The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania
- MBA, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
- MA in International Studies, The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: First-generation American into hip-hop, economics, start-ups, and Latin America…though probably not all at once.
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I didn’t know any English during my first year of school in New Orleans. (It’s unclear how I passed, but thanks Mrs. Gardner!)
Undergraduate School and Major: Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
- Monitor Deloitte – Senior Consultant, Washington, D.C.
- ALL Venture Partners – Associate Intern, Mexico City
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I learned a ton in my professional experiences, working with some of the world’s leading organizations across a number of industries. That said, I think my greatest accomplishment has been launching and running a failed agriculture-focused venture in Nicaragua. It sounds counterintuitive, but if I think about a business as a hypothesis about how the world can and should work. Running that business was the test of that idea. I learned a tremendous amount in the course of that failure: about starting companies, working across cultures, what makes a successful organization, the importance of that oh-so-vague concept of leadership, and (most importantly), about myself. I still carry these insights with me today, so I’d chalk that up as a big personal accomplishment.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? There are lots of resources out there that will give you great information about how best to plan for and manage the application process. A search on Google or a trip to the bookstore will probably be more fruitful than my views on the matter.
I will stress, however, the importance of introspection and self-understanding before starting the heavy lifting of the process. I don’t think there’s another time in your career where you’re expected to really ask yourself, Who am I? and What do I want in life? The phrase soul-searching might sound self-absorbed and excessive, I know, but trust me, the insights you’ll uncover about yourself, your motivations, and your goals will be priceless not only in the application process, but also in the course of business school, and hopefully afterwards. Yes, you might be pitching a “story” to the admissions committee, but you’re the one living that story, so it’s worth your while to at least make it a good one.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose the Wharton-Lauder program for a number of reasons: its focus on preparing skilled intercultural leaders, its access to a broad set of entrepreneurship resources, my love for Philly cheesesteaks, Penn’s top-notch faculty, and of course, really amazing students. Most importantly, though, the MBA-MA dual degree pairs my belief in the future and power of international markets with an emphasis on forming impactful leaders with practical skills and ways of approaching problems.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I’ve worked a lot in and really love the tech and telecommunications industry. I have also spent some time in the venture capital field. What I really love about these sectors is how, at their core, they connect people and generate opportunity for them – be it for an entrepreneur with a crazy idea, a kid using his school’s high-speed internet to learn more about physics and chemistry, or a farmer in Africa using his phone’s 3G connection to prepare his crops for increased rainfall. I’d love to continue in telecom and tech, working for either a fund investing in or a leading start-up doing awesome things in these spaces. That said, I do have entrepreneurial ambitions and some ideas up my sleeve, and would love to use my time at Wharton to test one out.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I’d like my peers to remember me as someone they know and trust, that they shared a few laughs and interesting conversations with, and that at the end of the day, doesn’t owe them any money.