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Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2019

Dionicio Herrera

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:

Bachata-loving, first generation Dominican who is as loyal as I am reliable

Hometown: New York City (Queens), New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was named after Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and festivity (Bacchus in Roman).

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School) – Bachelor of Science in Economics with Concentrations in Finance and Legal Studies & Ethics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Investment Banking Analyst – Barclays

Private Equity Associate – Siris Capital

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am the first in my family to go to college and will be the first to get my Masters. Growing up in an immigrant household, my mother always placed a large emphasis on excelling in school, so I learned from a young age the value of hard work and perseverance. Since I’ve gone to college, several other family members in my generation have begun pursuing and even graduated from college. I couldn’t be prouder of them. I hope I can encourage more family members and others from similar backgrounds to use education to excel.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? In every step of the process, let your true self come through in the application. There isn’t a formula or a certain type of person that gets into business school, so don’t try to fabricate someone you are not or imitate someone’s story who was successful at getting into your dream school. Admissions officers are trained to see right through it.

If you have trouble coming up with your “story,” just start free writing about yourself. You could write about how you were raised, what you stand for, what experiences shaped your values, special memories, why you made decisions you made, or even life epiphanies. I spent hours informally writing down stories about my life and ended up filling over 20 pages, single-spaced. When you are done, look for a pattern, and that is your story. Talk about what makes you the person you are today and bring in a couple of anecdotes from your free writing sessions. This will also make preparing for the interviews a lot easier since you will be able to recall and elaborate on stories that are important to you.

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? Stanford’s focus on transformation and development of character through experiential learning. While it is important to be technically strong early in your professional career, leading people becomes increasingly important as you rise through the ranks. I was looking to go to business school to better understand my leadership style and refine it through various experiences. I was attracted to Stanford’s focus on developing empathetic leaders with strong interpersonal skills. It is clear this is a priority for Stanford through required courses like Leadership Labs and leadership programs like Arbuckle Leadership Fellows. The alignment of my goals and the school’s strength is a key factor that led me to choose the GSB.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? My main goal is to one day lead a team of rockstar individuals that I have mentored and coached from early on in their career. At the GSB, you are surrounded by people with the entrepreneurial bug. I’ve always wanted to build something at one point in my career and ideally, I would lead that team I’ve mentored at a private equity fund that I start. Most importantly, I plan to focus my philanthropic efforts to create a bigger pipeline of historically underrepresented populations (minorities and women) in private equity.