Alejandro Leano

Alejandro Leano

Alejandro Leano

Nationality: Colombian/French
Programme: Full-time MBA, 2016
Pre-MBA: Commercial Manager, GE Digital Energy, Paris, France
Post-MBA: Chief Business Development Officer, Infinitum Cartagena, Bogota, Colombia
Current industry: Real Estate
Transitions made: Industry, Location, Function

Why did you choose the Cass MBA?

As a Commercial Manager I learnt on the job many aspects of the business world but never had the proper academic training to support the knowledge. For this reason, I was motivated to pursue an MBA. In parallel, the programme would be the adequate transition from the corporate world to become an entrepreneur.

I chose Cass Business School because I wanted to be based in London and complete a 12-month programme. I liked the facilities, faculty, programme structure, and overall, the support Cass gave to future entrepreneurs. The admissions team arranged for me to sit in on a core class with the MBA students, so I got a sense of bonding amongst the cohort. Other programmes do not provide the "family" environment I have found at Cass, instead they foster a cut-throat environment, which limits the learning experience.

What did you enjoy most on the MBA?

The overall programme experience exceeded my expectations. The faculty were experienced, knowledgeable and made lectures interesting despite the wide range of student backgrounds. Parallel activities such as water rafting, Achieving your Potential Week in Sandhurst, careers talks and company presentations among others, complemented the academic learning in the right way that enables students to get a full picture of how the business world works.

The most rewarding experience for me was discovering fast reading. As simple as it may sound, knowing about this skill has opened an enormous vantage point for my personal efficiency. I had never heard about this and it’s something that helped me capitalise on every front.

How would you describe your overall experience of the MBA?

My classmates were diverse, energetic and expressive. During lectures it was refreshing to have input from different students, which depicts their interpretation of a given subject based on their unique professional and cultural backgrounds. I was surprised by the level of maturity of some students despite their young age.

The learning experience was truly invigorating. Even though I was in sales management for five years after being an engineer and having access to such contrasting worlds, the MBA gave yet another learning perspective that reinstated the importance of seeing the big picture.  Classes were taught in two different ways.  There was the more traditional method with faculty covering the content through slides and examples, and then leaving it up to us to complete learning in an autonomous way. The other method was in a more interactive manner where we were pushed to be creative and reason from scratch, generating ideas and brainstorming. This was refreshing, and I found that each style was used appropriately depending on the area subject.

Having grown up in a large city such as Bogota and having lived in smaller towns, I definitely enjoyed living in a big metropolis such as London. Previously, I lived in Paris for five years and even though it’s a city with a plethora of experiences to offer, I found London had so much more to offer. The school’s location definitely has its advantages over schools that are not located in London.

How has the Cass MBA programme impacted your career?

The Cass MBA programme enabled me to gain confidence on entrepreneurial matters. I was too scared to fail, but now I understand that investors will not take you seriously after it’s your third or fourth failure. It also taught me the intrinsic meaning of many concepts that are commonly used in business but whose true importance is sometimes overlooked. In parallel, it made me understand how complementary subjects such as organizational behavior, human resources and ethics are key in achieving success. Again, these are known stances, but I felt I did not give them enough importance. Overall, having thorough experience in the corporate world, it was of great value interacting with other successful individuals outside of the corporate world and sharing best practices.