October 25, 2011 10:55 am

Ten Questions - Sarah Perez

Sarah Perez recently joined the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in the US, as the executive director of EMBA programmes. These programmes include the Evening MBA, Weekend MBA and Global OneMBA, all of which are now offering Forté Foundation Fellowships for women.

Before going to UNC Kenan-Flagler, Ms Perez worked at Florida International University for eight years and served as area manager in Europe for Information Handling Services, a global information company. She also worked as a marketing manager for the New Zealand Dairy Board in Guatemala.

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Ms Perez has an MBA in international business from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and international travel.

Ms Perez will be available to answer your questions in a live web chat on Thursday, 27th October 2011, between 14.00-15.00 BST. Post your questions now to ask@ft.com and they will be answered on the day.

1. What academic achievement are you most proud of?

Graduating with an MBA in international business and learning a second language, which I have had the opportunity to use extensively throughout my career.

2. Who are your business heroes?

I don’t have one hero in particular. I admire different business people for different reasons, such as Steve Jobs for his vision to bring innovative products to market.

3. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy watching the transformation as students go through the programmes and grow personally and professionally - their experiences can be life changing. There are many challenges in graduate education today, technology has changed the environment and the opportunities are incredible. We will see dramatic changes in delivery over the next few years.

4. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?

Do what you are passionate about. I took that advice and studied languages and international relations followed by an MBA. My education opened the door for opportunities in Latin America, Europe and the US. I have worked with people from many different cultures and industries and have enjoyed every moment.

5. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

Be flexible, be open to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to take some risk. The change from working in a corporate environment to working in academia was a major shift for me. Over the 10 years I have worked in the business school field, I have had incredible opportunities for challenge and growth. I believe that flexibility and willingness to take on challenges contributed to those opportunities.

6. What advice would you give to women in business?

Know your values and what you are not willing to sacrifice. Choose the opportunities that match those values and be sure to find something you enjoy doing. Finally, never stop learning.

7. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

I have worked in different male-dominated environments and cultures. I don’t know that I handled it any differently than any other environment. I worked hard, proved myself and got the job done.

8. What is the last book you read?

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath.

9. How do you deal with pressure?

I find that after exercise, I am able to think more clearly and focus.

10. What are your future plans?

I joined UNC Kenan-Flagler less than two months ago. I look forward to working to ensure that we continue to deliver the highest quality EMBA programmes available. I also recognise that I have been fortunate and I want to work harder to find ways to give back. Education is a wonderful way to do that.

Compiled by Charlotte Clarke

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