Written by Zoya Saxena
A few weeks ago the Canfield BHP class of 2022 had the opportunity to meet the Chief Operating Officer of H-E-B, Martin Otto, during its Honors Business Lyceum. Students had the chance to ask questions and listen to Otto speak on a variety of topics such as his career path, time at H-E-B, and the company culture Otto is proud to be a part of.
Otto began by detailing his career path, highlighting his time beginning in accounting and then moving to real estate. It was not until Otto was in the process of completing his MBA at Harvard when he took his first retail class. “I loved it,” he said.
Since then, Otto has been with H-E-B for a little over 28 years. When asked about what kept him at the company for so long, he expanded on H-E-B’s inclusive and people-centric company culture.
“The company is truly focused on serving customers and the community,” Otto said. “H-E-B is a wonderful place to be.”
Over the course of the seminar, Otto also took the time to articulate why he wanted to come speak to Canfield BHP students. He said he wants to encourage students to really “figure out what (they) want to do” and help those students who may not want to “follow the traditional path.” Otto went on to say that if he was not thinking deeply about his career, he may not have ended up with a fulfilling job at such a great company.
Otto recognized the caliber of the students and the quality of education in the Canfield BHP program. “Y’all have a great school and great students,” said Otto. He went on to state that if he had to do it all over again, he would choose Canfield BHP.
Otto encouraged students to make full use of the resources available to them at UT and be proud of the program in which they have been admitted. Furthermore, Otto emphasized the importance of curiosity and hard work.
He said, “Smart people are not a dime a dozen, but there are a lot of smart people in this world. There are not enough people in the world who work hard enough, to be curious enough to ask the 100th question to be excellent.”
Otto’s advice revolved primarily on putting thought into the career process. He said students should work to understand their passions so that they’re working on something they love once they enter the workplace.
“My advice to you is to figure out what you want to do. I could have shortened that process (of finding my career path of choice) had I known retail was out there.” Otto said.