Harvard Business School (HBS) has bestowed its highest award on a Mexican MBA graduate for the first time.
Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui was one of five recipients of the 2019 HBS Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes distinguished graduates who have contributed significantly to their companies and communities.
Rodríguez graduated from the prestigious business school in 1995 and after working at several large companies, co-founded the venture capital fund Ignia in 2007.
“We support entrepreneurs because we want to have a positive impact on Mexico’s economy, and there is a huge business opportunity,” he said.
Rodríguez, who HBS described as “one of Mexico’s most successful social entrepreneurs,” has also helped shape Gentera into the largest microfinance firm in the Americas.
The 52-year-old “frequently offers a refreshing blend of brutal honesty and sincere devotion. He’s not inclined to – or even capable of – sugarcoating the truth,” the Boston-based business school said in a story on its website.
It added that Rodríguez was motivated to move into the world of social entrepreneurship after asking himself the questions: “Who will build the Mexico of tomorrow? Big corporations or emerging entrepreneurs?”
The entrepreneur is also an avid rower and has won medals for Mexico in the sport at international competitions, including the Pan American Games.
In a letter to the award winner, HBS dean Nitin Nohria said “your inspiring entrepreneurial vision, your commitment to leverage the power of entrepreneurship to change lives and your well-known reputation as a leader of great integrity are extraordinary professional achievements.”
Michael Chu, Ignia co-founder and fellow HBS alumnus, said the recognition of Rodríguez is a great achievement for Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“It’s outstanding that Harvard, one of the biggest academic institutions globally, is turning around to look at Mexico and recognize the work that’s being done to support entrepreneurs, technological innovation and startups, which are the main actions we promote from Ignia,” he said.
Rodríguez acknowledged the support he has received while implementing his entrepreneurial vision.
“I feel very grateful and honored. This prize is really for my family, for their unconditional love and support; for my partners and team for their wisdom and commitment; for the investors who have placed their trust in Ignia’s initiative; and for the entrepreneurs with whom we work – they are the ones who are changing their communities, industries and bringing new benefits to society,” he said.
Among the other recipients of the 2019 award were businessman and former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and social entrepreneur Tracy Palandjian.
Source: El Financiero (sp)