For the Hatami siblings, MIT Sloan School of Management has become something of a family tradition. All three — Homayoun, Mahnaz and Charles, who will graduate this spring — are proud Sloan MBAs, the third ever sibling trio in the school’s history.
It’s a commonality that brings the far-flung family closer together.
“No matter which paths we take or where in the world we live, the three of us belong to the same club,” says Mahnaz, a 2009 graduate.
The Hatamis, who are from Iran but grew up in Paris, are a tight-knit bunch. But like all brothers and sisters they have distinct talents, interests and personalities. The oldest, Homayoun, is a consummate consultant, a straight-A student who upon graduation won the Seley Scholarship, Sloan’s highest merit award; Charles, the middle child, is an entrepreneurial finance whiz, whose investment career has already spanned three continents; the baby of the family, Mahnaz, is a creative risk-taker who once took a break from her high-powered job in luxury brands to star in an off-Broadway show.
They each took a very different approach to their MBA career. Homayoun, a 2000 graduate who started the MIT trend, arrived at Sloan after a stint in business development at 3COM, the computer network company in London.
“I had a good knowledge of marketing and sales so I wanted to study everything I didn’t know,” he says. “I took a lot of classes in leadership, strategy and negotiation, and a lot of finance classes — I literally didn’t know how to read a financial statement before I got to Sloan.”
As a student, he ran the MediaTech club, founded the eBusiness awards, Sloan’s very own Oscars of online commerce, and played intramural soccer — though he admits his team perhaps appreciated his fundraising abilities as much as his boot.
Homayoun, who today is a partner at McKinsey & Company, the management-consulting firm in Paris, describes his years at Sloan as a “transformational experience.”
“To this day I still think about concepts I learned in class and discussions we had. I learned a lot about myself and how to deal with people,” he says.
Both Mahnaz and Charles first glimpsed Sloan’s Cambridge campus on visits to Homayoun when he was a student. “I met smart, charming people from all over the world and I was impressed,” recalls Mahnaz. “I kept it in the back of my mind that I wanted to go there.”
“My brother was a star there and he has always had a big influence on me," Charles adds. "Whenever I visited, Sloan seemed like a very exciting place. It left a big impression on me.”
Mahnaz went to Sloan after working for a few years in the luxury goods industry in New York City. At Sloan, she was president of the Retail and Consumer Goods Club, went on several student-sponsored international trips, studied at the London Business School, and spent her summer internship in Uruguay, working on a marketing strategy for a start-up that exported caviar.
Her best memories of business school, however, are of the friends she made, and the year she overlapped with her older brother, Charles. They lived together in a cramped apartment in Kendall Square and they also took one finance class together. “Before Sloan I was always known as Charles’ little sister. It was a secret victory for me to be one year ahead of him,” she says. (Charles, incidentally, got the better grade in the finance class — but just barely).
Charles, who will be the third Hatami sibling to receive his Sloan MBA, deferred his offer of admission to the school for four years in order to run a London-based hedge fund. At Sloan, he is a member of several clubs including the Venture Capital Club, the Private Equity Club and the Brazil Club. In August, he will join BlackRock, the asset management firm, as a vice president in the financial markets advisory group in New York City.
All three siblings say that their Sloan common bond makes them feel more attached to the school. “We are all very different, and we have different kinds of intelligence,” says Mahnaz, who lives in Paris and will launch her own fashion venture this spring. “But Sloan brings us together. It’s something we all share and we always will.”