Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class of 2018


Paula Moscoso

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I am passionate about leaving places better than what I found them.

Hometown: Quito, Ecuador

Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to be a figure skater for 9 years before attending college.

Undergraduate School and Major: Economic and International Business

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Edward Jones, Mortgage-Backed Securities Trader

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I think that my overall career and progression as a Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) trader was my biggest professional accomplishment. When I started trading MBS, not only did I have to learn a product I had never heard of, but I also had to learn how to use a number of trading tools and platforms from scratch. On top of that, two members of the team had quit and I (who had little to no experience) had to replace them. Consequently, a lot of responsibility was thrown to me from day one.

While this may sound as a mild complain, I am actually beyond grateful for the experience. I took on the challenge and quickly learned the ins and outs of the MBS market. I became one of the most active bidders on my trading desk, and a proficient negotiator. My fast and successful progression culminated with me training two traders as I prepared to leave for the MBA program. Training them was, perhaps, the biggest highlight of my short journey as a MBS trader. It was incredibly gratifying to share with them my best practices and empower them with the tools and skills they needed to be successful on the role.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? As future business school applicants prepare to apply, I would recommend a couple of things to them:

  • As far as taking the GMAT or the GRE, I would say “Practice, Practice, Practice.” I would also suggest taking some sort of class to prepare. While many applicants choose to practice on their own and not spend a lot of money on prep material, truth is that they end up spending more money and time when they “fail” the exam and have to re-take it. If they have the means and the time, I would highly recommend investing in a course and saving themselves the hassle of having to re-take the exam.
  • As far as the essays go, I think it is extremely important that students do their research on their target schools and understand how to approach each of them. When writing their essays, I would recommend for them to be authentic, bring some passion to their writing, and “show” their achievements through examples. Lastly, while there are many good writers out there, I would recommend for them to have their essays reviewed by a couple people before submitting them, for two sets of eyes are better than one.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose Olin for a number of reasons. First of all, I was highly attracted to Olin’s tight-knit community and strong focus on teamwork and collaboration. I was confident that such environment would enable me to build long-lasting relationships with my peers, professors and career advisers.

Additionally, I chose Olin for its location. While many might perceive St. Louis as a boring Midwestern city, truth is that St. Louis is a thriving entrepreneurial boomtown. Named the number one city with the fastest-growing startup scene by Business Insider, St. Louis is becoming an increasingly vibrant city.

Last but not least, I chose Olin for its unparalleled experiential learning opportunities. As I made the decision to pursue an MBA, it was extremely important for me to attend a program that will provide me hands-on experience and the opportunity to get involved on real-world consulting projects, both domestically and abroad. That is precisely what The Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) enables WashU students to do. Unlike other MBA programs I was looking at, the CEL works with wider range of companies – everything from Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. to start-ups in the developing world.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? At this point in my life, my dream job is one where I can be involved on strategic decision-making and the development of innovative products or services. Additionally, my dream job is one where I can use my creativity and analytical skills to address real-business problem, one where I have the autonomy to make decisions, and the freedom to be innovative.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like my peers to say that I am a great teammate, a driver of change, and a compassionate individual. I want them to remember me as someone who made valuable contributions to the Olin community, but most importantly, as someone they enjoyed and would enjoy to work with in the future.

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