The MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2020 persevered despite a global pandemic, an increasingly difficult job market, and many other ongoing challenges. New graduates like Carolina Goncebat, MBA ’20, have since succeeded in making their mark in numerous industries across the globe.
Thanks to the Career Development Office’s efforts to connect students with alumni for mentorship, internships, and job opportunities, Carolina was able to meet Ellen Herzfelder, SM ’87, and her husband, Bruce Herzfelder. Along with other stakeholders, they co-founded BetterVet, a healthcare tech startup that helps pet owners acquire veterinary care via home visits and telehealth.
Who drives or inspires you?
I find inspiration in people who are passionate about life. People who believe they can change the status quo, help others, and make things better. This is why I chose to attend MIT Sloan for my MBA, and it’s what I love about BetterVet as a company. At BetterVet, everyone on the team is passionate about the company in different ways. While I am passionate about using technology to deliver a better service to our customers, Dani Cimino, our chief veterinary officer, is passionate about giving the best possible care to pets. Like us, everyone is passionate about their particular role, and I find that inspiring.
Where do you get your ideas?
When you are passionate about something, you are just thinking about it all the time—even when you are sleeping. For example, I read the phrase “Be the person your dog thinks you are” during a trip to New Hampshire, and that inspired a campaign we are currently working on. If I am on Instagram and I see an advertisement I like, I will send it to our marketing director. If I download an app and I like the sign-up process, I will ask our product vice president to change our app login. Ideas come from all around you—you just have to be open to receiving them.
How do you keep track of them?
Because there are so many ideas coming at me all the time, the best way to keep track of them for me is by sharing them as quickly as possible with the corresponding person on our team. If they are more long-term, strategy, or random ideas, I take notes on my phone and discuss them with my co-founder. I also talk about them with my Sloanie friends, because they are the best group of consultants there is. I can always count on them!
Who do you share them with?
I am lucky to have friends that share my interests. Every time I meet with my friends we end up talking about our companies. It can sound overwhelming, but we do it because we really enjoy the work. We like to joke that whoever builds the next unicorn will ultimately save us all, though I secretly think none of us will really need to be saved.
How has your time at MIT Sloan influenced your ideas?
More so than my ideas, I feel that my time at MIT Sloan influenced the way I express myself and how much I share with others. I used to keep everything to myself, but finding a community that is welcome to different ideas has made me more willing to share what I’m thinking about and working on. Only when you share your ideas can they come true. MIT Sloan reinforced in me the understanding that we need a team for everything we do. No matter how much we know about something, there will always be someone else who can teach us something new. Someone who can help us make a better choice. MIT Sloan taught me to trust others and that helped me to become a much better leader and team member.
Why do you think it’s important to reconnect and exchange ideas with your fellow Sloanies at Reunion?
For me, MIT Sloan is my community and my family. I am regularly in touch with many of my classmates, though it is sometimes difficult to be in touch with everyone. This is why MIT Sloan Reunion is such an excellent opportunity to reconnect. A lot of my classmates are probably facing similar challenges to my own, even if they are in different countries or industries. Moreover, just getting to meet with them again, learn about what they are doing, and know they are doing well in these interesting times gives me comfort.