Poets & Quants names Pablo Bouvier of W. P. Carey one of 2018 Best EMBAs

The news website dedicated to the graduate business education market reached out to 68 full-time MBA programs (50 American and 18 international) to call for Best & Brightest MBA nominees, its fourth annual celebration of students who've made a lasting impact on their business schools. Poets & Quants received 239 nominations from 65 b-schools. Of the 100 students featured, one is Pablo Bouvier, who considers himself "a passionate dreamer, cooperating to make a life-enhancing and sustainable world.” Learn more about him.

Age: 38

Hometown: This is a challenging question. I was born in Minas, a small city in Uruguay, South America, where most of my family still lives. I have also lived in the UK, Spain, Morocco, and Mexico. However, I have been in Arizona for the past eight years, so I believe Phoenix is my second hometown now, and I still feel connected to those other places around the world where I lived.

Family members: My wife Vicky is a graphic designer and talented art crafter. My son Agustin (5) and my daughter Paula (3) are both Arizonans.

Fun fact about yourself: In my first international endeavor, when I was moving to the UK, I lived a unique experience when arriving at a small airport in the north of the island. Due to my lack of business skills, I couldn’t clearly explain the purpose of my trip, so the immigration personnel couldn't grant me access to the country and I was required to fly back to Spain. This embarrassing story made me very famous in my company and still remains valid among my colleagues.

Undergraduate school and degree:

Universidad de la Republica – Uruguay

Bachelor’s degree in civil and structural engineering

Where are you currently working? I joined NextEra Energy Resources last November as the manager for project controls and scheduling for the Engineering & Construction Business Group. My team of nine oversees the planning and scheduling activities for our two hundred projects for all different technologies (wind, solar, energy storage, etc.) making sure projects are developed as per the expected plans and are executed on time.

Extracurricular activities, community work, and leadership roles: As part of NextEra, I enjoy being part of the “Power to Care” volunteer program, dedicating hours in helping to make a difference in the communities we do business. This program allowed NextEra employees to contribute more than 85,000 hours in 2016 through company-sponsored projects and personal volunteer time, supporting education, and driving economic development and public safety. Power to Care volunteers assembled healthy meals for children, supported fundraising events and backed different science and technology initiatives.

Personally, I have visited schools and relished explaining to young children about renewable energy technologies, how they work, and the benefits they bring to the environment. I am always amazed at how kids easily understand the needs and advantages of these innovative solutions.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? First, the career move. Thanks to the impetus I got during the first year of the MBA, I was able to make the decision of leaving my previous company to spend several months redefining my professional future. After having spent 10 intensive and amazing years working around the world, I moved out of the status quo into the unknown and found a new organization whose values are fully aligned with my personal beliefs.

Second, because of the new position and the MBA, I have traveled from Florida to Arizona every weekend to attend classes and will successfully complete the program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have been able to actively participate in the engineering and construction of some of the largest and most innovative, clean renewable energy projects in the U.S., Mexico, UK, Spain, Morocco, and Uruguay. I have been part of the leading teams that built Ain Beni Mathar, the first hybrid solar – natural gas plant in the African Maghreb region, as well as Solana Generating Station, the largest parabolic trough solar plant in the world, and the first one in the U.S. with molten salt thermal energy storage that has enough capacity to power 70,000 homes from green energy. Ultimately, I want to be a small contributor to a more sustainable future for our children.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? I enjoyed all the courses from the EMBA, but I would like to mention “Globalization, Business and Markets” as one of the most captivating classes in the program. It was fascinating to analyze, discuss, and understand the divergences and similarities in doing business in different countries and how political, economic, and social environments influence institutions and organizations. Besides, we were exposed to enlightening concepts that helped us understand the current international outlook and develop our own opinions.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? From the beginning, it was clear that neither an online program nor a full-time program was the right fit for me, as I was hoping to undergo the in-person learning experience and I also aspired to continue to be fully employed.

When I decided I was going to pursue an executive MBA, I researched some of the best business schools on the West coast so I could attend classes on weekends. The W. P. Carey School was the best alternative, not only because of its great reputation and strong faculty but also due to its innovative program and selection process for executive participants.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Learning not only from the professors but from my peers. Having the possibility to participate in debates with professionals from completely different industries such as finance and sales, to supply-chain managers, doctors in dentistry and marketing leaders gave me the opportunity to understand the world of business on a complete sense and expand my strategic vision. Thanks to this exposure I feel stronger to face more important leadership roles in the future.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? My family and I went on a week-long vacation to New York City with some friends and I had assignments due those days for both work and school. I didn’t want to fail my loved ones, so I didn’t miss any of the tours. The only way I was able to complete all these tasks was by working on them at night when everyone else was resting and recharging batteries for the following day. I slept very few hours, but the great time together was worth the fatigue.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?Do it! You won’t regret it. However, be prepared to freeze most of your personal life while you go through this fascinating experience. And try to effectively develop a plan for every activity you have to perform so you can optimize the use of your time.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school?

Myth – The recommended hours required for studying for the EMBA classes are not needed and you will need fewer hours to be prepared for classes.

Reality – From my experience, you will need to spend many hours every week to be ready before every Friday morning. The dedication at home every night and every weekend is the key to success.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I don’t regret anything about the learning experience. I’m just sorry about my son’s soccer games I missed, the times I couldn’t take my daughter to her ballet lessons, and the weekends I couldn’t be with my wife, family, and friends.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire all my classmates and feel that I couldn’t have been part of a better group. I would like to mention Karen Marshall as an exceptional participant because I believe each of her words and contributions in class positively impacted the rest of us. We could always count on her to ask the perfect questions and cast doubts on statements, unraveling the most complex problems from the different subjects.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …I realized I didn’t want to stay working in the field and in the mud, with my boots and hard hat for the rest of my professional life. I needed new knowledge to be able to understand the world of business, to have a broader vision of the different disciplines impacting organizations, and to get a new set of tools to be a better contributor to the society.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be … probably in the same project, company, role, city, and house thatI was in two years ago.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? While I have no idea in what part of the world I am going to be in the future, I know I would like to become a stronger leader that's able to influence others, younger generations, in particular, to continue our fight for a more sustainable world. I dream of becoming a reference for my industry: Someone with unquestionable technical credibility that can convince business and political leaders that the future of the planet depends only on us and the decisions we make every day.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A passionate, optimistic, humble, analytical thinker, and an open-minded professional who effectively contributed to the class during the EMBA journey.

Favorite book:

I can’t name just one:

1) "One Hundred Years of Solitude" –Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2) "Back to the Top of the World" –Hans Ruesch

3) "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking" –Susan Cain

Favorite movie or television show:

Movie: "Slumdog Millionaire"

TV Shows: "Friends," "Lost"

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

First, I would like to become a professor, so I can transfer knowledge to future generations.

Second — while 10 years ago my bucket lists included “travel the world” — I now feel I have achieved this goal. I have marked it off my list and have changed it for a new one: moving back to Uruguay in the future, or at least spend several months there every year, to be close to our parents, our brothers, sisters, and our lifelong friends.

What made Pablo such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“After graduating as a civil engineer in his home country of Uruguay, Pablo Bouvier began his career working there in the construction industry. After eight years, he joined an international construction firm as a site manager and worked completing the first integrated solar energy project in a very remote area of Morocco. He did this under budget and ahead of schedule.

Next Pablo worked on renewable energy projects in Spain and in the United Kingdom. His firm then moved him to the U.S. where he led projects in sustainable energy in California, Texas, and Arizona while continuing to build a reputation as a very effective manager in different business environments.

When Pablo joined our EMBA program, he brought a rich global perspective gleaned from working successfully in very different cultural and institutional environments. Although the EMBA program was his first university degree program taught in English, he excelled in class discussions. He also excelled in quickly learning about the U.S. institutional environment as demonstrated by his performance in our ‘Business Strategy and Public Policy’ course. This course examines threats and opportunities emerging from the public policy process and takes place in the state capitol and in Washington, D.C. His analyses of public policy issues and political strategies placed him at the top of his class.

Shortly after starting the second year of the program, he was recruited to a new job overseeing the execution of all combined energy projects for Nextera &mdash the largest renewable energy producer in the world.”

Gerry Keim, professor of management and entrepreneurship


This article was originally published on Poets & Quants. See the entire list of the Best & Brightest: Class of 2018.

By Jeff Schmitt