Multicultural Exposure and Multi-Competency Teams: Highlights of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA


With over 10 years of experience in leading supply chain roles for companies like MAHLE and AGCO, Diogo Hoppen is a versatile, multicultural executive. He is a dual citizen of Brazil and Germany, with further living and working experience in France and Canada, and he is a fluent speaker of Portuguese, French, German and English. To say that international experience is important to him, therefore, is an understatement. And indeed, that is part of why he chose the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA for his professional transformation. An alumnus of the program’s class of 2022, Diogo currently works as Associate Director at Mutares France, an international private equity investor with offices across Europe. He believes that we have to learn to love change in order to achieve excellence and he loves to discover new things.

Hear more about his ESSEC experience and what he discovered along the way.


How would you sum up your ESSEC EMBA experience in three words?

Change, Challenge, Sharing

With 13 years of professional experience, what was your source of motivation to start an EMBA program?


I sensed a profound need for change and to rethink what I was doing as a manager. I had already been tempted by an MBA program for several years and considered enrolling in one several times. However, there was always something in the way. Finally in 2019, I moved from Brazil to France and decided to take the adventure.

Why did you choose the ESSEC Mannheim Executive MBA program?

I did extensive research and was convinced that the ESSEC & Mannheim program offered the best value in the market. It has a top ranking and an incredible alumni network and it combines the unique strengths of ESSEC, a very entrepreneurial business school, with Mannheim, a very traditional university. Also, I happen to be a German citizen and this program offered me the perfect international profile and cultural exposure.

What were your goals when you began the program and how did the EMBA program assist you in achieving your goals?

I am very impressed by the opportunities the EMBA provided me. My personal goal before joining the EMBA was to make a transition to a consulting career and this is exactly what happened. I now work as a consultant, leading restructuring transformation initiatives for a private equity firm called Mutares. The EMBA was instrumental in enabling this transition.

The EMBA allowed me to expand my business knowledge and to challenge my leadership style. I also appreciated the coaching sessions, which helped me set a clear compass for my career development.

What were some of your best moments or experiences in the ESSEC EMBA program?

I would say that it was our last coaching session with our MCT (multi-competency team), where all team members shared feedback about one another. It was an incredible session. The quality of the feedback and the way it was shared was very special. It became my personal benchmark for a high-performing team.

What challenge(s) did you overcome during your time as a participant?

Combining work with both my personal and student lives for two years was the biggest challenge for me. I had limited support from my former company and did the program during my vacation days. Moreover, since I have two young kids, my wife was, by default, sort of enrolled with me. Sometimes, I was truly exhausted but I enjoyed every moment.

What did you think about the program pedagogy and faculty?

The program contains a very interesting combination of practical work and lectures. Most of the activities are done in teams, which, in my opinion, amplifies the learning experience and creates a rich learning dynamic.

Both ESSEC and Mannheim have top faculties and the curriculum is very well designed. ESSEC provides amazing resources with its digital library and a fantastic incubator for entrepreneurs. If I had to choose a favorite class it would be Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking taught by Jan Lepoutre. It was a brilliant learning experience, including a start-up simulation in which we played the role of VC fund managers.

What advice would you give to future applicants and participants?

Dare to dare. Like having a baby, you will probably never find a perfect time for an MBA. If you are aiming for change, you should seriously consider it. Don’t worry too much about specific goals since they will most probably change several times during the program.

And for participants: The EMBA is a unique moment with a program that offers so much more than classes. Enjoy being a student again. Disconnecting from your current work during the module weeks will allow for a great experience.

What books, authors or thought leaders would you recommend to others?

I recommend two books that I read during the EMBA: Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux is a thought-provoking book about the setup of a new type of organization. I am honestly still trying to digest it. Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra is a must-read for everybody considering a significant career change.