Carlos Sanchez
Carlos A. Rivera Sanchez
Harvard University, Master of Liberal Arts, Extension School, Government
May 2023

As a young child growing up in Lima, Peru, Carlos Rivera Sanchez saw firsthand the impact poor leadership could have on the lives of innocent people. Years later, during the 2008 financial crisis, Carlos went through a similar experience when the New York City financial firm he was working for indiscriminately laid off hundreds of employees, some with young children and others nearing retirement. Both experiences made him question leadership, and himself. 

“How can I not only become a better leader, but someone who inspires others at any level to become better people, who are more productive and effective?” 

One answer: Harvard Kennedy School’s Public Leadership Credential (PLC) program.

“I thought the PLC might be able to help me understand the failure of leadership in both the public and private sectors and how to change it. I signed up for the Policy A course, just to see where it took me. I was so impressed with the design and structure of that course, I just knew I had to continue with the program.”

Like many of his peers, Carlos had work and personal responsibilities that made it difficult to attend school full time. But the PLC’s flexible online, self-paced format made it possible for him to complete all six courses in all three subject areas in just a couple of years.

Evidence taught me how to interpret data more carefully and to use it when making decisions in both my professional and personal life. Policy helped me understand the complexity of policymaking and the skills needed to achieve efficient outcomes based on compromise. And Leadership helped me approach challenges at my current work differently, and to develop and implement my solutions in a way that made everyone part of the process.”

The curriculum of PLC is based on Harvard’s signature pedagogy of case studies, learning modules and collaborative small group activities, which for many become the highlight of their PLC experience.

“The interaction with my peers was incredibly enriching: individuals from across the world, from different sectors, all part of the PLC because we each wanted to change the world and make it better. Our weekly group meetings were more than just working on the assignments. They were about friendship and a shared commitment to excellence.”

Today, Carlos is pursuing his Master of Liberal Arts (Government) at the Harvard Extension School via the special PLC pathway. His goal? To work in venture capital and make investments that are in the best interest of the clients, the employees, and the communities. 

“Thanks to the PLC program, I now have the knowledge and the tools I need to do that kind of analysis and create change that is for the benefit of all.”