2016 MBAs To Watch: Oriana Barra Bargalló, ESADE

Oriana Barra-ESADE-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Oriana Barra Bargalló

ESADE Business School

Age: 26

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Universidad Metropolitana (Caracas, Venezuela), Bachelor in Business Administration, Banking and Finance Minor, Diploma in Financial Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Deliciú Caracas, Director & Co-Founder (Caracas, Venezuela)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Aditya Birla Group, MBA Leadership Program (Mumbai, India)

Where will you be working after graduation? Thinking Big, Project Consultant (Barcelona, Spain)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership Roles During MBA – ESADE Business School

MBA Class Delegate

ESADE Marketing Club Vice-President

MBA Admissions Fellow for Spain & LATAM: Selected by the admissions director to ensure the academic, professional, and cultural fit of prospective candidates from Spanish-speaking countries with the ESADE MBA.

Awards & honors:

Valedictorian MBA Class 2016

ESADE MBA Scholarship Award

ESADE MBA Leadership Award Nominee

Community work during undergraduate studies – Universidad Metropolitana

Creation of a student social project (2008-2011): Co-founder of a student club dedicated to value-based community work with the objective of creating bonds and working alongside the community. The club’s largest project is its social day camp, a volunteer student initiative that offers educational and recreational activities to approximately one hundred underprivileged children from Venezuela’s largest slum.

Leadership roles:

UNIMET Student Council general secretary 2010-2011

UNIMET Student Council coordinator of cultural projects and activities 2009-2010                    

Awards & honors:

UNIMET Honour Roll 2010-2011. Academic excellence and student involvement.

Socially Responsible Leader Recognition 2011, awarded by the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, UNIMET.

UNIMET Honour Roll 2008-2009. Academic excellence and student involvement.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of our achievements as a team in the MBA Marketing Club. One of the most relevant projects was the Amsterdam Trek, where we built contacts through the Alumni Network and organised company visits to major industry players such as Unilever, L’Oréal, Tommy Hilfiger, and the 180 advertising agency. The value for the club members was the opportunity to explore a career in marketing through the experience of professionals and experts. It was a complete success!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of creating my own catering business before joining the MBA. In order to do this, I moved to France and stepped outside of my comfort zone by entering the culinary world and working in the dynamic, high-pressure environment of a five-star hotel restaurant in the French Alps. I learned not only the language but also how to build a customer experience, solve problems quickly, deliver results under pressure, and navigate a different culture. I gained the necessary skills to become an entrepreneur and run my own culinary catering business in Venezuela. I was challenged to create and lead a high-performance team and position the Deliciú Caracas brand in the niche French cuisine market within a short period of time.

I am also proud of building an international profile to kick-start my professional career. I have worked in four countries, three continents (America, Europe and Asia), while being immersed in different cultures and work practices. These experiences have enabled me to shape my empathy toward different work environments, markets, and industries.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Andres Cuneo, simply because he is extremely enthusiastic about marketing and conveys it to the class.

Favorite MBA Courses? Competitive Strategy, Marketing, Strategic Brand Management, Communication Skills, Strategic Sales Management

Why did you choose this business school? I chose ESADE because it is extremely diverse in terms of nationalities and backgrounds, with a boutique style of small class (approximately 160 students) and a team-based approach. I have met my expectations based on these three decision drivers; most of my learning has come from my classmates.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed the international hands-on experiences in the form of treks, internships, projects, and exchanges. ESADE gave me the opportunity to complete my international profile in Asia, with an internship in one of India’s largest conglomerates, and an exchange programme in one of China’s most prestigious universities. In a period of 18 months, I graduated from an MBA in a top-ranking school and lived, worked, and studied in two of the most important economies of the world: China and India.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Defining my leadership style.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The people, including my classmates and friends, faculty, and programme management. We are so diverse, especially in terms of experiences, and it is fascinating to learn from everyone — with the catch that we are also similar because we embody the ESADE spirit.

What was the hardest part of business school? Prioritising. The MBA offers so many options and paths that at first it is difficult to choose. The biggest lesson was to be focused — with a clear vision it was easy to identify what will add value to my career, and to my personal growth.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Make sure to fit into the culture and values of the school. Listen to your instinct; do you identify with ESADE?

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I wanted to build a career outside my home country.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… a person with a narrower view of the world.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO. She is an inspiring leader and empowers women in the workplace.

What are your long-term professional goals? Finding the right place where I can learn every day, where I can make an impact, and where I can have fun.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. They taught me the values I needed to become the person I am now.

Fun fact about yourself: In a 12-month period, I did a six-day trek to Mount Roraima (Venezuela), skydiving, river rafting, cave exploring, and a 3-kilometer open-water competition in the Orinoco River. I love adventure!

Favorite book: The Little Prince

Favorite movie: Seven Years in Tibet

Favorite musical performer: Wicked

Favorite television show: “Mad Men”

Favorite vacation spot: Los Roques, Venezuela

Hobbies? Swimming, snowboarding, pastries

What made Oriana such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Oriana is one of our best students at the academic level in the MBA Class of 2016. While being academically excellent during the whole duration of her studies, she also represented her section as elected class delegate and has contributed to improving the programme by collaborating closely with programme management.

“Furthermore, she was also elected president for the extremely popular and active Marketing Club, in which she proved to be very engaged and showed her leadership skills when organising the Marketing Trek to Amsterdam and other local events.

“When the first year of the MBA programme was successfully completed, Oriana, who is originally from Venezuela, decided to focus on Asia as the next target region to expand her intercultural management skills — after having lived in Europe for some time. Not only did she obtain an internship with the Aditya Birla Group in Mumbai (India) during the summer, but she was also selected for the International Exchange Programme with Guanghua University in Beijing (China), where she continued her path in academic excellence as a truly global student from ESADE.

“Clearly, during her studies Oriana demonstrated her passion to continuously help other team members and fellow students — yet this was nothing new for her. Before joining ESADE, Oriana was engaged in a volunteering initiative for over three years that helped underprivileged children gain access to education in her home country.

“The MBA Class of 2016 would have lacked an immeasurable amount of empathy, social responsibility, engagement, passion, and leadership if Oriana had not formed part of it.”

Franziska Ewald

Programme Manager of the Full-Time MBA




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