Meet the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2019

Diana Cruz 

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  An ambitious gal, with bold aspirations, a contagious smile, and a big heart.

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: For the past two years, I recorded radio ads for my company, Pacific Gas & Electric, encouraging customers to save energy during the summer months. Friends from across Northern and Central California have reached out to me, saying that they heard me on the radio!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, Berkeley- B.A. in Communications and Sociology (Double Major)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: I’ve been at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) for seven years. The many opportunities to pursue my passions through the Employee Resource Groups coupled with the opportunities to work on strategic projects that pushed me outside of my comfort zone is what kept me there so long.

Customer Relations Consultant

Communications Specialist

Sr. Change Management Specialist

Principal Strategy Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was a time when I surpassed my own expectations. Not knowing a thing about construction, I jumped at the opportunity to lead change management for a massive relocation project at PG&E. I worked with architects, interior designers, IT leaders and construction managers to successfully move 400 employees into a brand-new building- fully equipped with solar panels, a state of the art energy training facility and a fitness center.

This experience was an incredible team effort that challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and take on a leadership role, while balancing employee and business needs. Through this experience, I learned about LEED building certifications, evacuation routes, and building framing and insulation processes. To this day, I still have my hard hat and steel toe boots!

Once the construction was finalized, I planned the ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project and welcomed the employees into their new home.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  Aside from starting GMAT preparation very early, I urge students to take time to be as reflective and introspective as possible. Understand why you want your MBA, what motivates you, and what makes you different. Embracing and accepting your personal story, including your strengths and weaknesses early on, will help you craft a strong application – one that highlights your accomplishments, demonstrates the potential to compensate for your weaknesses and accurately reflects your true self.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you?  I visited many schools throughout the MBA application process, searching for one that had the perfect mixture of factors.

Experiential Teaching Approach: My most meaningful learning experiences have been when I was in the driver’s seat. Ross takes experiential learning to a new level. It takes it so seriously that a consulting project (many times international) is integrated into the curriculum. Furthermore, through the Leadership Crisis Challenge I’d have the opportunity to put myself in the shoes of a CEO and manage a team through a business catastrophe – a common reality that I may find myself in one day.

Supportive Community: Throughout the application process, the people at Ross, students and admissions officers included, showed their relentless support- whether it was answering the many questions that I had, openly sharing their personal experiences or connecting me to alumni or students with similar interests. I’ve met incredibly talented and accomplished students who are humble, down-to-earth and genuinely want to help you succeed. This is exactly the environment where I can be my best self. I haven’t even started school yet, and am already feeling the power of the Ross network. I can’t wait to grow within this amazing community!

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  To me, a successful first year of business school entails making a meaningful impact in the University of Michigan and Detroit communities, securing a summer internship that I’m extremely excited about, and surviving the Michigan winter.

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