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The Power of the Network: An Example of Using Your Network to Start a Business

In this discussion, we talk with Omar Bey, a business professional completing his master’s in finance at UCEMA in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and dreaming of pursuing an MBA later in his career. After getting a degree in industrial engineering from ITBA, located in Buenos Aires, Omar has spent his professional life working a number of different jobs across various industries: sales, engineering, operations, and business development. He sat for the GMAT in 2015, but with the ever-shifting Argentinian economy, decided to stay home and get a master’s degree. Now, Omar is utilizing his network and reimagining his future as an entrepreneur. Read our discussion below to see how Omar has used his degree in engineering up till now, and how he is capitalizing on his network to move on to exciting new career prospects.


Did you encounter any challenges when taking the GMAT?

By that time I was single and was working at Iveco and traveling a lot. I took the GMAT in 2014 or 2015. I was not very responsible back then, let’s say. So I was not very prepared for the GMAT. In addition, I lived with my friend, who became my roommate, so every weekend we went out to parties, so it was really tough to prepare for the exam. Still, I tried to concentrate and get it done for the first time so I could see the complexity and understand how I should prepare in the future. I got a 600, which is fine, but not nearly enough to aim for an Ivy League school or a top school in Europe. I know that I will have to retake the GMAT in the future if I apply to business school later on.


Why didn’t you apply to business school back then?

I was going to go to school abroad but the situation changed, so I didn’t go. I started a master’s degree in finance at UCEMA here in Buenos Aires. I still plan to get my MBA in the future, though. I sat for the GMAT exam, but plans change. Argentina is so volatile, with the government and the dollar. I don’t complain though. I am happy with what I’m doing right now, learning a lot, building my own network, so it’s cool. Everything that happens here is an opportunity that you have to try and take advantage of.

Everything that happens here is an opportunity that you have to try and take advantage of.


How has your network developed over the years?

To be honest, I am really proud of my network. Nowadays, I look back and feel as though all throughout my professional life I have built my network. Okay, I need this, to go there, who do I call? Oh, I have the guy and I call him. So my entire career has been about building my network. I have good interpersonal skills and I get along well with people, and people I have gotten to know appreciate my interests and personality, so I would say that the weakness in my network might just be that I can always do better. Everyone in a network counts, so you can always meet more people. I don’t have a huge network related to MBAs, people with MBAs. I have some friends from my engineer studies who studied business at Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, but I can count those people on just my hands.


How is the master’s in finance helping you professionally, and how will the MBA help you in the future?

One of my drivers to get an MBA degree was to build a great network, hopefully at an Ivy League or at a top university in Europe. On the other hand, my master’s in finance, its aim was to get to know more about finance, about wealth management, about personal wealth management, which is why i wanted to do it because it’s specific. I am an engineer, an industrial engineer, so numbers are like my children. I thought this would be a great idea to learn about finance, because though I am an engineer, I had very few financial classes in my undergraduate degree studies. Before I got my master’s I started reading about finance, my girlfriend is really keen on personal wealth management so she pushed me to start reading more and learning more and taking courses, and because of my career formation doing a masters degree in finance was a good next step. Now as I’m in my second year, the networking I’m doing in finance is marvelous. And, I am looking forward, with 3 friends from my master’s program, to starting a business all together and becoming an entrepreneur. So, once we start it, hopefully it goes okay. And since we are 4, we are thinking of taking turns going to get an MBA or an executive MBA degree down the road. Once you start a business you need more networking and an MBA is the best way to do it.

I am looking forward, with 3 friends from my master’s program, to starting a business all together … Once you start a business you need more networking and an MBA is the best way to do it.


What kind of business do you have in mind?

We have three different bullets to focus on. The first one might be cryptocurrency exchange. We would be the middleman or the broker for the transaction. The second bullet would maybe be a digital bank in fintech. We would focus on democratizing access to the financial world for everyone. Since we are all really good, not me maybe, I’d be more of the businessman rather than the operations guy, but the three of them are really, really good at trading and understanding the economy. We are a really good team, and we want to focus on what is not satisfied in today’s market – in Latin America’s market, and Argentina’s market. And then the third bullet would be a hedge fund.


Your undergraduate degree was in industrial engineering. How have you utilized that degree thus far in your career?

I’ve always been near the automotive industry. I worked for Mercedes, Volkswagen, Iveco, which is mainly trucks, and then for a startup which is funded by Mercado Libre, where I was the executive for the automotive industry so that they can gain easy access to wide scale automotive parts sales. I sat with every big distributor and manufacturer of spare parts and accessories for automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, etc, so that they can sell through Mercado Libre, and get official stores. Now I am working with a big retail company that sells Michelin. As the engineer of the company I am building lots of projects for them. I have a lot of industrial engineering work to do. In the meantime I am sitting for this master’s degree, and dreaming of starting the business with my colleagues.


You spoke of aiming for top schools for your future MBA – did you have any specific schools in mind?

I am a big fan of Spain, I love Spain, so IE and IESE are two of my favorite options. Also maybe London, which would be nice. I am also looking forward to entering the financial world so maybe Chicago or Columbia or Rochester. 


Have you ever visited the USA?

Yes, many times. I’ve been to both coasts; I’ve been to Miami 3 or 4 times, Orlando twice, New York twice, Chicago for a couple of days, Boston. Last year I went with my girlfriend to Washington DC, Philly, New York. In 2015 I went with two friends to LA and Las Vegas. I really, really liked Philly, but of course New York is New York, it’s the best. I also loved Chicago, I want to go back to Chicago. I was there for 3 days before traveling to China. It was freezing cold, I was there December 26, 27, 28. So I would like to go back when it’s not as cold.

Take the next step in your career today.

Anish Merchant

CEO & Co-Founder

- "Preparing for the GMAT and applying for an MBA requires a tremendous commitment, and that doesn’t take into consideration the personal challenges our students must face when deciding if they want to leave their friends, families, and native cultures behind to advance their careers abroad. An MBA is not for everyone and that’s precisely what makes this advanced degree so valuable. 

For these reasons, we at Merchant only work with students we are confident have what it takes to succeed throughout the preparation and application processes.

Given an increased demand in our services, we do not have the ability to offer free consultation services to unserious applicants. If you are interested in learning more about Merchant, please fill out this form. After reviewing your LinkedIn profile, our team will be in touch with you if we feel you are a good fit for our services."