After a long trajectory, working in many industries and constantly developing and operating businesses, I can safely define myself as an entrepreneur. In the last few years, my partners and I have put our focus on the hospitality industry, developing our own projects and partnering with flagship hotel chains that trust our group to represent their brands. 

But I am also a student. I find academia and continuing education one of the most important pillars for success. And I firmly believe that learning is a process that should never stop. I value my relationship with my alma maters greatly, and when one of them presents an opportunity to continue enriching my knowledge base, I don’t pass it up. 

In December 2019 I participated in Columbia Business School’s Deal Camp: a private equity Bootcamp. An academic retreat that brought together top tier speakers from the private equity industry with successful executives from different backgrounds, and a group of advanced executive MBA students and faculty. The retreat took place in the beautiful Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in the Hamptons, NY, which made it feel like a scholarly getaway instead of a bootcamp.  

It was an intensive four-day retreat that allowed me to refresh, get up-to-date, and interact with people from the private equity world. We participated in discussions, heard presentations and case studies, and we all contributed our part based on our experiences. 

I was able to hear the latest advances and trends in the industry, from the very basics to deep insights from the experts. It was fascinating to hear about the importance of the private equity industry in today’s world, in which big companies handle billions of dollars in transactions every year. Especially in our current economy, where the capacity to finance private equity projects is at its highest it’s been in history. 

I also find very interesting to experience the changes undergoing the Columbia Business School since I graduated from my MBA 20 years ago. I was especially pleased to witness the diversity and progressiveness of the participants and agenda of the program. On the one hand, geographic diversity: there were participants from Africa, The Middle East and Latin America – different countries and different continents. On the other hand, the significant and greater presence of women in the financial industry. One of the presentations that really caught my attention included statistics of how companies have improved productivity significantly as women have been promoted to positions of management and power. 

I am very grateful to have participated in this experience. I was able to meet extraordinary people and learn valuable insights. Most of all, I was thankful to be reminded the importance of continuing education and that the time it’s always right to go back to school – even if just for the weekend.