Larisse-Ann (Lara) Ortiz-Luis
MIT, Sloan School of Management
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Foodie Filipina from SF studied biology but invested in startups and taught design thinking instead.
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I started my first business after graduating college. It was called “Chefing” and I taught cooking lessons for college students and recent grads.
Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, Human Biology
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Paralegal, Impact Fund
Associate, Matter Ventures
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When I started working at Matter Ventures, it was just the Managing Partner and myself running the firm and startup accelerator program. I helped build our small team from two to eight, expanded from one location in San Francisco to a second location in New York City, and doubled the size of our accelerator class—all in one year.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Applying to business school can actually be fun. I’m not talking about the GMAT or writing the essays, but the actual “status” of being an applicant is actually an amazing networking opportunity if you frame it that way.
I made so many meaningful connections with new people (that I still keep in touch with even if I didn’t choose their school) just because I was thinking about applying to the school they went to. At the end of the day, everyone went through the process you’re going through and there’s an immediate shared history in that. It’s an amazing excuse to get to know some excellent people in different fields, and I feel fully confident that I can call any one of them back even after just one coffee chat.
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 knew I wanted a program where I could collaborate with different types of people in different departments. MIT’s reputation as an engineering powerhouse ensured that I would be in a place where people were really building stuff. Sloan itself has an action-oriented mentality, which is reflected in their motto of “Mens et Manus” or “Mind and Hand.”
Every student or alum I’ve talked to has either taken classes in other departments, has found a technical collaborator, or is participating in another MIT initiative such as the MIT Media Lab. It’s an incredibly dynamic student body, and one I immediately gravitated towards.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? This may sound trite, but I want to make some real connections and friendships with people in my class. I’m doing a joint program with Sloan and the Integrated Design Management (IDM) program, so I will actually be graduating with the Sloan Class of 2020. I want to make sure I make some strong ties so I can keep collaborating with the Sloan Class of 2019 even when I’m doing IDM during my second year.