Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2019

Felipe Kettlun

Stanford Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Chilean/engineer/outdoors lover (Used to climb mountains most weekends and vacations).

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am color blind and I only discovered it when I was 14 years old because the biology teacher showed us a color-blind test during a lecture about X-linked inheritance. I was extremely surprised no one ever noticed it before.

Undergraduate School and Major: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Electrical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • Valhalla Energy (Energy storage startup) – Strategy Associate
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile – Research Assistant in Biomedical Imaging
  • Syspiral Technologies (Hardware/software development for electric cars) – Cofounder

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Convincing Valhalla’s management team (including people with more than 30 years of experience in the industry) that our strategy for contracting a $1.5 billion dollar renewable energy project was much riskier than everyone has thought. It took two months to convince them to change our contracting strategy.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? I was lucky to know a few GSBers and through them reached out to several students. This was maybe the best thing I did during my application process. That’s not because they told me something I had never heard before, but I realized that all of them were so different, that there was no way there is a perfect candidate. In all of them I could see the reasons why they were accepted. But I could also see some reasons why they might not have been accepted. This was extremely useful to me, because it made me realize that I didn’t need to show myself as a perfect candidate – because no one checks all the right boxes. The superstars don’t come to business school, because they don’t need it! This made it much easier to write my essays. I actually wrote about some mistakes I’ve made in my life. At the end, I think admissions cares more about having a diverse class than having only the most accomplished people in the class.

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 used to think business school was not very useful. While working with some GSBers, I got the impression that for all of them the GSB ended up being more of a Life School than a Business School. I was very interested in all the self-growth opportunities at the GSB. Also, I was learning during my free time about artificial intelligence and I decided that I wanted to learn more seriously about it. I thought the best place to learn AI was Stanford. I discovered that Stanford is one of the very few universities that offers the opportunity to do a MS in Computer Science and an MBA at the same time. The package was ideal for me.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? For me success is as simple as being content with what you do. If I feel that I enjoyed my first year by learning new things, making friends, playing sports, etc., then it would be a total success!