly recommend taking a mix of both.
- Be prepared to learn, to work hard but also to meet great people and make lifelong friends. A great part of pursuing an MBA is building relationships with your classmates that will last a lifetime. Try you to get to know everyone on a personal level and build these relationships.
- Be ready to step outside your comfort zone – whether it’s by participating in class, working on class projects with people that speak different languages and have different professional backgrounds than yours or launching a new entrepreneurial project – if there was ever a time to try new things, your MBA year is it.
Tell us about your current job
How was your career transformed following your programme?
One of the biggest benefits was able to do what is called the 'triple jump', which basically means transitioning into a new role within a different industry and country upon graduation. Having an MBA degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world and being located in one of the world’s most important business hubs opened the doors to many job opportunities in various sectors, especially in Fintech which is where I ended up.
Having access to many London based companies allowed me to join one of the fastest growing companies in the industry.
I would say the biggest impact this role has had on my career is that I am now working in a role that is focused on the EMEA region, a considerable step up from my previous Latin American focus. This has in turn opened the door to exciting new challenges for me that I look forward to tackling moving forward.
How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?
Some of the most important skills I learned during my MBA were teamwork, how to shift my focus on delivering value to customers and the importance that innovation and digital transformation is having across many industries. One of the things I enjoy the most about my role at nCino is that I’m able to apply all 3 of these skills daily, whether it be internally or when dealing with our customers and prospects.
What do you enjoy most about your current work?
The company culture at nCino has been phenomenal, even from the early stages of the interview process. I can say that the company’s values are very much aligned to my own. I get to work with the most diverse group of individuals, from which I learn something new every day.
What I really enjoy from my role is the interactions with some of the biggest players within the financial services industry as well as some of the new challengers that are disrupting the market, both provide for great learnings and it’s satisfying to feel like I’m playing a small part in their digital transformation projects.
What are the most exciting/difficult challenges facing your sector currently?
The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the need for innovation and digital transformation across all players within the financial industry sector. Being a cloud-based SaaS solution has put nCino in a great position to take advantage of the situation and become that trusted partner that many institutions are looking for to drive forward their digital transformation programs. Every day I look forward to these opportunities and how we can make a bigger positive impact in the industry.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
I’ve always believed in the power of a strong alumni network – having graduated from college in the US, I know how important alumni networks are and the amount of time and resource that gets put into it from all stakeholders involved. I have always had a sense of paying my gratitude forward, whether it be by donating back or getting involved in the alumni community. A big part of why you choose a specific school is its brand and alumni network that you immediately become a member of after graduating.
Funny enough I got my role at nCino in great part through another Imperial MBA alumnus that I met at a networking event organised by the Business School, which goes to show how important a good alumni network is and the doors this might open for you.
Have you volunteered at the Business School since you graduated? If so, why do you feel it’s important to volunteer your time and experience?
Ever since graduating, I have become part of Imperial’s Business School Alumni Ambassadors. Our key focus so far has been on how to improve alumni engagement, which has obviously been hard due to the heavy lockdowns across the UK and the rest of the world. I look forward to contributing towards creating a more engaged community.