Meet Arizona State’s MBA Class Of 2019

Maria Fernanda Medina Perez 

W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: When I was nine years-old, I admonished the CFO of a company for wasting money.

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun Fact About Yourself: I ate a scorpion once.

Undergraduate School and Major: Marketing, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

DuPont Mexico, Marketing Analyst

Pfizer Mexico, Customer Relationship Management Coordinator

Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, High School Teacher

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  It was 10 p.m. on an idle Wednesday, and I called my boss while he was on a business trip. I told him that I had tried every resource and every possible solution that I was able to think of, but I still could not get the pricing project done. Then I started crying. So, this part of the story is not the happiest part, but to me, it was the key that unlocked the door to my future. It taught me that being vulnerable and asking for help is an essential ingredient in the recipe for success. Sometimes it may be painful to do so, but from that experience I learned that it is better to ask for help as soon as you need it rather than waiting until you are on the brink of failure. Of course, you can imagine that the pricing project was successful and the reason I am proudest of it is that it taught me three essential things. First, you need to ask for help if you want to achieve great things. Second, if you can push yourself through the pain of solving the problem that’s in front of you, you’ll be able to handle more and more. Last, even when you don’t have all the resources or skills to achieve a task or a project, you can solve it with determination.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? I have two bits of advice. The first one is for people who are still undecided about whether or not to pursue an MBA, and the second one is for those who are already in the process.

First, do not be afraid of listening and following your internal voice. I can tell you the precise moment when I decided to quit my job at Pfizer to undertake my previous job as a teacher and to prepare myself for being accepted into a prestigious MBA program. That moment was one day when I woke up in the morning, and something inside me told me that if I did not quit my job, then I could not study for a full-time MBA. I was so scared to make that decision (financial security was one of the most important factors for that fear), and the only reason that I can think that gave me the courage to take it was my faith in God. However, at this point of the story, I am not inviting you to quit your job. What I want to say is that if you take a pause in your busy life and you ask yourself what you need to get accepted into the program that you want, you’ll find the answer.

Secondly, if you’ve already decided to pursue an MBA program, then don’t take your eyes off the prize. I consider myself a very social person, so following this advice was quite difficult for me. Especially, when you’re preparing yourself for the GRE or TOEFL or GMAT, there will be times you will need to make some sacrifices like spend less time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or not hang out with your friends. What I constantly thought when I was studying on a Friday night at home instead of being at a party with my friends was that if I wanted to get different results than other people, I needed to do things differently.

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? Diversity. I do not know when I will have the time and money to travel to more than 20 countries all over the world and when I will have a chance to spend two years in those countries and know how people live and think in those countries. What I do know is that at W. P. Carey this is possible. Plus, it’s probably even better because if you become part of this community your classmates will be young professionals just like you but that were born in a different part of the world. For instance, my roommate is from Jamaica, and I choose to stay with her because I wanted to push myself in all the possible ways I could. I look forward to perfecting my English in a way that by the end of this two years I can feel and express myself as comfortably as I do in my mother tongue. When in your life would you be able to grab a beer with someone from Romania, Morocco, India, and Mexico at the same table and that those persons are excited and willing to share their experiences with you? Those kinds of experiences I will cherish for a lifetime.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  I visualize myself as being part of a leadership development program at a pharmaceutical company located in the USA or Mexico; coming back home and seeing my future husband; participating in a volunteer program for mentoring and coaching people that want to pursue an MBA or another degree abroad; and organizing a reunion event for my classmates of W. P. Carey.

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