Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.
I am Category Head of Autoparts & Motoparts at Mercado Libre, the largest e-commerce platform in Latin America (yes, our sales are even bigger than Amazon in this part of the world ;).
I manage the Autoparts & Motoparts category with full responsibility of business analytics (big data), seller management (+10,000 sellers), brand assortment (+350 brands) and sales strategy (approx. +56% growth YoY).
On a day-to-day basis that means that I directly lead a team of 10 Key Account Managers (KAMs) and together we execute the strategic and operational work required to reach the sales goal. It also includes a lot of fun and a lot of work, big data analysis, business cases, seller meetings, pilot projects and growth management.
What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in?
I am very fascinated by the fast-growing industry of e-commerce. This has been my industry of choice for the last 12 years (with a short 2-year deviation as Expansion Manager at H&M which sounded fun and challenging on paper but was not half as fun and fast moving compared to e-commerce.)
The main reasons why I love my industry is because it is more dynamic than most of the more traditional industries in Mexico. Hierarchies are less important, the split between male and female managers is more even and it’s a young and fast-moving industry (median age is 28 years at my company!) with loads of internal job opportunities. During my six years at the company, I have managed several different categories. Before Autoparts, I was head of the Car section and later on the Real Estate section – the equivalent of Sweden’s Hemnet.
Mexico has not yet reached the penetration levels that online has reached in Europe so there are plenty of opportunities to embark on pilot projects testing out new business ideas. It is kind of like being an entrepreneur starting your own business, but in this case I am an intrapreneur enjoying the fun part of startup but without risking my own capital.
What is most exciting about your work at the moment? Where do you think your role/field is going in the next 5-10 years?
I believe that the pandemic created a new awareness and urge to start selling products online in Latin America. These last few years, I have noticed a much stronger e-commerce interest on behalf of top automotive brands and yearly we have helped more than 100 brands to setup, initiate and launch their online sales channel in Mexico. Interest and conversations with top brands have made my job more challenging and exciting lately.
Another exciting change is the switch from a “normal” ten-hour-working-day at the office to a 100% work from home culture. All the 500 Mercado Libre MX headquarter employees have been doing home office work since March 2020 and although things in Mexico post pandemic have gone back to almost normal, the current company strategy is to continue the home office culture indefinity(!).
Being a mother, the acceptance of 100% home office is a huge game changer and I feel grateful that this has given me much more quality time with my 3-year-old daughter. I am not sure a Swede can imagine how much time you can spend in traffic going back and forth to the office in a 20 million habitant city such as Mexico City. Another fantastic possibility is that me and my husband are planning to live temporarily in the Mexican Caribbean (we love Tulum!) which nowadays is a perfectly feasible life change without having to change jobs.
What has it been like to work in a different country/culture? What do you love about working in Mexico?
Being a structured, responsible and efficient Swede has been a big competitive advantage for me in a working culture that is more relaxed and prone to not reach deadlines on time. That said, I think the Mexican working culture is more fun and open, I have met several of my closest friends here in Mexico who started out as colleagues. I think that the friendliness and curiosity that the Mexicans have is something we could learn from in Sweden, they really are warm and caring people!
How has your time/education at SSE helped guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?
During my time at SSE, I found the environment to be very international with the presence of all the CEMS and GDP students.
Also, all the extracurricular activities were helpful in preparing me for my future career; for example, in 2003 I was the project leader of Exchange Japan cooperating with Japanese business students and learning a lot about leadership differences in other cultures. Later, I was elected CEMS Student Board representative which resulted in interesting cooperation all over the European continent. Through CEMS I visited business schools in Barcelona, Bergen, Budapest, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Louvain-la-Neuve, Milano, Paris, Rotterdam, Warsaw and Vienna (and I might even have forgotten a few others)!
Additionally, the CEMS MIM Master’s Degree included a 10-week internship in Europe which I did at Business Sweden in Lisbon, Portugal and that initial job experience was crucial when I landed my first job in Mexico as a full time Consultant at Business Sweden a few years later.
Following your time studying, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current/prospective students?
In my experience, the first official job you land after graduating from SSE will, to a great extent, set the direction and area of expertise for your future career. Decide wisely by listening to both your mind and heart before making the decision (I ended up in Mexico thinking it would last 1-2 year but as it turned out, I might stay for a lifetime, haha).
What are three words that sum up your time at SSE?
Intensive studies. Lifelong friendships. CEMS.