2017 MBAs To Watch: Alfredo J. Rivera, Georgetown (McDonough)

Alfredo J. Rivera

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“Young professional who aspires to be an agent of change back in Puerto Rico.”

Age: 29

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Fun fact about yourself: I speak roughly four to five languages (might be rusty in French since I don’t use it).

Undergraduate School and Degree: Yale University, B.A. in Economics

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Popular Securities – Fixed Income Trader, UBS – Investment Banking Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Citigroup – Investment Banking Summer Associate

Where will you be working after graduation? Citigroup – Investment Banking Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: McGowan Fellow, Toigo Fellow, MLT Fellow, Cohort Representative, Core Honors first year, Student Ambassador, and President of Out@MSB, Vice President of the Latin American Business Association, Teaching Assistant, Tutor

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being selected the 2017 Georgetown McDonough School of Business McGowan Fellow is an accomplishment that I am extremely proud of. Not only does it reflect my academic achievements (candidates have to be in the top 5% of the class) but it also demonstrates my commitment to ethical leadership. It also gave me the opportunity to meet and work with fellows from nine different top MBA programs.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being promoted to head trader after my first year at Popular Securities. As the youngest member of the capital markets group, it was an honor to be recognized by my Managing Director for my contributions to the group during my first year at the firm. Given the current situation in Puerto Rico, it was a great opportunity to leverage my knowledge of the Puerto Rican fixed income market and help both our institutional and retail clients during the crisis.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tough question. I would say my top two professors were Professor Melissa Bradley and Professor Lee Pinkowitz. Both have contributed to my MBA experience in different but meaningful ways. Professor Bradley exposed me to impact investing and the opportunities in that space. She also gave me the opportunity to begin considering how I could potentially make an impact back in Puerto Rico. I have worked with Professor Pinkowitz as his TA. I would characterize Professor Pinkowitz as a passionate and dedicated professor who sets high standards for both his students and his colleagues.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Impact Investing was my favorite course so far. It showed me how to tackle some of society’s biggest problems. It also highlighted the possibility of investing in projects that both have a financial return and a positive impact to society.

Why did you choose this business school? I believe McDonough was the right place for me given the class size and culture of the program. When visiting campuses, I was looking for a program that was located in a large enough city where I could leverage and explore the area while still creating a welcoming environment within the community. McDonough’s sense of collaboration and support was key in my decision.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? My biggest takeaway from business school are the meaningful relationships I have developed for the past two years. Relationships that include an amazing faculty and staff of the program as well as my classmates.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? I was pleasantly surprised about the diverse backgrounds of my classmates. I think Georgetown does an amazing job admitting students with different professional and personal backgrounds and that was something I believe really added to my experience.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?

My advice to applicants would be to really spend time with the application and leverage the essays (video and written) to showcase who they really are. There are no “cookie cutter” candidates the program is looking for and these are opportunities to really shine for who you are. Another big opportunity is the interview. As a former student ambassador who conducted many interviews, I believe the most successful interviewees are those that really let their guard down and tell personal stories about who they are and what they have accomplished.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the level of competition amongst classmates. My experience at Georgetown has been a lot more collaborative than competitive (which I have enjoyed). While there is a forced curve that can bring in some level of competition, I believe my classmates lean more into helping each other and paying it forward.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was not traveling enough during my first year. I think the MBA is a great opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with your classmates and part of those relationships are developed while traveling. During my second year, I have been more proactive at planning and participating in treks whether it be in the USA or abroad.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jennifer Lavet. She is one of the hardest working classmates I have with amazing Power Point skills. She manages to maintain a healthy balance between her professional and personal life. While in the age spectrum she is on the younger side, she has an impressive professional background and has added value to my MBA experience. She sets high standards and I feel she makes me a better classmate. Also, she has one of the cutest dogs I have ever met (I am a huge dog lover).

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I noticed the crisis Puerto Rico was facing and decided I should invest two years in improving my skill sets and building out my network in order to return more capable of helping the situation.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working in Puerto Rico, looking for opportunities for growth within the issland.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I’d work to formalize global treks as part of the MBA experience. Like other MBA programs, I think it’s helpful to have structured treks that students can opt-in to. I’d facilitate the structure of these treks and work to secure funding to allow students to participate.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I wish to return to Puerto Rico as an agent of change, using my knowledge and networks from the financial services industry as well as target investment opportunities in the Island.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Both of my parents. They are the ones who pushed me to be who I am and were my biggest supporters throughout my life. They have been essential in my development and success.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a friend who is more than willing to help out in any way possible.

Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Favorite movie or television show: Scream (all four movies)

Favorite musical performer: Lady Gaga – best concert I have been to in my life.

Favorite vacation spot: On a boat in the Caribbean

Hobbies? Cooking and running. Used to train for triathlons but currently only run for fun.

What made Alfredo such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“From the start of his experience at Georgetown McDonough, Alfredo Rivera has consistently demonstrated his commitment to supporting his peers in meaningful ways. During Orientation, he stood up in front of his classmates and identified himself as a resource to members and allies of the LGBTQA community, later becoming president of the Out@MSB student organization.

Having grown up in Puerto Rico and engaged as a young business person at UBS and Banco Popular, he knew that serving as vice president for the Latin American Business Association on campus would give him a valuable opportunity to give back to a community that had supported him so much in the past. As further proof of his strongly-held belief in “paying it forward,” Alfredo was a dedicated admissions ambassador mentor for several members of the new class. He was also elected as his cohort’s representative to the administration and faculty, managing to advocate for his classmates’ academic, professional and personal needs as well as fostering an inclusive environment for students to build a lasting cohesive network with each other.

Academically, Alfredo has excelled in the MBA program. He received honors both for his core course and overall GPA. Again, in keeping with his devotion to giving back, Alfredo has selflessly dedicated his time to helping students to master course concepts – first informally with his cohort, then as a tutor and teaching assistant sought out by students and faculty for his quantitative skills and clear explanations of complex material.

Because of his academic excellence, demonstrated leadership and commitment to ethical business practices, Alfredo was distinguished as the school’s 2016-2017 McGowan Fellow full scholarship recipient. We are proud to have him representing the school in this prestigious program. Alfredo stands out as an outstanding member of the Georgetown McDonough community and our Jesuit heritage of “men and women in service to others.”

Lisa Kahn

Director of MBA Academic Affairs


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