Meet The Wharton MBA Class of 2017

Miguel Gonzalez

Miguel Gonzalez

The Wharton School Of The University of Pennsylvania

Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Undergraduate School and Major:

BSc & MSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the following:

  • The Technical University of Madrid (Madrid, Spain)
  • TELECOM ParisTech (Paris, France)

Editor’s Note: Gonazlez is also completing a dual degree program by The Lauder Institute of The University of Pennsylvania with an MBA from the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania  and a Master of Arts in International Studies (Global Track) by the School of Arts & Sciences of The University of Pennsylvania.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • JuntoSalimos ( – Founder & Internationalization Lead
  • BBVA – Head of Digital Innovation
  • Google – Regional Lead of Program Management
  • Google – Technical Strategist & Strategic Account Manager
  • Google – Product Specialist
  • Telefónica – Operations Manager

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? It may sound obvious, but the most important aspect for me before preparing for the GMAT was determination. Tackling this sort of test requires a great deal of self-awareness about what you really want to accomplish during both your professional career and personal life. In my case, I wanted to do an MBA in order to take my career to the next level; learn how to expand my social venture JuntoSalimos internationally; be exposed to life-changing and uncomfortably exciting experiences; and meet people from all over the world who would open my mind and help me discover new lenses through which to look at the world. This strong perception of seeing an MBA as that missing link in my personal, academic and professional lives did play a key role for me to stay truthful to myself and engaged on all the MBA preparatory tasks, with the GMAT being a major one.

The second part is naturally preparing for the GMAT. This is where discipline and good prioritization both came into play for me. First of all, I set myself a score goal, which once accomplished would lead me straight away to take GMAT out my concerns bucket. Secondly, by making sure to talk to other individuals who had prepared GMAT previously, it helped me understand the kind of commitment and sacrifice required to prepare for this test.

Like everything in life, doing something with a clear motivation did keep me engaged and eased my path to actually achieving my goal. By knowing that there was a fulfilling reward after completing my GMAT test, I found the most powerful excuse to stay committed at all times throughout my GMAT journey. 

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? I remember asking myself two questions: “What is my passion in life” and “What is the ultimate dream that I want to make true?” These are probably the two questions that most individuals struggle with and that consequently lead to the most frustrations and disappointments.

Once you have these two questions answered, be honest to yourself and evaluate whether an MBA will help you devote your life to what you are passionate about and ultimately accomplish your dream. If the answer is yes, make sure that you conduct extensive research on the regions where you would like to spend your career. If so, find out if there are business schools in those regions that would offer the academic, personal and professional development that you need to achieve your dreams. For that, while the information on business schools’ website will be extremely relevant, do not hesitate to leverage your network and get in touch with both students – who will give you the current flavor – and alumni – who will be able to give you a more holistic view on the school and the impact that it had on their lives.

Make sure that you fit into the school’s culture. Most importantly, make sure that the schools’ culture fits into you. As in every facet of life, the hardest part is not just to find the right place, but also the right people. Your MBA experience will be highly influenced by the culture, principles, and values of the school you land in. Nevertheless, above all, so will it be by the human being behind each of your classmates and by the experiences that you will share with them.

In a nutshell, make sure that the culture built by the students at the schools you are targeting actually embodies your own values and principles. And do so by ensuring that this culture is the right breeding ground to pursue your passion. That passion that will help you accomplish your ultimate dream.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Patience and perseverance. Imagine this journey as a marathon. There will be prior training, the time for the actual race, and a great reward for the effort made at the end.

During the entire process, make sure you pace yourself as to keep a fresh mind and health commitment. Also, set yourself clear deadlines and deliverables on each of the component parts of your application. When it comes to writing essays, do not spend too much time on the first version. As in entrepreneurship, release it as early as possible to somebody – ideally a student or alumni of the business school you are applying to – who is more experienced and who will be able to give you feedback on areas for improvement. Share and tweak your essay until you put together a sequence of words that best describes your uniqueness as a human being and that clearly unveils what drives you in life.

Regarding the letters of recommendation, be as proactive as possible and stay very much on top of them. Make sure that your recommenders are fully on-board about the importance of these letters for your career. Truly find the people who know you best and who will support you on your MBA endeavor. Work closely with them to depict in detail your future goals and the kind of skills and qualities that you would appreciate to be highlighted within the letter. As a note, the letters of recommendation will probably put your project management skills to the test. Persuasion, time and stakeholder management, and patience will make this part of your application an invaluable learning experience for you. Embrace it this way!

When it comes to interviews, as cliché as it may sound, simply be yourself. It is all about the bi-directional fit between you and the business school that you are targeting. If this fit only works one way, odds are your experience will end up being frustrating. Thus, make sure you walk out of the interview with a strong feeling of self-satisfaction and personal pride for having been truthful to yourself. The person in front of you, your interviewer, is most likely interested in getting to know the human being behind you. By simply behaving the way you are, your interviewer will be able to close the loop and assess whether you would fit into the culture of the school.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?  After having lived in Europe, the US and Latin America, I soon realized that in order to have a successful career in international business, I needed more exposure to other regions and cultures such as Africa and Asia. While taking some sabbatical time and traveling around the world could have been a great alternative, I evaluated the options I had and came to the conclusion that graduate studies would be the most optimal next step in my career.

I was looking for a program that would place me in highly unfamiliar settings, as part of a truly international and multicultural class.

After doing extensive research and speaking with tens of students and alumni from different programs in international business and studies, I soon realized that the dual degree by The Lauder Institute (and namely its Global Track) was the best program for me. Not only did it meet all my personal preferences, but also it did offer me the class size and strength of its alumni community to grow at academic, personal and professional levels in a close-knit and unique environment of bright individuals.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? My passion in life is to leverage technology as a way to close the inequality gaps and build a world where all human beings have access to the same level of opportunity.

It has been already three years working on my social venture JuntoSalimos, a project that I co-founded along with my brother Félix. Our goal is to combine technology and entrepreneurship to bring an exponential social and economical growth to developing economies. In order to increase JuntoSalimos’ footprint, I would like these two years at Wharton to be a learning opportunity allowing me to get ready and transform JuntoSalimos into an international venture reaching each and every entrepreneur in the world.

To achieve this very ambitious goal, I would like to learn new skills, increase my knowledge on areas that I consider are key to the growth and expansion of JuntoSalimos, meet individuals who will challenge me in new ways, and be exposed to experiences that will make me think differently and see the world from a different angle.

As mentioned earlier, knowing my passion and dream in life has helped me find the clarity I need to hold the reins of my life. I hope that these two years will prepare me to spend my future career on what I am passionate about. Ultimately, I hope that these two years will help me get closer to my dream: Leveraging technology to build a prosperous future for every human being in the world.

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