Real Humans of MBA Students: HEC Paris Executive MBA

HEC Paris Executive MBA

Danilo Cesar Da Silva, HEC Paris, Executive MBA


Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Danilo Cesar Da Silva, HEC Paris Executive MBA

Undergraduate Institution & Major:

UNIFEI Itajubá, BE Mechanical Engineering

Pre-MBA Work Experience:

19 years of experience in the oil and gas industry

Why Business School?  Why Now?

The decision for the executive program halfway through my professional life has been planned carefully. I believe in the power education has on broadening perspectives and renewing ideas.  After spending nineteen working for the same company, I have decided it was time to look into what was happening across different industries in a world that is much different from the one I discovered after completing my undergraduate program. With a dormant entrepreneurial mindset, I have been going through a significant transformation journey at HEC Paris. The program has been a catalyst for me, awakening the desire to pursue the development of concepts and test ideas.

Why did you pick your school/program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?

Choosing amongst several reputable institutions across the world is the very first challenge of an EMBA candidate. Various schools, each with a different focus, and several rankings are available for the candidate to start screening options and narrowing down choices. With so many options available, I started my search with the idea of finding an institution that has business education engraved in its history and is committed to evolving and advancing in the subject. Additionally, an institution that is consistently well-ranked amongst the main rankings is a testimony to the commitment to making an impact in the candidate’s future. HEC Paris has clearly stood out in my search. The history of an institution that has business education as its sole focus and that consistently is ranked amongst the best in the world thrilled me upon applying. HEC Paris, since very early in my application, demonstrated the commitment to making my EMBA journey not only enriching in knowledge but also enjoyable.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your graduating class?

In such a diverse and experienced cohort as the one I am part of, every individual brings to class a wide breadth of ideas.  My previous nineteen years of experience across several different roles and functions – operations, business management, business development, marketing, and sales– has helped me share my views and contribute to the vast range of topics with the rest of the participants.  I have also had the opportunity to have an extensive international career that has taken me to five continents. Having the context of business in this very diverse landscape has also given me the opportunity to contextualize some of the discussions with different perspectives in mind.  Additionally, the open-mindedness of being a professional seeking to discover how to reinvent himself and the desire to make an impact in society puts me in the position to seek input from others while constantly trying to share and contribute to a similar extent to other participants.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?

The reputation that precedes a Brazilian will always hold true. Socializing and having fun are engraved into people with my cultural background.  In my case, bartending went from a hobby to the expertise I have acquired over the years while celebrating occasions with family and friends. From the first few classes in a speakeasy set up in New Delhi to the nightclubs in Paris – I found in cocktail preparation the opportunity to create and surprise people around me.  Not only I have not disclosed it during the application, but I have also kept it a secret in the cohort– a secret I am glad to disclose as I look forward to entertaining the group.

Post-MBA Career Interests:

I am currently in the process of launching my own project where I will devote the second half of my professional life. The co-creation of my enterprise, together with another HEC Paris EMBA candidate, has been an important first step towards unleashing the plans for the future.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

Choosing the institution in which you will spend time, effort and financial resources to has to be carefully done. Just like any relationship, identifying the institution’s history, values, and track record is crucial.  With a thorough selection process, HEC Paris is very welcoming and promotes the right environment for candidates to perform at their best.  The transformation journey you will be signing up for starts right from your application. Make sure you enjoy every step along the way and take it as an opportunity to learn.  HEC Paris stands at no less than the prime position amongst all executive business programs globally and, as a prospective candidate, I encourage you to carefully look into all that the institution has to offer. Without a doubt, joining us will bring you memorable moments.

What is your initial impression of the school’s students/culture/community?

Having completed my undergraduate program at a university where a sense of belonging was ample, I have found in my HEC Paris cohort to be very similar to the ones I had almost two decades ago: a cohesive team of great people looking forward to learning and sharing in a professional and personal standpoint. Having lived in several different countries and with a clear understanding of the power of diversity, I see HEC Paris as an institution committed to diversity as a source of strength. The school thrives on bringing people together and promoting a sense of community that extends far beyond the physical boundaries of the school, reaching and engaging a vast group of alumni, professors, and professionals across the world.

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