Meet MIT Sloan’s MBA Class of 2018

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Camila Zacharias

MIT, Sloan School of Management

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: An engineer with bold dreams who decided to suit up and hit the business world

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can’t cook to save my life! I even caused a salmon to combust spontaneously once, which I guess would have made my chemical engineering lab teacher proud, but made for a horrible dinner.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Master of Science in Engineering

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Industrial Engineering, diploma in Chemical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Virtus Partners – Management Consultant

National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster Management – Research Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I redesigned the organizational model of a multinational company that employed more than 6,000 people. The work was highly sensitive, since sales had heavily declined and the re-org would require significantly transforming some areas and reducing personnel.

For many weeks (including late nights eating sushi at the office), I immersed myself in this company, talking to its employees and leaders, visiting local and international operations, among other things. The cafeteria lady at the company even knew how I liked my coffee after a while! Through this process, I discovered that although there were opportunities in cost efficiency, there was a bigger opportunity for increasing cross-collaboration.

I devised a renewed organizational model that would save the client millions of dollars and that would transform the culture, moving from working in silos to welcoming collaboration and partnerships that better served their customers and employees. Our senior team selected me to lead discussions with the client’s CEO. After the presentation, the CEO commended my work and decided to implement this transformational process. I was excited to become an agent of change, to win a seat at the table and be part of such strategic discussions.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? (Feel free to share your insights on topics like taking the GMAT, writing essays, gathering recommendations, excelling in the admissions interview, etc.)

Make time for the GMAT! You might need to take the test more than once to achieve your desired score. Planning ahead will allow you to focus on the test and not stress about other components of the application. Also, since the test is really long, try to schedule study sessions that last just as long, so that you are used to giving undivided attention for that amount of time.

Finally, while studying and taking the GMAT remember that the test is more about managing time rather than getting every answer right. If you’re stuck on a question that’s taking you forever to answer, just take your best guess and move on to the next one.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Action-based learning, teamwork, and community were my three reasons to choose Sloan.

As an engineer, I knew from early on that I wanted an action based learning environment. Sloan motto is “mens et manus” (mind and hands), where theory is put into practice through its courses and its large amount of action learning labs. At Sloan, you are able to engage with for-profit and non-profit organizations around the world, and help tackle real-life business problems. It is exactly the kind of “hands on” experience I was seeking in an MBA.

Also, I have lived and worked my entire life in Chile. I wanted to be part of a program that really fostered cross communication and collaboration among students. Through the entire Sloan curriculum, you work in team projects, constantly engaging with students from all over the world and with the most diverse experiences. Working in multidisciplinary teams is something I seek through the MBA, because diversity invites different perspectives and uncovers blind spots.

Finally, having a relatively small class size (around 400 students are admitted per year) really creates a tight-knit community. While talking to several alumni and current students, I was immediately drawn to the collaborative and student-led environment at Sloan. To me, the MBA experience happens as much inside of the classroom as outside. I really want to be part of a community where you collaborate and give back, and Sloan feels like the perfect place for me to do that.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? Growing up in a family of doctors, I became fascinated with the many stories about patient care. During dinner table conversations and weekend family reunions, I would constantly ask my parents and other family members about their experiences in the waiting room or operating room. However, the further business knowledge I gained, the more I realized that these stories could have been re-written.

My dream job is to advise public and private companies to improve management practices in the healthcare industry. There are great opportunities in reducing wait lines, re-allocating resources, and innovating patient experience that would improve the lives of many people.

On top of that, I believe that a job is not limited by its function, but by its environment. I seek to grow and lead a place that breaks barriers for women. Throughout my life, I have both witnessed and experienced many situations where women are judged by a different standard.

I want to work at and potentially lead a place where women are not questioned for pursuing a career in science, where being a mother should not be part of the promotion criteria, and where equality is truly embraced, not just talked about.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? While studying engineering, I made lifetime friends. We helped each other grow, we studied together until dawn, and we stayed close while pursuing different paths. We have always maintained a relationship where we speak with blunt honesty without losing our kindness. In moments of despair, we are not afraid of reminding each other of our dreams. As I delve into the two fantastic years to come, I would like to foster the same honest relationships.

 

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