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News Stories · Leadership

2017 Best MBAs: Andrea Michahelles Barreno, IMD

Poets & Quants profiles outstanding MBA participant
May 2017

Andrea Michahelles Barreno


“Energetic and analytical engineer. Volunteer by heart, true friend and action driven. Loves to smile and ask questions.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun fact about yourself: Sometimes I am so self-absorbed in my own thoughts, that I get injured easily in domestic accidents.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor in Engineering, Universidad de Lima, Peru, 1st of class 2006

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Miebach Consulting, CEO

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Firmenich, Switzerland

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon, Senior Vendor Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
  • Honors: Top 10% of class
  • Fondation Vaudoise pour la Formation Bancaire (FVFB) and the Association Vaudoise des Banques (AVB) award for being a contributor in the classroom, showing outstanding openness of attitude, capacity for overcoming obstacles, teamwork and development over the year.
  • Welshe Award given to outstanding female participants of the program
  • Staton Scholarship awarded
  • Member of the Yearbook Committee
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?


  • Graduating with honors in the MBA, being a non-native speaker
  • Developing an outstanding International Consulting Project with my team, awarded by the customer with a grant of 15.000 CHF for scholarships, thanks to our performance


  • The 2016 Yearbook, a masterpiece, developed on time and budget
  • Competing in the Salsa contest of the MBATs
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
  • Started the operations of the company I worked for (German Consulting Firm) in Lima, Peru at the age of 25.
  • Was accountable for the development of 20 people in the role of CEO in the leading Consulting Firm in Supply Chain Management and Operations in Peru.
  • Led the most important logistic and operational projects in Peru, managing a wide range of budgets up to 100 Million Euro.
  • Led and developed an NGO to help low-income entrepreneurs with more than 800 beneficiaries and won several contests of social responsibility.
Who was your favorite MBA professor?

It was a combination of two:

  • Goutam Challagalla, who made me fly and dream about Marketing, discovering an obsession for understanding customers.
  • Nuno Fernandes, who made me land and put my feet on the ground, looking at the numbers in Finance.
What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?

I really loved the combination of the Leadership stream and the Psychoanalysis elective that we took during the whole year. It made me more self-aware of my own patterns and demons.

To complement, the elective “Truths, Lies and Values” gave me a huge insight: 1% of the world population are psychopaths (people that feel no guilt), and the incidence on Managers is between 4% and 10%. So, now, when I meet people and listen to them or witness their actions, I understand a lot of things that before I thought were personal.

Why did you choose this business school?

IMD is famous for its small class of 90 brilliant, interesting people, experienced, with a lot to share in the classroom, in both practical experience and discussions.

I was looking for a personalized education where each individual counts! Not a massive, unique recipe for all the students, but a bespoke approach.

Very powerful network.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general?

The discovery trips to several countries, with some highlights like the conferences we gave in London, Munich, Zurich, Lausanne, Monterrey and San Francisco and the workshops in Silicon Valley. I enjoyed being accompanied through this journey by a diverse mix of executives, with different cultures, backgrounds and interesting opinions.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you?

All the internal and reflective process, because I was taken out of my comfort zone permanently, making myself question my own values and behaviors, and breaking with my own paradigms and stereotypes.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?

Dare to change and embrace feeling uncomfortable: that’s the only way one can truly learn. No pain, no gain.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

The myth of initiation and courage: A bunch of 90 crazy executives jumping into the freezing Lac Lemon in the middle of the winter.

What was your biggest regret in business school?

I think we all wish we could have spent more time with friends. However, I am grateful that I could build several true friendships that I am certain I will keep for a lifetime.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire?

Definitely John Perng, who got sick during the MBA with a very strange virus and was paralyzed for several weeks. Witnessing his strength of character, being optimistic despite the adversity was really inspiring and gave me a different perspective.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…

Most of the important problems I had were related to people and soft skills, and I became aware I needed to reflect and find my own leadership style.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…

I would have continued my career in logistics. Thanks to the MBA, I am trying a new function in a new industry and in a new geography.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?

To own my own business in the winery industry, hopefully in Peru and to develop a social business.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?

My husband, because as any professional, I have my ups and downs. When I have felt small and like a little fish in a pond, he always reminds me that I am a shark, that I am courageous and that I can do anything I am fully determined to.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?

The Peruvian who always smiles, a fair and a good friend, who loves debate, and who made things happen.

Favorite book: I always come back to 100 years of Loneliness of Nobel Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and to my favorite poem book “The Black Heralds” of the Peruvian Cesar Vallejo.

Favorite movie or television show: The Green Mile

Favorite musical performer: Juan Diego Flores, a Peruvian opera tenor, and Juan Luis Guerra, a Latin music performer

Favorite vacation spot: Macchu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru. The best spot to be impressed by nature and human greatness.

Hobbies: More than a hobby, volunteering is a passion and a commitment

What made Andrea such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Analytical, curious thinker, with a passion for designing innovative strategies and solving complex problems with measurable results, Andrea comes with 9+ years of international experience in strategy and supply chain consulting and engineering in a multicultural environment. As part of the twenty three percent of the female executives in the class, Andrea is goal-oriented, self-motivated, with an energetic personality and a drive to create a lasting impact for clients and develop talent in teams. She has shown outstanding maturity and professionalism during the year, as shown also with the various awards she was granted. We wish her well in her new position in Amazon.”

The MBA Office Team

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