Julia M. Gilroy
Foster School of Business, University of Washington
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: My “influencers” are Nelson Mandela, Elon Musk, and Denise Dresser (a Mexican economist and political analyst).
Hometown: Taos, New Mexico
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a huge fan of folk art and when I travel I make it a goal of mine to learn about traditional art from the region I’m visiting. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself on very rural roads or high in the mountains of Mexico looking to meet an artist and learn about their work, and in turn I’ve learned more about the region, the culture and the local economy than I could have ever imagined.
Undergraduate School and Major:
University of New Mexico, BA in Spanish & Economics
University of New Mexico, MA in Economics
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
1) Rothschild Mexico, Investment Bank Analyst (and Fulbright Scholar*)
*I worked at Rothschild as part of the Fulbright’s Bi-National Business Scholars program.
2) Prudential Real Estate Investors LATAM (Mexico City), Senior Analyst and Interim Jr. Portfolio Manager
3) Domenici Insights (boutique government relations consulting firm), Associate
4) JM Gilroy Consulting, Principal (Clients included a Connecticut based hedge fund, the International Folk Art Alliance, and a DC based government relations firm).
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My work with Prudential Real Estate Investors – Latin America (PREI-LATAM) in Mexico City jumps out because the entire experience, not just one project, was a huge career accomplishment. PREI-LATAM was my first job following my Fulbright and not only was I operating in a different language and acclimating to a different culture, but I also knew very little about real estate and investing.
At the time PREI-LATAM was the largest private equity fund in Mexico, it was growing quickly and hiring rapidly and it was a sink-or-swim situation for all new hires. Within eight months of starting I ended up managing one of the Retail Fund’s biggest joint venture partners, Desarollos Delta, and traveling weekly to visit projects in Monterrey, Mexico where I oversaw a multi-million dollar turnaround of a major shopping center, negotiated a contract with a new anchor tenant, added thousands of feet of additional retail space to the shopping center and re-branded what is now called Centro Comercial Plaza Cumbres. These experiences made me comfortable with sink-or-swim situations and taught me to thrive in the unknown.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? It’s a little cliché, but be authentic. If you focus (your essay, interview, etc…) on what you think your college of interest wants to hear, chances are you’ll be just like the next applicant. Instead, dig deep and find the passion that drives your MBA goals, walk in and be totally honest about who you are and why you want an MBA. Dream about where it will take you and share that dream with your college(s) of interest. They, ultimately, want to buy into your vision and be a catalyst for making your goals happen.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The Foster alumni and community were crucial to my decision. I met with Foster alumni from across industries and was blown away by their dedication to the school and the benefits of their experiences both as students and now as alumni. Together with the larger community, Seattle is a hot bed for start-ups and home to some of the most influential companies today (think Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Gates Foundation). This environment creates an exciting opportunity for students at Foster; companies that support the school are simultaneously developing new ways to approach growth and development and are defining business globally.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? Over the past five years, I’ve worked as a management consultant, helping build companies and organizations from the side. I’d like to change that and step into a leadership position within a start-up or small cap company, and be part of the strategic development that’s responsible for both outward growth and inward development, bringing these companies to the next level and creating value for the communities that surround it. I find technology to be a particularly interesting field and an industry that can effect change both locally and globally. Ultimately, I believe healthy businesses lead to economic and social development, which for places like my home state of New Mexico, are dearly needed.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope I can add value to the conversation. Whether through our discussions, questions, or team projects, I want my peers to say I pushed the conversation to interesting places, incited constructive dialogue, and made them laugh once or twice.