LBS logo London experience. World impact.

Search for students

Mariano Gonzalez

  • Programme: LBS Sloan Masters
  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Job Pre-programme: Interim managing director at Grupo Altavista

“[At LBS] I had the chance to think about what I wanted to do for the next 10–20 years of my life. I had lost track of that when working 80-hour weeks for six years at both Altavista and in my previous role for a private equity firm.”

Being the interim managing director at Grupo Altavista was a defining period for Mariano Gonzalez. Having joined the Mexican company – which provides IT systems consulting and oil and gas chemicals – in 2014 as vice president for strategy and business development, he was suddenly given the top job. 

“My expectation when I took the role was to design and develop strategies that would help grow the company,” he says. “But within 60 days, I was taking over a turnaround operation and looking after day-to-day management, which is not what I wanted to do.”


In June 2015, Mariano quit the role and spent three months figuring out what was next. He eventually decided to take the Sloan programme at London Business School (LBS), believing it would help him rediscover his passion for business. 

“[At LBS] I had the chance to think about what I wanted to do for the next 10–20 years of my life. I had lost track of that when working 80-hour weeks for six years at both Altavista and in my previous role for a private equity firm.”    

Great Expectations

The Sloan programme has exceeded all of Mariano’s expectations. Since joining in January 2016, he has gained a fresh perspective on common business concepts such as strategic agility and innovation that help to identify and overcome challenges facing organisations. While some of the theories remain fairly consistent and sound, new strategic thinking taught on the programme has made Mariano aware of the importance of continuously evolving business strategies in line with the ever-changing corporate landscape. 


Mariano has also discovered how preconceived ideas and beliefs can positively or negatively influence people’s business decisions. Dominic Houlder, Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at LBS, shared his expertise on this concept with Mariano and his peers.


“We’ve looked at how someone’s personality is reflected in the company they have launched or inherited. The way we look at things influences our decision making. Dominic wants us to step back and think about how our own frameworks and guidelines can become blinders.”

Connecting the dots

Thinking of the divisions within an organisation as bathtubs is another lesson that sticks in mind for Mariano. He and his classmates now look at HR, IT, marketing and finance as tubs that are connected by a series of pipes and plumbing. This forces them to question how the system works if one of the pipes gets blocked or breaks. “We look at marketing, organisational behaviour and strategic frameworks in the same way and see how they connect with each other,” Mariano says. 


When he finishes his studies, Mariano plans to either find a job or start a business that satisfies his passion for developing strategies at companies in emerging markets. Achieving his aim will involve drawing on the powerful LBS network. 


You can talk to someone from India, Egypt, Japan or Russia and see how they managed a situation you find yourself in,” he says. “You learn new ways to do things and get instant feedback from someone from another culture. It’s about developing relationships with people who can provide support and help you achieve your goals.”