Nathalie Armengol Vilas (Lic&MBA 98), Deputy President of PDV Global

Nathalie loves working in big cities. She has worked in Paris, Glasgow, Barcelona, Shanghai and now in Mexico City discovering new cultures, different ways of life, ways of thinking…that has helped her better understand the world. Now in Mexico she is finding the way to scale up the company PDV Global.

-Deputy President of PDV Global, where your first position was Director of Business Development. What are your responsibilities at PDV Global?

My responsibilities at PDV Global are to find the way to scale up the company, increase sales and profit, take into account shareholders’ interests, objectives, and implement strategies to achieve objectives.

On the one hand I have to defend shareholders’ interests, and on the other hand, listen to our leaders who are in contact with the market, developing our business and consuming our products.

PDV Global is an MLM company that makes strategies differ from other industries.

The implementation of strategies is not as easy to implement as in other industries, as our main leaders are not employees and the relationships, obligations and duties are not the same. The interests of the company sometimes differ from the interests of our leaders, who are the ones that make our business grow.

-What is it like to work in Mexico City?

I love working in big cities, I am a city person. I have worked in Paris, Glasgow, Barcelona, Shanghai and now Mexico City. Mexico reminds me a lot of Shanghai. It is a big city, very crowded with poor air quality but very lively. Mexico City is a truly international city with lots of sights, expos, concerts, sporting events, etc. For example, you can participate in a race nearly every weekend. From Mexico City it is easy to travel to any other city in Mexico and explore the diversity, the richness of Mexico. In terms of safety, I have never had any issues. Some neighbourhoods in the capital are very well protected and monitored.

If you have the chance to work and live close to the office, as in my case, you do not have to suffer in long traffic jams. But you do have to take that into account that when organising meetings…people are never on time…

– What are the characteristics of the Mexican market?

The Mexican market differs a lot from region to region. North, south, east and west. Each region has a strong personality and a way in which it behaves, and some regions are more difficult to work with than others, in particular the Yucatan region (also the case for Mexicans that are not from Yucatan). If you are not from Yucatan, it is harder to get people to buy your products, so you have to find a way to collaborate with Yucatan people in order to develop your business.

It is important to take social class differentiation into account when entering the Mexican market. The lower class accounts for more than 50% of the population, the middle class is developing but is not as big as the lower class and there is a big gap with the upper class. When launching a new product, it is important to know your current market and the market you want to target. Different strategies need to be implemented depending on the target market you want to reach if you want to succeed.

The number of entrepreneurs of all types of business is high in Mexico, with Mexicans selling all kinds of products, from the ‘tacos’ on the corner to more developed business.

Mexico is chosen by many direct selling and MLM companies in order to develop their businesses and enter the Latin American market. Mexico being the 7th country in the world for direct business, accounting for 6,300 million euros per year.

Mexican people are not as ‘direct’ as European people and they are very emotional. It is difficult for them to say no and they put emotions first in any business occasion to defend emotions first, rather than being rational and thinking about the business (the complete opposite to Chinese people). Take this cultural behaviour into account in negotiations in order to reach your goals. It is my job every day to show teams and leaders the importance of expressing your opinion with facts and to say when you disagree with something, this saves time!

-You also worked in Shanghai for several years, in Paris and in Glasgow. What would you highlight from your international career?

Since I was a child I was educated in an international atmosphere. I studied at the Lycée Français de Barcelone and my mind has always worked in different languages.

It is a must for me to be in international environments. At PSA, where I worked for more than 13 years, I was always working with different countries and international teams.

A highlight of my international career has been working in an international environment, living in different countries has allowed me to discover new cultures, different ways of life, ways of thinking and has helped me better understand the world, to balance decisions and grow.

-What are your mid-term objectives?

My mid-term objectives are to continue growing as a person, helping others to grow, developing businesses and experiencing new adventures and projects. I am always looking for new challenges and am ready to move to any city in the world to start and lead projects.

-In Barcelona you worked in the family company Loveness Factory, also specialised in cosmetics and nutrition. Is cosmetics an industry you especially like?

My career started in 1999 in Paris, where I worked for more than 13 years at PSA, Peugeot Citroen Automobiles. I had the chance to hold positions in different areas at Peugeot and learn a lot, cars were not my favourite industry but the experience I gained and everything I learned at Peugeot was really important in building my career. After that, I decided to move to Barcelona and join the family business in cosmetics and nutrition, two areas that I love, with nutrition being my favourite. Being a woman, you might think that cosmetics is my favourite, but I actually prefer nutrition.

When you are healthy, you can beat whatever comes your way, balanced nutrition can change people’s lives. By educating people on healthy eating habits and providing them with the best nutritional supplements, you can really improve people’s lives. One of my goals in life is to educate people on eating better and having a healthier life.

-What advice can you give to the alumni who are thinking of pursuing an international career?

The best opportunity for anyone to grow is to build an international career. To have the opportunity to work with different cultures makes you stronger, more flexible and open-minded. My advice would be don’t hesitate to move to other countries, don’t be afraid, try the experience and always be open to new opportunities.

-During your stay in France, you were a member of the Board of the ESADE Alumni France Chapter and you were also involved with the Greater China Chapter. What are the benefits of having the ESADE Alumni International Network?

When you have studied at ESADE, your heart belongs to ESADE and you want to keep in contact with people that share the same values as you. Participating in international chapters gives you the possibility to meet people like you anywhere in the world who are prepared to help you if you need it. In France, I was happy to collaborate with the board, organising events for the France Chapter. And thanks to ESADE Alumni I was able to get in contact with Jordi Camps (Lic&MBA 02/ Retail MKT 05), President of the Chapter in China, and became his associate on an amazing project organising trips to North Korea. Just by saying that I was an ESADE Alumni, I had the opportunity to get in contact with Jordi and without knowing him, I had the confidence to move to Shanghai to work with him and have one of the best experiences of my life. I really encourage all alumni to get in contact with their international board because these relationships will serve you in your career and personal life and you will have new friends forever.

Nathalie Armengol
Nathalie Armengol
Nathalie has 13 years of experience in an international environment working at PSA, Peugeot Citroen Automobiles in Paris and Glasgow, where she held different positions in Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Business Development.
She also worked 2 years ins Barcelona as Executive Director for the family business in nutrition and cosmetics, managing day-to-day operations.
And 18 months in Shanghai, as Managing Partner of Experience North Korea, providing exclusive tours to the world’s most enigmatic country and giving people the most unforgettable cultural experience.