Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Creative, a good storyteller, curious, loves movies and books
Hometown: Born in Bogota, Colombia, relocated to Cambridge from New York, NY
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have lived on four continents and have never been anywhere for more than four consecutive years.
Undergraduate School and Major:
New York University, BA Latin American Studies
University College London, MA Film Studies
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Steeplechase Films, Producer
FD-Gravitas (now FTI Consulting), Junior Consultant
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Last year, I produced a documentary film on the history of disabled veterans titled Debt of Honor, which aired on PBS to commemorate Veterans Day. Having the opportunity to work on a film that paid homage those wounded in service, bringing to life both their victories and struggles, was an incredibly rich and moving experience. I consider it, by far, the biggest accomplishment of my career.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? In large part, applying to business school is about stamina and focus. I had four months to complete applications to five schools, so I created a schedule to keep myself motivated and on track. I found writing essays was the most natural part of the process. I did a lot of research about each school I was applying to and kept that information in mind as I crafted my essays, but in the end it is really about you, and what makes you unique and an asset to the school. I had two people review my drafts and give me feedback, a process that was very helpful in streamlining my ideas and focusing my answers.
The GMAT was the part of the application process that gave me the most anxiety. I tried out several test prep courses and settled for Target Test Prep, which is entirely online and has a modern interface that I responded well to. I found that studying at a steady pace and formulating a strategy to approach each question type was the best way to get through it. As someone who did very little math after high school and worked in a decidedly creative field, this was my biggest challenge. Luckily, I think that achieving a good score is more about the time, discipline and energy you put into studying and less about having a natural talent for math or test-taking.
In terms of the admissions interviews, my advice is to do your research. Go in knowing exactly why you want to be a student there, and be able to give specific examples of the activities you want to be a part of, courses you want to take, or professors whose classes you want to attend. Speak to former and current students to get a sense of the culture and values of the school. Most importantly, be able to clearly articulate why you would be a good fit for that particular school; what you look forward to learning from your cohorts; and what you are able to contribute both inside and outside the classroom.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? First and most simply, I thought CJBS offered a great balance between academic rigor and hands-on experience, covering an incredibly complete curriculum over the course of a single year. Second, coming from an entertainment background, the fact that the Cambridge MBA offers a concentration in Culture, Arts and Media was a huge selling point, as it shows that the school takes creative fields seriously. I was hard pressed to find another programme that could rival the reach and breadth of the Cambridge MBA in this regard, and thought this specific combination would give me the best chance of finding a job in a creative environment upon graduation. Third, I greatly appreciated the fact that the education you receive on the Cambridge MBA goes far beyond a traditional business degree. Being part of the Cambridge student body means you have access to world-class cultural events and lectures, and as a member of a College, you are also able to interact with and learn from highly accomplished students across a wide variety of disciplines. Finally, I welcomed the chance to study with a richly diverse cohort hailing from myriad professions and geographies, and thought the small class size would make the experience both more compelling and dynamic.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? Upon graduating, I hope to find a job that is enriching, creative, and challenging, allowing me to exercise the knowledge and skills I will have learned over the course of the MBA. My ideal job is one that plays to my strengths as a writer and storyteller, but also stretches my talents and helps me grow into a better leader, employee and co-worker. I love film and television, so continuing a career in entertainment is a definite option. Having said that, business school provides a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons and change professional paths, and I hope to explore possibilities in several different fields. I have always been particularly drawn to advertising, given its emphasis on both creativity and intellectual rigor, and I am keen to learn more about it. Entrepreneurship is also an avenue I would like to explore, specifically looking at the possibilities that lie at the intersection of entertainment and education.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? One of the things that struck me the most when I spoke to CJBS students was their unwavering resolve that the year they had spent at Cambridge was one of the best years of their lives. If I am a small part of the reason my peers look back on their time at CJBS and come to the same conclusion, I will be truly well served. I hope they remember me as warm and collaborative, energetic and bright, but most of all a good person of whom they have fond memories.