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Manuel Sansigre, MSBA '17

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“I view each step in my career and education as building blocks,” says Manuel Sansigre, Vice President of Global Corporate Finance at Penguin Random House. “I want to have a full scope of all the different things that are going on in business. I often evaluate: what are the gaps in my education and in my career?”

It was this habit of self-evaluation that initially drove Manuel to pursue an MSBA degree at Stern. “I was working in investment banking and realized that 'big data' and 'machine learning' were becoming buzzwords, and I knew digital experience would be a part of the future for every industry.” 

This hunch was reinforced when he transitioned from investment banking to the Corporate Finance team at Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world. He explains: “A main challenge in book publishing is discoverability. Right now consumers are less frequently buying books in bookstores and are buying online. Publishers have to get in front of this issue. We must rely on analytics to understand the online shopping patterns of customers, and we must be creative in ways to market and promote our books to consumers online,” he says. “Analytics and machine learning are without doubt the gatekeeper of getting this industry to the next level.”

Manuel knew that he would need a foundational knowledge of analytics and strategy in order to stay competitive in such a dynamic and rapidly changing industry.   

“I do not have a background in coding, and it will never be my expertise,” he says. “However, I wanted to do an MSBA program in order to gain a fundamental understanding of coding and algorithms in order to speak the same language as expert coders. More and more, I will need to converse fluently with our tech teams and IT teams about products and analytics systems.”

Stern’s program delivered in spades, Manuel says. The paradigm-shifting curriculum not only offered the fundamentals of data analytics and coding he needed, but it also opened his eyes to the predictive potential of data science and gave him a new language with which he can communicate with his publishing tech team. 

“The MSBA personally game more confidence to embrace new technologies and digital solutions. The foundational analytics knowledge—along with my business background—allows me now to approach coders and our tech team to communicate what I need, and we can discuss what the challenges of the projects are,” he says. “I would never have been able to do this without investing in this program.” 

Manuel also found the global nature of the program vital to his experience. “We are in a global economy, and you need to know about what’s going on in Europe and Asia as well as in the United States. NYU Stern has the reputation of being a global school, and they live up to that reputation with their international focus and diverse cohort. Now, having gone through the program, I have good friends in Asia and Europe and all over the world, and we can leverage one another’s experience and background.  They can help me understand what’s coming, as far as the global economy and international business.”

Manuel is already utilizing his new skill set to pursue opportunities and expand creative platforms in the publishing industry. “The digital transformation is very exciting for the publishing world,” he says. “As a sector that works with writers and creative people, the possibility to engage with readers is greater than ever and that will allow to have a deeper insight on what they love. The platforms we have the potential to develop will allow for local stories and voices throughout the world to gain global reach.” 

As for his long-term return on investment in the program, Manuel is confident that MSBA will continue to add value to his career. “I’m driving my competitive advantage. If you want to prepare yourself to be a CEO one day, you need to have an analytical background. I think that I am probably more likely to be in senior leadership roles in the future because I took on the challenge and took the step to empower myself with all these new tools.” 

“The return on investment in education is infinite,” he adds. “Having the opportunity to study a new domain is basically an opportunity to explore a new world.”

Favorite course and why: Revenue Management, because it opened a new world to me on thinking about revenue, pricing and optimization. 

Words to live by: Time puts everyone in their place, so work hard and be patient.

Proudest professional moment: When I got promoted to Vice President at Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world. I come from a small town in Spain and now I am, in a way, helping authors bring their creativity, stories and messages to the world. We need this more than ever.

If I had a month off work to do anything I wanted, I would: Travel throughout Europe. Ten years ago, I did a three-week road trip in Europe and it was one of the best trips of my life. 

If I wasn't in this profession, I would be: A writer. I am sure that being left handed and a bit dyslexic would have helped me bring original stories to an audience. 

I define “professional success” as: To have a job that you enjoy and allows you to have a good quality of living. I think is a huge mistake to delay your life until you retire.