Sainsbury Management Fellows

Interview 7: Víctor Manzanares Bonilla

Víctor Manzanares Bonilla (MEng Polytechnic University of Madrid [UPM]), IESE

Víctor Manzanares Bonilla has wide experience in large civil construction projects.  He started his career as a consulting engineer taking part in the study, design, planning and control of different infrastructure projects in Spain and Saudi Arabia. He then moved to London and joined Dragados for Bank Station Capacity Upgrade Project where he spent the last four years.  In that period, Victor assumed different responsibilities in the Station Enabling Works section, leading multidisciplinary teams and managing large civils and MEP diversions as well as Station fit-out works, minimising the impact to the passengers and ensuring the safety of the operational railway.   

What do you hope to achieve through your MBA experience?
As a civil engineer, finance and business are not part of my core background so I am really looking forward to addressing these knowledge gaps that will have increasing importance as I progress in my professional career. I am sure that IESE’s cutting-edge academic program and unique set of values will provide me with the right tools and skills to overcome any future challenges.

Also, living and studying in such a diverse community of students from all over the world will offer me a life-changing experience through which I hope to build lifelong relationships and a strong international network.

How will you use your MBA to further your career?
I am passionate about the importance and impact that infrastructures have on the communities and how you can transform and improve everyone’s life through them. During the MBA I want to strengthen my business and financial knowledge as well as my leadership skills in order to help society by developing innovative infrastructures that are sustainable technically, environmentally and financially.

Likewise, the MBA will give me access to a powerful network of companies and key stakeholders that would be out of reach for me otherwise and will definitely boost my impact on society.

What are your hopes/expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
It is an honour and a privilege for me to be part of such an outstanding community of highly skilled professionals that share my passions and can complement me. I am really looking forward to start collaborating and sharing my ideas with them in order to promote economic and social development. Also, I believe that having the support and mentorship of the SMF network will contribute to further enhance my career.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school?
I strongly believe in mentorship and that helping others is the best way to give back. This is why I am committed to get involved in the mentorship program to share my learnings and experiences with future generations of engineers and give them my support and guidance through the first stages of their careers. Also, I look forward to participating in different initiatives in the SMF community such as Engineers in Business Competitions and providing financial support to the fellowship.

When did you start thinking about doing an MBA?
Although studying an MBA has always been in my mind, it was not until last year as I tackle a more senior position within my company that I felt that I needed to get some business foundations if I wanted to complement my profile, progress in my career and have a bigger impact. I have also been in contact with some MBA alumni and students and, after getting their input and hearing their experiences, I knew that studying an MBA was the right step in my career.

What did you learn by going through the scholarship application process?
Pursuing an MBA, and especially deciding on where to take it, is a very personal decision that involves many different and personal reasons. Going through the scholarship application process, for me, was a self-awareness exercise. This process made me take a step back and have a look at my whole life and professional career. It also pushed me to reflect on my career goals and ambitions, on the values that have driven each of my decisions and on what impact I wanted to make in the future society.

What tip would you give to someone seeking financial support to do an MBA?
Studying a full-time MBA is a financial challenge. It requires careful planning and understanding of all founding routes. Seeking financial support to do it can sometimes be tough and frustrating, but it is worth the effort. My advice would be: start early and look at all available options, understand what drives you to the MBA and what the MBA means to you, and apply to those scholarships that align with your profile and goals but, most importantly, your principles and vision.

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