Alumni spotlight: Pavel G Ferreri, Innovation Executive IBM
Hult students have the skills, curiosity, and tenacity to achieve great things during their studies and in their career. We’re proud of our alumni network of over 19,000 graduates hailing from more than 170 countries around the world. And we’re always excited to share and celebrate their success.
Alum Pavel G Ferreri came to Hult in 2005, bringing with him incredible ambition and a strong entrepreneurial mindset. Prior to Hult, Pavel had worked as a TV host in Mexico during his college years before starting his own business in outdoor advertising. He eventually became a member of the Board of Directors of the Mexican National Advertising Association (Asociacion Nacional de la Publicidad).
Pavel passed his business onto his family before heading to Hult for his Global One-Year MBA, setting him up for a fast-paced career in technology and innovation. He has since worked for global companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce. Today he is Innovation Executive at IBM in California, driving disruptive solutions involving artificial intelligence, cloud technology, and the Internet of Things. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Pavel and ask him a few questions about finding success in the exciting, ever-changing world of technology.
Can you describe your role at IBM? What’s a typical day like?
I’m responsible for driving new revenue from the energy and utilities clients for IBM in the western United States. My responsibilities include relationship management, industry expertise, vision selling, opportunity identification, and positioning innovative solutions ranging from AI and blockchain to the Internet of Things, API orchestration, DevOps, and many other offerings within the IBM Cloud.
There is no typical day. I am usually traveling for client meetings in different cities, or conferences, or industry events. When there are no meetings, I work out of my home-office in California.
What’s hot in your industry right now?
There are definitely two new things. The first is artificial intelligence—every single tech company is looking for a way to offer AI capabilities. IBM happens to be the leader in this space with it’s AI brand, Watson. This is a technology that is changing the way humankind will interact with data and with each other, but we are a long way from a Terminator-type scenario.
The second is blockchain. Without a doubt, this technology is already changing the way we deal with transactions of any kind, way beyond cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. IBM is the only technology mega-vendor with actual real implementations of blockchain with clients like Walmart who is now able to trace the supply chain of food from farm to table.
What key experiences from Hult helped you to get where you are today?
For me, it was life-changing—for real. The whole Hult experience was surreal in a way. I had never been to the U.S. before, so you can imagine my English was terrible, and my accent was super strong.
I barely knew how to use basic technology so I identified that weakness relative to my classmates, and I turned it into my strength. That weakness encouraged me to work in this industry. I remember I wanted to work for Microsoft and everybody told me that was not realistic. In the end, I made it happen, and here I am more than 10 years later.
One of the most valuable experiences from Hult was the exposure to the different cultures of my classmates and the team assignments. The collaboration, the need for conflict management, the time pressure, and all of the challenges were precisely the opportunities needed to build character and become more ready to lead in the real world.
Any advice to for current students?
Be brave, be confident, and be super creative with how you re-invent yourself. Whatever you were until yesterday doesn’t define you. What defines you is what you decide to do starting right now. Become whoever you want to be, and that starts with knowing what you want. You own your life—it doesn’t matter where you come from or where you started, it is where you are going and what you do every day what defines you. I always tell this to myself: create the opportunity. If it doesn’t exist, don’t look for it—create it! Think super big, be completely unrealistic with your goals, and then back those goals up with conviction, passion, and a growth mindset. Be ready to fail but never to give up. Take failure as a step forward and try again, always with a little tweak that will get you closer to where you want to be. It is amazing how much progress you achieve when you consistently make small steps.